Just the other day while sitting in a chair as my hair stylist, Eli, proceeded to slap on the color he asked what I did for a living. I mentioned how I head global social media for a big tech company and naturally, he then asked- what does that mean? I explained what I did and the inevitable happened, he asked the ultimate question that I always get. ‘What do you think I can do to grow my followers?’ Now I know like many, he wanted the quick and easy answer. Of course, for me, it’s not as easy because there’s a bit of thought that needs to go into place.
I think there’s a misconception of how ‘turnkey’ social is and that’s mainly due to the fact that there’s such a low barrier of entry. I mean anyone with a Gmail account can set up a Facebook or Instagram account in minutes.
So, naturally, I start asking my hair stylist, well what are you trying to do? Are you trying to bring in new customers? Drive awareness about your editorial portfolio? To quote one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes ‘Yada, Yada, Yada’ and he tells me in the end that the problem for him is that he doesn’t have time. This is probably the number one challenge everyone I know, from product marketing managers to CXOs to independent artists, like Eli. If you find yourself in the same proverbial boat, then here are some tips I shared with Eli that could also be useful to you.
First, you gotta have that mindset that social is a commitment. You can’t expect results if you don’t keep at it. Just like how Eli works on evolving brunettes to blondes- in my case a bronde beige. It takes time, some tweaking along the way and multiple sittings but you’ve got to make the commitment to get the result that you want. Same rules apply to social media. I recommend for the time constrained to spend at least 1 to 2 hours at your local coffee shop every other week for content development and at least 10 to 15 minutes 2 – 3 times per day to see if anyone is commenting/engaging with your posts.
Next, find tools that make it easy for you to use social and be more efficient. I recommend using a platform like Hootsuite for all small businesses or independent artists/business owners. Hootsuite is an easy to use tool that allows you to monitor/listen to relevant conversations and manage content publishing across multiple accounts. It also has an auto-scheduling feature so you can spend at least a few hours once a month to schedule out your content. Another function I like is the reporting/analytics. They make it really easy to understand how your content is performing, audience demographics, and many other metrics- so you can see what works and where you need to make adjustments. Now content publishing and performance aren’t enough. You also need to engage. Best way to do that is by monitoring comments/replies to your posts and listening to other relevant conversations. Hootsuite allows you to easily set up streams in your own dashboard- think of your Facebook feed, except you have multiple columns that you can customize what’s populated based on keywords you enter. Lastly, the platform offers some great training/tutorials and step by step instructions of how to set up your account and goes through all of these features and more. So, now you got commitment and a good tool- let’s talk content.
Content ideation can be fun, but daunting. I recommended that Eli do at least 2 to 3 posts per week across 2 accounts- do the math and you’re looking at 24 posts per month. I think his world collapsed at one point, but I reassured him that you just need to practice, commit and it will get easier over time. Easy place to always start is thinking of the needs of the client and if you aren’t sure- then just ask your peers or even clients that you have a good relationship with. Start with the client in mind and you are in good shape. In Eli’s case, I told him as an average human being with a 9 to whenever job- I need some quick and easy how to’s. Content planning/calendar helps focus your content creation process, but you also need to be responsive to any trends or hot topics that are being discussed. Hence, why it’s important to monitor conversations regularly- having your ‘Oreo’ moment happens once in a blue moon, but it’s those moments that can catapult you to the next level. In the end, whatever you are doing you need to make sure that you are providing value and have FUN!!! I say do this at least once or twice a month and build a calendar. I recommend reading Hubspot’s’, “The Social Media Content Calendar Every Marketer Needs” and use the free template they provide.
Finally, I recommend using resources from Social Media Examiner to gain the confidence and knowledge you need to ensure that you are at the top of your social media game. Social Media platforms are constantly changing algorithms or adding/removing features and that means you need to keep up to speed. Plus the more you know the easier it will be for you. I think reading at least 1 or 2 articles a month during your Sunday morning breakfast is a good start. Check out Social Media Examiner’s free subscription to get access to some great content.
I know I threw a lot at you but these are some pretty foundational guidelines you can start doing that will set you up for success further down the line. Remember you won’t get that transformation by not giving it a real chance and that requires commitment. Enable yourself by using tools that make social media easy. Get creative, do some content planning but also be spontaneous. Empower yourself by leveraging helpful social media resources from Hubspot or Social Media Examiner. Lastly, remember to have fun!