So this has been a very interesting year in social media. It seems that no matter how much we try, we are never able to keep up with all the changes and how to’s. Believe me. I do this for a living and it is a lot to take in many days. So I thought I would stop the crazy train and offer some advice to my fellow entrepreneurs based on what I have personally seen on my own accounts, as well as the accounts I manage for my clients. Keep in mind, my thoughts here are based on what I have observed with the testing and measuring I have been doing this year.
1. Facebook – you now have to pay to play, so quit whining.
I know, I know. A lot of people are really ticked off that their organic engagement is down. But in their efforts to provide your wall with content that YOU want to see, they are constantly playing with their algorithm. Facebook was free, and still is, but the days of great engagement stats being free are over. That being said, there are many low cost options available to you that are very beneficial when done correctly. For instance, I HIGHLY recommend boosting your posts. You can do this as cheap as $5.00 for one day if you want. The key to this working effectively is to boost a post that leads your target back to your website. So for example, let’s say you are putting out a holiday gift buying guide. You would put that on your blog or website, write a post about it on Facebook with the link to that blog attached, and then boost that post. You can spend any amount you want and choose to run it for one day or three days. This is very effective when you are trying to draw attention to your blog and website – which should ALWAYS be your goal. Why? Because you don’t own Facebook. You don’t own any platform. But you do own your website and email database. So utilize social media for what it is. A social website. Educate and interact with your followers and lead them back to your website.
2. Should you use a third party posting system, like Hootsuite?
In my opinion, yes. Anything that you can do to be able to post to multiple environments to save time is a good thing. There has been some talk over the years that Facebook does not give as much reach to posts that come from 3rd party apps, but I show no evidence of this being the case. I personally have been testing this theory recently with my posts, as well as my clients. Engagement and the amount of people that have seen the posts are the same. I even checked this out with some industry leaders in Social Media – and they have confirmed this information as well. Hootsuite Pro is really nice because they give you detailed reports on how all your accounts are doing on a weekly basis, and have a very helpful staff. The Pro account is not free, but the cost is very minimal.
3. Pictures – they will always steal the show.
So the big questions is always, what should I post? What will get shared the most? My answer is to think about what you personally would share with others. Everyone loves fun pictures. Pictures that make us laugh, pictures that inspire us with great images or uplifting quotes, these are the types of things that get shared. Once again I will state: social media is meant to be SOCIAL. So filling up your wall with too much “buy from me” posts or posts that are very educational and relevant, but boring, will not help your message get spread. You HAVE to sprinkle in the humor. I know a lot of you have trouble with this since you want your page to look professional. Trust me – you can be professional and funny at the same time. The key is knowing your audience. Really study what people are liking and commenting on. Tech tip on photos: I have heard a rumor that pictures shared in the .png format are often shown by Facebook more. Still researching if this is true, but feel free to try it and let me know how it works for you! Also – make your own quotes by using a free service called PicMonkey.com. Own your thoughts before you put them out there!
4. Is social media really necessary?
Absolutely. The key is knowing which platform your target market is using. It is safe to say that most people use Facebook, but if you are targeting the younger generation they are typically found on Twitter and Instagram. So spend the time doing the research and surveying your target market. Where do they hang out? Where do they like to get their information? And if you are overwhelmed with it all, you basically have two options in my opinion.
1: Pick one platform and rock at it. Really put a lot of time and effort into that platform and utilize it to its fullest extent. Don’t worry about being plastered everywhere. If you are choosing the platform your target frequents the most, and using that platform to lead them back to your website, then you are doing the right thing. Remember, always lead them back to where you have the control.
2. Hire some help. I know the thought of hiring someone to do this for you can be scary, but having a professional help you is worth its weight in gold. This person should be using social media, your website and blog, and your email newsletters together to send out your clear and concise message. All of these things should be working together to market your business and produce a professional image online. It is necessary and if you cannot keep up with it yourself, then it is time to pony up. (That is a direct quote from a fellow entrepreneur I know.)
I am always on the lookout for more tips to share. When I come across some more, I will be sure to let you know, so follow me on my Facebook page or Twitter account. I also invite your questions in the comments below. Let’s make 2015 a great year!