**This is a guest post by Lindsey O’Connor from SpiritualBadassLife.com**
Ahhh, social media.
As business owners and entrepreneurs we can sort of have a love-hate relationship with it.
On one hand, social media is absolutely essential to our business’s growth and exposure. It allows us to strengthen relationships and loyalty with our current clients and fans, as well as cultivate new relationships with potential customers.
Whether you’re on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube or even Google+, thousands of potential clients and fans are looking for exactly what you offer; whether you’re in the hospitality industry, arts and entertainment, health and wellness, online coaching or have a brick-and-mortar business.
But, on the other hand, social media can be kind of stressful. It’s hard to keep up with all the different platforms, post regularly, engage with current and potential followers AND do everything else on your sky-high to-do list.
And let’s face it, social media can also be the biggest time-suck in the whole world. I mean, you just wanted to take a quick break on Facebook, but then 30-minutes later you’re looking through your ex-boyfriend’s cousin’s pictures of Cabo. FML.
Social media can be a blessing for your business, but it can also be a huge weight on your shoulders. You know you have to be on social media, but it’s the last thing you have time for.
I totally get it. And you’re not alone.
I talk to so many online entrepreneurs and business owners and I’m constantly hearing how they know they should be on social media, but they just don’t have the time, they always forget to post or they simply don’t know how to use it effectively, so it becomes a stress inducing activity.
I don’t want it to be stressful for you, so let’s change that.
Even if your “zone of genius” isn’t social media, this Quick & Dirty Guide on How Not to Suck At Social Media For Your Business will give you …
5 simple tips to step-up your social media game and polish your online presence…
Like, right now. So, let’s dive in head-first, shall we?…
SOCIAL MEDIA TIP #1: Post Consistently
Ok, we’re gonna start with some #realtalk here…
Do you find yourself posting sporadically on your social media pages? Or only posting when you’re promoting something, like your newest program or product? Or maybe you’re posting to your Instagram account a couple times a week, but then just carelessly sharing that post to Facebook and Twitter?
It’s ok. It happens.
Especially because as entrepreneurs and business owners, we think we have to be on, like, every freaking social media platform. And dive head-first into whatever the “newest kid on the block” is. (Remember when Periscope first came out? Holy Bejeesus.)
Here’s the thing: You absolutely need to be posting consistently on the social media platforms you choose to have for your business.
That being said, you don’t have to be on all five-freaking-thousand of them. I know incredibly successful coaches and business owners who ROCK IT on just ONE platform.
But you know what? They’re successful because they do that ONE platform really well and focus their time and energy there.
They don’t half-ass 5 different platforms.
So I give you full permission to choose one or two social media platforms and simply DO THEM WELL.
Choose a social media platform that you truly love and enjoy, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Periscope, whatever. Make sure it’s a platform that you like to play on. Make sure it’s a platform where you’ll find your ideal clients and really be able to engage with them.
When you choose a social media outlet that really aligns with you, that’s when you show up as the best and most authentic version of yourself.
And guess what? THAT is when you can serve your clients or customers the best.
So, choose one platform and rock it CONSISTENTLY.
But what the hell is so important about posting consistently?!
1. Your following/fans/tribe/community/peeps/minions/homies will GROW! The more you’re out there, the more people will see YOU. They will share your content with their peeps. They’ll engage with you.
2. Your audience gets to know you and begins to TRUST you as an expert in your field. They’ll learn about your personality, your style, your brand and what kind of relationship they’d have with you if they invested in your products or services.
3. You learn more about your audience and how you can best serve them.
PSA: Twiddling away at a graphic on Canva doesn’t do jack diddly bull squat to help your business (in the long and short-run.) Seriously guys, no one gives a shit if the green on your graphic is a Kelly green or Forest green. #realtalk
What matters is that you or your Social Media Manager engage with your audience, give them value and learn more about how YOU can best serve them…on a daily basis. Learn what their needs are, their pain-points, how they want to FEEL. The more you know, the better you can serve and the better your business.
SO. I have some homework for you.
Because, remember, nothing changes if you don’t actually take action.
I know, it sucks, but it’s the truth.
Do it now:
Grab a pen and paper, open up your Notes app or download my content calendar spreadsheet and come up with five categories or topics you want to post about on your social media platform(s). If you download my content calendar, there is a separate tab where you can write in those five categories, right there on the document.
