A solid social media presence is a big help to an online home business. It helps you connect with your audience and drives traffic to your website. While mastering social media takes a lot of work, there are some basics that will help you get started.
1. Get Started
This is the big one if you haven’t done so already. Pick at least one social media site you think will go well with your target audience, and make an account for your business. Start sharing. Follow others. If you don’t start, you’ll never figure out how it works.
2. Keep Trying
Most people quickly become frustrated with social media because it takes so long to get results. Viral doesn’t come easy. Neither do followers. You’ll see others who make it look easy and wonder why it isn’t so simple for you. Don’t focus on them, other than to see if you can get ideas to build off of.
The key word in social media is “social.” If you want things to go well, be social. Ask questions. Reply to people. Be helpful.
4. Follow Others
With many forms of social media, one of the best ways to build your following is to follow others. Find the big names in your industry and follow them. Find interesting people and follow them. Find people who might be interested in your business and follow them. Many will follow you in return – if not, you may still have a chance to interact with them by replying to things they’ve posted.
5. Self Promote
Promote your business in your social media accounts. That’s why you’re there, isn’t it? So long as you don’t overdo it, people won’t be offended.
I use Revive Old Post to keep a stream of my old posts going on Facebook and Twitter. You can also choose to share old posts on LinkedIn, Xing or Tumblr. The pro version gives a lot more control for scheduling purposes and other features. You can exclude categories, tags and even individual posts, which is handy when some things you post are only relevant to when you posted them, and not later.
6. Promote Useful Information From Others
Do not only post about your stuff. Share things that might interest your followers from other sources. This will make your account far more interesting to people than if you just post about your business.
7. Pick Your Social Media Channels
You do not have to use Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Vine, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Tumblr,… you get the idea. Use the ones that make sense for your business. Trying to use everything will only make it harder to do well at any of them.
8. Be Personal
Another part of being social is being a real person. You don’t have to post every bad moment you have, pictures of meals or anything like that. Be you. An appropriately professional you, but still you. You can joke around if that’s a part of who you are in your professional online presence; just keep in mind who you want people to see as the person behind your business.
9. Be Open to Dialogue
You may have to deal with criticism or questions at times on social media. Hopefully most of it will be easily dealt with, but sometimes you may have to deal with problems you wish could have been kept off social media. Whatever it is you have to discuss on social media, do your best to keep it professional and respectful.
10. Give It Time
It takes time for most people to build a social media following. The people who get a huge following quickly most often have fans from somewhere else or have something go viral. The rest of us have to build a following over time by posting quality information on our social media accounts and hoping for shares.
11. Don’t Stress About Going Viral
Having a post go viral is a goal for many businesses. It can drive a lot of traffic. It’s a nice goal.
It’s not something you should stress over, however. It is very hard to predict what will go viral. Create interesting content for your audience and keep your real goals in mind. It’s not traffic. Sales, subscribers and anything to do with income are much better goals than mere traffic. Viral posts aren’t necessarily good at that part.
12. Don’t Get Addicted
Social media can be a lot of fun. That means many people use it too heavily, to the detriment of their business. Social media should be a tool for your business, not a focus. If it’s taking up too much of your work day, you need to reassess how you’re using social media.
13. Pick Your Controversies
It can be good to get involved in controversies. People love a good argument. But when you’re representing your business, pick which controversies you get involved in. There’s no point in offending potential customers unnecessarily.
14. Use Scheduling Tools
There are a lot of tools available to make scheduling your social media posts easier. I use Hootsuite. You could also consider Buffer, Everypost, SocialOomph, Sprout Social or other tools. New ones come out regularly.
Pick the tool based on the social networks you use and the features the tool has. With most you’ll need a paid account, but the time you save will be worth the money. The convenience is well worth the money, and most give you a free trial, so you can test it out before spending anything.
Don’t overdo the scheduling thing. You still need to be personal, and sometimes you will need to post in real time. Sometimes you will want to rethink things you had previously scheduled due to events in the real world.
15. Link to Your Social Media Accounts on Your Website
You want people to find your social media accounts and follow them. Make it easy by prominently linking to them on your website.
People who visit your website and then follow you on social media are more likely to come back. Your presence and your posts on social media will remind them about your website and what you offer.
On this site, I have links to my social media accounts on the right sidebar. They’re highly visible, yet not in the way.
16. Make It Easy for People to Share Your Content
Have links near your content that simplify social sharing of your content. Visitors may do some of you marketing work for you by sharing content they found interesting. There are plenty of WordPress plugins, such as Shareaholic, which will do this for you automatically. I have mine at the bottom of my posts, but others prefer the top or side of their content.