Social media has become a SEO standard for businesses in 2014. The question is no longer if or why, but how to break onto the social media scene. Just how do you establish and manage your social media to get the most out of it?
Have you ever felt like you’re standing in a room packed full of people, screaming at the top of your lungs and no one hears you? If you’ve had difficulty managing your social media, this is exactly how you feel. There you are, tweeting and Google Plus-ing like mad, but you’re not seeing any tangible results. What could you possibly be doing wrong? Business owners, freelancers, even marketers have been asking this question, regardless of their experience. Let’s take a look at 20 tips designed to help you successfully and masterfully manage your social media:
Start by Joining the Party
Let’s state the obvious: social media is all about being social. When’s the last time you threw a party? Did you mingle with your guests? Of course you did! In fact, you likely struck up some sizzling conversations with your fellow partiers over a delectable slice of cake. Social media is the same idea!
Think of your followers, fans and circles as the guests you’ve invited to the party. You’re going to—in fact, you’re expected to—mingle with them over a scrumptious piece of content cake. You wouldn’t snub a guest, who talks to you at your party, so don’t snub a comment about your business on social media. Be social by responding to what people are saying.
Tip 1: Picking the Right Social Platform. You wouldn’t plan a real life party anywhere. You’d pick a venue that provides you with everything you require. It’s equally important to choose social platforms that provide you with what you need.
You can setup a profile on every social media platform known to mankind, but if you can’t keep up with regularly posting and responding to comments on each profile, it’s a waste of precious time. Every platform caters to a unique demographic. You can choose the best platforms to use for your business by researching which demographics hang out where and comparing them to your target audience.
Google+ is currently the only exception to this rule. It’s hailed as the “SEO pick-me-up” site. Posts are almost instantly crawled and added to Google’s search engine results. This platform will benefit every small business, regardless of their target demographic.
Tip 2: Choose the Perfect Profile Photo. A picture is worth a thousand words, and while Internet content doesn’t have a cover, people will judge your book (your online profile) by its cover (your profile pic). The perfect profile picture is none other than your company logo. If you lack a logo, first of all, GET ONE! Second of all, until you get one, use a professional headshot.
Tip 3: Use Quality Images. Social media profiles give you plenty of space to add company images that support and brand your company. A few examples include:
• Cover photos
• Header images
• Channel art
Think of these images as opportunities to accessorize. The images will likely be bigger than your profile picture and give you a marked chance to engage your audience. Sizing can be the obstacle to uploading quality images. Thankfully, you can use this guide to social media imagery to remove the headache of guessing at image sizes.
Tip 4: Create a Username that is Easily Identifiable and Keyword-Conscience. It sounds like a lot of work, but your social media handle needs to be easy for customers to remember, recognize and spell. If your handle is something off-the-wall and has no relevance to your company, people aren’t likely to recognize you on social media platforms. They’ll overlook your posts, thinking you’re not that important.
Keyword placement is also important in your username. For example, if you’re a web designer, you might consider foregoing the use of your company name in favor of “ChicagoWebDesigner.” If adding “WebDesigner” to the end of your company name leaves the handle recognizable, you might consider add the keyword after your company name.
Tip 5: Using Consistent Taglines and Descriptions. Your company taglines and descriptions should promote consistency, as this will keep your brand easily recognizable. Once a tagline, long description and mission statement have been crafted, be sure to use the same general content across your social profiles and website. By keeping this information uniform, you will emanate the same business voice, regardless of the venue.
Tip 6: Ensure Your Business Information Is Consistent. Consistent; there’s that word again. People spot inconsistency faster than you spot typos. The smallest inconsistency can cause them to question your credibility and reliability. Be sure that the contact information and hours posted on your website are the same across all of your social media platforms.
Tip 7: Location, Location, Location or Claim a Custom URL Wherever Possible. A vanity URL is a little extra touch that shows your commitment to your brand. It also promotes consistency a step further. Wherever possible, claim a custom URL.
For example, you can create a polished Facebook URL by making a custom username for your page. Instead of being located at http://www.facebook.com/yourbusiness/3456789098765587, you’ll be located at the more appealing http://www.facebook.com/yourbusiness.
Claiming a vanity URL can take some work, especially when the platform has requirements for claiming a custom URL; Google+ is a good example of this. However, the extra effort is well worth the reservation of your unique online location.
Optimizing Your Social Channels
Social optimization is all about attracting your target audience to your online location. Your goal is to help people find you, connect to you and share your content. So, how do you create a figurative sign that says, “Hi, I’m located here! Come on in!”?
