Use Graphics to Rekindle Your Love For Social Media

Have you fallen out of love with social media? Does it seem drab and boring these days?

The good news is that you can rekindle your love for your favorite social sites!

So, here’s what you need to do:

  1. You still need to whisper sweet nothings, you know, engage!
  2. Of course, paying attention to what your followers need is important, too, so be sure to continue to share valuable content.
  3. It probably wouldn’t hurt to be a bit clever or funny at times.

And, sometimes you’ll need to change things up a bit. Sure, you can broadcast important marketing data or small business tips. But, wouldn’t it be nicer if you showed how much you care? One simple way to do this is by sharing visual content.

Why Visuals Matter

By now, you’ve probably heard that including visuals in your blog posts can boost the value and credibility of your content. This is true even when the included graphics have nothing do with the content you share. Crazy, right?

And, when you share images on social media, your followers will throw themselves at your feet. Well, maybe they won’t, but they will be curious to see your graphics and start interacting with you in ways that you will definitely love.

Here are a few (tweetable) statistics that explain what I mean:

Twitter

You have probably seen some tweets with URLs that look like this:

http://pic.twitter.com/YPs52Q4igl

This is an image link that lets your tweeps know that there’s a photo present in your tweet. As it turns out, tweets with those links get way more engagement than tweets without them.

[Tweet “Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets.”] [Source: Hubspot]

Facebook

According to SocialBakers.com, “photos still get all the action” on Facebook. Basically, posts with images received more interactions than those without photos. You’re probably not surprised to learn that when you post pictures on Facebook, they get more clicks, likes, and comments than text-based updates.

[Tweet “Facebook updates with pictures get 53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click-throughs.”] [Source: FastCompany.com]

LinkedIn

Did you think that sharing images was only for the Twitter and Facebook? Think again. Posting images on LinkedIn company pages has been shown to dramatically increase comments.

[Tweet “Posting images on LinkedIn company pages show 98% higher comment rate.”] [Source: Buffer]

 

What Types of Graphic Content Can You Use?

So, we agree that a great way to keep your relationship with your social media peeps exciting is to include visuals in your status updates. Sure, you can use stock photos, but you should probably add a bit of sparkle and pizazz to them ahead of time. More on how to do that later.

Social Media Image Sizes

Click to enlarge

Now that you’re ready to mix things up a bit on social, don’t forget to optimize your images for each network. Check out this handy dandy cheat sheet with the image dimensions for the most popular social sites. Or, you can use this simplified version created by Dustin Stout (over there on the right).

And, that’s not all you can do to keep things interesting. Instead of sharing images only, consider using a plethora of visual goodness to keep your followers interested and coming back for more.

So, share content like:

  • Graphic Quotes
  • Memes
  • Infographics
  • GIFs
  • Short videos

Okay, now on to the tools you need.

 

RELATED: Stop Using These Crappy Images On Your Social Media Posts

Tools to Create Great Graphic Content

I’d love to tell you that there’s an app to help you make rockin’ graphics that will wow your social media peeps.

But, there isn’t.

There are MANY apps for that!

And, that’s good news because you’ll likely never run out of tools you can use to make cool visuals. Today, I’ll focus on three popular types of visuals — and the tools you can use — to spruce up your social media posts.

1. Visual: Graphics With Overlays

Tools: Canva, Picmonkey

When you have photograph or image that you’d like include with a social media update, you’ll probably want to add your own unique message or put your stamp on it before you share it.

This is where Canva and Picmonkey come in. Both are web-based applications (though Canva now has an iPad app). Both are super easy to use and don’t require design or technical knowledge for you to create an awesome graphic. Here’s one I created recently using Canva …

show your website some love

I created this graphic for this blog post using Canva. This image can be easily optimized and used on social media to promote the post.

Canva offers templates for a variety uses (including social media) and you can now share your designs with other Canva users (sounds like it’s turning into its own social network!). Picmonkey also has several templates (check out the collages), lets you start a design from scratch, or simply edit what you already have.

Before jumping into the next topic, I have to mention A Beautiful Mess app (iOS & Android). The girls on the SocialKNX team swear by it, so I’m going to have to give it a whirl. It’s next on my list! If you use it, let me know what you love about it.

