Navigating that thing called social media....
Apr 5, 2018
by Amanda Hueneke
The most difficult thing I'm tackling right now in my business, is not the knowing what I want to do, but it's the navigating how to actually execute it. This especially applies to technology and social media. I know what I want to say, and when, but it's actually getting it all out there correctly that's the challenge. I'm no code writer, unfortunately, but I find myself dealing with that. And stuff like, "embedding", and links and hashtags and all kinds of jargon that I wish I was more familiar with and could crank out in minutes.
One of these days, I'll give my marketing plan to someone and pay them to execute. But in the meantime, it's just me. Watching youtube videos, and then making feeble attempts at making my own. I'm still figuring out hootsuite, (the online forum you can use to schedule and collaborate your social media), and bit links; and wrapping my head around how to bring that all together without boring my followers or being redundant. It's a tricky business, and there's a reason that there are professionals that do this for you.
So, why am I doing it at all? Why am I taking a stab at social media? After all, my business is predominantly a business to business one. Well, I find my self thinking about who my clients are, and well, they're social media users. I'll tell you now that the majority of my female clients are instagramers or facebookers, and the males are predominantly twitter or linkedin. And while they may, or may not be using these avenues at work, or for official "business", my goal is to build a rapport and a relationship with my clients- always. And these avenues are a way to engage with them in a fun, memorable way that is different from a sales call.
I started out by setting up facebook, instagram, twitter, a pinterest board, and a youtube channel. I honestly was not sure which of these platforms would engage the most users. But my little experiment one week in, says Facebook (which surprised me- but again, that comes back to relationships); and the expected one- LinkedIn. So, two totally different things, for two totally different purposes.
Here's a quick rundown on how I'm using each platform:
On facebook, I'm keeping it light- making it fun. I'm running contests, posting relevant but entertaining content. I find that these followers are very supportive and are turning into brand ambassadors. Yes, a large number of them come from my personal network, but my personal network has shared to the point where I now have many engaging who are not in my personal network. Facebook is about a relationship with my brand ambassadors. I try to post daily here.
LinkedIn is different. I think LinkedIn users like that there is a certain amount of anonymity you can use. You can view articles and posts without actually clicking on someone, or you can upgrade your account and browse to your hearts content without the user seeing who's looking exactly.These users want content that will grow their business, solve problems and obstacles in their business life. They want to learn. I log in to LinkedIn every morning expecting to learn something new from someone much smarter than I. I also love exploring and discovering mutual and new connections with those whom I'll have great synergy. My content here is more serious, and I try to make it more educational. I visit LinkedIn every day to browse, learn, like and post- but I don't always do all of those everyday.
Instagram and Twitter- well, honestly, I'm trying to figure these out. It seems very personal and I'm trying to figure out how to make this a business to business tool while engaging with a lot of followers who use it for personal. So far, I posted an ad and it sure did get a lot of "likes" but so far as I can tell, it didn't get me anywhere on the actual action front. So, I'm still evaluating if this forum is right for what I do. If someone has tips, I'd love to hear them. I like Twitter. It's short, sweet and to the point. Now to get followers.... I post daily on these for the time being.
Pinterest is where I pin ideas for clients, or new products, or new product trends. It's kind of for me, actually, but I opened it up so that anyone can see it. I just post to this when I get a new industry magazine in and need to save an article or mark content or products for later.
I am loving Youtube- aside from the fact that I have to film myself- which I don't love, at all. But so much of what I do is driven by demonstration. By seeing, and experiencing... that I can see how this is going to be a great avenue for me, once I master a screen presence of some kind. This is going to be an every couple of weeks thing, I think.
My blog- well, obviously if you're here, you're reading it. I blog for several reasons- one, I love to write, and I like that this gets to be combined with what I do. Two, according to an industry study, 53% of marketers say that blog content is a priority that drives traffic to a website. When promoted well, I have noticed a distinct uptick in traffic on my website when I post my blog articles to LinkedIn and Facebook. This is still in the study period for me, but one of these days, I'll post some numbers for ya. Right now, I'm just blogging once a week.
So, that's a quick breakdown on the social media avenues I'm exploring, and why. If you're considering social media and haven't made the leap, here are some questions you should ask and things you should explore. I've pulled together a lot of ideas, including some paraphrased ideas shared by Marki Lemons Ryhal at our annual ASI tradeshow (disclaimer: I'm doing vast inadequacies to what Marki shared in our classroom by trying to decode and decipher my notes... I'm still trying to implement all her strategies, because she's clearly a genius in social media) :
- What platforms do you think most of your clients or future clients engage with? A good start here, is to break down the demographics of your target market and then research the social media outlets to see where they go. What pages and forums do your main target markets have set up to promote themselves?
- How often and how much time can you allocate to creating content, posting and maintaining? One good stream of social media that is well maintained is better than having 5 or 6 with out content to engage the users. There's no point in that. So, if you need to limit your choices to be active, do that. I choose to select, chart and schedule a lot of my content on the weekend- when phones and emails are not ringing, or first thing, early in the morning, when I haven't yet gotten entangled in the day's business. I have charted future content topics and schedules on a weekly and monthly basis.
- How will you generate content? Hint I've learned from Marki- relevant content is probably already landing in your inbox. Instead of "trashing" it without reading what your vendors/suppliers are saying- browse over it to see how you can use it for content, give credit and link back. I put this theory to the test, and am finding it to be true. I quit just trashing those emails, and I'm using them now. Another tool that I will be exploring as I become more savvy is feedly.com. They offer content ideas on any topic.
- Check out social media management tools to see which will work for you: buffer.com, socialbro, hootsuite are examples. Use bit.ly to shorten links to content.
Going through some of these questions will help you decide if this a task you should handle, or if you could or should delegate it, or if you're best bet is to outsource the service and let someone run it for you.
I'm not an expert in this department, but I'm thankful to be learning and sharing right along with you. Please share your ideas with me, so I can learn from you, too.