3 Important lessons I’ve learned on Social Media

I’m one of those “millennials” who has sort of grown up with social media.

In college at UCLA, I remember signing up for something called “The Facebook” back in 2004.

This was after I’d spent time on MySpace creating my “Top 8” and before that, starting a blog on LiveJournal. I can even remember looking up the word “blog” in the dictionary and not finding it.

Believe me, I would never have considered that spending time on some of these social networks would eventually evolve to the point where companies hire for positions dedicated solely to social media.

Over time, best practices for social media have shifted and changed. Especially the best practices on social media in terms of a business.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about these best practices, and wanted to compile a list of what I feel are the most important things I’ve learned during my time on social media.

Today’s post is aimed at giving anyone out there doing social media for their business a better idea of the most important things to keep in mind when doing social media.

Important Social Media Lesson #1: Not only about likes or followers

Back when Twitter was first on my radar (2007-ish), I signed up early and started gathering followers, without any method to my madness.

It wasn’t until I’d started a Twitter account for the company I was working for at the time that I truly understood the value of a follower on social media.

See, fans/likes/followers are what keeps social media “social”, but it’s not the only metric you should be tracking for your business.

If you walk into your CEO’s office and tell him or her that you’ve gotten 1,000 likes on Facebook for your business, I guarantee that their first words will be something like:

“Great, how much money has that brought in for us?”

I would advise anyone doing social media for their business to understand that the amount of likes/fans/followers/etc. on social media is something that I like to call a vanity metric.

That’s why you should never buy followers like this:

Spending that much money on getting followers on social media is a complete waste of money. Not only are you not going to get people you can sell to, but you’re not going to get a community of people that look forward to your marketing messages either.

I think the true value of having followers on social media is twofold:

  • It’s to build a relationship (the social)
  • It’s to build a customer base (the sales)

The companies that do best on social media are the ones that have figured out this value. They’ve built a dedicated community that is more open to buying products they’re offering.

A company like Buffer is a great example of building a loyal community of followers while also having a strong customer base. Along the same lines, Lululemon has built a tremendous community with their products, and that extends to their social media, especially on their twitter page.

If you set out to build a social relationship that extends to a sales relationship with your social media, you’ll master social media in no time!

Important Social Media Lesson #2: The Importance of Visual Content

I’ve watched visual content become more and more essential to any businesses or brands doing social media, especially in the past few years.

With the rise of social media networks like Instagram and Pinterest, it becomes more and more important to have some type of strategy for visual content for your brand.

Even on places like Facebook and Twitter, that aren’t “visual” social networks per se, photos and visual content are the most interacted with posts. Photos account for a whopping 87% interaction rate from fans on Facebook. No other post type (link, video, status) sees more than a 4% interaction rate.

So, if you want to ride the wave of social media superstars, it’s important to have a strategy for visual content.

There are even great tools like Canva or Pablo by Buffer that can help you find images to use in your social media.

Important Social Media Lesson #3: Don’t ignore Paid Social

Paid Social is something that I think every business should consider.

But, in order to do paid social correctly, it’s important to put your goals in perspective.

The question you really need to ask yourself is what you hope to achieve by paying for social media advertising. Is it more followers to your page? More sales? More traffic to your site?

Knowing the answer to that question is going to help you decide the best way to implement a paid social strategy.

Of course, paid social media costs you money. But places like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn give you lots of options to set up varying dollar amounts to make it more “wallet-friendly” for your business.

I like to think of paid social media as a faucet. When you want, you can turn it on and have traffic/visits/likes pour out, and when you aren’t wanting to spend any more money you simply turn off the faucet.

Depending on your goal(s), it’s a great way to generate some interaction on social media.

Social Media is constantly evolving, and that’s a good thing!

The beauty of social media is that it’s a place where you can be “social” with other people and engage or connect with them.

It’s always going to be changing, and new social networks will surely emerge. I recommend a tool like Feedly to help you keep track of all the latest trends and news.

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