2. Visual: Graphic Quotes

Tools: Quozio, Pinwords

A graphic quote is basically a quote that’s dressed up in a cute, fun, or fancy way. One simple tool you can use to make one yourself is Quozio. Simply enter your quote, who said it, …

Socail Media Loves Graphics

 

… choose your style, and then share with your social media peeps.

 

Social Media Loves Graphics

 

Pinwords is just as easy, too. Upload a picture to use as the background for your quote, or select one of the four backgrounds provided before sharing on your social sites.

Social media loves graphics

3. Visual: Infographics

Tools: Canva, Piktochart, Easely

Infographics share complicated information in an easy way which makes the data quick to consume. They can be a nice complement to blog posts, but they are also great to post on social media. You might choose to share a snippet of your infographic on social to drive readers back to the full post.

Did you know that you can create infographics with Canva? Again, ease of use is a huge time saver and you get all the tools you need to mock up a fantastic graphic. Here’s one (with fictional stats) I created in just under 12 minutes. Granted, it’s only part of an infographic, but it does give you an idea of how long it might take to create one that’s fully fleshed out.

Note: This is important. I know you know this, but you really should use real data and statistics (not made up ones like I used).

Social Media Loves Graphics

Of course, there are other visuals you can create to rekindle that spark you once had with your favorite social sites. Consider creating MEMEs (imgflip can help), GIFs (check out imgflip and quickmeme), and videos (try Vine).

And, speaking of videos, did you know that you can now share and watch videos using the Twitter mobile app? Your heart skipped a beat when you read that, didn’t it?

Check out this Twitter video from Doogie Howser himself (pre-Oscars) and then bask in the glow of a love renewed with social media. Start making plans of your own. Think about how you can wow your social media peeps with creative and clever visuals.

Use some of the tools I mentioned today and then come back and leave a comment with how things worked out for you. Or, give me a shout out on Twitter (@DAllisonLee).

Okay, now off you go …

 

 

How to be Irresistible to Your Social Media Community

socialknx social marketing social media management company be different

Have you ever been in a large group and found there was one person that everyone wanted to talk to?  They seemed to made of super-charged magnetic material, attracting every person to them. While some people in the room try and blend in, this magnetic person stands out.

Today’s digital and social marketing space is noisy and very crowded. Everyone starts looking and sounding the same. To become more irresistible to your social media community you need to be very different from the masses. You need to stand out.

When someone sees your website, your blog, your social media sites, they should immediately know there is something attractive about you and the work you do. They should either be drawn to you or completely repelled by you. As Taylor Swift reminds us, “Haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate…shake it off!” Work to attract those who will LOVE your style and shake the others off.

We will not attract everyone, and if you are one of those people who says everyone is a target for your business, you are wrong.  I’m going to tell you something your mother should have told you years ago …There are going to be people who just don’t like you or your style. But let’s focus on those that will find your attractive.  Those that can grow to love you and what your brand stands for.

To become more irresistible to those customers, community of potential customers, and fans, follow these steps:

  1. Know who you are

    What are you known for?  Take out a pen right now (or open a Word doc) and write down 5-10 words that describe you.  Be brutally honest.  Don’t write what you would LIKE to become yet.  How do you and your brand appear to others?  FUN? SERIOUS? SASSY? EDGY? SAFE? CONSERVATIVE?  Keep going.  If you’d like to change these words and how others see you or your company, you need to think wholistically. Your website copy, the types of photos you share, what you write about, and talk about, all should be congruent with your brand and what you are known for.

    What is your expertise? What do others know you for? For those of you who have a list of 74 skills that you are telling the world you are an expert in, take time to narrow that list down to the 3 or 4 things you are really an expert in. If you are unsure of what you are known for, ask people.  Ask your clients, friends, and social media communities.  Until you know who you are and what you are known for, it is really hard to create brand messages that attract the right people.

