My previous social media efforts are no way to reach my lofty goals of sustainable self-employment. I can’t just post things to this website at random times, followed by sporadic and even more random posts to a Facebook page, hoping it’ll drive traffic to the website. With Facebook’s recent move to limit “organic reach” of Pages, less than 5% of my followers will see any given posting. I’m completely clueless when it comes to the workings of social media, so here are five things I’m starting to do to streamline the process and make it more effective. I hope it’s helpful for you too.
Social Media For The Beginner
1. Be Everywhere
I never wanted to get aboard Twitter or Instagram. I had a hard enough time joining Facebook. But if you look at the numbers, a surprising number of webpage visits come from social media – almost 30%. Being everywhere doesn’t mean create and account and walk away. You need to be active on almost a daily basis, and later we’ll look at ways I’ll be doing that.
Google does rank your site based on your social media presence. It’s not a huge factor, but it could be the deal-breaker between showing up on the first page of search results or the second page (which no one ever goes to).
The unfortunate reality for stubborn photographers like myself is that social media is a vital piece of a good marketing strategy.
2. Be Social
That’s the “social” part of it all. You can post all you want, but if you don’t interact with others by commenting on and sharing their posts, your own posts will never be shared. Quid pro quo. You will not gain followers, no one will see your postings, and no one will visit your site.
Being social fosters relationships, makes people more apt to respect you and your product, and in turn that will generate leads. It will help you learn. You shouldn’t just be using social media to make money. It’s not just about you – you’re helping others as well.
3. Be Purposeful
Don’t spend all day with the “Facebook Thousand Yard Stare.” You know the phenomenon. You go to Facebook and just scroll up and down, your eyes focused behind the computer screen. You click off and go to another webpage, then back to Facebook. Stop wasting time!
My new schedule devotes thirty minutes in the morning and thirty minutes in the evening for “social marketing.” I don’t go to these platforms to “gaze”. I interact. Go to Twitter, find some things that interest you, retweet, favorite, and quote others. Do the same on Facebook. Then go to Instagram and do the same – find some photos you can leave a meaningful comment on, “like” others.
4. Be Scheduled
It’s hard to keep track of everything, like the last time I posted a certain article or photo, and making sure I have a good mix of photography, sailing, and hiking posts.
Make a schedule. I did this on a Google Drive sheet so that my “social marketing schedule” would be available to me everywhere, so that I could manage it through my phone if I needed to. It includes shortlinks to all posts so that I can just copy those into whichever social platform I’m posting on. Shortlinks are important for things like Twitter that limit character count. I use goo.gl URL shortener.
Post to Twitter a couple of times throughout the day you publish new content, and once to each other platform. Post it again to Twitter the next day with a new headline. Post it again to all platforms the following week, Twitter and Google+ one month later, and all platforms two months later. This is to increase visibility because your initial postings may get lost in the noise. An article on Social Media Today shows that the common consensus about a Twitter post’s lifespan is 18 minutes, sometimes shorter. Visibility of Facebook Page posts may be similar with their latest changes on that site.
Article postings to this website will be every Monday afternoon. God knows where I’m at when this article was published – somewhere in the Caribbean – I automated the process through WordPress. As time allows I may also introduce Thursday postings.
“Evergreen content.” This refers to popular postings on your site, ones that don’t lose relevance. Don’t be afraid to recycle them! Just keep track of when you do. And when you post the link, have a new way of getting people’s attention to click on it. This is especially valuable when you have a lull in new content.
5. Be Free
Visibility requires posting things a few times a day. This doesn’t mean that you have to be attached to an electronic device with wi-fi all day. Hovering over a device only steals productivity from other aspects of your business – outside shooting photos, processing, spending time with family, etc.
In fact, you’ll see regular scheduled postings from me over the next couple of weeks. If you’ve been following you know I’ll be on a sailboat to Haiti and then having sporadic internet access while in Haiti. I’ve set up all social media postings ahead of time so that I can remain visible. How? Using Buffer. Buffer is one of the many platforms that link all of your social media accounts and allow you to schedule postings, view interaction analytics, and find curated content to share alongside your own created content.
I tried using Hootsuite but the interface just didn’t work for me. I found the dashboard too busy. You may disagree and it might work great for you. I switched to Buffer and am loving it so far. I can plug in the RSS feeds of my favorite websites and schedule the sharing of interesting content, along with my own. They have a great mobile app to schedule and monitor these postings on the go, and a plugin for Google Chrome allows me to add any web content that I stumble upon to my Buffer schedule. I can schedule posts weeks in advance and then walk away from my obligation to post things regularly. This however doesn’t replace my need to interact with others in order to build relationships and followers on these platforms.
The only drawback of Buffer is that it doesn’t link Instagram accounts – yet, while Hootsuite does.
And that’s how I’m going to start. Is there anything else I can do, or things that you’re doing differently while using social media for internet marketing?