When I think of social media I think of a circus where everyone is trying to be the most annoying clown. As much as I like to decline tickets to the show someone comes along and says “Hey, why aren’t you in the ring?!” As they remind me that social media can be a useful tool for business, I dutifully don the red wig, makeup, suspenders, jumbo tie and jumbo shoes to perhaps grab a small share of a sideshow spotlight.
I recently attended a conference which had a panel discussion on social media. These people were truly brilliant social media gurus, hence their selection to be on the panel. They had some excellent tips to get more followers and to spread your business’ message. After all, it’s free advertising so why wouldn’t you want to take their advice to maximize this avenue toward more revenue, or at the very least, increased website traffic?
However, among their exceptional tips was an overarching and unrelenting message: increase your social media energy.
For some, this may seem like an impossible task. To be better on social media almost always means to increase your energy, attentiveness, and time toward it which would require energy, attentiveness, and time away from other tasks. As you time-budget your activities, you ask yourself how you can justify taking away the amount of time it will take to create profiles on all of the platforms, log-in to all of the platforms every day and add posts to all of the platforms? If you’re like me, you’re not trying to be the next social media star, you’re trying to sell your services and go back to work.
Allow me to share some conundrums in social media I encounter:
One panelist was absolutely correct when she said consistency is key. Whether you post articles relevant to your profession or just videos of dogs doing cute stuff, doing so in temporal increments is important to have an effective social media presence. The problem is, even if I set an alarm, I won’t be as consistent as necessary to do that point justice. Eventually, any consistency I had will fade and I’ll be back to square one in my posting habits.
How Much is Enough?
The same panelist suggested posting as many as 3 times a week, which seems like a lot. In reality, it isn’t. As a matter of fact, check your engagement. If you have 1000 followers, you are likely only reaching a small portion of them with any given posting. An even smaller portion of those people will bother to like, comment on, or share your post. Those percentages depend on your audience. Who are they? Are they as busy as you are? How many people are they following? It matters, because there’s a huge difference if they check their feed twice a day or 80 times a day. Then, you multiply that amount by number of people they follow. So posting 3 times per week may still give you incredibly low visibility overall. Thus, your social media energy may need to expand even further. Yikes.
How Much is Too Much?
So you’re somewhat self-aware and see there’s a glaring flip-side to increasing your social media activity. “Am I being annoying?” – Is quite an honest question. However, it is probably not to the degree that you think it is. Studies show that your total engagement rate (# of likes, comments, shares, etc.) will still be positively affected with more posts vs engagement per post. This means that while you increase the amount of posts you have, your engagement per post may go down a little, but you will still see more engagements overall. This is good. (ref: https://buffer.com/library/social-media-frequency-guide/)
So What is the Max?
I’ve heard that the absolute maximum amount of posts you can make per day before a consistent number of people will begin to unfollow you is 36. It seems high, but consider that this was done on Twitter and the fact that Tweets have a lifespan of about 18 minutes before their engagements will have peaked. Any retweets after are residual and just a bonus. On to the next Tweet. (ref: https://www.fastcompany.com/3029019/the-social-media-frequency-guide-how-often-to-post-to-facebook-twitter-linkedin-a)
So now that we’ve looked at the issues, let’s see how we can maximize our use of social media while engaging at the proper rate and not being completely burnt out by it:
Comment on others’ posts. Help a brother or sister out. Don’t be annoying, rude, or overly patronizing. Use this opportunity to give them insight into what you do while increasing their engagement stats. Don’t do it to sell them your product or services, but to educate them with some free content. People love free stuff, but love it even more when it is personally made to them. If it’s free knowledge, you just gave them “insider info”. When they “like” your comment, they just shared it with all of their followers. At some point you can expect reciprocation on your posts. Hence, your post engagement will benefit without your intense effort. No, it’s not the most ground-breaking note, but it is good perspective to lessen the exhausting tolls this circus requires.
Automation services. Wouldn’t a “fire and forget” setup be nice? Well, why not? Those tools are available! Follow these simple steps to create an automated social media presence in a very efficient and consistent way:
1. Create business profiles on all of your preferred social media. Keep them separate from your personal ones with the exception of LinkedIn where you should have both a business profile and attached personal profile.
2. Create articles that have a certain amount of helpful information in them. Post them to your website with some regularity. You should start with at least 4 articles because they will be rotated automatically.
3. Create an account on social media automation websites like Buffer.com or RecurPost.com. Personally, I use RecurPost as I heard about it first, but both will help you automate. I use RecurPost for free.
4. Follow the prompts to add your website blog and social media accounts to your post automation profile on Buffer or RecurPost.
5. Select when you want to post your articles for each platform. Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 2pm for LinkedIn? Daily on the hour during peak usage hours for Twitter? Do what you think is best. You can always go back and tweak it.
6. Sit back and enjoy the ride. Come up with new content and post it to your website, but the rest will take care of itself as long as you want it to.
Doing these two suggestions will take minimal time out of your day and can yield many peripheral benefits. If someone wants to research you, what would they find you as? With these easy points you could be seen as a subject matter expert rather than, well… a clown.