Social media is a staple in marketing strategies for businesses both big and small.
Although almost all networks are designed to be simple and fool-proof in terms of accessibility, there is more to effective social media marketing than just click, type, and post.
Luckily, marketing mastermind, Guy Kawaski has some practical advice that everyone can benefit from when it comes to successful social media marketing.
As an author, Chief Evangelist of Canva, and Former Chief Evangelist of Apple, Guy Kawasaki's marketing knowledge and social media tips below (originally shared in HubSpot's 10 Tips for Building a Social Media Following webinar in 2013) prove so timeless, we thought we'd take a minute to share them with you.
1. Start Building Your Social Media Platform Yesterday
Rather than save the best for last, Guy kicked off the countdown with a valuable suggestion in terms of timing your social media launch.
While most people adhere to a serial process when it comes to their business endeavors, this step-by-step approach is not as effective as it logically appears to be. Guy suggests that your thinking, creating, finishing, and selling tasks should parallel one another rather than trail one another.
What this means is that you should start building your social media platform the minute you come up with a new idea, product, or service.
Ask yourself this question: why wait? As you move forward with a business endeavor, create social media content that moves forward with you! Utilizing social media from start to finish will give you the opportunity to build hype, receive feedback, and track your progress.
2. Segment the Services
In order to create social media content that works, it is critical to understand the tone of each platform you employ.
Guy laid out a basis for several platforms including:
Facebook: This is a platform to interact with people you already know
Twitter: Use this network to broadcast your perceptions, new ideas, and reactions
Google+: This is the perfect place to explore your passions, and connect with people you may not know who share the same interests
Pinterest: Pinboards are all about pinning things that reflect your interests and are expressive of you
LinkedIn: This account is best suited for "pimping" yourself out, in other words, marketing yourself and your abilities
3. Make a Great Profile
Guy made the point that the average person makes a 2-3 second decision on whether or not to follow you based off your page's aesthetic.
What this means is that the key to social media success lies in your ability to create a profile that reflects your personality while inviting people in.
He refers to your Facebook profile as a "window into your social media soul", and an opportunity to tell your story. There is a number of elements for you to customize in order to achieve a cohesive profile that works including: your avatar, your cover photo, and your bio.
An avatar that highlights your face above all other things is at the top of his list of suggestions. Rather than selecting a photo of you and your dog, (although he may be cute) try to keep the focus on you by using an image that is 90% your face.
People look for an avatar that is reflective of a likeable and trustworthy person, someone who they want to connect with on a professional level.
A cover photo provides you with a bit more wiggle room in terms of personality. Use this space to utilize an image that highlights your interests, your perception, and your story.
In terms of your bio, feed people enough about you so that they can make an informed decision regarding whether or not you or your company is of interest to them. Cover the basics, don't be afraid to infiltrate your individuality and what makes you remarkable, but don't over share. There is a time and a place for your whole life story, however your social media bio is not it.
4. Curate a Link
Establishing a social media presence should not be all give and no take. Guy references the websites Alltop.com and StumbleUpon, as a way to encourage people to seek out relevant and interesting content beyond their own that may serve a purpose on their network.
He stresses the idea that you want your account to speak to people and say, "if you follow my account, you will get great stuff."
By investing yourself in new, significant content and utilizing links to both your content and the content of other industry influencers, you can expand your social media reach and establish a reputation.
When in doubt, cheat!
Jumping on the "hot list" bandwagon will provide you with the opportunity to insert yourself into the hype and get involved in conversations with people in your industry.
Guy suggests taking a look at hot topics on Google+ to get an idea for what content, stories, and ideas are on top right now. Running with one of these ideas, or retweeting/re-sharing links to these articles will drive traffic to your site and give off the impression that you are actively engaging with what's going on in the now.
6. Restrain Yourself
There is nothing worse than excessive self-promotion. In most cases, posting an abundance of promotional content will work against you rather than benefit you. So rather than producing counteractive content, devote your time to earning your voice on social media platforms. Once you prove to people that you are a valuable source for informative content, you can then consider infiltrating content that ties back to you or your products and services.
Guy suggests implementing a 20:1 ratio when it comes to releasing information and self-promotion. For every 19 posts you create that provide your followers with compelling information and resources, you are allotted 1 post that attributes to your own advancement.
7. Add Bling
Visual content sticks with your followers better than any 10 dollar word you can think of. In fact, I would argue that it has come to a point where questioning whether or not to incorporate an image or video in your post has become obsolete. You just do.
If you are having trouble finding an image that suites your written content, websites like Wikimedia and CreativeCommons provide access to an extensive library of images that cover almost every topic you can think of.
I think it's safe to say that we are all guilty of posting something on social media, and then refreshing the page half a dozen times in anticipation of likes, comments, or re-shares. No matter what way people choose to respond to your content, their acknowledgment is appreciated, so why don't you show them?
Responding to people's comments, and engaging in conversations with your followers is the perfect way to take your social media following to the next level. Social networks are designed to be conversational, so don't hesitate to reach out to others. You know the feeling of satisfaction that comes with social media notifications, so share the wealth.
9. Stay Positive or Stay Silent
Coming in at number 9, Guy suggests that if you don't have anything nice to say on social media, don't say anything at all. Chances are your Mom taught you this rule growing up, but it applies in the world of social media just the same.
If you have bad service or an unpleasant experience with a product or service, don't take to social media to vent. When it comes down to it, there is not a lot of upside to posting negative comments about someone or something.
Rather than taking the time to give someone a bad rap, consider what you can learn from the experience in order to better your customer service. Using situations like this to help yourself, rather than hurt others will reflect positively upon you, and your followers will take notice.
To close out his tip list, Guy stresses the idea that posting in large quantities may be the key to success for you or your business. While many people are busy worrying that they are posting too much, they are in fact not posting enough. In order to drive his point home, Guy raises the question: How do you know your reach is there to read your post at that moment?
Repeating and repurposing content is an effective way to gain more traffic and build a strong following. While Guy suggests posting until you hit a pain point, we encourage you to be conscious of your industry and the amount of followers/following you have.
In order to avoid overkill, experiment with different levels of content repetition. While it can be effective to blast out an offer on social media, be sure to take note of how people respond to it and their reception for future distribution.