Before coming to work here at the madhouse that is Mobius Towers, I had just a weekend job.
Not behind a bar, not in a shop, not selling bibles door to door, not even network marketing…oh no! I moonlight as an entertainer. This means, as well as spending my week nights learning fabulous skills such as stilt-walking, fire-breathing and hooping (as well as countless rigorous dance routines) I also spend my weekends entertaining the masses with Hull’s bustling gay scene.
Decent balance, not having two left feet or wearing too much hairspray (and once you’ve got a flame an inch from your nose you will understand why) all came with the job description. However, one skill I wasn’t asked about in the interview, nor was it on the list of ‘required’ turned out to be the most important skill that I would need:
In fact, club life would almost be impossible to get by without them: I’ve seen many a skilled dancer, stilt-balancer and even some fearless fire and burning acts crumble and leave purely because they can’t handle the social side of the job.
Admittedly, your day-to-day clients won’t be steaming drunk and shaking you by the knees as you try to balance (although some days I’m sure it feels like that’s exactly what they’re doing to you) but it’s just the same juggling act when it comes to handling social media in Hull and the basic rules can be applied to nearly any type of business.
That’s right, I’m talking Social Media Marketing: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram – the list is ever expanding and this is, no doubt, making the task of ‘getting social’ even more daunting.
But with every Google algorithm update focusing ever more on this type of activity to push you up their search engine rankings, you have to persevere with the social aspect otherwise you might as well be out of the race altogether. It plays such an important role in how businesses get their name out there and communicate with the online community that ignoring it – or worse, going into it half-heartedly – is not an option.
So how can you keep on top of it? It may seem a gruelling task, but even ten minutes every other day can be enough to keep you a-float.
Social media basics for the ‘anti-socialite’:
1. Complete your profile – this is of utmost importance! Certain aspects of social media don’t become available to you until you have a completed profile so if you find yourself having issues, this could be the answer. Also, make sure your profile pictures are set – I see so many (not pointing fingers – you know who you are LinkedIn-ers) social media profiles that don’t yet have a profile picture and with sites like LinkedIn where you can pretty much transfer your CV onto a social site, showing people who you are is almost crucial. Likewise, business pages need a logo – how else do I know if I’m following the correct business? And those who don’t add a picture? Well unfortunately – unless you’re a good friend or colleague that I know well – your request is more than likely getting deleted.
2. Update every week – it doesn’t HAVE to be every day, as long as you share something interesting with your connections three or four times a week. It’s also worth looking at peak posting times on each of your social media sites too to make sure that, when you do have something to say, it reaches the biggest audience.
3. Take it with you when you’re out and about – one of the most successful ways to interact with your audience is when you’re on the move: going off-site visiting clients, having a company day out or just doing something a bit different. Take some pictures – people love site-seeing snaps or updates that are a change to the norm, so make sure at least one colleague has the necessary mobile resources.
4. Keep it in the family! – which brings me to your company. As we all know, companies who communicate with each other are much more productive. So get the whole ‘family’ involved! Have a designated social media crew and make sure they are in touch with every department – or if you’re a small company, get everyone involved, particularly with professional sites like LinkedIn. This way, everything not only gets shared on your company page, but on each colleague’s page too. Just be sure (especially with sites like Facebook) that you either create a professional profile account, or that you are comfortable with using your personal account.
5. Link up to your website – Changes to your website? Updated portfolio? Uploaded a video? Written a blog? Shout about it! It’s always good to have your social media updates linking back to your site, but if you (or your web designers) are putting new offers, deals and updates onto your site then this should be reflected by your social media accounts.
6. Link your profiles – now this last one may be disputed as a lot of people will like to tailor their updates for specific sites. For example, Twitter limits to just 140 characters per tweet and you may have more to say on your Google+ posts. However! We’re talking about the anti-socialite here and by linking your social accounts (either within the account settings or via a third party app) you can significantly reduce the number of updates you have to do per day and make your tasks much easier to manage.
It’s really all about changing your mind set – the things you do day to day, articles you read, events that you go to, daily tasks and business achievements. You will begin to look at your business life in a different way; what may be of interest to the customers or clients and what can you share with other businesses like you?
Of course not all social media sites will be right for you – I would suggest to start with what I like to call ‘The Big Four’: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn and have a look at how other businesses, like yourselves, have utilised these sites.
So, if the thought of getting social is still so daunting or mystifying that it turns your stomach I’ve got news for you: once you get going with these steps, it’s easy-peasy. And you will enjoy being social, I promise.