    bird man social media management company stand out be different

  2. Be brave enough to show others how different you are

    Many times we say we are innovative, relevant or even edgy, but nothing in our messaging confirms that. If you talk about innovative strategies and want to be known as a brand that thinks differently, then be sure your website isn’t filled with stale images that appear on every other website out there. Dare to be very different. It’s not enough to have those words written on your website. Your brand has to speak the words without a word being spoken. Do your employees or team members look any different than every other company? Are you hiring people who represent your brand well or just filling spots?
    (READ: Stop Using These Crappy Photos on Your Social Media Posts)

    If you need to get out of your stale thinking rut, take a look at an industry that is far out of your arena.  You don’t have to look far to find innovative companies to examine. Take a look at the hottest eyewear company, Warby Parker, the uber creative coworking space provider, WeWork or the edgy clothing brand, Johnny Cupcake, that was inspired by an industry far from the clothing world.

    different branding social media company stand out

  3. Surround yourself with people who are different, just like you

    Do you work with people you love spending time with? Sometimes we take on a client that we know we shouldn’t. There are red flags going off all over the place and yet we take on the project, only to regret it later. Join networking groups or associations that are filled with brave and different people, just like you. We all need to hang around with others who sharpen us and make it okay to be boldly different.

    On your social media channels, find those who are in alignment with you. Connecting strategically with those who are more like you and your brand, will help you continue to sharpen your focus and your messaging. Who is targeting the same market as you without being a competitor? Who uses similar language and has a style you enjoy? Finding and connecting with people who will push the virtual envelope encourages us to go bigger and bolder.

 (READ: Target Your Social Media for Greater Results)

What are your 5 words? What are you known for? Share them with us here in the comments.  We’d love to hear them.

If you are finding it difficult to rise above the social and digital clutter out there, we can help.  And if you’d like a 3rd party audit of your social media sites, contact us today! I’d be happy to help you define your brand and your audience to connect more successfully.

I’d love to connect on social media as well.

@GinaSchreck

@SocialKNX

 

Three Ways to Sink Your Social Media Shots

basketball swish

Do you post and hope for the best? Is your aim at social media more like a brick shot or all net? Some of you may even be throwing up air balls!

 

To become proficient in the game of social media, we need to incorporate timing, coordination, and repetition.

 

Is all this social noise making a difference? Do you find yourself wondering if your messages are stuck in the never ending Twitter feed or have fallen in to the Facebook black hole? Will anyone even notice if you skip posting for a week?

I recently played basketball with my children. My daughter was throwing the ball up with her arms towards the hoop, but had little aim and relatively any opportunity to make the shot. The ball truly never had a chance to go in the basket.

She had the the initial components for making a shot:

A ball

A goal

Hands on the ball

Jump and release

However, her hands weren’t placed correctly, she didn’t power through her legs when she jumped, and her follow through was out instead of up.

A few minutes spent showing her the correct form and approach, and she drilled the next one (proud Mom moment!). Actually, she drilled the next three and royally impressed her older brother.

Does your social media strategy need a form adjustment?

Are you just throwing content out for content’s sake? Throwing a post up or a tweet out just to have something posted online? People are able to smell inauthenticity a mile away, especially on social media. Would you agree there is a lot of noise across various social media channels these days?

In 60 seconds, Google receives over 4,000,000 search queries, YouTube users upload 71 hours of new videos, Pinterest users Pin 3,472 photos, Facebook users share 2,460,000 pieces of content, Twitter users share 277,000 tweets, and Apple users download 48,000 apps.

Social Media Data Never Sleeps Content Amount

 

[Data Never Sleeps created by DOMO]

Clients want to know how many times a day one should post, how many days a week, and how to get that content noticed. Are you investing your time and resources to be on the social media court and play ball? Let’s look at some drills to help you in the game.

First we’ll spend a couple of minutes talking about your form.

Step 1: Preparation

Are you posting QUALITY content? I don’t care how much you can pump out, if it’s not the good stuff, please save the rest of us from having it clutter our streams. The key I’ve found is this: if you’re posting quality content, people aren’t going to really mind how often you post.

Take for example productivity expert Neen James. She takes her well formed shots over and over. She’s repetitive in her strategy. No one’s going to say “Neen, I so appreciate your helpful tweets on productivity, but seriously. Can you slow down? I am just getting WAY too much work completed and do not need any more tips and tricks on how to get twice as much done in half the time. Seriously, I’d much prefer to continue being a day late and a dollar short, play catch up on all my to-do’s, and never spend quality time with those I care about because I can’t get it all done. Sound good?”.

