Social Media For Business 2018
I’ve been going through all of the things I’ve written about on this site and given updates on said subjects as of 2018.
Today, I’ll talk about social media, including the platforms I use and how I approach them.
This is in general across all the sites I run, but notably excludes using paid ads on any of them. I wrote about paid advertising in 2018 here.
This is just for using social media platforms as organic traffic generators and network building devices.
Disclaimer: I’m totally not a social media expert.
Biggest Takeaway From Social Media 2017
If you are a well-adjusted social being, then this point might not be for you.
I’m a cave-dwelling troll though, so here’s what I learned about social media in 2017.
(Time Out: If you’re enjoying this article, then you should probably sign up to my mailing list, where I give out ideas and business tricks that I don’t share publicly. Click here, fill out your details and get yourself on the list! You won’t leave this page.
Now Back To The Regular Programming Schedule…)
Despite all protestations to the contrary from gurus, your social media profiles are 100% not about your brand or your “message.”
They are about you as a person.
Now, some people will say, “You are your brand!”
I’ll smile, nod and agree. Personal branding is a dumb concept though.
Here’s what I think about social media.
People aren’t on for their social media time. If you’re a hustling, bustling 24/7 e-business guy, then there will be an adjustment period.
Nobody goes on Facebook to learn about business.
Nobody goes on Twitter for life advice.
Now a lot of people think they do, but go and check the timeline of your favourite social media app.
What gets the most likes?
What gets the most shares and favourites?
I guarantee that nowhere is it going to be in-depth how-to articles on finance or fixing a car’s engine or whatever.
Because that’s not why people are there.
Even if you follow people who give solid business advice or useful information and you click whatever links they post about that, that’s not the way to get shares, likes and viral things that make the social media enterprise spread.
Instead, people post fun things, personal things and things that introduce trustworthiness or social bonds.
That’s the goal of social media.
Motivation and networking in a very real sense.
This is the general approach I’ll be taking in 2018, even though the focus is always on business and how we folks can make our skills into life autonomy.
But… If You’re Concentrating On Social Stuff, How Do You Focus On Business?
The above question is why I can’t wrap my head around personal branding as a concept.
You aren’t your business. Anyone who says this is spinning some marketing piece and probably about to feed you some motivational fluff. (Good for social media, but not real advice.)
Let’s take a step back then.
What’s our goal as social media marketers?
Our goal is to get people to click our links and buy our stuff.
This is our real goal. We want people performing the actions we decide they’ll perform.
Yet we have a cold audience, like I described above. People are relaxing on social media, sharing cat pictures and having fun.
Your goal is to bridge the gap.
How you do that is largely a case of niche dependent, personality dependent stuff. It’s also dependent on the platform.
Let’s talk about platform because I get the sense I’m talking around the point and examples would be better.
Instagram is the de-facto picture platform. A couple of years back, people were talking about how Snapchat was going to take over the world and Facebook would be dead.
Not the case, won’t be the case in 2018. Instagram is the big picture site.
Here’s how you work it as a social media guru. (Remember, we’re not talking about paid advertising here.)
Instagram is a lifestyle picture book. You can’t sell very well at all – there’s a single link allowed per profile, most people browse on their phones and nobody is looking to buy when they browse.
You also have a very limited amount of words, because who reads image captions?
So Instagram is merely a case of selling the lifestyle, niche or subculture and having a single landing page for once you’ve piqued your audience’s curiosity.
This will be dependent on your personality. If you’re an internet marketer, the stereotypical thing to do is post pictures of your Lamborghini, your Hollywood bachelor pad and some palm trees. Then you hope people think, “I want a piece of this, how does he do it?” and you send them to your info-product.
You follow the same principle whatever niche you’re in. If you’re selling skateboards, then you have a ton of pictures of people looking cool using your skateboards and a link to your store. Throw in some picture quotes to get the viral thing going and that’s your job.
Really, you can’t do much else.
(Note: Pinterest is similar here in approach. I don’t have any Pinterest marketing going on though, so can’t comment. You can drop more links in it though. Worth trying if you’re in a target demographic that uses Pinterest. I’m not, so you’re on your own.)
Facebook is the best advertising platform around when it comes to paid stuff. However, if you’re creating pages for businesses with the intent of gaining organic social media traffic, then the platform is bad and getting worse.
They recently released an algorithm change designed to mean that people see more of their friends and less advertising on their timeline. Good for the user, bad for business.
Here’s what I recommend for Facebook:
- Use it as a free forum software, like Reddit
- Join groups where you fit in and can add value
- Start a “forum” of your own
- Maybe handle all of your customer support or Q and A’s there
Essentially, Facebook is a platform designed for communication. That’s its strength, as opposed to a more billboard-type deal, which is what Twitter is.
Of course, you’ll want to concentrate mostly on FB ads and you’ll probably not want to spend all of your time on social media, so you might want to skip the social stuff entirely.
Twitter is a good traffic generating tool. I’ve certainly found it more conducive to getting traffic than the other platforms thus far, because linking and clicking is easy.
I barely even link to my site on Twitter anymore and I still get clicks every day.
Key things to consider:
- It’s OK to mess around. People want to know about your personality.
There’s a different reason for that beyond the surface: You need a ton of content for Twitter. If you concentrate on just giving out niche advice, you’ll get swamped.
It’s better to tweet twenty times a day with a single link to your site and nineteen tweets of small talk than post five times with links to your website each time.
That said, it’s also perfectly OK to tweet every day with calls to action. Twitter’s biggest strength and weakness is that it’s fast-paced.
One thing I wouldn’t do though is rely on other people’s tweets too much. I see a lot of people who act more as content curators than content creators. If you do this, you’ll lose engagement. Why would I follow your Twitter account if you’re just retweeting someone else? I could just follow that person.
If you share something, add to it. When Twitter is a game of a couple of sentences, it takes no effort to say, “I like this because…” and you should definitely do that.
Networking is easiest on Twitter because you have access to basically everyone. Consider it a “quick line” to the world.
Final Thoughts (And Other Platforms)
There are countless platforms that I haven’t even tried, and I’m not even remotely an expert at any social media.
That said… there are a few realities that cross the platforms:
- They are always supposed to lead to your getting more traffic
- You’re portraying an identity that people want to align with
- It’s soft selling all the way (On Twitter you can be a little more explicit, but it’s still nothing like writing an ad)
- Content syndication is the second goal – use these networks to create a web between properties
For instance, Tumblr might be good for your niche.
It’s a cross between Twitter and Instagram, so you’d apply the ideas above and cross them over and see what works.
LinkedIn is something I’ve omitted, which is definitely a social media platform. It’s something like a cross between Facebook and something terrible. The reason I’ve excluded it is because every time I sign on it’s ugly and so I quickly log out again. I’ll concentrate on it at some point.
Note I haven’t talked about Medium, WordPress or YouTube. Those aren’t social networks. Neither is Reddit. Those are more platforms for content syndication for your written work. You don’t expressly socialise on any of those.
I’ll update you all once I figure some more practical measures out.
Oh, and as always: One Platform At A Time.