Though sometimes it can feel like drinking from a fire hydrant, social media is an essential (some even say non-negotiable) part of business today. You can use it to protect and define your personal brand, build and market your business, and stay current with the latest news and trends. Not to mention, it can be really fun!
If you struggle with the thought of being online all the time, the good news is you don’t have to be. To master the ever-changing social media space, you just have to be strategic.
Pick and Prioritize a Platform (or Two)
You can’t be all things to all people. Find out where your target audience likes to hang out and go to them. Are you trying to get the attention of teens and twentysomethings? Prioritize SnapChat and Instagram. Are you a writer with a desire to break into glossy magazines? Connect with journalists and get story ideas on Twitter and LinkedIn. Do you work with families or Baby Boomers? Facebook may be your gold mine. Want to show the world what you’re all about? Grab a camera or smartphone and broadcast yourself on YouTube, Periscope or Meerkat.
Let people get to know you — not your intern or employee. It takes way more energy to sound like someone you are not. People will follow you because they like what you have to say. Have an opinion on the newest study of the day? Talk about it.
Reuse and Recycle
Creating great content takes time. Do yourself a favor and reuse and recycle what you've already made.
Social media comes in two speeds: fast and faster. No one sees everything. If you tweet a recipe on a Monday morning, post it again that night. Odds are the same person won’t see it twice. You can repeat tweets, but that won’t work on Facebook where posts stay around longer. Repackage your content or share it through another channel to reach a new audience. Reuse articles you write and presentations you make. Share the key takeaways in a video or blog post.
Do you get the same question from clients over and over? Create a series of blog posts or tweets on that subject! You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Use what you've got.
The majority of your posts should be done in real time to avoid sounding like a robot. However, scheduling a few posts in advance will lighten the load while keeping your audience engaged and your timeline primed with excellent content. Use services such as Hootsuite, Buffer and CoSchedule to schedule social media posts in advance. If you can’t add another task to your workweek, take an hour over the weekend or schedule a few posts while you indulge in TV time.
The social media train has left the station. If you are just getting started, pack your patience and enjoy the journey. Building a sizable social media following takes time. Consistently sharing timely, valuable content and engaging with the community will help you build a strong network. Engage. Take time to contribute meaningful comments and share others’ content. You’ll get it all back.
Boost your visibility by participating in Twitter chats with your target audience, exploiting trending topics and joining social media sharing groups and communities such as Healthy Aperture, Dietitians on the Blog, FitFluential, Nutrition Blog Network and others in your area of interest. These sites and others are an ideal way to get more eyes on your content and meet new people.
And finally … go offline to boost your presence online. Make the most of conferences, volunteer opportunities and networking meet-ups. People are more willing to follow and collaborate with a person they actually know.