Of course not! This woman knows what she’s talking about. She’s living proof of how to get things done. I want to learn from her. Not only is her content helpful, it is presented creatively. She uses blogs, video, graphics, images, and plain text in her mix of social media shots. Keep it coming, Neen! Her bubbly personality shines through as bright as the champagne she fondly speaks of.

Step 2: Release

Got to get that post up. I hope it’s the right time. Let’s see – some of our fans are on the East coast, some international and some on Mountain time. They’re actually all over. What time of day is best? Should I not post in the evenings? What about at lunch…do people really check Twitter at lunch? HELLO! Have you not seen how (sadly) most people eat these days with one hand on the fork and one on their iPhone? Regardless of how tacky this is (we’ll save the social media manners post for another day, but bet your bottom dollar I’ll write one!) people are doing it.

Insights and analytics on your social media accounts enable you to see the more favorable times your audience will be reached. Why not take advantage of that information? The idea is to play with it. Test different times of day and check the results at month’s end.

Warning: don’t become paralyzed trying to figure out THE perfect timing and end up not posting at all.

Inaction does not serve you or your brand. You don’t want someone checking out your social channels and seeing huge time gaps of days and weeks on end with zero content. Why should they listen to you? The key is consistency. Repetition. Do it over and over and over.

We’ve discussed the set up and release: creating and curating your content, then posting it. The next drill we’re going to practice is one of the components that’s key in basketball and often overlooked in social media: the follow through.

Step 3: Follow Through

All day long you can shoot the ball with the best mechanics of part one in strategy and taking the shot, but if you don’t have the right follow through, your work is worthless. Why waste all that preparation?

Just like in basketball, in social media you need to follow through.

Here are three tips to help:

Acknowledge Comments 

How do you answer someone who pays you a compliment face to face? We’ll use Neen as our example. Assuming the compliment is largely on her productivity tips or her fabulous shoe collection – do you think she just stares at them blankly? No! She says thank you and interacts with them. It’s the same online. She engages. Did someone comment on your Facebook post or reply to you on Twitter? Be sure to show your appreciation.

Neglecting to acknowledge comments on social media is a foul in the playbook of community management.

In basketball, you get five chances. In social, not so much. My bet is you’d get tossed much sooner with a big click to the UNFOLLOW button. We could raise the stakes to a technical and even have negative comments written because we hacked someone off by not responding to their inquiry or less than stellar experience with our brand (aside from those crazy one-offs that do occur). Acknowledging comments = validation, and everyone wants to feel validated.

Social Listening

You have every opportunity to monitor your brand online. With paid services through SMMS tools, to free ones like Google Alerts or Mention.com, even the notification in the apps themselves…you should always know when someone’s talking about you. RELATED: Checklist for Setting Up Your Social Marketing Command Center

You can’t respond to what you don’t know is being said. Mentions can be sent to you as they occur, daily, or weekly. You decide what’s right for you (however we highly suggest responding as soon as possible). People on social media expect responses in a timely manner.

Walking About

What happens after you make the three pointer? High fives! Are you walking about and high fiving your brand advocates? Go to their Facebook pages and like an interesting post. Comment on a photo. Tag them in Twitter saying why you like to do business with them. Social media is meant to be social, so let’s applaud and cheer after those shots are made. Your teammates (i.e. employees, partners, advocates, customers) will thank you for it.

social media conversation

“Anyone can be a great shooter, but to do so you must be prepared to commit to many repetitions of the correct way to shoot.” – 94fifty.com

Are you targeted with your aim and your follow through? Be the person/company/brand on social media who is all net when you shoot. SWISH!

@MindyRodenburg

Kickstart My Heart: 1 Simple Way to Show Your Website Some Love

 

February is the month of love and Valentine’s Day is just a few, short days away. Couples make special plans, reminisce about old times, and perhaps make plans for new adventures together. This time of year is often a time to reflect and nurture the important relationships in our lives.

Think all this lovey-dovey activity is just for your personal relationships? Not at all! Why not use this as a time to also show your website some love? If you’re a business owner, you should be actively engaged with your site. Afterall, it’s one of the main partnerships you have.

