I’m pretty sure social media is the topic I get asked questions about more than any other–aside from general WordPress questions. Of course we all know how powerful social media is for helping us raise our online visibility, so people can find our websites through what we share and in search. The problem for busy small business and creative entrepreneurs is figuring out how to use social media to their best advantage while keeping it manageable and doable given they have a business to run!
I’m always happy to share what I know and learn about social media, but the best thing I can do is point you toward the best resources for information and tips, because I’m always learning myself. Rather than writing posts that tell you what I’ve learned, I’ll share some of the the resources I’m learning from so you can dig deeper and learn more if you choose. To start, here are some excellent answers to the top three questions I get (on what seems like a daily basis) related to social media:
What should I post on Social Media?
Think about what you audience would like to see and share that. Simple right? Ha!
Social Media is about building a relationship with your audience. That relationship builds when you consistently provide value over time. Only then do you have an audience that has the potential to buy your products and services. You might be thinking, “If there are no direct sales, why would I spend time and resources on social media?”
The answer stems from the fact that the way people do business since the Internet is different. People want to do business with those they like, know, and trust–because social media provides a platform for them to seriously vet you before they even think about buying. It also gives you a way to let people get to know, like and trust your brand, products, and services–and by brand I mean the whole personality and process associated with your business. It may seem like common sense, but it bears repeating: Social media has completely changed the game for business. If you’re not present, your competitor is, and you can be sure you’re handing them your business if you’re not.
Here are some great resources for what to post on social media:
Recently, I wrote about how you can reach more people on social media by creating content that’s impossible to ignore. If you haven’t read it already, take a look for some ideas to help you get your creative juices flowing.
Sandi Krakowski has created a great infographic for posting on Facebook called How To Increase Engagement On Your Facebook Page – A Social Media Content Map. I (and I know Sandi would too since I’m learning from her all the time!) would suggest replacing some of this content with short videos because Facebook recently made video a HUGE priority. On my own page, videos I share get many times more engagement than just about any other type of post. Videos don’t need to be your own (although even better if they are), they just need to be short, engaging, videos that your audience will appreciate. Sharing videos will raise the interaction on your page and help people see more of the other things you post at the same time.
The super smart Sarah Von Bargen shares 5 Ideas For Interesting, I-actually-want-to-click-that Tweets with some clever ideas for sharing your content on Twitter.
Similarly, social media expert, Kim Garst has 50 Tweet Ideas for When You Have Brain Freeze on her blog along with 17 Killer Facebook Post Ideas For Small Business Owners.
How often and when should I post?
I personally make a point to post between 5-7 times a day. But, there are a lot of different schools of thought on how often to post. Keep this in mind: different people are on different platforms at different times of the day and night. They also have different reasons for being on each platform. If you write a blog post once a week, share that post on every social media platform you’re on at different times at least once a day for the entire week so different people get the chance to see it. Add in other high value content as appropriate to your audience and the platform.
Here are some more ideas about how often to post, but ultimately, you’ll want to decide what makes sense for you, your audience and your resources. Also remember, it takes time and consistency to build engagement–so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away!
Andrea Vahl shares her thoughts on Facebook Post Frequency: How to Find Out What Works on her Social Media Examiner post.
Facebook expert, Mari Smith has a popular infographic posted on her blog called How Often Should You Post on Social Media, but like me, she’s has found different numbers work best for her (and she shares them in the article).
And Social Media Today has yet another infographic for you to consider called How Often Should You Post to Social Media to help you decide.
Do you think anybody is even paying attention?
No links for this one. Instead, just a few thoughts to share with you to encourage you onward! Social media, as I mentioned above, is about building relationships. That’s a significant paradigm shift for many businesses because they’re used to advertising in huge numbers to get a percentage response that meets their sales goals. It’s all about numbers and ROI.
This is NOT how social media works. It’s simply not how successful businesses can afford to think any longer. Can you use social media for direct marketing? Absolutely. But people will buy first from those they know, like, and trust. Building that foundation is where social media comes in.
Building relationships on social media takes time. If you run out into the middle of town square or your local park and start shouting at people, “I’m here!” “Like me!” “Trust me!” “Buy from me!” …it’s not going to work out very well, is it?
If, on the other hand, you smile, make eye contact, extend your hand, introduce yourself, and start showing a genuine interest in the other person (by asking questions and being yourself/your authentic brand), you now have the beginning of a relationship. After you get to know someone better, you can start to provide more and more value to them because you understand who they are, and what they want and need.
Social media works the exact same way. Once you have a relationship with someone, it’s a no-brainer for them to buy from you when they need or want what you have to offer.
You might have to see someone at the park a number times before you actually get a chance to meet them. Maybe they’re busy or distracted the first several times you see them. Guess what? People a thousand-times more busy and distracted online. That’s why consistency is so important when sharing on social media. People must have the opportunity to see you and become familiar with you between 5-10 times before they’ll engage. They all have different schedules and check social media at different times throughout the day and week. It can take months for one person to see your brand that many times. It takes time, patience, and consistency to start seeing organic results–but if you have your eye on providing value for your audience, and treat them like someone you want to have a relationship with instead of someone you want to sell something to, it will pay off!
What do you think? Are you frustrated with social media? Do you have questions about how you can use your social media presence to build relationships with the right people for your business? Let me know on Facebook. If I don’t know the answer to your question, I can point you in the right direction!
P.S. If you like this post, you’ll love this one: Smart Social Media Engagement + Why Spin Sucks with Gini Dietrich