So many business owners and bloggers talk about social media as if it’s a thorn in their side. They accept it as being a critical part of any business strategy, but they’re overwhelmed by the onslaught of information about its importance, not to mention the abundance of platforms. Even the most seasoned Instagrammers among us often feel like complete mastery of the social media world is impossible. The truth is that you don’t have to be proficient in all platforms, and you don’t need to dedicate every waking second to your Twitter feed in order to effectively promote and grow your brand. This is true whether you’re working for a huge corporation like Nike or you’re an entrepreneur looking to brand yourself and your services.
The best approach is actually pretty simple: Work smarter, not harder, to expand your audience and your impact. My presence on Twitter leads people to assume that I’m glued to my phone 24/7, shooting off tweets. However, in the course of the past eight years I’ve built an online and offline brand, and I’ve learned how to spend my time more wisely.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Choose the social networks that bring the best value to your business. For example, is your brand visually oriented? If you work in graphic design, fashion, or interiors, focus on platforms like Instagram, SnapChat, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Vine. Each of these apps enable you to showcase your aesthetic talents and tastes, whereas platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are a more natural and appropriate fit for text heavy brands or service providers, such as coaches, writers, and PR gurus.
2. Focus on creating micro-content. Sharing brief glimpses or snippets of your work is a great way of directing traffic to your website or YouTube channel. I like to think of micro-content as the movie trailer that makes us want to go see the actual feature film. A catchy tweet is effective, but platforms like Instagram enable users to capitalize on the fact that the human brain processes visual messaging 60,000 times faster than text. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average customer’s attention span is eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000.
To give this context, the attention span of a goldfish is nine seconds! Whether you are inspired or depressed by that statistic, there’s no denying that short visual messages pack a serious punch. Consider making a 15 second Instagram video to tease viewers to check out the full content on your website. Similarly, cutting your eight-minute (or longer) marketing video down to 60 seconds could lead to a rapid increase in views.
3. Participate in weekly Twitter chats that align with your brand. Joining Twitter conversations is a great way to network with like-minded individuals and businesses. As you get to know other people whose brands align with your own, you will spread awareness about your business and organically gain followers. Participating in Twitter chats is also a great source of inspiration for future content and collaborations.
To join in on #Millennialtalk Twitter Chats every Tuesday at 5pm PST/ 8pm EST click here.
Speaking of collaborations…
Collaborate with influencers in your space. This is a key action item for growing your audience. Teaming up with people who already have a presence in your area is so powerful because it allows you to tap into new networks and get your brand in front of potential clients, customers, and followers. Don’t be scared to reach out to someone whose brand aligns with yours with an idea that is mutually beneficial! After all, they probably want to grow their audience as much as you do.
Don’t hesitate to ask your followers to actively support you. Providing a call to action in your content is the best way to generate engagement among your followers. Don’t be shy! Tell them precisely what you want them to do. On Facebook, invite your followers to comment, share and “like” all of your posts. If you are using Twitter, ask your followers to re-tweet and help to spread the word. You know the old adage about the squeaky wheel getting the grease? It applies in social media, too! Your followers will either scroll passively through your posts or they will engage with you, but there’s a much better chance of the latter if you make it clear that you want to generate a discussion or promote broader awareness of your message.
Research what tools work best for your social strategy. These are some of my FAVS:
1. Buffer helps you automate posts, allows you to sync content across multiple social handles, helps to drive traffic, and saves you time!
2. ManageFlitter provides a set of tools that allows Twitter users to effectively curate and grow their Twitter account.
3. TweetChat is the best tool for participating in Twitter Chats. It filters all the chatter using a particular hashtag into a single conversation.
4. Canva is the best resource for creating your own graphics. Very user friendly!
Whether in our off-line lives or our online lives, overextension is the quickest way to burnout. Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to master every platform – there’s just no need to do that! Focus instead on the platforms and the audiences that are the best fit for your brand. Social listening is key. Pay attention to what content generates the most reaction from your audience and refine your strategy there.
So, what do you think? Wouldn’t it feel good to be free of social media anxiety and stress? I promise, it’s not as hard as you think. Start working smarter – instead of harder – and you’ll quickly understand what it took me eight years to figure out: When it comes to strategic social media, a little bit goes a long way.