Social Media Basics

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I want to expanded my content a bit.  Social Media is something incredibly fun and productive.  It’s easy to measure how well you are doing… in the end it’s simple numbers.  But not the numbers you think are important.  The only number that matters is engagements.  Followers, subscribers, views, likes, etc are not relevant in my opinion as much as engagement.  Engagement takes the forms of comments, reviews, shares, retweets, and link building (when someone refers to your social media in their blog/article).  Conversion rates are dismal on Social Media… for many industries.  However, because your competitors are playing the game, you have to as well.  The lack of social media activity can indicate to a potential client the business doesn’t care about it’s brand.  In theory, if a company doesn’t have the ability to manage their social profiles, do they have the time to manage your business?  And we aren’t just talking about paying someone for social media management.

How I got Started with Social Media

I’ve been a digital marketer for over 8 years.  But I wasn’t too fond of Social Media because it doesn’t have high ROI.  My first employer was a patent and trademark law firm in China…. the largest.  Social Media had started trending.  Therefore we tried it.  It didn’t work… for what we intended… selling more patents and trademarks.  6 years and two degrees later, I found a job at a marketing agency.  The agency had a social media a Guru.  She challenged me to a twitter battle saying I would never have as many twitter followers as her.  Within 2 months of creating my twitter account I had two times as many as her.  Today I have about 10 times as many…  And that’s how I learned YouTube, Instagram, Google Plus, Facebook, Facebook Pages, etc.  Inspiration is the best way to get started.

Why Social Media for Your Business

This is a common question clients ask.  Social media helps generate leads.  The quality of these leads are questionable… but leads nonetheless.  It can expand your ability to support your products and services.  It keeps customers happy by establishing relationships with them.  You can use Social Media to identify potential team ups.  You can learn what your competitors are doing.  And you can make public campaigns for free.

The most important thing to do…. before you start… is to establish your goal.  Your goals for Social Media should be clear.  Without clear goals, you won’t gain anything from Social Media.  A goal might be to develop stronger relationships with your current clients or to meet new clients.  You may want Social Media to help generate or promote a brand identity.  Or maybe you need to do market research about what your customers want in your products and services.

A Warning

Social Media is a time sink.  To do well, you will need to establish a calendar and adhere to it.  Social media requires a lot of time and can lead to burn out.  Some social media platforms will be better for your industry and some will be worst.  There’s going to be overlapping users, therefore you don’t want to automate everything.  To achieve the goals you set out, you have to be willing to post daily.  A lull in posting can mean a lost in all the good will you established prior.  Also be mindful of time zones.

The biggest danger in social media is negativity.  Remember social media is a conversational platform.  This means online users will talk with you.  Some of it will be productive and others will be something called trolls.  Each platform offers a different users group and therefore require different business voices.

Remember everything that is posted on social media exists for ever.  It’s visible and easy to find.  Social media websites make post easy to find by search engines.  Here’s a list of people interested in your social media… for the wrong reasons…. lawyers, creditors, insurance companies, investigators, collection agencies, and your mom.


Developing a Brand

Establishing your goal is important.  But to achieve your goal, you need a plan.  The plan should identify what what social media platforms are the best for your brand.  Where are your customers?  And how can you reach them?  After determining where you should be, create the profiles.  And post regularly.  Your posts and comments should be interesting and inspire others to post as well.  Make sure to monitor what others have to say about you.  You want to know how others see you.

Generating Content

This is probably the toughest part.  75% of all content has an engagement of … nothing.  I’m serious.  If no one engages with your content… why even bother?  Creating content that your target demographic is interested in, isn’t all that hard.  You can do a quick search on the social media platform you choose about what is trending.  You can use Google Trends to determine what the popular topics are.  Or Facebook Trends.  Or Twitter Trends.

The key is to find out where your potential clients are.  Remember the objective is to gain engagement.  To that ends… you need to figure out what content they are already engaging in.  Don’t reinvent the wheel.  Mine other related services to see how they are doing.  Mimic the ones that are doing well.  And think of new ones based on what already works.  And then boost and keep at it.


Defining Success

Success is keeping at it.  The worst case is creating a social media profile and then never posting.  This conveys that you  abandoned it and therefore do not care.  And while the number of subscribers, friends, users, etc may indicate how well you are doing… they don’t show engagement.  I prefer something like Klout which measures influence which is sort of like engagement.   Social media is one part of marketing.  It doesn’t replace every other marketing channel.  Success will be determined by your customers.  Effective use of social media will lead to better relations with existing clients and creating new ones.


Before I begin the Immediate outline… I wanted to talk about online manners.  Social media gives you the ability to interactive.  But it’s a two way street.  Online is different.  People are more vocal and they can be meaner.  There are certain norms and rules on different platforms.  ignoring these rules can have adverse affects.  They can generate negative comments about your business and even result in ad hominem attacks.  Keeping your post relevant will help.  Stay on topic and don’t post something not needed.

You will generate visits to your website by providing valuable content.  Asking for feedback can lead to great content.  Figure out what the pain points are and offer a solution.  Each social media has a different type of user.  You should avoid posting the same message on different sites.  Blatant selling probably isn’t a great start.  And most importantly… nothing online is personal. Grow a thick skin.  Your post are public and therefore your post is open to discussion… both positive and negative.  Keep that in mind.