You probably visit your site every day. Maybe you check your visitor stats. Or, upload fresh content regularly to keep your other partner (i.e., Google) happy.

You have been showering your site with attention, haven’t you? Or, are you letting your relationship languish? Don’t! Instead, show your website some love by doing one simple thing — an audit.

show your website some love

Show your website some love!

 

Why do a Website Audit?

An audit is a great way to take the pulse of your website. Taking a look under your virtual hood will help you:

  • Get a snapshot of what’s working
  • Identify problems (especially ones you were not aware of)
  • Create goals for improvement and work toward them
  • Improve the user experience (which can also improve engagement)
  • Create a plan for regular testing and auditing

Knowing the strengths and weak points of your website will also help you figure your site is still meeting your expectations and current needs. Just because it made you happy when you first started out together, things may have changed. This will be especially true if your business model or services have evolved or changed drastically.

How Much Time is Needed to do an Audit?

The length of time you will need to review your website will vary based on the size of your site (e.g., number of pages), the type of audit that you’re conducting, as well as the complexity of any issues you find. The amount of time you will need will also be impacted by whether you do it yourself or hire an outside agency to do it for you.

That said, consider setting a deadline for completion as well as a timeline for the parts of your site that will be audited first.

Sample Timeline

  • You may decide to focus on finding and fixing security issues across 24-48 hours (or sooner).
  • And, then follow up by allotting 2-4 days to review and update your main website pages (like About, Contact, Services, etc.).
  • For the next step, you might use the next 7-10 days to optimize your most popular posts (use Google Analytics to help with this).

It’s also possible that you might work on several tasks at the same time. You could have one set of team members doing the content audit while another team simultaneously focuses on red flags or issues that might result in penalties.

No matter how you choose to approach your audit, be sure to create a written plan of attack (an app like Trello or Evernote can help) and estimate how long you’ll need. Be sure to include specific action steps needed to complete each phase of your audit.

3 Parts of Your Website to Audit First

As with any relationship that might need a bit of tender loving care, you may not know where to begin. There are several types of audits that you can conduct, so take some time to consider where you’d like to put your focus first.

In addition to assuring that your site is secure, here are three areas you can start taking a closer look at:

1. Content

One of the key features of your site is the content. Does your content speak to the people who visit website or does it turn them off? As you look at your blog posts, landing pages, and marketing copy, ask yourself these questions (and more):

  • Does my website have valuable posts or just crappy posts? Are they stale and outdated? Or, fresh and juicy?
  • What criteria will I use to update or remove content altogether?
  • Am I using the right keywords?
  • Is my copy written for humans?
  • Do I have broken links?
  • Does my site have a lot of text and very few images?
  • Have I included internal and external links (where appropriate)?
  • Duplicate content anywhere?

RELATED: You Are A Writer: Now Start Blogging

2. Navigation

Have you given your website a test drive lately? How easy is it to navigate and find information? Is it too confusing  and filled with a myriad of links? If your site isn’t organized and easy to get around, it won’t help you captivate your audience and keep them coming back for more. In fact, they will likely get frustrated and end up searching elsewhere. Two words: No bueno.

You’ll need to do a bit of investigating to see where your site visitors fall out of love with your site. Use the Google Analytics tool, In-Page Analytics, to determine if your layout is optimal and driving traffic to the places you want users to go.

You can also use a heat map tool (like Crazy Egg) to see see which links get the most clicks and how far down your web page people scroll. If your visitors aren’t converting, the heat map will help you figure out why. You’ll see where people get stuck and click away from your site.

But, the good news is that you can generate a bit of heat of your own — with great content and improved navigation — to draw them back in!

3. Speed

Did you know that 40 percent of people will leave a web page if it takes longer than three seconds to load? Three seconds! (Source) Clearly, expectations are high and no one seems likes waiting around for something special to happen. It’s no surprise then that Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) have become popular recently.

If the pages on your website take too long to load, you may not get another chance to capture the attention of those website visitors who bounce. This is because they just might never return. Slow loading times are also likely to reduce your conversions and cause your beloved website to rank lower in the SERPs.