Tip 8: Make it easy. The best way to help people connect to you is to make it easy. You can post links to your other social profiles on each social platform. Your hardcore fans will jump at the chance to add you on multiple networks, especially when the links are right in front of them.
Tip 9: Connect your profiles to your website. Just about every business website features a handy bar somewhere on their website or page that has a convenient link to every social media profile they use. All your audience needs to do is click on the link and add you. You can even add a more visual touch with a Twitter feed that displays your latest three to five tweets or a Facebook like area that displays a handful of your followers.
Tip 10: Make it easy for people to share your content. One of the easiest and best ways to optimize your social channels is to allow people a single click method for sharing your blog and webpage content. You can build in a simple bar at the bottom of your content that allows people to instantly share your webpage or latest blog to their favorite social channels.
Using Your Profile Regularly
Creating and advertising your social profile is only half the battle. The true challenge is posting to these profiles regularly so that they stay active. The content you post must be both relevant and useful. Here’s how you can find and keep your social voice:
Tip 11: Creating and maintaining a consistent personality. Before adding your first post to any social platform, you need to know the voice of your company. If you’ve established it via your website, carry it over to your social media. If you haven’t established a voice or style, think long and hard about it. Once you start tweeting, you’ll need to consistently display the same personality or voice and carry it over to your other social media profiles and website.
Tip 12: Share consistent content. Your fans and followers are going to expect a certain type of content from you. Once you establish the kind of content you share, stick to it. For example, if you’re a wedding planner and you choose to share content about the various aspects of planning a wedding, stick to this type of content. If you suddenly throw in a post about saving animals at the local shelter, your followers are going to wonder what is going on. Throw in enough inconsistent content and you’ll see your following begin to shrink.
Tip 13: Link to SEO-friendly websites. 2014 is the SEO year of quality content. Don’t fall down on quality by linking to websites that aren’t SEO-friendly. You can utilize the MozBar, a free SEO tool, to determine just which websites fit the bill before you accidentally link to a bad egg.
Using Social Media to Be Social
It sounds obvious. If you’re going to setup and post content to a social channel, be ready to be social. You’d be surprised just how many businesses fail to do this! If you don’t engage and get interactive with your fans and followers, you might as well hold a party and lock yourself in the bathroom. Here’s how you get social and stay social on social media:
Tip 14: Invite the right guests. The key to a great party is who is on the guest list. The same is true of social media. You want to connect to people, businesses and organizations that share your industry interests and are capable of carrying on intelligent conversation. You can invite these people to join your social networks by responding to their needs, encouraging them to check you out and offering them valuable information.
Tip 15: Timing is everything. Don’t we all love the person who masters the art of arriving to the party fashionably late? They are the “cooler than cool”, the masters of gaining just the perfect amount of attention. Timing is critical for ensuring your social media posts are seen and shared. The Huffington Post published a stunning guide to optimal Facebook and Twitter post timing. It’s a great place to start researching optimal times to published content to social feeds.
Tip 16: Engage in the conversation. Don’t be rude! Look at social media as a prime opportunity to showcase your awesome customer service skills. Respond to people who post about you! This kind of speedy, personalized touch will build customer trust and loyalty while showcasing your commitment to them.
Keeping up Appearances
You are now armed with 16 proven tips for choosing and creating your social profiles, populating them with the right content and staying social with your fans and followers. It’s now time to manage all of your hard work so it doesn’t go to waste:
Tip 17: Plan for consistency. Consistency; there’s that word, again! Once you’ve established yourself on social media, the biggest trick to successfully managing it is to plan to stay consistent. You can accomplish this by planning content and social posts in advance. Schedule your upcoming social media releases so that a steady, consistent stream forms.
Tip 18: Call in the cavalry. If you think the most successful social profiles are manned by a single individual, you are mistaken. Most businesses have an entire department dedicated to their social media. Once you implement your plan and schedule from Tip 17, be ready to call in the troops for backup to ensure the plan and schedule stay on track.
Tip 19: Enlist the best tools. Posting to multiple social media platforms can be one overwhelming task. Thankfully, there are lots of free tools out there designed to make posting a simple process. You can even use tools that allow you to auto and bulk schedule.
Tip 20: Hire an Epic Manager
Remember Tip 18: call in the cavalry? One of the most useful and awesome tips out there is to hire an epic, social media manager.
Social Media Directors or Managers are professionals who eat, sleep and breathe social media. They keep up with the latest trends and news. They intricately understand how to manage your social presence from top to bottom. Think of them like a party planner, they make the planning process easy and grab the bull by the horns, so you don’t panic when something crazy happens. They just might be the best investment you make as you successfully manage your social media in 2014.