I regularly meet with business owners and managers who are overwhelmed and daunted by the amount of work it is to maintain a social media presence. I can relate. Answering the simple question What do I post today? is befuddling and at times, exhausting to think about. When should I post? Where should I post? How do I post? What the heck are hashtags? Should I use them? Which ones? How do I stay on top of this? I need to post how many times a day? These questions often lead to exasperation, and the result is spinning wheels and getting nowhere, or feeling stuck. People end up frustrated with what seems to be little success. Why? Because the answers to those questions above come only with knowledge and experience.
How will you gain that knowledge and experience? Especially when you have limited time to learn? It is, in reality, easy. Begin with changing your mindset about the process. If you hate to play tennis, do you stand a chance of reaching an end goal to beat one of the Williams sisters in a match some day? When it comes to social media, if you think you hate social media and see it as pure work, you won’t reach huge online success either. Instead, approach it like a daily social event. Every day, you’re socializing with your customers in person, so approach your online social activity in the same way. You’re reaching out to the same people. You’re sharing the same information. You’re asking the same questions.
That is my number one piece of advice for people attempting to tackle their own social media presence, when they ask, “What do I post?” Be social! That’s it. Be as social online as you are offline. Find ways to incorporate the same offline personality into your online presence. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, and you deal with customers face-to-face on a daily basis, take note of your regular interactions and devise ways to translate them to the digital realm. When you’re asked the same question repeatedly, find a way to answer it online. When you’re hosting an event, introducing a new product, of promoting an existing product or service, announce it online [with enthusiasm].
If you work in an industry like mine, where the bulk of your work is done solo from behind a computer screen, create face-to-face interactions with your clients, customers, colleagues, other members of your industry, whoever it is that brings you business. Set up meetings to be held in person. Invite colleagues to lunch. Join an industry-related organization and attend their social gatherings.
Engage online the same way you would in real life. For instance, if a person came up to you on the street and said, “I like your hat,” would you ignore them and walk away? No. You would, at the very least, say, “Thank you.” Why wouldn’t you do the same thing on Facebook or Instagram? To that same effect, if you see a friend, and they’re wearing a new outfit, wouldn’t you say, “You’re looking good today!” When you’re online, socialize with your followers as much as, if not more, than they do with you.
This blog is an example of taking a common question I receive from clients and the people I meet at various social gatherings and answering it online for a broader audience. The question: how do I do this [manage social media]? My answer: be social. I’m using a regular social interaction I encounter in my real life as inspiration for content to post to my blog and then my social media networks. When you’re thinking of your social media, focus on the “social.” Once you have that part down, the “media” part falls into place. The experience you gain through regularly interacting on these networks will educate you so you can answer all those other questions.