Okay, so…you’re a budding work from home superstar and you’re looking to get the most out of your social media. Well, do I have a treat for you! I’ve put together this list of 8 amazing tricks to help you out. Disclaimer: I take zero responsibility for how these “tricks” work for you. In fact, you may notice that a few of these “tricks” are just good, old fashioned common sense.
I am known for many things…and one of those things happens to be my candid demeanor. While that can be a good thing for making people laugh and getting attention as a small business owner, it’s also something that could get me into trouble (if I weren’t so got-damn careful). Another thing I’m really good at? Learning how to read people. I’ve spent years studying psychology and people. As a result, I’ve managed to develop a reputation as someone who gives a flying fuck about her clients.
Since I use social media on a daily basis (if I ain’t yappin’, I’m readin’…), I’ve pinpointed trends that can help people get the attention that they need from others on social media. Hence this list of tricks. You may or may not find them amazing, but you won’t really know for sure until you try them (as written).
Trick #1 – Know When to Keep Your Mouth Shut
Before you call the wahhhh-mbulance and turn away because you have freedom of speech, finish reading this section. Seriously.
Let me ask you a couple of questions to determine your sensitivity to differing opinions. It’s okay…you can answer in your head.
Question #1 – How did you feel when Hobby Lobby was able to stop providing birth control through their health insurance policies (that their employees paid for)? Did you believe it was their right as a Christian corporation?
Question #2 – Do you believe that Muslims shouldn’t be concerned with following the rules of their religion and that it is somehow okay to harass them for their beliefs?
I swear these questions aren’t meant to be loaded. I am using them because they are hot button issues. However, the thing is that…if you were okay with Hobby Lobby and you’re not okay with Muslims wearing traditional garb or following their own beliefs, you’re a hypocrite. And…clients will pick up on that. If your view differs from theirs? Could spell trouble depending on how you’re perceived through your social media posts.
When it comes to hot button issues (religion, politics, abortion), sometimes you need to just shut up on social media. Save your rants for your private accounts…and make sure not everyone can see it. Also, be aware that people can screenshot what you post and send it to others. You know it’s true. You’ve seen the Diply posts that are nothing but screenshots of people being stupid on social media.
Again, yes, I know…freedom of speech. Just because you can say it doesn’t mean you should…especially if your social media accounts represent a business or YOU are the business. Poor branding can cost you a lot of business.
It’s no secret that I am not a Christian. Although I disagree with some of the basic tenets of Christianity, I don’t sit around bashing them on social media. It’s very rare you’ll see me say anything that is overtly hypocritical. I don’t sit around and discuss religion, politics, or other hot button issues with my clients (or potential clients)…not even with the news writing gig I have. It’s a fairly conservative site and I did tell the site owner when he offered me the position that, at least in my neck of the woods, I am considered liberal by most conservative standards. He didn’t care.
So, hot button issues = shhhhh. Stop talking / tweeting / etc. And, no, sending these tips to President Trump won’t do you any good.
Trick 2 – You Do Not Need to “Follow Back” Everyone Who Follows You
Seriously. It doesn’t matter if it is Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, or whatever other social media platform that relies on “follows.” If you follow back everyone, you’re going to have an extremely cluttered feed and it can be hard to weed through the noise to engage with other professionals, friends, clients, and potential clients.
Along the same lines, you don’t need to follow thousands of accounts. Even if all of them follow you back, the likelihood that you’ll be seen in every single feed is slim to none. Focus on quality over quantity.
Trick 3 – Do the Research to Go Where Your Client Base Can Be Found
What industry do you hope to serve? You should have active social media profiles on the platforms where your client base may be found. Oh, and by the way, Quora is your friend…and Alignable will soon become your friend.
Trick 4 – Follow the 80 / 20 Rule
Yes, I know. You’re a stable genius with loads of ideas and expertise. I know that you want the world to know just how fucking amazing you are.
But…potential clients, much like potential dates, do not want to hear about how awesome you are. They want the focus to be on them.
The 80 / 20 rule for social media means you spend 80% of your time on engaging others, being helpful, and being an utter delight…and 20% of the time, you toot your own horn in some way.
Think about why you think people should hire you. Then, plan your social media use around their needs. You can answer their most burning questions through blog posts of your own or even industry news articles. You can give them free tips (pro tip: don’t start the tip with “Here’s a free tip!”). A response such as, “I had a client with a similar issue and we did X” will go over much better than “I ARE GREAT BUY ALL MY STUFFS.”
Trick 5 – Be a Resource
Being a resource is one of the best ways that you can engage clients and potential clients…as well as win Internet friends and influence people. (You know, since “influencer” is the new word for “cool kid.”)
Things I share on social media accounts that my clients can see:
- Free tools they can use on their own (and no, this does not take away the fact that they need me…part of the reason people hire me is because it is more convenient for them if they don’t have to deal with it).
- The latest SEO trends / best practices that are in PLAIN ENGLISH.
- News stories that I find interesting. No, they’re not always related to business. My opinion, if I give one, is short and pithy.
- News stories I think they will find interesting. I tag the client or Internet colleague on the social media platform and follow the best practice that results in more of their followers / friends seeing it.
- I share my blog posts, podcasts, and Quora answers. Yeah, I know that not everyone wants to read them. I am not concerned about anyone other than my target market. I use tools to measure which links are getting the clicks so that I can adjust my strategy.
- I share writing jobs and calls for submission. Simply because I know how frustrating it can be to find your first writing job.
Trick 6 – Rely on Free Tools to Save Yourself from a Giant Time Suck
Not everyone can afford to pay a social media manager. And…there are people like me who would rather retain control over their accounts (because we’ve all read horror stories about social media accounts run amok by angry employees).
But…the reality is that social media can quickly become a giant time suck. While I do believe in checking my social media several times a day to respond to people (because it keeps me in their feeds), even I have to be careful not to be sucked in.
To cut down on the time I spend on social media, I use Buffer to post things to certain social media accounts. I can also use hashtags with it. They have free and paid accounts. Buffer is particularly helpful for sharing out links. Not only does it shorten links, you can also review metrics by most popular, most retweets, most clicks, least popular, etc. I can spend less than an hour a week loading up my account (including the funny memes that I post on my Facebook page). I like Buffer better than HootSuite (and I used to use HootSuite) because I can’t see my actual social media feeds through Buffer. I just load it and move on. I check my metrics once or twice a week.
There are free social media tools to measure your social media reach, too. I use SumAll. I use it for Twitter and for my Facebook fan page. I get daily summary emails. Once a week it sends out an auto-thank you to people on Twitter that I engaged with the most.
Trick 7 – Engage, Engage, Engage
How you choose to engage clients and potential clients is ultimately up to you. For me, it depends on if they are a current or active client. For some of my active clients, I put their blog posts, articles, and whatnot into my Buffer to share it out. I also retweet their content when I see it. For potential clients, it depends on their need. For instance, when I wrote Back to Basics: Fundamental Concepts of Content Marketing & SEO for Lawyers, I relied on hashtags and I took the time to search for lawyers or law firms who said on social media that they were struggling. I would give them a tip and I would tell them to let me know if they needed help / had a question. I would engage with them at least twice before I sent out the link to the book.
Trick 8 – Be Active
So, over the last three years, I’ve compiled “who to follow” lists on Twitter for clients. How could people make the list? Well, in addition to giving out valuable information…they couldn’t be a hot, opinionated social media mess and they had to actively use their account. That doesn’t mean that they had to post an update 982 times a day. It just meant that they were regularly using their account and engaging with others. You can’t expect to develop a reputation as being an industry leader if you don’t bother to make yourself seen as one.