For some of us, social media marketing is a full time job, for everyone else though it’s yet another task to add to an increasing to-do list. Many businesses will put pressure on their staff to promote their business through their personal social media accounts.
It’s one thing if you’ve grown up around technology and see social media as a natural extension of your fingertips. It’s quite another if the sheer thought of sending out another promotional tweet makes you break out in sweat.
Two important factors will determine your ability to maintain a good social media habit: starting small, and scheduling time every day to spend on it (say, 20 minutes).
If you don’t have a social media account yet, pick one, whether it’s twitter, Linkedin or Facebook, and concentrate on mastering it before moving on to the next. Nothing is more likely to make you give up social media early than trying to embrace it all at once. You can find free guides to using these all over the internet, such as this one.
As for scheduling, put 'using social media' into your calendar, complete with an alert, until you get used to automatically doing this every day.
Being discouraged early on is a big factor when it comes to not adopting a new habit, so what follows are a few tips which should hopefully help to speed up your integration into that world.
1. Schedule your posts
I normally discourage automation (i.e scheduling your social media activity in advance), but it can be a good wallpaper from which you can build. Schedule 2-3 tweets/posts every day using a tool such as Buffer. That way if you’re particularly busy one day, you know your social media accounts are still ticking along in the background.
However, do pop in everyday if you can and interact with other users or your social media account will look a little dead.
2. Stay human
The struggle with promoting a product or service when using a personal account is in trying too hard to seem corporate and serious. You can waste hours trying to find the best way to give all of the information you need to. Try to remember that social media marketing is a relaxed form of marketing where people respond to people.
For instance, instead of tweeting ‘50% off on all appliances at [insert name] [link]’, tweet ‘my workplace is offering a great discount at the moment if you’re looking for a new [appliance] [link]’. Simply by adding ‘my’ and ‘you’ into the tweet, you already seem more human.
However, relaxed does not mean unprofessional. Have fun but don’t publish anything you might regret later (i.e no insults, no sensitive information,…)
3. Make lists
This one is specific to twitter. The noise on twitter can be overwhelming, so creating lists of users as you go along, is a great way of sorting this out. It’s very easy to do, click on a person’s profile, then the little wheel next to the ‘Follow’ or ‘Following’ button, which gives you the option to ‘Add or remove from lists’. At Passle, we have one for Thought Leaders (Law) for instance, because many of our clients are law firms and it’s an easy way to keep up to date on the latest legal news.
However, if starting a list from scratch seems too much, why not find a user you admire/whose interests are similar to yours and see if they have any pre-existing lists you can follow.
4. Keep clear of bandwagons
No need to try and use every trick in the book from the start. Get tweeting or posting until you’re comfortable with it, before integrating features such as hashtags or images. The more you use these social media platforms, the more these features will seem natural to you and the less likely you are to misuse them.
However, keep taking the opportunity to learn and grow as the more time you invest in understanding how these networks operate the more ingrained they will become in your daily routine.
5. Link your brain to your environment
When going about your day to day business get in the habit of thinking of how it could translate to social media. Visuals that summarize what your business is about? Great! A quip your colleague said which is both funny and pertinent? Excellent! A conversation that inspires you to start a Linkedin discussion? Even better!
However, as with point number 2, be careful not to go overboard with this by sharing things that might embarrass your friends/colleagues. Make sure to ask permission if taking pictures of them or quoting them first!
Like brushing your teeth or taking your medication, social media marketing is something that you have to get into the habit of, but it’s worth the effort. After all, 78% of small businesses attract new customers through social media (Relevanza).