This is the first in a monthly series from the uber-smart Michelle Garrett! I'm tickled to give us all this opportunity to learn from her. – Kelly ❤
Showing up consistently on social media can really take a lot out of you. There are so many different platforms, rules, engagement “tricks”, changes, and … whew! Thinking about it can cause many entrepreneurs to just walk away from it.
I’m Michelle Garrett and one of my strengths is helping fellow entrepreneurs narrow down the platforms that work best for them and their community. It is okay to not be on everything and focus your attention where you enjoy showing up.
Social media is a great way to learn more about your clients and community. You can also connect on a more personable level to give a well-rounded perspective of who you are, what you offer and if you are the best person for them to work with.
Rather than letting social media run you, step back and determine how you can implement a routine that lets you run it. There are tools and resources available to help streamline the process for you.
So, Just Where Do You Get Started?
First things first, think about where you are already showing up. Do you have a Facebook business page or group? Do you enjoy the fast-pace of Twitter or participating in Twitter chats? Are you a fan of video – whether live or pre-recorded? Answers to these questions can help you narrow down which platform to focus on first.
A Great First Step: Claim Your Name
A rule of thumb I have is to set up your username on all the main platforms even if you are not actively using them. This way no one else can use your name and cause confusion if others are searching for you. You never know who may be looking for you on that platform and can still connect, tag you in relevant content and see in your bio the best place to find and engage with you. Namechk is a website that will quickly show you the availability of a name for website domains and social media platforms.
Don't Look For A Formula To Follow
Everyone is looking for a formula. How often? What time? Do not overthink it!
In the early stages, you want to post different content at varying times to see what works best for your community. Most platforms have analytics that you can use to see when your audience is most active. The key is posting consistently for a few weeks to provide data. This also gives you a feel for the type of content you enjoy creating. Thanks to the ability to pre-schedule using tools like HootSuite, Buffer, and Tailwind, you can easily create a queue of content so you can focus on engaging and connecting.
Buffer and Tailwind are my favorites!
I love the ability to share content I come across online to Facebook and Twitter with Buffer. It is easy to set up a schedule and fill your queue with different types of posts – images, quotes, videos, and articles that align with your content.
I use Tailwind to schedule to Pinterest and Instagram. What I like most is the preview feature to see how your feed will look as you add images. If you are going for a more curated look to your feed, this helps you to move items to fit the aesthetic you are going for. To simplify knowing when to post, Tailwind creates a schedule based on how often you would like to post on each platform. The only drawback, in my opinion, is that you are currently not able to upload multiple images to one post for Instagram.
If you are active or want to get active on Twitter, Hootsuite can help with that. You have the ability to create different views to show your main feed, replies to tweets you have sent out, specific hashtags, and even specific followers or lists. If you participate in Twitter Chats, Hootsuite can be a big help to keep you organized and follow the flow of the conversation.
There Are No Magic Numbers
Each community responds differently to different content. This is where consistent posting comes in – especially on Facebook and when using InstaStories. Typically once a day is the bare minimum on Facebook – posting three to four times would be better. When using InstaStories posting one or two stories an hour is a great start.
Instagram and Periscope are the two social media platforms that I use the most right now. Periscope is simply going live when I feel like it. I strive to do at least 3-4 broadcasts a week. The more consistent (see a resounding theme here?) I am with my broadcasts, the better my reach and engagement. What I love about Periscope is that it’s purely for live streaming. The people that I connect with there enjoy watching and actively supporting fellow broadcasters content – live and via replays.
Instagram has a few moving parts and that is why I love it. The key to Instagram is having your audience engage with you. What impacts your reach and impressions? Comments on photos, direct messages, watching a live, story views and interaction, IGTV video views and comments. Right now Instagram’s algorithms love video – live and pre-recorded – and InstaStory.
To help me show up consistently on Instagram, I have incorporated it into my daily routine. The Instagram community loves seeing those they follow doing the same thing regularly. For me, it’s sharing my daily affirmations via a quick video or text-only InstaStory. That story always includes the “Ask a Question” sticker where I encourage my community to share their affirmation with me. Throughout the day I will share responses and include either a stock image or solid-colored background. I tag the person who shared it. Tagging them allows them to easily share my story into theirs and increase my reach.
What are tips that your community can benefit from? As a work-from-home business owner, I often share glimpses into my day. My community is interested in how I create a schedule that works with my family’s needs and how to incorporate self-care and healthy habits into our routines.
Here is a secret: I do not always share “in-the-moment”. I will often take quick videos and snapshots but upload them a few hours later when I have spaces of time to do so. As a mom with school-aged children, I also share how I incorporate my children into my business and the ways they help around the home. For example, my daughter does our weekly meal plans. I will share those on Sunday or Monday using popular hashtags for those days.
Finally, it is important to me not to overwhelm my community.
The feedback that I’ve seen regarding Instagram is that many will close out Stories if they are overwhelmed by the number to view. With that in mind, I strive to share only 1-2 stories each hour. This is where not sharing “in-the-moment” comes in handy. I have content readily available on my phone to share with my community.
One final resource I just recently started using and am still testing out is MissingLettr (affiliate link). It pulls relevant quotes from your content and syndicates on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. MissingLettr creates a schedule over a certain period of time (2 weeks to a year) and automatically share out for you. So far, I can see an increase in my page views. I like to give new tools at least 30-60 days before I get really excited about them.
Remember it takes time and patience to build an engaging community. Take the first steps by deciding where you need to show up and just do it. You’ve got this!