By Michael L. Quinn
Was one of your marketing goals this year to start a Facebook page or Twitter account for your business? Perhaps you manage your company’s social media accounts or would simply like to brush up on your personal social media skills. As young professionals, it is often assumed that we are experts in social media but that is not always the case. Social media is a complex tool. Even if you consider yourself social media savvy, here are six simple tips to help improve your skills.
1. Content is King!
Your social media will not succeed if you are not putting thought into the content. Keep in mind the following Rule of Thirds! One third of your social media content should promote your business, convert viewers and drive clients. Consider this your hard sell.
Another third should share ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses. I recommend following different blogs, newsletters, and social media pages for leaders in the industry, if you aren’t already. When you run across a story you enjoy and you think your clients or followers will enjoy, bookmark it. I recommend Pocket, an app that allows you to save articles, links, and videos for later. I often use it to save a link to a story if I don’t have time to read it at that moment.
The final third should be about you and build your own personal brand. Show people who you really are. Share photos of the events in the office, your charitable work, or perhaps your staff running a 5K race. I find that many offices are very good at this third. However, don’t forget the other thirds discussed. This third alone won’t get you the sale or convert a customer. Make sure you are also giving them content with which they can take something away.
2. URL Shorteners
When reporposing content from other websites, I like to use the URL shortening service Bitly.com to shorten all my links. This comes in handy when using Twitter, which has a character limit of 140. While there are other websites that will shorten URLS, I like Bitly because, once you create an account, it provides analytics including tracking clicks.
Once shortened, don’t just post the link by itself. Add some content in front of it. This should be a quick sentence relating to the article that will entice people to click on it. Questions engage viewers more than statements.
Leave the shortened link in the post itself. This will increase the likelihood of it being clicked.
I recommend adding tags to your social media posts whenever possible. Tags are links within your post that direct viewers to other users or pages. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn each have the ability to tag other users/pages. To add a tag, simply use the @ symbol and begin typing the first few letters of the user or page you would like to tag. That user or page should show up in a drop down (provided you follow them) and allow you to select it.
Tagging is valuable because it creates interconnectivity between your profile and other users. Through tagging, you can drive traffic to another page and, in turn, hopefully drive new traffic to yours! Don’t overdo it though – stick to three or less tags in a post.
Both Facebook and Twitter have the ability to add hashtags to posts. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a pound sign (# – also know as a hash) and used to identify messages on a specific topic. Think of a hashtag as metadata that allows your post to be grouped with other similarly tagged messages. This comes in handy for people searching for a specific hashtag such as #FiveSouth. Twitter was the first major social media platform to introduce hashtags and they have been very effective. I recommend using them when applicable, but don’t use more than three.
Facebook implemented hashtags in 2013, but the verdict is still out on their use. I recommend staying away from hashtags on Facebook for the most part until trends change, which is very likely as more people adopt hashtags on the site.
5. Use Images
Posts with images get far more clicks than those without. Try to use images as often as you can! Unfortunately, Facebook and Twitter’s image standards are often changing so it is important to keep up on these changes. However, for the most part, square images work the best. For a complete guide on the current social media image standards click here.
6. Schedule Posts
There are several ways you can schedule out posts to appear at certain times in the future. For Facebook, I simply like to use the “Schedule Post” feature built right into Facebook (see right). Note: this feature is only available for business pages, not personal pages.
For Twitter, I like using the the third party app called Buffer, which allows you to place posts and articles into a queue which will then automatically appear at predetermined times throughout the day. Buffer works with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but I like it best for Twitter. There are several other apps that can schedule your social media content. Hootsuite is a popular one. If blogging (via WordPress) is part of your marketing plan, consider scheduling your content and social posts using CoSchedule. (You’ll never guess CoSchedule was founded and resides in Bismarck)!
Scheduling posts can be a great time saver! I recommend scheduling out all your posts for the upcoming week. Convenient times for this are Friday afternoons, Sundays or Monday mornings.
Social media is an evolving tool and can, at times, be daunting for busy young professionals or business owners. However, when used correctly social media can be very powerful for your business. Take these tips to heart and try to stay educated on the topic. To keep up-to-date on your social media savviness, consider one of these 50 top blogs for marketing, social media, and productivity.
Michael Quinn is a co-lead for the YPN Marketing Team. He is a marketing consultant for Investment Centers of America and wannabe entrepreneur. @Michael_L_Quinn