Not sure which of your web pages open slowly? Use tools like Page Speed by Google or Quick Sprout’s Website Analyzer to see how quickly your site is loading. After analyzing your site, both applications will give you a speed score (X out of 100), offer suggestions for ways you can improve how quickly your web pages open, and provide you with a user experience score.

Google Page Speed Insights

Google Page Speed Insights

Quick Sprout goes a bit further and gives you an SEO (letter) score and social media impact summary, and lets you see how your site compares to three of your competitors.

Quick Sprout Website Analyzer

Quick Sprout Website Analyzer (Image Source: QuickSprout)

 

RELATED: Show Your Brand Some LOVE Using Social Media – Even if the Brand is You

These are just three areas of your website to check out. To get a more detailed explanation of how to do a website audit, have a look at this step-by-step tutorial from the folks over at Moz. This audit checklist will also come in handy.

So, let this be a reminder to spend some quality time with your website. If it hasn’t been top of mind lately or if you just haven’t gotten around to giving it well deserved attention, there’s still time! Kickstart your relationship now and show your website some love by doing an audit.

Show Your Brand Some LOVE Using Social Media – Even if the Brand is You

Every once in a while a marathon post must be written about using social media to build your personal and professional brand.

This is one of those times. After speaking at a recent conference on embracing today’s digital and social technology to build your brand and stay relevant in your industry, I had several people come up after and tell me they fear they have waited too long.  They admitted that they have not done anything to build their personal or professional brand and now feared being left behind by the digital natives that have come into the workplace.

Well, fear not! It is never too late to get started, and it doesn’t take long at all to build a wonderful network of people that you can learn and share with.

Here are 7 steps that will get your brand on the map in no time using social media:

  1. Complete your social media profiles.

    LinkedIn is probably the most important social media site for at least establishing yourself as a professional.  Don’t leave it with bare bones information.  Beef it up with rich information about your experiences, your skills, your expertise, and of course proof of these things can be shown in original content you share.   Google+, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social media site, provide you with ample space to tell the world who you are and what your area of expertise or specialty is.

    Make sure you have a nice clear headshot that shows you smiling…even if it is just a little.  You want your profile to be warm and welcoming.  Invite people to connect with your smile, don’t scare them off with a mugshot that makes them afraid to connect.  (Watch this interview I did with marketer and photographer, Neil McKenzie about taking great head shots)

  2. Share regular content.

    On some sites sharing once a day or once every couple days works, like LinkedIn or Instagram, sites like Twitter need more regular feeding to get your content out there and seen.  Even Facebook has higher engagement rates with two and sometimes more, post per day.  It really depends on how valuable your content is and how much of it you already have.  LinkedIn now allows longer entries called POSTS instead of the regular status updates

    How to create a post on Linkedin
    Click inside the status update box to see the pencil in the upper right corner.  This opens up the POST area that allows you to write a full blog post, complete with multiple photos, and have it live on the front of your profile, showing and sharing your knowledge.  Regular posts on Twitter allow you to share bits of your wisdom and experience with the world.  Each post is a full indexed website, which means that single tweet can be served up as a result to someone’s search for information.

  3. Use hashtags and keywords for better branding.

    To help your content be found by those searching for specific content, be sure to strategically use keywords and hashtags in your social media posts. A hashtag is simply a way to TAG content so that others who are searching for specific information can find it more easily.  At an event, they may assign a hashtag to help anyone wanting to see the nuggets of content shared by those attending (face-to-face, or virtually). Simply search on Twitter (or Instagram) for the specific tag, and all content with that tag will be pulled up.  Twitter and Instagram rely heavily on hashtags for curating content, whereas LinkedIn uses keywords, that are placed strategically in your profile, to help you be found more often in searches. Facebook has improved its search feature, but people on this network still have not caught on to using hashtags.

