Last Updated October 16th, 2017

5 Online Business Owners Share Their Best Social Media Advice

5 Online Business Owners Share Their Best Social Media Advice

Have you ever wished you could learn to use social media more easily? It doesn’t come easy for a lot of people. I put a question out there for online business owners to share what they’ve learned and give their best social media advice.

I didn’t ask about particular platforms, as it’s interesting to see which ones different people prioritize. Some advice is good for multiple platforms, but others are better for specific sites.  I hope you will find some useful advice for your social media marketing for your online business.

Get Active

Tip 1: Getting active in Twitter chats. These chats are great for further establishing yourself as an expert within your given field and also for networking with other like-minded Twitter users.

Tip 2: Maintaining an active blogging presence. We are extremely active now (blogging up to 4-5 days a week), but in the early days our blog was spotty at best. We didn’t have many posts up and didn’t include visual aids like images or video either.

Tip 3: Keeping social media accounts neat and tidy. This is found in the little details, like shortening longer links with bit.ly or owl.ly, keeping hashtags separate from their caption, and including engaging, aesthetically pleasing pictures. Again, much of our improvements over the years have come by trial and error… as I suspect is true of most everyone with a social media presence!

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. Follow her on Twitter @mycorporation.

It’s so important to be active in whatever social media you use. What active means can vary from platform to platform, but you’ll never succeed with any of them if you rarely post.

I also like the advice about keeping hashtags separate from the caption. Hashtags have their uses, but most of the time people don’t need to see them right with the rest of the post. Appropriate use of hashtags varies quite a bit from platform to platform. They aren’t as effective on Pinterest, for example, as they are on Twitter or Instagram. On any platform, be careful about how much you use hashtags. Misuse of them can limit your results.

Be Ready For Changes

Tip 1: Social Media changes daily. There are perpetual little tweaks to Facebook’s algorithm or the way Pinterest ranks pins. Even if you’ve found a really solid strategy for your social media, you have to be willing to toss all of it out the window and make the tough choices.

I’ve always had pretty good traffic from Facebook and Pinterest, but I’ll wake up one morning and my traffic has dropped off a cliff on one of those platforms. Don’t panic! It happens, but that is the time to start reevaluating your strategy, making minor changes, looking for what may have changed on blogs and forums, and then adapting to the current requirements of that social media platform.

Tip 2: Get the resources you need. I rely mainly on schedulers and automated processes to promote my artwork and blog posts on social media. I use RecurPost for Facebook and Twitter, Hootsuite for easy Instagram uploads, and I use a plugin that automatically shares to social media when I publish a post on my blog. I also use industry blogs to find out when I will need to adjust my strategy. I follow the MeetEdgar blog, SocialMediaReport.com, and a few others to find the best information.

Tip 3: Personal brands should be just that — personal. If you are a personal brand or blogger, you should have a very different tone of voice than a company or business. Share a bit of behind-the-scenes content, talk as you normally would, or share other people’s content that has inspired you.

It is those little things that will make you different from corporate entities on social media and will make you trustworthy and personable. You may be trying to sell something, but always remember that it is a person-to-person relationship, not a normal customer-business model of selling.

Sarah Donawerth
www.sarahdonawerth.com
facebook.com/sarahdonawerthauthor

Being ready for change in general comes with running an online business. Social media changes, as Sarah Donawerth mentions. So do search engines and every other method you have for generating traffic. Anyone who has run an online business for any length of time has had to face sudden changes that impact their traffic.

I also love the advice about being personal on social media. It’s a huge help even for big companies. Just look at the delight over the accidental post over on NPR about Ramona and the cats. It happened at the perfect time, right when people really needed something to smile about.

Be Willing To Experiment

Tip 1: When in doubt, post more often. When I first started on Instagram i posted once a day, like everyone said to. After a while, I got eager to get all of the great content I had stockpiled out, so I increased my posting frequency to 2, then 3, then 4 posts per day. At every step, our engagement and follower count soared. Now do you want to be posting 27 times every day? No. But it’s worth kicking your frequency up a notch to see what it can do for you.

Tip #2: Experiment constantly. Don’t decide what your social media should look like in a vacuum, try different approaches, mix it up constantly and learn from what worked and what didn’t. The only way to find the perfect content, voice, and frequency that resonates with your audience is to try new things, take what works, and leave what doesn’t.

Scott Marquart is the founder of Stringjoy Guitar Strings and a zealous advocate for personal, relatable marketing and branding in the online economy. MailChimp says, he keeps his tone personal, both with his guitar strings and his online brand. He’s helped companies in the music, electronics, and health products industries grow their revenues and develop closer connections with their customers.
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stringjoy

I love the tip to experiment. That’s an extremely important piece of social media advice. You don’t know what works for you if you don’t experiment.

