Last week, I started a new editing project on a book that is set to be published in December. Less than three months away… Not a problem. We’ve got all the info, we have the basic structure laid out and it’s a recipe book, so there aren’t any plot- and character-development issues. Still, I started nipping a bit at the deadline. But, what really got my head spinning was when we established that there was absolutely no social media presence in place. Say what now?
Of course, my client’s situation is different. She lost her home and cooking school in the terrible fires that ravaged our town in June. Since then, she’s been house-hunting, in various stages of moving, and trying to finish her book. I get it. Still, a social media presence is a must – whether you’re writing a book, selling a product, or providing a service. And, there are some unspoken rules to getting it right so that your users get the most out of their like, follow or subscription. Here are some social media tips for beginners:
Have a voice, give your product or service some personality. This makes you approachable and appeals to people on a personal level. They feel understood. Always sounding formal or maintaining a strictly professional tone all the time is like playing a piano that only has three keys. Boring, monotonous and a sure way to deter or lose followers.
Don’t promise followers great content and engaging posts and then ditch them. Be consistent, reward them for their loyalty. Imagine a friendship where only one of you ever showed up. It would be a pretty short-lived friendship. But, if you honour your part of the deal, your followers will probably do the same and stick around.
Mix It Up
Regardless of your service or product, do not always offer your followers the same type of content. Shake it up. If you’re a real estate business, add variety by combining interviews with hot-shot agents and photos of stunning real estate with news pieces on property trends, and even the odd humorous piece to engage your followers. Don’t be one-dimensional.
Even if you have a pretty well-defined niche, try to mix up your posts and tweets so that even those outside of the niche may find something appealing. Why? Because you never know when they may become part of your niche, or who they know in your niche. Excluding them shuts doors you didn’t even know were there.
Be of Use
Answer questions, reply to comments, offer advice. Make it worth the while of your followers to continue following you. By adding value to their experience, they are more likely to 1) remember you and 2) use you.
Be polite. Always. Even when someone is trolling, complaining, insulting, ignoring…Mind your manners. Social media puts you on a global platform. Block the user if you need to, delete the comment if you want to, reply to the person in a direct message, run around the block first. Whatever. But never, ever be rude; not even in a direct, private message. Not even if you’re right.
Don’t post 13 things at once so that they dominate a timeline, don’t abuse hashtags, and NEVER tag people just to force them to see your posts. By irritating your followers, you will (very quickly) lose them.
To add real value, you’ll need to be up-to-date with the latest news on your product or service. But, you’ll also have to know what you’re talking about. Whether you cut hair in a flatlet above your garage or offer legal services to massive corporations, there are always going to be other vying for the attention of your target market. Set yourself apart by knowing (really knowing) about what you offer.