How to use social media for your business
It’s been a while since I posted on the subject of social media. So much has changed since. So instead of relying on little old me, I thought I’d pick the brains of Virtual Assistant and Social Media Manager queen Cynthia Hull.
This is how it went down!
1) How important do you think is a social media presence in business nowadays?
Social media is crucial to my success.
About 60% of my website traffic comes from social media. Social media has changed the way we interact with the world around us. Twenty years ago, (here in the states) when you needed to find a phone number or locate a business, you would refer to the phone book or Yellowpages. You would lug out the huge book with the tissue paper pages and thumb through to the industry you needed. Then you would find the ad that looked the best or the one that was closest to you.
Today, you take out your phone, ask Siri or do a quick search. The results show you what’s closest to you, customer reviews, call the business with one touch — and connects you to the business’ social media pages. Why is that important? People respond to each other in a myriad of ways — how we look, how we act, how we talk, our personalities all play a role. Social media provides us a window to get to know something about each other.
For business, social media has opened up an opportunity to present a more complete picture of who we are, what we believe, how we behave, and how we will connect with the customer.
People respond to each other in a myriad of ways — how we look, how we act, how we talk, our personalities all play a role. Social media provides us a window to get to know something about each other.
2) What do you think are the most common mistakes people make when taking the plunge in social media?
- Starting with too many platforms at once
- Not learning enough about the platforms they choose
When you begin using social media for your business you must first determine which platform is best suited to your business. Where is your preferred, ideal customer hanging out? (Not sure? Check out your competitors’ social media.)
Pick one or two platforms to begin building an audience. But before you start posting, you need to know what works for the platforms you choose. For example, you own a creative business. You choose Pinterest and Instagram as your platforms. You start posting on both using beautiful images and appropriate hashtags. Your Instagram account begins to find followers, but your Pinterest account isn’t. What happened? Pinterest posts do not utilise hashtags. People on Pinterest disregard posts with hashtags, it is obviously someone who doesn’t know what they are doing.
Hang out on your chosen platforms, learn as much as you can about how the platform works. Search out best practices for each platform and make a plan.
When you begin using social media for your business you must first determine which platform is best suited to your business. Where is your preferred, ideal customer hanging out?
3) What are the social media platforms you prefer using and why?
My first foray into social media was with Twitter. I have to admit, when I first heard of it I thought it sounded crazy. 140 characters? How can you say anything in 140 characters? But I soon learned to love Twitter, for business and personal.
I was reluctant to start using Pinterest, it didn’t make sense to me. I had the ‘feed’ mindset, like Twitter or Facebook. But Pinterest isn’t a social feed, it is a search engine. Once I change my mindset and focused on how to use a ‘visual’ search engine, I fell in love with Pinterest.
Most of my social media referral comes from Pinterest and Twitter.
4) Do you think a VA is better than an automatic social media account manager? Why?
I don’t think a VA is better. I think a VA is more efficient use of your time. Social media automation is absolutely crucial. But automation still requires work every week.
For instance, if you publish a blog post every week, or even twice a week, you must get the word of the new post to your audience. Easy right? You post on Facebook, do a few tweets, pin it and post it on your LinkedIn page.
Done? Well maybe. Even that small amount of blog marketing requires:
1. Create appropriately sized blog image for each social media site. (Image size matters!)
2. Write posts for each social media site
3. Log into scheduler – Buffer, Hootsuite, Tailwind, Socialoomph, etc
4. Schedule posts for peak times for each site.
Now that doesn’t sound like too much time, maybe 60-90 minutes for each blog post. Add in more time if you add your post to Stumble Upon, Google+, etc.
Pretty soon you are spending several hours a week on blog post marketing. But your social media strategy should include building your audience and increasing website traffic – which adds several more hours per week. It all easily adds up to 6-10 hours every week, up to 40 hours per month.
Think about what up to 40 hours per month spent with clients or creating products could do for your business.
So, my answer, social media automation is essential. Hiring a virtual assistant to manage social media and social media automation enhances your marketing strategy and increases your business success.
Social media automation is essential. Hiring a virtual assistant to manage social media and social media automation enhances your marketing strategy and increases your business success.
5) Morning person or midnight owl?
My first ‘real’ job after college required me to arrive at work by 5:30 am. I was not a morning person before that job but quickly learned to be one. I am probably naturally a night owl.
6) Pet peeve?
Wow, good question. I work from home, so what may have been pet peeves about my coworkers don’t exist anymore. Can’t think of any right now.
7) Trait you admire in others?
Perseverance and a sense of humour. Everyone gets knocked down in life. Everyone experiences disappointment. The people who persevere, and can see the humour in unpleasant situations, are the people I want to know and emulate.
8) Where can people find you online?
My website is www.cynsationalresources.com