Test how often you post, regardless of what others say is the right amount to post. Test the times you post and see which ones work best for you. Your audience is not exactly the same as anyone else’s audience. Learn what they like by trying things out.

Have A Plan

Tip 1: Start With A Plan – There are dozens of ways to use social media. Make sure you select the right social media strategies that fit your plan to market and promote your site.

Tip 2: Always Invite – If people like you and the advice you are sharing then invite them to take the “next step” to get to know you better. It could be something as simple as an invitation to a complimentary gift to opt-in to your email list or to join a webinar to learn more about how you help people solve a specific problem.

Tip 3: Be Consistent – Create a plan of how many times you will post a day or week and stick to it. Don’t expect to see results immediately. It is kind of like starting a diet or a healthier lifestyle meal plan. You don’t expect to see a lot of results within the first week or two.

Crystal Olivarria is a Career Coach at Career Conversationalist. Parents hire Crystal to help their child select a relevant career. Crystal invites you to receive your complimentary gift 7 Ways To Help Your Child Select A Relevant Career, Regardless What Age Your Child Is at 7WaysToHelp.com.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/crystal-olivarria-32125712/

Having a plan is great advice. It’s a help to know how you’re going to attract people’s attention as well as what you’re going to do once you’ve got it. Every plan takes time to create and see results, but it’s usually more effective than just winging it.

Social media advice that takes into consideration why you’re using social media is particularly important. It isn’t all about getting a ton of followers. The results that build your business and improve your income are vital to the success of your online business.

Spending Some Money Can Help

Tip 1: I wish I knew how to effectively use Facebook ads sooner. When I first started practicing, I used Facebook ads to drive traffic to my blog as a content marketing strategy. It worked well and quite a few of my patients stated that they first came across my practice on Facebook. The problem was allowing Facebook to set my bid (e.g. how much I am willing to pay for a click), which is the automatic setting.

When I realized that I could actually say, I don’t want to spend more than X amount of money for a click, I was better able to control my ad spend in a way that made sense for my business.

Tip 2: I also wish I knew about running contests as a means of raising awareness for my business sooner. We have tried a variety of different methods in an attempt to raise awareness about what we do, but nothing seems to have worked as well as holding viral contests using a plugin like King Sumo or software like Gleam or UpViral.

Viral contests work by encouraging people who enter your contest to share it with their friends. Each person receives additional entries when people who they share the contest with sign up, so the incentive is there to share. As a result, more and more people learn about your contest or giveaway, you gain additional targeted leads, and awareness is raised for your business.

Tip 3: Regarding Instagram, I wish I knew that having a recognizable visual pattern to your feed helped to increase the likelihood that people would follow you (e.g. aesthetics really do matter) and I wish I knew that I could use a site like https://linktr.ee to include more than one clickable links attached to my profile.

Dr. Janelle Louis ND. My new mental health blog is located at The MHA Spot. My
Instagram account for it is here: https://www.instagram.com/themhaspot/

Making the decision to spend money on your social media isn’t always an easy one. It’s a risk. The benefits can be very well worth it. You will need to test ads to see what works for you so that you don’t waste your money on things that don’t work.

Has This Social Media Advice Been Helpful?

The final piece of advice I would like to give is “keep on trying.” When you’ve decided that a social media platform is a good match to your business needs, don’t give up on it too easily.

If you want to learn more about social media marketing, you may want to consider taking a courseicon through Udemy. I’ve found their courses to be quite helpful, and you can get some good deals on them. I have also given some advice on making the most of Pinterest as a home business in an earlier post.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated September 5th, 2017

Are You Using Pinterest For Your Home Business?

 

Are You Using Pinterest For Your Home Business?

Pinterest is a lot of fun to use on a personal level. It can also be extremely beneficial for your home business. Fortunately, Pinterest makes it pretty easy to set up a Pinterest Business account.

The advantages are simple: you get more information about Pinterest activity and your website. This is a big deal when you want to know what does well for you on Pinterest. There will often be some surprises.

You should always be aware of the Terms of Service for any account. You can find them for Pinterest at http://business.pinterest.com/tos/.

You may want to create a new account for your website rather than use your personal account. It depends on how focused you want your business account to be. You’re more optimized that way, but if you haven’t had an account focused on your business before, it can be hard starting over in terms of building a following.

Alternatively, make your non-business boards secret. This keeps the visible focus of your account on things related to your business, while allowing you to use Pinterest for your personal interests on the same account.

You can, of course, just not worry about focus. There can be reasons to have broader interests included in your account

How To Create A Pinterest Business Account

1. Log into your Pinterest account and find the Pinterest for Business section. It will give you the option to join as a business.