  4. Build your network…at least get it started.

    Most people I talk to admit to having a long list of LinkedIn invitations that they have been ignoring, or worse, that they have deleted!  They have not created a Twitter account and see no purpose for a Facebook profile.  Google their name and nothing comes up!  NADA.  While this used to be okay and even desirable for those not wanting anyone to know anything about them.  Today, it is not okay.  Unless you plan on spending the next decade tilling the land with the Amish.  Having nothing show up when someone searches for you tells people that you either have been doing nothing, or that you are hiding from someone.

    fear of connecting with people on social media sharing
    Creating a Facebook profile, does not mean you will be forced to share your vacation photos, and having a Twitter account does not mean you have to have 10,000 followers.  The key is, you want to build a network of smart business people in your industry that you can share with.  You want to connect with people who can help you continue learning and with people in your industry that you can pass on your knowledge and experience to.  Regardless of your industry, you will find others on social media sites that you can connect with.  Are you a project manager? Search for #PMP and #PMI on Twitter and Instagram.  Do you own chickens and want to share best practices on raising happy hens?  Check out the “Raising Chickens” group on Facebook and @RaiseChickens on Twitter.  You name it, there are groups that are already established and most that have regular (weekly) live chats on Twitter or live Hangouts on Google+ that you can jump right into.

    Having a larger network on LinkedIn will help your profile show up in searches more often because of the way  LinkedIn shows first, second, and third connections in the results.  So if I have 50 people in my first connection network, I will show up in skills or expertise searches when they do a search or when someone in their network does a search.  So the larger the network, the broader my reach.  Now this does not mean you should connect with every stranger who wants to connect with you—there are lots of wing-nuts out there…even on LinkedIn.  The key is, every time you meet someone at a conference, a business meeting or a networking event, go back and connect with them on LinkedIn.  It is safe and will serve you well.  Your personal information is not listed on LinkedIn and even when someone contacts you, it is through the LinkedIn filter unless you want to provide them with your email address.  And when the occasional wing-nut pops up, simply disconnect or unLink from them.

  5. Create a few short videos sharing your best tips.

    Start by writing down some of the questions that you get asked most often (even by your family members when you tell them what you do).  Now create a short video for each question, answering them, and you will have a wonderful collection of your knowledge and expertise.  Take the time to write out the answers you will give.  Target 150 words of content while you are writing (A word processing application like Word or Pages will show you a word count as you type). This will ensure your video stays around one minute in length, since we speak an average of 150 words per minute, and it will prevent you from rambling off track.

    You do not need to hire a professional videographer, although if you have one at your disposal, by all means use them.  You can use your laptop camera or even your mobile device to create short informative videos.  (Check out a short video on HOW TO CREATE BETTER VIDEOS for Social Media).  Once you have your short videos, you can load them to a YouTube channel and then even place them on your LinkedIn profile (look for the ADD MEDIA box in each section of your profile). Share the link on Twitter, Google+ even Facebook.

  6. Design eye-catching slide decks sharing your expertise.

    Create one or many, slide decks that highlight your past projects, a marketing message, your top FAQs again, or a How-To presentation.  Make them very visual.  You do not need to have 87 bullet points on a slide to explain something.  Keep it high-level and if the person wants more information, they will contact you.  I love using HaikuDeck to create visually beautiful slides (it is also an app available on iPads) and then I save them to SlideShare and onto my LinkedIn profile.  It is a very easy way to add visual appeal to an otherwise text-laden profile.  You can use these presentations as blog posts or share them on any social network you’d like.

    using presentations and slide decks in social media marketing

  7. Stay active on social media sites.

    Once you have taken the time to set up your social media profiles and load wonderful content, the key is to simply stay active. This does not mean hours each day.  It can be as little as 15-30 minutes each morning or evening.  Open each profile and scan to see if there are any great posts related to your industry.  If there are, LIKE them, comment on them, and SHARE them with your network, telling them why you think it is “share-worthy.”  Look for a few new people to connect with each time you are online.  All of the social sites will recommend people to you, telling you that you might know this person or that person.  If it looks like you have something in common with them, send a request to connect.  And when someone follows you or sends a request to connect with them, don’t click ignore or delete it.  Take a look at their profile and see if they look like they could be a person you could possibly learn from, share with, or even better, someone you could do business with.  CONNECT!

I’d love to hear your ideas for branding yourself and your expertise.  Share them below in the comments…let’s all learn together.  I welcome your questions as well and be sure to connect with me on all the social sites…I promise, I’m not a wing-nut!

@GinaSchreck

social media marketing small business, hotels, social business