Are you a business owner floundering in your attempts to participate in social media? Don’t despair. These simple ideas will give you a boost.
1) First, look before you leap.
Are you sure you’re in the right place? Social media platforms are not all alike. Join Twitter and you’ll discover that your posts (tweets) are limited to 140 characters or less. Not so on Facebook or Google+. Join Pinterest and you’ll discover that all “pins” must include an image or a video.
Before you jump in, chat with other business owners. Where are they finding success? Talk to your customers. Are they spending most their time on Instagram while you’re on Facebook? Oops!
If you are not having any success with one social media site, chances are that it is just not a good fit. Try another. Don’t let one belly flop discourage you. Switch pools and try again.
2) Don’t spread yourself too thin.
Having 5 or 6 social media sites sitting idly by is worse than not participating at all. If you’re inactive on Twitter, your followers will eventually notice your absence. Active Twitter users have tools to track down and remove inactive accounts from their list. Don’t let your least favorite social media account just sit there. Delete it. It will feel good. Also be sure to remove the link to it from your website.
3) Examine your News Feeds.
Are you rarely on social media because you haven’t bought into the whole concept? Admit it. You’re bored. If so, it’s time to freshen up your news feeds. Take a look. Is your Pinterest home feed cluttered with Infographics and your Twitter timeline overrun with inspirational quotes? It’s likely caused by the simple act of over-following others with no attention paid to who you are following. You can fix it.
Take 5 minutes to unfollow some Pinterest boards or Google+ collections that don’t spark your interest. At the same time, find some new companies with compelling feeds to follow. Be discriminate. Tweaking your social media timelines will make it much easier to participate.
4) Prepare for Show and Tell.
You should also inspect what you are posting. Social media gives you a completely free platform to share anything you want. But how can you step into the spotlight in such a busy place?
Think back to your childhood. Remember “Show and Tell?” How did you decide what to bring to school? You chose a “shiny new object” of some sort. Perhaps it was a model boat you built, a seashell from the beach, or your mother’s summer Olympics bronze medal. That’s not something kids see every day. You picked out something meaningful, trying to impress your friends.
The same holds true for social media. Everyone likes to see something interesting and different. We all like “shiny new objects” when they are shiny and new.
But, even shiny new objects can lose their luster if overshared. Cute photos of newborn babies posted repeatedly will eventually annoy even the newborn’s grandmother.
Take another moment to scroll through your personal profile. Look at your last 5 updates. (This is probably the best simple step you can take… right this moment.) Stop and really look at the last 5 things you’ve posted. What sticks out to you when you study your profile? Do your posts all look similar? Do any stand out?
Be honest with yourself. Have you posted, just to post? Have you tweeted just to promote your business?
If no one is “liking,” commenting on or sharing your posts, stop doing what you are doing. Try something different. It’s as simple as that.
Are your images clear and colorful? Are your captions short and sweet? People are more likely to engage with visual content than text-heavy content.
Do you have a camera or smartphone readily available at your workplace? You can capture more unexpected, noteworthy and entertaining moments, just by having a camera or phone close by you. Snap photos of employees in action, customers enjoying your service and special events.
Try adding a little humor to your captions. Then share these “real” moments on social media. You’ll help humanize your brand.
5) Participate actively.
Social media is not a one-way conversation. It’s the place join conversations. You must show up and participate.
Picture yourself at a pool party. You wouldn’t just introduce yourself, pass out your business card and leave, would you?
Do you have a so-called “shiny new object” you could you bring to that party to spark a conversation? Whether it’s a corn hole game set, a quadcopter drone or a bottle of wine depends on your audience. Think of what you bring to a party and what you post on social media as great conversation starters, but not the whole conversation.
With social media, it’s important to also be interested in others. Leave comments on posts that inspire you. Share posts that you think would resonate with your followers. Retweet. People will respond.
6) Sign up for a newsletter.
You don’t have to be on social media every day. Social media will go on without you and still be there when you return. But if it’s out of sight, is it also out of mind? As business owners, posting to Facebook is not likely to be a top priority of each day. And so Facebook begins to sit idly by.
Then after weeks of neglect, you finally check your Facebook page and realize that it looks different. You’re confused. You pause and stare at it for a moment, not sure where to start.
While you were away, social media went on without you. It has that annoying habit of constantly evolving to give its frequent users a better experience. But for business owners, who are not participating every day, it can be hard to keep up with those changes.
Consider setting up a subscription for a newsletter so the news about social media changes comes to you. Social media experts are the first ones to hear about changes, so receiving their newsletters will keep you informed as new updates are being released. You will get emails coming straight to your inbox with subtle reminders that social media is still waiting for you.
Here are some great websites with social media newsletters subscriptions available:
If you’ve been thinking of social media as one big hassle up until now, these simple fixes could change your whole outlook. Get inspired and involved. Grab your smartphone, capture an unexpected moment, find a “shiny new object” and then dive into social media.