2. This will send you to modify your current account settings to get set up as a business. You can select the type of business you’re running and edit your information to look more professional.

3. Confirm your website. Pinterest will give you the information needed so that they can confirm you own the website listed in your profile. This will be in the form of an HTML file to upload or a meta tag to put in your header. Which is easier depends on how you run your website. If you use WordPress, the meta tag is probably the easiest, as it just needs to be added to your header file.

Once you’ve done this, go back to Pinterest and click “Confirm” by your website in your settings. It should be confirmed quickly, although sometimes it takes a little.

That’s all it takes.

Apply For Rich Pins

Take a little time to apply for rich pins for your website. Rich pins give a little more information on pins from your website. Depending on the kind of pin, this can be a big deal. Rich pins can include pricing information, ingredients for recipes and extra information on articles.

To get approved for rich pins, you have to add meta tags to your site, and apply for approval. The quickest way to do this if you have WordPress is to install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin.

Next, go to the Yoast Features tab and enable the Advanced Settings page. This will add the metadata to your pages.

Once this is done, you can go to the Rich Pins Validator on Pinterest. Paste in the URL of any post and click validate. If the page validates, you can apply. Approval usually takes a few days.

What’s The Point?

The point to having a Pinterest Business account is getting all the extra information about your business on Pinterest. Check out the analytics section, for starters.

Pinterest’s analytics will give you information about which of your pins are doing well, how many impressions your pins are getting, and more. Better yet, you can see which of your pins are doing particularly well.

My favorite part is seeing how pins from my domain are doing. The all-time most shared pins section is very educational, as is seeing which pins from my domain do best in search. This is vital information if you want to do better on Pinterest.

Don’t Forget To Make Pinning Easy On Your Website

Make sure you’ve made it as easy as possible for people to pin your content and to follow you on Pinterest.

You can add a script to add a Pin It link on your images. You can learn how at https://developers.pinterest.com/docs/widgets/save/?.

If you use WordPress, there are plugins that will add links for pinning (and other social media) to your website. I use the Shareaholic plugin. It’s easy to configure.

Add a link to your Pinterest account to your sidebar. This is one more way for people to connect to your site, and hopefully come back. You can download the official Pinterest badge for this, which you can link to the URL of your account.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated February 16th, 2017

Are You Ready For The Facebook Jobs Page?

Facebook has opened up its Jobs page to the public. They’ve been testing it for a while, but now it is visible to users and shows jobs in the United States and Canada. Businesses can post jobs directly on Facebook, and people can apply to the jobs directly from Facebook.

All this makes it all the more important that you have your social media accounts ready for your job hunt, especially your Facebook account. If you’re applying via Facebook, you must expect that the employer is going to notice your presence there. Make sure that the information available to potential employers is the information you want available to them, whether it comes to them through the application process or by visiting your profile.

Jobs can appear in your news feed, the new bookmark for jobs or within posts on the business’ page. When you apply, some of your information will populate based on your Facebook profile. You can edit it if necessary.

This is, at least in part, a way for Facebook to compete with LinkedIn. It’s easy to change the area you’re searching in if you don’t see what you’re looking for in the default area, which is based on where you live. It requires you to list a location and range (2-100 miles), which isn’t ideal if you’re looking for work at home and don’t care about location, but you can make it work.

The Industry categories you can search in are rather broad – you’re best off searching the jobs with a keyword if you know what kind of job you’re looking for. “Local Business” doesn’t say much about the kind of work you will find, after all.

On the plus side, you can find even low skill level work on Facebook; it isn’t all jobs that require a degree or years of experience. It’s easy for local restaurants to post jobs, for example. Any business that has a Page on Facebook can easily add a job listing to their page and it will show up with the other jobs. LinkedIn has not been as popular for low skill jobs as it has been for medium to high skill level jobs. This gives Facebook an opening.

All this doesn’t mean you should give up on using any other job boards – LinkedIn, Indeed, the Home With The Kids Job Board – it’s one more source for job hunting, that’s all. When you need work, the more resources you have, the better your chances are of finding it.

I can see this being good for home based businesses as well. Post a job on your business’s Facebook Page, and one of your fans might be a good fit.

As always, do your research before applying for any jobs. I have no doubt that some scams will post jobs, just as legitimate companies do. Make sure you aren’t giving away too much information when you don’t know whether or not the company or job are real.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated February 8th, 2017

Social Media Checklist For Job Hunters

Social media is a vital tool for job seekers these days. Not only can you find job leads through social media, employers and recruiters may look at what you’re doing on social media. You need to know how to use social media and how to make your accounts look good should a potential employer take a look during the hiring process. Here’s a checklist to help you prepare your social media accounts for your job hunt.