For example, if you’re a Holistic Health Coach, some categories might be: inspiration, holistic nutrition, healthy lifestyle practices…
These categories will give you lots of structure and help when it comes to deciding what to post…consistently.
Are you ready for Social Media Tip #2?!
Yay! Me too. Keep reading…
SOCIAL MEDIA TIP #2: Be YOU
One of the most important things you can do on social media is BE YOU.
Like, fully, authentically, unashamedly, unabashedly YOU.
People, especially your ideal clients, will never connect to a fake version of you or who you’re trying to be online.
I’m going to share a quote with you that had an incredible impact on my life. I read it when I was an impressionable young junior high student and it has stayed with me all the way into adult-social-media-manager-hood.
“Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.” – Judy Garland
Um, so powerful, right?!? (And as if I didn’t love Judy Garland enough already…)
SO. I’m here, right now, giving you a permission slip to be AUTHENTICALLY YOU online.
That’s what people connect to. That’s when your ideal clients will show up…when you show the real “you” online.
For example, if you’re a health and fitness coach, it’s TOTALLY a-ok to share moments, examples, times, experiences when you weren’t 100% “on-track.”
Like that time when you had a few glasses of wine, went to the Cheesecake Factory at midnight, had a piece of cheesecake and got home around 2:30am?
Or, is that just me?
But you know what I mean.
Anyhoo, continuing with that example: If you’re a health coach, you absolutely want to practice what you preach to your clients and have your social media reflect that. But guess what? Your clients are human, so they’ll want so learn from and follow someone who is human too.
That means sharing your “real-life” moments with them too. It not only makes them more comfortable around you, but it makes you approachable as an expert figure and guiding light in their life.
People relate to human-ness, realistic-ness and authenticity. So be you.
I remember when I decided to show up as fully, authentically me online.
Um, it was like my business went from zero to sixty in a very short period of time. Yes, I took action and put effort in elsewhere, but showing up authentically as myself opened the gates to being successful in the work I do and loving the people I work with.
The copy on my website is basically how I talk in real life. And because of that, I have the pleasure of working with people who talk like that too. You know, scattering f-bombs throughout their sentences…
I know, it’s scary as hell to show up as yourself online because it causes you to be vulnerable. But once you get past the “Oh my golly gee wiz, people will judge me” fear, you will fly.
Sure, some people will be butt-heads and not appreciate your authentic self, but that’s their problem, not yours. They’re not your ideal client.
But here’s one thing I promise: 99% of people will ADORE AND BE DRAWN to your authentic self and connect with you on a whole different level.
So, here’s how you can take action:
When it comes to branding yourself on online, think of (at least) THREE things that are unique and special to you. Write them down on a paper, in your Notes app or in that handy dandy content calendar of mine that you downloaded in Step 1.
This is what will make you stand out among everyone else. So work it!
For example, these are the unique, personal things I share in my social media presence:
1. I have a feather baby named Pearl and he’s literally the greatest thing on earth. So I share pictures of him working with me during the day. I can’t get enough of him, so I force him on my audience too.
2. I’m a TOTAL musical theatre nerd and love the performing arts…so, I start posts with “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears” (Shakespeare), I make musical theatre references and I write “*jazz hands*” when I’m excited about something.
3. I have an odd obsession with memes, fake gangster-speak and awkward hashtags. #likeforreaztho So I use that in my writing.
I KNOW you have at least 3 amazing, awesome-balls things about you that you can use in your branding and online presence to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
So share those things with your audience! Use them to your advantage. Remember, it’s all about work AND play…so step away from the business side of things once in a while and have fun with your peeps.
SOCIAL MEDIA TIP #3: Give value
This is a big one guys.
Give value. Juicy, amazing, oozing-with-awesomeness value to your audience on your social media platforms.
It’s what will grow your audience, keep them engaged and keep them coming back.
Oh, and they’ll be more likely to invest in your products and services. #justsaying
So often, I see amazing business owners and online entrepreneurs just posting promos on their Facebook page or other social media platforms. And not only are they just posting promos, they’re doing it inconsistently too.
And we know from Social Media Tip #1 that consistency is key!
It’s not a good practice to simply use your social media account to promote your services, programs, workshops, etc.
YES, social media is a great tool to promote allllll of those things, as long as you’re giving amazing value along with it consistently.
Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow: 80% of your content needs to give value to your ideal client and audience. The other 20% should be promotional (your packages, services, discounts, products, etc.)
Let me put this into real life terms for you…
Remember the stuck-up cheerleader from high school? How she treated everyone who wasn’t in her posse like shit the whole year?
But then, when Prom season came around and she wanted to be voted Prom queen, she ALL OF A SUDDEN became, like, ohmygod, your my new best friend? Do you like, totally know what I’m talking about? Ohmygod ok yay.
She wanted your vote, so she started sucking up to you and being your new bff.
Ew. Inauthentic and not genuine.
It’s like that with social media and promotions. If the only time you show up online is to promote yourself and ask people to pay for something of yours, they’ll be like, “Um, who are you and why would I invest in you/your products/your services?”
Give. Consistent. Value.
It marks you as an expert in your field because you are sharing content and value that speaks to your ideal clients.
Give them value (with promos sprinkled in) and your audience will keep coming back to you and engage with your content because they know you’re an incredible and relatable resource for them.
If you help people for free, when you finally promote something that they’ll have to pay for, they’ll want to invest in it.
I mean, if you have great free content, they’ll want to know what your PAID content is like…
You might be sitting here though saying, “Um, Lindsey. I run a Bed and Breakfast. What kind of value can I give?”
GREAT QUESTION. Here’s an example.
Let’s say you run a B&B in San Diego. Who are your typical clients? Most likely out-of-towners visiting San Diego. Most likely for the first time.
So share awesome resources and articles about things in San Diego. Activities to do on a budget. Must-see places. Hidden gems they won’t want to miss. Coupons to pet the giraffe at the zoo. A list of your personal favorite restaurants in Little Italy. And then sprinkle in a couple “If you book 2 nights, you get a third night for 50% off” deals in there as well.
It will make people connect to you, your B&B and choose you over some ritzy ass hotel in downtown.
But, I have to say, this is why it is SO awesome to have a Social Media Manager or business and branding coach to support you…you can bounce ideas off of each other. Your Social Media Manager will take care of sharing juicy, awesome content for your ideal client or customer and you won’t have to worry about it.
Take action on this step by reviewing your social media platform(s). How often do you post valuable content? How often do you post just promos? Go back to your content calendar and make sure that 80% of the content you’re posting that week on each platform is value-driven. Then the other 20% is promotional.
Now, for all of you non-math people (myself included), here’s how to figure that out…
Let’s say you’re posting once, maybe twice, per day on your Facebook Like Page. So about 9 posts total each week.
9 posts x .20 (20% promo content) = 1.8 posts
Soooo, about 2 posts per week on your Facebook page can be promotional about you and your services, products and programs. Hell, make it 3 if you want, but just make sure you’re posting value driven content consistently too!
On your content calendar, depending on the frequency of your posts on each platform, schedule in a couple promotional posts throughout the week.
SOCIAL MEDIA TIP #4: Proofread
I’m going to apologize for my feistiness right now. It’s my Journalism background coming through. Or my OCD. Or both.
Friends, Romans, Countrymen, amazing business owners and darling online entrepreneurs…lend me your ears!
Some of the biggest, most cringe-worthy mistakes I see on social media are the spelling and grammar errors in people’s posts. Like, simple errors. Ones that should NOT be made.
I feel like people can get a little relaxed and casual when it comes to social media and the online world.
Social media (and our society for that matter) is such a fast-moving monster that we blast out whatever we want to say, click “post” and don’t give it a second thought.
I see so many glaring mistakes and words being spelled incorrectly.
Chivalry may be dead, but grammar chivalry is most certainly not.
So, the suggestion I give my clients when they ask how they can step-up their social media game (and it’s something I always remind myself of too) is to proofread!
Seriously, it just takes a couple extra minutes to read over what you’ve written in a post. And reading out-loud helps SO much too.
Keep your eyes open for common mistakes and mix-ups with words like, “then” and “than,” “to” and “too,” and “your” and “you’re,” “there,” “their” and “they’re.”
Proofreading is one of the biggest steps you can take to polishing your online presence.
A polished online presence says so much about you and really makes you stand out as a business owner.
Even if you’re known as an approachable, hip and laid-back brand or coach, your content should still looked polished and professional.
You can still use your authentic voice and be fully yourself while using proper grammar. It doesn’t make you unapproachable, it makes you professional.
