From another planet? 5 ways to get to grips with social media

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It might be because I’m a child of the 60s,when the only technology we had was a black & white TV and a fridge, but I don’t totally get social media.

Or maybe my teenage son is right when he puts it down to my basically being stupid.

Or maybe it’s just difficult.

Whatever the reason, I struggle with social media, and learning to do anything purposeful with it, like growing my business, has been agonisingly slow. However, I’ve recently turned a corner and now feel more capable and confident in its use, and far more productive.

Here are five trouble-free yet potent ways to get you capable, confident and productive too:

1.  Pick two, any two

Even if you’re much more comfortable with this crazy new technology than I am, picking just two platforms makes sense – you can learn how to use each properly and get them both working for you in growing your business.

Having dabbled in all sorts for the last few years, I’m now just focusing on Twitter and LinkedIn, both of which I more adept at using than any other platforms. I will also keep up my Facebook account and business page but only because I’m a member of a couple of useful learning and discussion groups.

2.  Get the basics right

Dumping all platforms apart from two is a real relief.

What’s more, it made me focus on getting the basics right.

And this means, whatever platforms you choose, you need a decent profile that explains who you are, who you work with, how you help them and how to contact you. You also need to have a link to your website if you have one and a good head and shoulders photo.

Your name, no photo and something that says you’re based in Birmingham isn’t enough, whereas, a decent profile can get you noticed.

3.  Know who you want to connect with

When I set up my business Twitter account several years ago, I decided I only wanted to connect with people who were in my target market. Of course, I instantly connected also with friends and family, other services like mine and organisations that serve them, and not forgetting wholly random people who cropped up.

However, I did manage to focus primarily on my target market, which I am thankful for today because, as the technology is very clever, it suggests other people I might want to connect with based on my existing connections – instead of having to search for new contacts, I get regular emails with likely candidates already identified.

Of course, knowing who you want to connect with means you do need to be clear on your target market but you knew that already. DIdn’t you?

4.  Know why you want to connect with them

Big companies can get away with people wasting time on pointless activity, sole-traders and micro-businesses can’t. If you waste time, pretty soon there’s none left for worthwhile stuff.

You need to nail down what you’re trying to achieve by using social media and, if you can’t, STOP USING IT! In short, you need to set some goals. Nothing fancy, just something like …

I want to follow potential clients on Twitter and for them to follow me back to:

Share useful information to improve my online presence

Share my blog posts to get [number] potential clients to sign up for my free download each month

Engage [number] potential clients in discussion to get them to connect with me on LinkedIn each month

You can then have as similar plan for your second platform.

5.  Know how to achieve what you want

My ‘randomly doing stuff hoping something happens’ days are over – I need firm plans to achieve my goals. Something like …

I’ll save links to articles my potential clients will be interested in and find useful and every Friday I’ll schedule when I’ll share them on Twitter and LinkedIn

I’ll send my blog posts to my list every two weeks and schedule when I’ll share them on Twitter and LinkedIn over the following two weeks

I’ll message people who connect with me on Twitter if they’d like to connect with me on LinkedIn and include the link to my LinkedIn profile (even if they don’t connect with me on LinkedIn there’s a good chance they’ll find out a bit more about me and my services)

And, again, you can have a plan for your other platform.

 

OK, these five points aren’t going to transform your business overnight  but they will give your use of social media direction and purpose and, crucially, help you avoid being swamped with a load of ‘bells and whistles’ features you just aren’t ready for.

What are your successes and failures with social media?

Let me know in the comments section below. I’ve started you off with a daft mistake of my own.

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