Have an account on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is the most important social media website when you’re looking for a job. The Jobvite recruiter survey in 2015 found that 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn. Some employers and recruiters seek people out on LinkedIn. You can set up a resume on there so that they can see your work history and experience. Some employers will allow you to apply through LinkedIn, making it all the more important to have a resume prepared there.

LinkedIn is not a place for socializing with your friends, although you should connect with people you know there. It’s for networking. Don’t share anything there that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. Building your network may also help you land a job – 78% of recruiters in that survey said they get their best quality candidates through referrals.

Use job related keywords.

Use keywords and phrases relevant to the jobs you would like to have. If a recruiter is searching LinkedIn for candidates, these will improve your chances of being noticed.

Join LinkedIn groups.

Join groups on LinkedIn that are relevant to your career. Participate. Show your knowledge.

Get references.

Get LinkedIn references for your skills. You can ask your connections for references. You may want to them edit it if they don’t phrase it with the right keywords. Be polite and understanding, even if someone chooses not to give you a reference.

Follow their social media.

Follow companies you would like for on their social media accounts. Include their LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or other relevant accounts. This will help you keep up with what they’re doing and may help you spot openings. It also shows your interest.

Know which social networks employers will want to see.

If there’s a social media network that’s relevant to the kind of work you would like to be doing, make sure you have a visible presence on there. Instagram and Pinterest are good if you want to work in a highly visual or design oriented field, for example. Make sure such accounts look professional. It’s one of the places you can show off your skills on your own terms.

Review your photographs and videos on all social media accounts.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not listing your social media accounts when you apply for a job – clean them up anyhow. You never know if a potential employer is going to look you up online, and you don’t want embarrassing photographs or videos to ruin your chance at the job.

Don’t forget photos your friends may have tagged you in. You may need to ask them to remove the tags while you look for work.

Most important would be your profile image and cover image. These are the most prominent in your account and will be one of the first things visible. Make sure these look professional.

Clean up posts about drinking, drugs, sex, guns or anything else a potential employer may find inappropriate.

It doesn’t matter if what you’re doing is entirely legal – most employers consider social posts about drinking, drug use and so forth a negative when considering an employee. You want them to see the best of you.

Inappropriate comments about race, gender and so forth should be removed.

Hopefully you aren’t saying awful things about people based on race, gender and so forth. Even if you think it’s nothing more than a joke, employers don’t want to see these kinds of things, and they can leave a very poor impression.

Review your political posts.

You may also want to use caution in what political posts show up. You have the right to express yourself, but potential employers are deciding if they want you to represent them. At the very least, make sure political posts are politely phrased and don’t involve name calling. On the other hand, if that’s who you are and you’re proud of it, leave it up while knowing the risks.

Nothing negative about current/former employers or coworkers.

If a potential employer sees you bad mouthing an employer or coworker, they may assume that you’ll do the same to them. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t name names. It doesn’t matter if you have a good reason. It doesn’t matter if they really are that awful. Take it down when you’re looking for a new job. Also think carefully about such posts in the future. Venting in person or on the phone with trusted friends may be a better choice.

Check your grammar, spelling and so forth.

If your social media accounts are filled with poor spelling, lousy grammar and a general problem with clear communication, employers are not going to be impressed. I know many people love to use textese, but the ability to communicate clearly in a more traditional manner is what employers want.

Include your volunteer work.

If you volunteer somewhere, don’t be shy about sharing that fact. Volunteer activities not only often go well on a resume, they should be listed on your LinkedIn account.

Check your privacy settings.

You may think you know how well you’ve locked down your Facebook account or other social media accounts, but are you certain? Review your settings so that you know where they’re at. If possible, have somebody who is not on your friends list check it too. Make sure your accounts show what you want them to show. Some social networks give you more control than others.

Don’t share everything.

If you’re sharing everything you do all day long, employers may see that as a tendency to waste time on social media. You may want to rethink the balance between being yourself and oversharing. If you wouldn’t want your boss to see it, don’t share it where everyone can see it.

Don’t delete your accounts.

Don’t feel that you have to delete your social media accounts, especially if you want to work anything related to marketing. If the job has to do with marketing or social media, a lack of a presence is a problem. Social media uses is so common these days, it could be a problem even if the job has nothing to do with social media. Some employers will think you’re hiding something if they can’t find any social media accounts for you. They might also see you as behind the times.

Having a solid social media presence can make you more interesting to potential employers. Take advantage of the good parts to make a good impression when you’re looked up. If you aren’t visible, someone else could be mistaken for you. That could be a problem.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated October 5th, 2016

16 Vital Tips to Get Your Social Media Marketing on Track

16 Vital Tips to Get Your Social Media Marketing on Track

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.

3. Interact

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.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.