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Nothing pains me more than seeing “Spray and Pray” marketing online, where the business owner simply puts up as much content as they can on any platform they can find in hopes that they’ll connect with someone somewhere. This tactic is stressful, unfruitful, and more often than not, a waste of time. By picking a platform – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. – and learning it as best you can, you’re way more likely to generate quality leads and conversation.
Here’s an example I’ll come back to a few times: I’ve got all of my social media platforms linked together, so when I post to Facebook my 1,000-word essay on why you should join my business, it’ll post to all of my networks, saving me time and money in the process. Sounds convenient, right? No, not exactly. While this method is certainly convenient, I’d pay a price for this, too. Let’s start with Facebook:
If I had known that posts containing less than 250 characters get the most interaction, I may have split this essay into 5, easily digestible segments. Or, by adding a photo to it, I’d have a much better chance at catching my fans’ attention before they skipped right past it.
Speaking of which, did you know that Facebook uses an algorithm to guess what it thinks people will find interesting? For example, if one post in particular is getting lots of likes and comments, it will stay near the top of people’s news feeds. Facebook suggests that it must be interesting if it’s getting so much interaction. While this may sound bad for you if your posts don’t get much interaction, there are ways to use this to your benefit! Try waiting 20-30 minutes after someone comments on your posts before responding. Facebook doesn’t distinguish between your own comments and someone else’s, so it will push your post back to the top of your friends’ and fans’ News Feeds. This gives you a brand new opportunity for others to see it!
Let’s go back to my 1,000 essay from before. Had I known that only about 120 characters (individual letters, spaces, and punctuation) out of my 1,000 words would show up on Twitter, followed by an ellipsis and a link to the original post, I may have opted to pull a meaningful quote from my article and use it to market this post manually. Also, I included a picture with my original post, and on Twitter, images are turned into links. There goes another 12 characters or so.
Also, let’s not forget about our hashtags! Everyone has heard of a hashtag by now. Other than being a common prefix for the word “selfie,” the hashtag has shoved the “pound sign” and squashed the “number symbol” to become to accepted term for the symbol “#”. But what does this do, anyway?
Hashtags are lists. You might not realize this at first glance, but by clicking a hashtag on a public post, you’ll be presented with a list of every other post that includes this tag. This can be used for marketing, events, and much more. These powerful little tools can be used across the majority of social networks now, though they’re most popular on Twitter and Instagram for the time being. So where would a hashtag fit into my original 1,000 word essay? It probably wouldn’t, to be blunt. Here’s an example of a tweet someone might post to promote their business:
Do you see that big, red “-37” at the bottom of the tweet? That means that if I try to include the pertinent information, a few hashtags, a picture and a link, I’m 37 characters over the 140-character limit. That’s no bueno. If this were automatically posted from Facebook, there’s no way I’d get my point across.
Hopefully things are beginning to come together that I generally don’t recommend this type of marketing. While some automation services can be used for good, social media is much better utilized person-to-person. Take the time to connect with your followers and fans. Engage them to comment on your content. Give them a reason to keep coming back. Learn the pros and cons of each social network you’re on, then use them to reach new people.
What’s your go-to social network for your business? Tell me why that’s the case in the comments.
Dan Schenker is a photographer, the son of entrepreneurs, an Independent Distributor at It Works! Global, and a puppy-dad to a beagle/chihuahua mix named Pepper with his lovely fiancé, Caity.