In the beginning, social media was just as the name suggests. Social. It was meant to be fun, connect people and entertain us. Now, a decade or so later, huge corporations employ entire teams to manage their social sites. Universities and colleges have degree programs on how to be the best of the best, online. Each of us has our own to-do list when it comes to checking up on messages and posting selfies. Social media is part of everyday life and is a powerful tool of expression, personal branding, education and communication.
Granted, some people may not be all that interested in their online presence, considering the maintenance more like work than something fun. Others may want the increase their reach or online engagement more than ever to get their message out there. Everyone has a different reason to want his or her social platforms to stand out. Maybe it is to sell a brand or promote an event, maybe it’s something to do with promoting the arts or just you just want to reach that 10K mark on Insta to say you did it. It doesn’t matter the reason, there are simple ways to make your goal a reality. Even if that goal is to spend less time online!
There are tried, tested and true ways of making your online presence pop, with very little effort. And once you get into the routine, there will be no stopping your powerful posts, eclectic information sharing and captivating communication skills.
Everyone knows that things go better when there is a plan. Goals get reached when things are written down, thought about, brainstormed and then, in turn, planned. The same thing goes for social media. You may think planning your posts out for the week/month takes away from the spontaneity of it all but the fact is, with a plan, you can be sure that the message you want to go out will, in its entirety. You can be sure your #TBT and #FF are ready to go a month in advance. The content doesn’t lose value for these ‘evergreen’ kinds of things and take a bit of the pressure off of trying to remember each week, something clever to post. So many platforms allow for saving drafts or scheduling posts, take advantage of this! They make life easier. Do it now and go live in the real world a bit.
We all know the profiles we now ignore. The ones who push out information that is boring, dry, dull and self-serving. It’s obnoxious and the audience eventually turns off and starts ignoring these pages and profiles on purpose. Obviously if people follow your profiles, they know what you do. Harping on all you do, 24/7 will only deter potential followers or potential customers. Be engaging. Share interesting things that have nothing to do with your product or yourself and captivate with your audience. Ask questions; get people responding to your posts. The more engagement you have, the more organic exposure your post has in people’s timelines. The key is to shine. Have something to say. Be that special spice on the internet that people need in their browser history.
13. Be present
Yes, you can time your posts and schedule things but you still have to be present. Be timely in when you post. Work with your time zone or the one you want to reach. Show that you are online often and respond to any messages as promptly as possible. There’s that little rating on Facebook now, “Typically responds in X amt of time.” You wan to be known as present and responsive, like people have a friend on the other end of the line. This doesn’t mean you have to babysit and answer umpteen questions or handhold, but just be present when people need you. If you commit to social media and doing it yourself, you commit to living online as well as real life. It’s about finding balance between the two. Sometimes this is really hard but with strict time-management and a willingness to make it happen, you’ll get then hang of it.
12. Two-way conversation
There’s nothing worse than looking at a profile or page and the person or brand never responds to any comments, questions or concerns. It’s like their followers and customers reach out into a netherworld of nothingness. Would you trust a mechanic to fix your car more if they addressed your concerns completely versus someone who just said, “Pay me and just trust me.” It’s not fair to customers or people who want to contact you to leave them hanging in cyberspace. You build trust with people by responding, even if it’s not for the most complimentary comments or ratings. How you respond to people is how future followers and customers can know you care about your public and brand. Don’t get caught up in drama, just be polite in all your interactions.
This is so important for businesses and artists or anyone looking to really stand out. Be it in your words, be it in your images, your brand should secretly ooze from each post, but not in an “in your face” kind of way. Subtly include your logo colors somehow in all your posts. Be sure the same font is used everywhere. If you want to post quotes, be sure they are from the same category or train of thought. Have your memes on a constant background. Be a predictable place for people to come to. The information you put out, have it all come back around in some sort of way to your global online message that you want to communicate. Be sure your logo is on every YouTube video in the bottom, right corner; YouTube can do that for you. These little things that take a minute make a world of difference for proliferating your brand.
10. Know your audience
So, there is no point expecting your social media stats to skyrocket if your demographic is over 35. Why? Because younger people are the ones who live online and they are unabashed to like everything and anything, an older generation looks at it skeptically and doesn’t want to put their approval on anything. The rest of us try and tread water, from day to day, hoping for something we have all heard of, “going viral” or even to have a few more likes than last time. By knowing your audience and their demographics, you can tailor your message to reach the people you want, regardless of age. Knowing your audience also allows you to set the proper expectation for engagement.
9. Know what’s special about you
Ask yourself honestly, “Why should anyone care?” You could sail into a sea of online hurt if you have no purpose in your posting. What is special about you or your message or brand? Why should anyone care? In an online world chock full of choices for everything under the sun, why would someone go to your profile or page? The fact is, if we think hard enough, we all have a quirk or something unique we each do that no one else does. Why not exploit that a bit? Are you funny? Then share jokes you love. Are you a total nerd? Get known for sharing super nerdy articles you read. Do you moonlight as a photographer? Share your favorite shots, hashtag #wokeuplikethis. Do you adore black lipstick? Make it part of your online presence so people know you and your black lips mean business.
