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Social media is kinda needy, right? Excuse me. Riiiiiight?!
But let’s be real. We need it as much as it needs us. Businesses can live or die by their social status. It’s like high school — but with hashtags and better hair. #hairgoals
Social platforms aren’t going anywhere, so even if you feel like you literally can’t even, here’s what your business needs to know ATM.
1. Kick it old school
Social media may be a relatively new concept, but time-tested principles still apply. “Participate in the community,” says Matt Frisbie, founder of American Fork-based social media training company, Woodrow Academy. “Being in a community is about giving more than you receive. For social media, the law of reciprocity is in effect.”
2. It’s not you, it’s them.
Get over yourself — it’ll make you more popular. “It’s all about your customer,” Frisbie says. “This is a rule for every aspect in business, but on social media we see people promoting themselves rather than their customers. Big no-no.”
3. Be consistently inconsistent.
“Your audience may quickly come to have the expectation that you’ll post about certain things on certain days,” says Scott Brown, digital marketing specialist at NUVI in Lehi. “Be consistent — not predictable. The expectation should be that your posts will be timely, topical and helpful. Keep people entertained!”
4. Band of bloggers
Oh, we get by with a little help from our friends. “Utah is a hotbed for bloggers and is very active on social media,” says Janet Thaeler, a local business blogger and digital influencer. “Cavalia Odysseo, a multimillion-dollar international show, said Utah had the best response of any place they’ve visited. Consider partnering with bloggers to get publicity. Most have followers and can give you exposure across many social media platforms. Be aware that today, most bloggers charge for blog and social media posts.”
5. You do you
There’s no substitute for authenticity. “Don’t let a consultant pretend to be you,” Frisbie says. “Only you can be you. Only your business understands your business and your customers. The day-to-day involvement with customers and prospects on social media should not be contracted out to a third party.”
6. Let’s hash(tag) it out
Remember when it was called the pound sign? #TBT
“Utilize hashtags,” Thaeler says. “Search other social media sites for popular hashtags related to your niche to uncover ideas that are working (i.e. have high engagement). Then adapt.”
Adds Frisbie: “Hashtags denote a conversation topic. It’s impossible to have 15 topics happening all at once. If you are a person who adds more than five hashtags at a time, #stopit. It’s like ending a conversation by saying only phrases, while simultaneously holding up the quotes sign with your fingers. It’s not normal. In fact, it’s very weird. #stopit.”
7. Treat them differently
Social media platforms are not one-post-fits-all. “Each platform has a different culture,” Frisbie says. “If you treat them all the same, you will soon get rejected. On that same note, it’s not wise to jump on every social media all at once. Pick one first, become great at it, then pick another and so on.”
8. Bio the way …
“You would be amazed at how many businesses don’t have a great bio,” Frisbie says. “Humanize your brand by sharing who you are and what your brand represents. Keep it short. Be engaging. And tell your community where they can find you by sharing a link to your website.”
9. Try it, scale it
“Sometimes the posts you craft are perfect on paper, but fail in real life. Keep trying new things in order to find the right amount of preparation and spontaneity,” Brown says. “Capitalize on your success by scaling your content strategy to reach a larger audience or add a new twist to extend the life of a campaign.”
10. Telling times
Time will tell all, so pay attention to post popularity. “If you are catering to moms, the best time to post could be early in the morning when their children are napping, or later in the evening when kids are in bed,” Frisbie says. “Track when you are getting the most engagement on your photos, and alter your posting times to when you will get the most eyes.”
11. Brand and plan
“Is your brand visual, witty or serious?” Frisbie asks. “Your Instagram images should reflect your brand’s personality and style quickly and beautifully. You only have three to six seconds to pull someone into your feed. All images should mirror the products you sell and align with the lifestyle of your followers and customers. And you don’t always have to post images. Memes are very popular on Instagram and can balance out your feed.”
Overwhelmed? Create a calendar. “Start by building out potential content for two weeks at a time and then move to a month-to-month approach,” Frisbie says. “Always be flexible to shifting things on the calendar, though. It is more important to be relevant than to have a post go out. And remember! Quality always trumps quantity.”
12. Socialize with your eyes
Think ‘snack-able and visual,” Brown says. “Shorter posts that can be quickly read and digested have been shown to deliver more engagement and shares than longer ones. Include imagery, motion graphics, memes and video in your posts whenever you can. Visual posts typically average 3-times more engagements than text-only posts. When posting pictures of people, don’t forget to tag them — tagging has shown to dramatically increase sharing rates.”
13. News to us
Extra, extra! People want to read all about it. “News and trending topics are popular to share and talk about on social media, especially when they relate well to your target demographics and interests,” Thaeler says. “Don’t forget to scan subreddits related to your industry for ideas or news.”
14. Connect the dots
“When it’s time to do business, step outside the party,” Frisbie says. “We all use social media to promote our business. Ultimately, we want contact info. Let landing pages on your website do that, not social platforms. You own nothing on any social media site. They own it all. If Facebook decided to shut down today, it would all be gone.”