I mean, look at me. I say and write weird shit all the time, but I still use proper grammar and capitalizations.
So, proofread. Take the few extra minutes. Because it will make you look much more legit and on top of yo’ shizzle.
If you don’t like to proofread, don’t have the time or don’t really know how, send it to your friends, family, online community, Social Media Manager or copywriter…that’s what they are there for!
Don’t blow your credibility because you have incoherent posts.
Harsh real talk, I know. #sorry (#butimactuallynotsorry)
Here’s what you can do to take action.
Commit to proofreading your content (social media posts, emails, newsletters, text messages, etc.) or find someone who can proofread for you.
And you’ll also want to download my “Grammar Chivalry” guide where I go over common grammatical errors and how not to make them anymore…Don’t worry, I made it a fun, approachable and easy resource for you to use.
Grammar can be sexy.
SOCIAL MEDIA TIP #5: Schedule your content.
I saved the best for last.
Schedule your content. And simply by typing that, I heard angels start to sing from the heavens.
And by now, you know posting valuable content consistently is a huge part of not sucking at social media for your business.
Social media schedulers (well, that’s at least what I call them) are a Social Media Manager and savvy business owners’ secret weapon.
You know that content schedule you’ve been filling out (or that you will fill out once I shut up and you’re done reading this)?
Take all of that juicy content and plug it into a social media scheduling platform.
This means that you spend 20 minutes or so one Sunday afternoon, take all the content that you’ve planned out in your content calendar and schedule it into Hootsuite, Buffer, Edgar or your Facebook Like Page.
These platforms allow you to pre-schedule social media posts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and even Pinterest!
So rather than having to remember to post on your social media platforms everyday, and then freaking out when you don’t, these schedulers will make it so that your content goes out automatically each day, on a specified platform, at a specified date and time.
Holy shitballs. I KNOW.
This means, all you have to do each day is pop in once or twice to your social media platforms and respond, comment, like, etc., when your audience engages with your content. That should be the fun part!
My favorite aspect of these social media schedulers is the fact that I can batch a whole bunch of posts and pre-schedule them to go out for an entire month if I wanted to.
Sure, it may take me an hour or two one weekend afternoon to plan and schedule all the content in Hootsuite, but then it’s done and I don’t have to worry about posting valuable content consistently.
It’s like magic.
I know, you’re probably thinking, “Ugh, spend a few hours planning and scheduling this stuff?? Lindseyyyyyy!”
Think of it this way. It’s like meal prep, but for social media. Making a huge batch of sautéed veggies, cooking big pot of quinoa and baking a few chicken breasts over the weekend makes your lunches and dinners for the next week a breeze! Sure, it requires a little more initial effort, but it ends up saving you so much time, effort and energy for the next 5-6 days!
So, meal prep your social media posts. And then you never have to think about it going out consistently each day.
I personally like Hootsuite, but I know lots of other people using Buffer or Edgar and being happy with those platforms too. You can create free accounts on most of them, but then if you wanted fancier options or to connect a few different social media platforms, you may have to upgrade to a paid membership.
Check out each platform and see which one jives with you. Each person is different. And maybe you will be just fine with a free account or maybe it is worth it to you and your business to pay each month for more options in scheduling your content.
It’s time to take action! Look into each of these social media scheduling platforms and see if it’s something that would support you in posting consistent, valuable content. You can do a Google search for other scheduling platforms that I haven’t mentioned above as well.
Once you find your soulmate social media scheduler, take all the amazeballs content you’ve written into your content calendar and go schedule thyself.
….LOL What am doing? I’m not writing a term paper. Let me try that again…
Well, there ya have it chicos! A Quick & Dirty Guide on How Not to Suck At Social Media For Your Business.
Now, if you haven’t already, download thy content calendar and fill it out with the information I wrote about in each step! Then shimmy on over to a social media scheduler and get it set up for the rest of the week.
Done and done. Your social media and online presence just got a whole lot sexier and snazzier.
Lindsey is a social media manager, copywriter and all-around passion-pursuer. She works with health and business coaches who want to reduce social media overwhelm, create engaging content and streamline their marketing strategy so they can focus on what they do best in their business on a daily basis. When she’s not gracefully hunched over her computer, she can be found galavanting around San Diego, traveling or fulfilling her musical theatre dreams and performing in a local theatre production. You can join her in her second home (aka Facebook) here!