People have the average attention span of 4 seconds. This means if you post more than 50 words, people get bored and move on if they aren’t interested. Videos are a great way to say a lot while having your audiences do very little. Their newsfeeds will attract their eye as your flashing logos or stylish flyers or quotes pass by. Subconsciously, they’ll take it in more than simply a status. Gifs and short videos can now easily be made with apps on our smartphones. It doesn’t take a genius to figure anything out and voila! Your profiles come alive with content that once would have cost a lot of money to make. We are so spoiled in this age of technology; we are foolish if we don’t test the waters video has to offer.
It’s like a #newlanguage, all these hashtags everywhere. Used incorrectly, they are very #annoying to have to read through. But if used properly and tastefully, they become a #powerful #marketingtool. Here’s the thing, if you litter your post’s subtitle with hashtags, immediately it screams, “I’m SPAM!!!” or “I need some attention, anyone? Anyone out there?” But used correctly, your content shows up in all the right places you planned for (See #1) and you’ll get the most engagement (See #2) for your effort. Try this trick. The next time you want to add a plethora of hashtags, go ahead and do it if they are relevant to your post, but also, put 5 lines of a period only before the barrage of hash tags. This way, the hashtags are still there but aren’t visible to the general browsing online voyeur so as to not deter them.
There is nothing more attractive than having a sense of humor. Be it in business or our personal lives, seriously, being able to laugh is likely to extend our lives. So why not extend that to the online community you communicate with? You can find content anywhere that adds a bit of comedy. Even your pets doing funny things, memes with smartass remarks, puns, parodies, plays on words, your options are endless. Branch into the realm of videos (See #8) and you will never be at a loss for something funny to post. YouTube is your best friend for providing light-hearted comedy. With this said, if you choose to get controversial, expect backlash that will be anything but comedic.
5. Do more than sell
This goes right back to #2, engagement. Stop pushing things on your audience. Yes, you have the best products for the best prices, available any time in any language and accessible internationally. We get it. You’re the best. But if you have to say your product is the best, people stop listening. Why not post some testimonials? Get some action videos? Again, can’t stress enough the external information you can gather from other sources that has nothing to do with you. Don’t just sell something, be someone. Even if you are a large corporation, you can still be ‘human’ and more than a hustler. Try it. Just try it, post something worldly or intelligent, current or comical and watch people’s attention turn.
Remember when your brand was the best? (See #11) How did you come to that conclusion? What proof do you have? When you, the postee, sit at home in his or her spare time, what are YOU reading? How are you growing your knowledge? What are you trusted go-to sources for information and tips? Educate your audience by sharing some of these and letting them in a bit into your thought process. What’s your motto? What ethics do you stand by? Get deeper with your audience and appeal to their intellect. Show them you know they’re smart by giving them things to expand their minds in new provocative ways. Be selective, not everything is worth 5 gold stars but the special things you stumble upon, be sure to share.
3. Eye Candy
People love pretty things. There’s nothing better than the picture of a cute puppy on a rainy day. There’s nothing more inspiring than a mountain scape at sunrise when you feel like you’re climbing the toughest mountain of all. Close ups to thrill the eye, portraits to take your breath away, photos to teleport you somewhere else, the perfect escape. Architectural lines, mirrored buildings, statues and monuments, trees, flowers, smiles, gems, cliffs, baby animals, wilderness shots, anything that is esthetically pleasing to the eye, use that. Throw in some eye candy as if to sweeten the social media deal as your audience’s kickback for their attention, something beautiful to add joy to their day. (#beautiful. See #9)
2. What’s your story?
What’s your story? Audiences thrive on personal experience. Some of the best sites online are told in first-person, stories of every day life, every day people and extraordinary things that happen to them or exceptional shifts in mentality or momentum. Think back to what molded you into the person you are. What and who were your greatest influences? There’s no need to divulge incredibly personal stories, these in themselves can be deterring, but recounting little memoirs or events that acted as catalysts to your life’s trajectory, that’s your story. Tell people about your Choose Your Own Adventure decisions and how they turned out for you. What have you learned from your past foibles that can help others? How did you make it to the top? What’s your attitude about fierce selling? You get the point.
1. Be positive
We are bombarded each and every day with negativity and things that dim our shine. The news is never a friendly place and we are a highly sensitive society. Online, it’s even worse at times. There is no tone in text and this leaves room for a whole pile of misconceptions and miscommunications. One way to avoid any issues (as best possible) is by staying on the optimistic side of life and keeping controversial opinions to you. If it isn’t worth the fight, it isn’t worth smearing your digital footprint with meaningless fodder and hot responses. Be a positive place for people to land. Let other places be hostile and stick with playing it safe on the bright side of life. You will see that your positive attitude will attract positive things into your life.
There you have it.
A very condensed list of fun things you can do to make your social media presence pop. They aren’t hard things, and they certainly aren’t painful. It’s almost like we’re trying to put the social back in social media and make it fun again, aren’t we? It is fun. And it is here to stay. In the end, social media is what you make it so you may as well make the most of it. Try one or try all suggestions and see if updating and chatting to your followers and customers doesn’t become one of your favorite things to do.
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