Photo credit (above): GabboT | Flickr
Some tried-and-tested tricks of the trade
By ARIELLE YEN
These days, one of the first questions you might be asked upon meeting someone is: “Do you have Facebook?” – followed by a request to be “added”.
Almost everyone you meet will have at least one type of social media profile. Your social media accounts are online journals of your life experiences, thoughts and pastimes, broadcast to all your “friends” or “followers”.
The appeal of social media platforms revolve around the fact that they give everyone the opportunity to have a voice, to speak out and to share all sorts of topics of interest.
Social media is the new norm
In April 2015, there were 1.44 billion active Facebook users and over 288 million active Twitter users monthly. Millions of posts and pages were dedicated to various brands, companies, personalities and more.
Social media gives us the freedom to post whatever we want. With all the constant updates cluttering newsfeeds and timelines, it’s not hard to feel like a small fish in a vast ocean of social media presence.
If you want to rise above the clutter and give your social media profile a boost, here are some tips that might help:
1. A single voice makes a deafening noise
For a project at university, my group and I were tasked to create a platform for middle-aged mothers to discover and discuss brands of wine. Sounds simple enough? Not really. The problem was that none of us knew many middle-aged mothers with an interest in wine.
Without anyone to invite to “like” our page, our Facebook page was sadly neglected. However, there was still a wide potential of reach we weren’t grabbing at.
What we didn’t realise was that the concept of “word of mouth” has transformed, with the help of social media, into World of Mouth®, a concept coined by Erik Qualman, an author, keynote speaker and marketer.
Word of mouth works like this: you tell one person. That person tells another, and the cycle continues as such. With World of Mouth® a simple click of the “Post”, “Share” or “Invite” button means that the information you post gets spread to your entire reach of friends or followers within a single action.
With another single click, your friends can pass that information to a few more hundred or even thousand people. Out of all those people, you’re bound to find a few interested consumers.
None of our Facebook friends fit the target market for our wine discussion platform, but there was a likelihood that a mum, aunt, grandmother, or neighbour might have (see following graphic).
So, don’t be shy – spread the message wherever you can, and you’re bound to eventually be heard!
2. Create a brand persona for yourself
It’s important to give yourself a voice on social media. A “voice” doesn’t just mean typing a few half-hearted words, or sharing a blurry iPhone photo, and hoping for the best. In order to be seen on social media, you need to stand out from the rest. “How?” – you may ask. Well, maybe you happen to be a talented baker, or possess a unique set of skills that not many people have?
Publishing well-produced photos of your artfully arranged food platter, with a thoughtful caption on the process, will be sure to captivate your peers. Sharing what’s personal and meaningful to you will attract the interest of like-minded or impressed viewers. They’ll feel more connected to you, and will be more eager to check out the rest of your material.
I find that my original photos of places I’ve visited, or activities I’ve experienced, receive the most attention on Instagram and Facebook!
3. Timing is everything
When you post is just as important as what you post. It goes without saying that posting at times when most people are online will likely garner the most views, and will be most likely to receive the most engagement too.
Figures show that more popular sites with quicker updates like Facebook and Twitter are mostly used during weekday afternoons, especially by those sitting at their office desks trying to get over the “afternoon slump”. Image-based sites like Pinterest and Tumblr are used later at night or on weekends, when there’s more free time.
On Facebook you may schedule your posts, if you have an idea what you want to post immediately but want to make sure that the post appears at a time that maximises viewership.
During my time as social media officer for my university’s online arts magazine, I discovered that posting on Monday afternoons received the most likes, views and comments – a good way to start the week for your profile or page!
4. Listen, interact, react
Taylor Swift is arguably one of the world’s biggest pop stars at the moment, and the favourite artist of many fans, myself included. She’s known for her platinum-selling albums, several number one hits on the radio, and sold-out stadium tours all around the world.
Her social media strategy and relatable persona increases her popularity even more. She utilises sites like Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook to connect with her fans, recognising them as her friends, commenting on their fan-made content and even reaching out to her fans on social media to personally invite them to listen to new song material at her own home or to send them gifts of appreciation.
Content is tailored (pun intended!) for her social media profiles in such a way that personal, intimate content is included along with the professional, commercial content.
Interaction is key! Showing people that you hear them, you’re responding to them, you’re giving them what they want, and that you care about them fulfils the basic human need of “belonging” in a community.
Social media can also be used to interact on a much wider scale. Recently, Swift was able to use her influence to speak up for herself and other lesser-known artists against Apple Music’s decision not to pay artists featured on their service for the first three months of any user’s free trial.
Threatening to withdraw her music from the service, she posted her response on popular blogging site Tumblr; within hours it reached widespread media.
Apple reversed their decision the next day.
Swift was lauded, with major publications releasing articles such as Time’s “How Taylor Swift Saved Apple Music”.
The fact that Apple, one of the largest corporations in the world, caved in to Swift, a 25-year-old, surely demonstrates the sheer capacity of her influence. Even more commendable? This all happened through the Internet!
5. Synergise your platforms
Most people enjoy cohesive, organised material. However, it can be tiring to constantly update all your profiles one by one.
To synergise your social platforms, use tools such as Hootsuite to create a singular dashboard. It would be advisable to modify the content for each site, though, so your material won’t be seen as generic and it won’t look like you haven’t made an effort.
Shorter links can go with retweeted content on Twitter, whereas longer posts and more carefully curated images can go on blogging sites such as Tumblr.
Since the demographics of users for each social media site differs, make sure that the content posted on each profile you own is relevant to viewers on those platforms.
Why is it so important to have a social media presence? Firstly, businesses are having to keep up with their fast-moving customers. The modern world is quickly changing, and if brands aren’t constantly updating their profiles, they may be left in the dust.
Social media platforms are not just for businesses or commercial transactions. They can be used as an awareness tool, as well as for forging and maintaining relationships.
With social media, you don’t have to have the loudest voice to make a difference or make yourself heard.
Arielle Yen is a final-year English and Marketing student at the University of Western Australia. She enjoys reading, spending hours on the Internet, and discovering all things strange, funny or completely crazy. She is an editorial intern at Leaderonomics, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also drop a line or two in the comment box provided. For more How To articles, click here.
First appeared on Leaderonomics.com. Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 4 July 2015