For business owners, blogs and social media accounts are necessities for building a presence online. They help your clients learn more about the human behind the brand, which is an essential step in building connections. Social media is incredibly important, but it’s also a little tricky to figure out in the beginning. If you’re wondering where you need to be and what strategies can get you headed in the right direction to shine on social media, then keep reading!
Where do I need to be present online?
After identifying your ideal reader and where she spends most of her time online, you should have an idea of the top three or four platforms that are best suited for your blog and business. Apart from studying your ideal/target audience, you can observe an influencer in your niche. Who is an influencer? Think of someone who has a popular book, blog, or product in your area of interest. This person may host conferences, appear on television or podcasts and is viewed as an inspiration and a leader. Now take a look at the influencer’s social media accounts. The top two accounts where she has the largest following is where you need to be. What’s the rationale behind this? The accounts where she has the largest, most engaged following is indicative of an audience that is definitely interested and responsive to her content.
Some people make the mistake of creating accounts on multiple social media platforms and try to get them off the ground at the same time. We tried to do this with our first blog and we had trouble balancing our time among each social media platform. No matter which one you choose, it’s going to take effort, time, and strategy to grow.
We tried a different approach with Humble and Whole. After identifying our target audience on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, we decided to grow Instagram and Pinterest first. Of the two platforms that you choose to start with, pick one that can easily be automated, and one that requires more participation. Instagram and Pinterest were the perfect combination for this strategy. Right now our Pinterest account is very much automated with the help of our favorite Pinterest tool, Tailwind.
Twitter and Facebook are two other examples of social media accounts that can easily be automated with a scheduler like Hootsuite or Buffer. Platforms like Youtube, Periscope, and Snapchat, for example, would be prime examples of accounts requiring more planning and participation.
Develop your strategy
When you have identified which platforms you’re going to be present on, its important to draft your content strategy. This may vary with each platform, but there are some general strategies you can implement on any account:
Tie your content in a central theme
Maybe you decide the month of October you’re going to focus more on the behind-the-scenes aspect of your business so you share a lot of photos of your workspace, screenshots of your computer, and details of your design process from start to finish. Themes are helpful because they add an element of consistency across your social media and your blog.
Stick to a schedule
Whether you use an automatic scheduler or do everything manually, try to stick to a similar posting frequency. For example, Kleneice and I pin content on Pinterest every day because it is critical to grow engagement and a following. On Instagram we post everyday except Sunday. When you find a rhythm that is generating results for you, stick with it! The beauty of starting out with just two social media accounts is that you have a chance to really analyze what is working well for you.
Survey your audience
Do you know a sure-fire way to boost engagement on your social media accounts? Ask your audience questions! It can be something as simple as “what good books have you read lately?” or “what struggles do you have in “(insert your field of expertise here)?” Sometimes your audience’s answers could give you content ideas for later blog posts, tweets, videos, etc. Is your audience too small at the moment for a survey? Not a problem! Find a social media account with a target audience that is very similar to yours. Scroll through to see what kind of questions were asked and how their audience responded. Try to produce some content that matches what they are looking for. Let’s say for example, you find the instagram account of a food blogger with a similar style to yours. This food blogger has surveyed her audience and results show that they want more recipes that take under 20 minutes to make that only involve one pan. So you could create a roundup of your favorite 20 minutes or less meals and promote it on your social media accounts! Easy peasy :)
You would think this step is impossible to forget, but it happens more than you think. Can I share an embarrassing story? Well, when Kleneice and I were building our twitter account for our first blog, we noticed weeks went by and it grew at a snail’s pace. We only had between 10-20 followers. We asked ourselves what was going wrong because we had found our rhythm using the auto scheduler and we were sharing enough content each day. Then Kleneice pointed out the not so glaringly obvious: we had been so focused on producing content that we completely ignored the interaction component of twitter! So please, don’t make our mistake by ignoring your audience. Also, if you do nothing more on your account than promote your own content, it makes your brand look “spammy” like a robot is in charge instead of a human! Show people that you are a real human being by commenting on other posts and spotlighting your peers in your industry to share the love!
Social media is always changing. Algorithms and new upgrades seem to appear overnight. Entrepreneurs can easily fall into the trap of obsessing over all of this instead of the core of social media. The social media accounts for your blog should be used to inform and interact with your audience. Your audience absolutely wants to know more about the human behind the brand, but it takes time and effort to build a meaningful presence on social media. A lot of advice out there about social media marketing is to build a following on three or four platforms at once. Give yourself grace and focus on two. If you can only manage one at the moment, that’s ok too.
We’re all ears! Tell us what your plan of attack is for social media! Have you picked the platforms you’re going to focus on? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to stay tuned for the next post in the series. We’re going to give you the scoop on the basics of a cohesive brand!