Social media marketing demands more than just the occasional post or advertisement; in fact, it’s become so complicated it could be considered a science in and of itself. And with all this talk of algorithms—hence the reason why social media is so complicated—who really knows what works and what doesn’t?
I say pretty much no one. Every social medium has its own algorithm and it changes frequently to keep users on their toes, but you’ll find plenty of articles written by people sharing their opinions about the inner mechanics of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Pinterest, TikTok, and many others. And you know the saying: opinions are like ---holes; everyone has one.
So instead of attempting to decipher the algorithms behind LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, let’s focus on some aspects we know will help you maximize your time spent on these social media sites.
LinkedIn was developed as a way to connect businesspeople with other businesspeople or employers with future employees. Maintain a professional presence and stick to posting content that will promote your business.
In order to take full advantage of LinkedIn, you must:
1. Optimize your profile. This means that once you’ve set up your account, make sure you follow all the steps to completing your profile. LinkedIn has a nasty habit of reminding you to complete the steps you’ve skipped by showing you what percentage of your profile is complete. For years, my profile sat at about 50 percent complete until I finally got serious about making LinkedIn a regular part of my marketing routine. Unfortunately, the algorithm gods do take notice and prefer fully completed profiles over incomplete ones.
Optimizing your profile also requires that you include an image, preferably of your current self, not the self who existed 25 years ago. Maybe the algorithm won’t notice, but any new clients meeting you for the first time after seeing your LinkedIn profile might be a little taken aback.
2. Personalize your connection requests. LinkedIn makes it easy to send invitations to other LinkedIn users at the click of a button. But if you take a moment to review a person’s profile, find something interesting about that person or something you have in common, and use that information to personalize your invitation, you will garner quicker responses and make the connection more meaningful.
Recently, Facebook changed the way it disseminates information to its users. This hurt quite a few small businesses that had become dependent on Facebook. But many businesses are still finding ways to use Facebook to its fullest.
One such way is Facebook Live. “Live” is a real-time broadcast of you speaking to your Facebook community. Many businesses are taking advantage of this free service.
At least one attorney I know uses Facebook Live to broadcast weekly at a time when she knows most of her ideal clients will be available. She promotes the “show” in advance, then prepares a statement and takes questions from her audience. The audience submits questions via post and she chooses which ones she will read aloud and answer on the spot. She is careful not to provide legal advice and repeats her disclaimer throughout the show. She invites those with more complex questions to contact her office for a consultation.
Facebook Live takes some preparation, but when something this cool is free to use, why not try it?
Twitter is a great place to start a conversation in the shortest way possible—280 characters or less. Starting a conversation can be as simple as sharing an article along with your opinion on the subject matter. Twitter is where opinions are in extreme abundance, so don’t be afraid to offer yours.
Controversy also reigns supreme on Twitter. It seems the more controversial the tweet, the more traction it gets, and the more noticeable it becomes to mainstream media.
Many a news story has been written based on a tweet that went viral with the majority of that story’s content consisting of screenshots of numerous responses to the tweet.
Could this be considered journalism? Probably not—at least not in my book. But a viral tweet could quickly catapult you and your firm’s visibility. But don’t be controversial simply for the sake of being controversial. Make sure your tweet still offers good, honest content.
These are only a few tips for making social media work for you. There are many articles and books that cover how to use the different sites to build your business.
But the features change rapidly, so make sure you have the basics covered for the sites you want to include in your marketing plan. Next time, I’ll cover how to make an even bigger impact.