Social media is a key part of your marketing toolbox. I’m going to talk you through setting up your social media including which social networking sites to choose for your business, how many, and how to grow your following organically.
Which social media sites are right for your business?
If you’ve gone through the exercise on how to define your perfect customer you should know which social media platforms they use. There’s no point in being on Instagram because you and your friends like it if your customer is watching YouTube videos or prefers LinkedIn. You need to go where your clients are.
You might not know where your perfect customer hangs out. Here’s a quick run-down of the different social media platforms to help you figure out what they might prefer.
Everyone’s on Facebook, right? It’s the leading social media network with more than 2 billion active monthly users.
You can set up a page for your business (this is separate to your personal profile) and create groups where your community can talk. It also offers advertising with the ability to really hone in on who you want to reach so if you are looking at investing in getting in front of people, it’s a good place to be.
YouTube is the second most popular social media network. It’s owned by Google and is effectively a search engine. One billion hours of video are watched daily. People tune in to be entertained and to learn.
This photo-sharing site has become huge over the past few years. It now has a billion active users. It is a very visual platform. It’s also great for sharing behind the scenes content and giving people a window into your world.
The majority of people on Instagram are aged under 35 and 60% say they have discovered new products there.
Its stories feature, where you can share what’s happening in your life or business right now, has proved popular with 400 million people using it every day. You can use Instagram stories to build your personal brand.
Famous for its short-form style, you have up to 280 characters to get your message across on Twitter. It’s popular with world leaders and people who want to keep up with current events.
More than 300 million people use Twitter every month, of which 67 million are based in the US.
While it is known for its character count, video is increasingly popular on Twitter. People also love to swap memes.
Did you last log into LinkedIn when you were looking for a new job? You updated your resumé and left, right? Times are changing over on LinkedIn. People are actually talking on there now.
It is a professional network. No pictures of cats here. But video is performing well and people like to have real conversations. Around a third of 18 to 29-year-olds and a third of 30 to 49-year-olds use LinkedIn.
Baffled? Yep, so was I. I got my daughter Chloe to show me how it works! Snapchat is where the kids hang out. Most people on Snapchat are under 30. It’s one of the new breed of auto-delete apps. Snaps disappear after they have been viewed while stories go after 24 hours.
Another visual app which works like a search engine. It is more popular with women than men.
People use it to create collections of images or information which appeals to them like researching holiday destinations or redecorating. You can repin images others have put on or pin your own from the web. People on Pinterest are usually planning. Perhaps they want a new kitchen or there’s a baby on the way. Maybe they want to get fit and are looking for exercises to do and healthy recipes to cook.
Want to know what the most popular social media platforms are after Facebook and YouTube? WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat. This is what’s known as dark social. People are increasingly having private 1-1 or group conversations on these chat-apps.
How many social media platforms should you be on?
You might have read through the last section and thought you want to be on all of them! But step back a minute. Unless you are outsourcing your social media to someone else, you need to think about how much time you have available to spend on social media. It’s not just a case of whacking a post on, copying it across the other platforms and getting on with your day.
Social media is about creating relationships and we all know that building relationships takes time. You wouldn’t walk into a meeting say: “Hi, want to buy my product?” and leave two minutes later. Don’t do it on social media.
You want to get to know people. You want to build a community. If you’re asking people to engage with your content then you need to be there to respond to them.
Start out with just one social media platform. Get to know it really well and spend a decent amount of time there each day. Just be careful not to get sucked in! Don’t come to me and say “Chris, I missed my goals because I spent a day a week watching videos”. That’s not helpful. Think of it like a meeting. It needs to be effective, you don’t want it to drag on when you have work to do. Decide when your social media time is each day and set a timer. When the bell rings, log off.
Set your profile up right
Social media platforms vary. Some give you loads of space to write about who you are and what you do, like Facebook, and others just give you a little snapshot. Whichever site you choose, make sure you have taken full advantage of your profile. Fill everything out and make it interesting for your target audience.
You will need a decent profile photo. It’s worth getting professional headshots done. That first impression counts. Don’t be an egg or a pattern or a logo. You’re building a personal brand business, people need to see you.
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube give you a slot for a cover image. This is very important. Think of it as a billboard. Use it to highlight something important about you or your business. Change it when you have something happening like a sale or the launch of a new product.
How to build an audience organically
There’s a lot of talk these days about whether you need to pay to play on social media. You can if you want to but I would say you don’t have to. Certainly not when you’re starting out. Here’s an important thing you need to know about social media: it doesn’t matter how many followers you have.
People get hung up about how many people are following them. That’s not the issue. Your focus needs to be on how many people you are engaging with. You can have hundreds of followers but if only one or two are reacting to your posts, you’re not going to get anywhere. Think quality rather than quantity.
Build your audience one person at a time. Get to know them. Start conversations. Go and see what other people are posting, if you like it, hit a reaction button and comment on their post. You can bet that if you start showing up and engaging with someone then they will take a look at who you are. If they like what you’re posting, they will follow you back.Build your audience one person at a time. You can bet that if you start showing up and engaging with someone then they will take a look at who you are. If they like what you’re posting, they will follow you back. #Youpreneur Click To Tweet
Keep your ideal customer in mind. Share posts about their interests and problems. Talk their language. Be helpful.
Think of it like moving into a new neighborhood and act the same as you would if you were meeting people face to face.
Chris founded Youpreneur® in 2015. He is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker and author of the bestselling books “Virtual Freedom” and “Rise of the Youpreneur”. He hosts our weekly podcast, Youpreneur.FM, as well as our annual conference, the Youpreneur Summit. Chris is based in Cambridge, UK.