Social media seems to baffle people. One of the greatest misconceptions is that social media is intuitive, but for anyone who has attempted to be social in real life and have encountered and awkward date, botched networking event or a really boring party, knows that even as something as “intuitive” as social media isn’t always so.
The philosophy I use for social media is that at it’s core, it isn’t about marketing, it isn’t to just diversify your advertising or find a new way to yell at people to buy your stuff, see your movie or read your book, it can be a really fun party or a truly sexy date if you want it to be.
[highlight]You wouldn’t go out on a date wearing yesterday’s clothes, you need to make sure your “online presence” is as pressed and polished as what you wear out- appearances are vital. [/highlight] Comb through avatars, user photos, and website design to make sure it’s polished and put together. Examine what your photo says about you and make sure your accounts are synchronous. Keep colors, styles and photos consistent from your social media site to the page you hope to hook a reader or win a sale.
[highlight]You don’t cut your own hair or design your own clothes- please hire a professional to do your website design and take your photos. [/highlight] Trust me, you just aren’t that crafty, yet when it comes to online media too many folks fail at DIY. Many people shy away from hiring professionals because it’s expensive, they’re intimidated or they feel they can do it themselves.
Your photos don’t have to be the standard “realtor” photo (you know, sky blue backround, suit + cheesy smile), but even if you DIY please use a tripod (no cropped arms please!) and make sure you’re aware of the setting and lighting. Bathroom photos, dark and drunken bar photos and anything with half a person cropped out is a huge no-no for both online dating as well as social media. You’d think this was an obvious point, but it’s not- remember, first appearances matter.
[highlight]Dates hate it when you just talk about yourself or your work.[/highlight] If you’re going to tweet, try and mix it up with something beyond marketing. On Facebook, think beyond just marketing your latest product, sale or promotion- offer value, even if it’s just a funny picture or valuable infographic. For Twitter, depending on your niche you can tweet quotes, retweet other relevant posts from big names in your field or update your followers on your personal life.
You can put your social media updates on auto-pilot without pissing off your audience, do the quick test: “Would I choose not to like/follow this person seeing what I see, or would I unfollow someone for this kind of interactions?” Please avoid auto-DMs on Twitter- they’re hard to do without appearing spammy. Also avoid over-marketing your brand- the point of social media is to be social not just advertise for free.
[highlight]If you’re really trying to woo, let people get to know you.[/highlight] Enough with the horror stories of “people getting fired because of Facebook,” and the general fear mongering around personal privacy and professionalism that scares people off social media. Unless you’re doing something annoying or inappropriate people actually like to see your human side! It’s important not to overshare, but people can appreciate your quirks- the fact that you love microbrew beer or you’re a staunch Red Sox fan.
Sure, in deviating from the “standard marketing format” you my alienate some potentials, but isn’t that the point? Again, draw from your experience dating- you don’t want everyone to like you, you just want the right people to like you. Though it might be impressive to have a ton of interested people, many social media experts advise us to focus on the people who are really interested- the relationships are better and they’re more invested.
There are plenty of fish in the sea when it comes to dating and in social media- you don’t have to cast a big net, you want to cast a smart net.
[highlight]Make sure you’re looking in the right places. [/highlight] Just as you’d focus your time and energy to hang out at places where you’d be likely to find a dating match, don’t feel that you have to hang out everywhere in terms of social media, to get noticed. If you’re a vegetarian looking to settle down, you wouldn’t even bother going to a steak house- so if you’re looking for fellow crafters, young professionals or steam-punk loving fashionistas to sell your wares, you can tailor where and how you spend your time to find like-minded folks.
Tailor your search on Twitter to follow and interact with people with similar tastes or needs. Like, follow and comment on poignant fan pages (not necessarily personal pages) to get your name out there & get the conversation going with people already “liking” similar sites and brands.
[highlight]Don’t feel bad if you don’t results right away.[/highlight] It’s amazing how trying to build relationships online can seem a lot like finding relationships in real life. When our attempts fail online or in real life, it’s easy to take personally. Additionally, though we like to think online life is shallow and unrealistic in comparison to reality, it can still feel pretty crappy to only have 5 followers on Twitter or have posts that meet chirps.
It takes time to build relationships offline and online, so know that if you approach social media authentically and genuinely, the results will come.
Look critically at your online presence and make sure your photos, colors & graphics convey the right message about you. Don’t try and attract everyone, simply try and attract the right people. Let people get to know you and don’t be afraid of breaking through the professional facade- if they wanted traditional marketing they’d read a traditional ad. Be patient and treat social media as friendship building, not just “media.”
[highlight]Oh, and the most important part? Have fun. There’s no point in putting yourself out there in the dating world or with social media for your business if you’re miserable. Make it yours, represent yourself authentically and enjoy the results! [/highlight]