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Social Media

Social Media. It’s everywhere: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn and countless others. Each platform has its own nuances but, bottom line, they allow individuals and businesses to connect and share thoughts, photos, videos, news (real, fake, and debatable), promotions and anything else you can think of. Yes, most of us probably spend too much time on social media – it’s very easy to get sucked in and lose an hour when you only meant to read a couple of messages. And, if social media is interfering with your productivity, consider the Chrome browser extension Work Mode: Block ALL Social Media
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Of course, what was popular amongst the younger generation soon became ubiquitous, to the frustration of many, amongst the older generation & businesses. What started out as the equivalent of popping into your local to catch up with friends, soon morphed into walking down the high street and being bombarded by advertisements and businesses vying for your attention. But, hey, Facebook, Twitter et al. are businesses and they need to generate an income from somewhere other than its users who use their services for free. So, if you want to enjoy your social media for nothing, we have to accept there needs to be a certain amount of advertising. Just because you walk past numerous shops on the way to the pub, doesn’t mean you have to pop-in (or click) and purchase anything.social media

 

 

Businesses having a presence on social media is a here to stay and, from our perspective, we think it’s a good thing. Providing businesses don’t constantly try to sell their products and services but use social media to share interesting content and engage with customers in a positive manner (particularly when customers take to social media to complain), the experience should be rewarding for all users. From a customer perspective, we have been able to reach out and engage with small local businesses, national companies and huge multinationals through social media. Resolving disputes and queries can be done less painfully through social media than calling customer support and being put on hold for who-knows-how-long listening to who-knows-what. From a business perspective, clients can reach out to us with questions and it means other clients and potential clients see how much we value engaging through social media.
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Okay, so your business has decided it needs a social media presence but which platforms should you choose? To begin with, we suggest Facebook (as most people are familiar with the platform), Twitter (because it’s great for online conversations and networking), YouTube (is the best place to host videos and link to other social media platforms and your business website), and LinkedIn (for professional online networking). Try to obtain the same handle (username; ours is @jigsawkloud) across the different platforms – this makes it easier to find your business. Once you have created your social media accounts for your business, you will need to generate followers by reaching out to the network you already have on the various platforms (by adding social media links on the contact page of your website and to the footer of emails) and by using third-party apps such as CrowdFire. NB: we no longer use CrowdFire – we felt we were getting far too many irrelevant followers or, worse, accounts of a dubious nature. The app also encourages reciprocated following, which may or may not suit your needs. Our focus now is very much more on quality, rather than quantity. However, if increasing your follower numbers is important to you, it can be a useful tool.
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Next, you must decide upon a strategy for posting content. Now, you could just post links to your website (social media is great for sharing blogs) and other sites with relevant content on an ad hoc basis. However, such a strategy is likely to see you forget to post regularly, over post when you do remember and, worst of all, lose yourself for longer than you planned because you become distracted by yet another cat video posted by your Aunt Doris. Our advice is to invest time in creating a monthly planner (an Excel spreadsheet is perfect for this), with your channels in the top row, and dates/times in the first column. Our advice is to create a mix of content: educational/interesting (that relate to your business); inspiring (quotes/sayings); sales and marketing (with links to your blogs, products and services); and conversational (these are typically more ad hoc and involve online networking and responding to @mentions; so you can’t plan for these). The CrowdFire app (mentioned earlier) is great for not missing @mentions, retweets, and replies.
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Try to use images or videos as much as possible, and ensure any links to your own website contain images with the correct alt attributes (this ensures the social media platforms include a relevant image, rather than a blank space), which looks both visually appealing and more professional. Once you have created a list of educational, inspiring, and marketing posts, open an account with HootSuite and link with a social media account. Now, rather than having to log in to numerous social media accounts on an ad hoc basis, you can schedule as many posts as you like in one go. Not only is this a more efficient way to ensure your business posts regularly, it avoids wasting (what should have been productive) hours scrolling down your newsfeed (when all you wanted to do was post a 50% discount promotion to your customers). So, like Daenerys takes control of her dragons in Game of Thrones, take control of your social media…

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