Everyone has an opinion about social media. Many think social media is the greatest, most remarkable brand building tool available and you don’t need to have celebrity status, a big bank account or a famous endorser to leverage yourself, or your business, on social.
You simply need to be strategic, consistent and cohesive.
I have seen my clients immediately and meaningfully connect with their core audience, use it as a great asset in building their mailing list (my most favorite marketing tool of all time) and has allowed them to quickly capture new prospects and clients. This translates to mucho verde dolares, aka big bucks, baby.
I have also worked with countless brands and business who use progressive social media software tools, implement time-consuming techniques and spend a pretty penny to maximize their social media efforts.
But before you go renegade with a complex and expensive social strategy, start with these four simple social media principles, tips and tweaks.
1.) Follow people back.
There’s a misconception that in order to establish “social proof,” one must have a gazillion followers and follow only a handful back. With all due respect, you’re not Kim Kardashian. When you’re trying to build (and sustain) your brand, it’s important that you follow, like and comment back. Find feeds and platforms that resonate with you and connect with them, especially if they are in your own industry. Following people back enables you to truly take part in the social conversation and that convo should always be a dialogue, not a monologue. Dialogues also help raise your visibility, Being an active participant in the social community shows you are a collaborator, a listener and a genuine player in the game of marketing and branding.
2.) Your social media followers are human beings. Treat them as such.
There’s never a dull day, let alone a dull moment as an Entrepreneurial Babe. We are some seriously busy bros and gals. I get that it’s tough to stop, drop and respond to every comment, retweet every mention, and follow back every follow.
Behind every @handle is a human, and if they’re taking the time out of their precious day to show you some love, return the favor. Thank them for their feedback, answer their question if they ask one, or just say “hi!” If someone came up to you at a party to tell you how much she liked your shoes, would you just stare back blankly without a word? No way, Jose! You would smile and say “thanks,” right? This principle is about more than just manners. Responding to your “friends” and “followers” can help you create real connections with actual people. It helps you create your own social community contained only on your platforms. This then positions you as someone of aspiration and authority, who actually cares, takes the time and engages with meaning and curiosity. Who wouldn’t want to work with someone like that, right? There is magic in this kind of engagement: when your “followers” start to trust you, they become your clients, your colleagues, your greatest referrals or, brace yourself, your actual friends. So make it a point to get back to the business of being a human next time you’re on social. The possibilities it might lead to for your business are truly endless.
3.) Take your “About” sections seriously.
I’m talking your “About” in Instagram, Twitter and Facebook fan pages. You’d be surprised how many don’t take advantage of this tiny little space. Sure, we all like to be clever here, (and I’m not diminishing the appeal of a cute quip), but if you’re using social to build your brand or business, this portion of your profile is critical. First and foremost, it should include a URL to your website. Secondly, it should define what your business is about, who your core customer is and what you’re providing. Don’t overthink this. It doesn’t need to be too technical, but make it straightforward and informative, and absolutely add some of your personal style into the language. Make it fun, sweet, sarcastic, humorous, inspirational or whatever is authentic to you. But make it enticing. Think of your "about section" as the opening credits to your blog or website. The pre-hook into your mailing list opt-in. If you can quickly establish the value you’ll bring to a prospect, who you are and what you stand for, you’ll have a better chance at hooking them into your website…which is where the heart of your brand or business lives.
4.) Don’t underestimate the power of the hashtag.
The hashtag has become so commonplace in our social and cultural language that it’s practically ironic.
Soooo, say you’re a food photographer looking to build the awareness of your personal website or studio on Instagram. Sure, you could use “#food” and “#foodie” and “#yum”, but when you do, you’re competing with respectively 6.2 million, 1.3 million and 1.7 million other people who are posting as well. But say you post “#ChiFoodie” or “#ChiEats” or “#YumChi”, you then position yourself to a more focused, distilled down list of “searchers” in your niche.
On that note, consider developing a single hashtag for your own brand that becomes your signature. Start with the obvious: your brand name and/or something that is ownable to you. If your brand name is taken or maybe too long, condense it with a catchy acronym or initials that flow. Use that bad-girl like it’s going out of style and encourage your followers and friends to incorporate it their posts when they engage with you. Oh, and make sure it’s somewhere in your social bios. Mucho importante.
Lastly, #dont #spam #your #own #posts #with #hashtags. Using too many can cheapen and devalue your brand, and makes each additional hashtag more meaningless than the one that came before it. Less can be more. To that end, sometimes, all you need is a compelling picture, an empowering post or a strong call-to-action to a URL, sans hashtag, to convey your messaging, bromos.