In the time I’ve been active online, I’ve created a strong social media presence. I think I make it look easy, but is it?
I may not have millions, or even thousands, following me, but my current level has brought me the most amazing opportunities and continues to do so. So I know my presence is effective.
Being an observer of others has taught me how to survive online, so here’s some tips for you to be a social media socialite:
1. Clean up your news feed.
Follow the kind of people who inspire and motivate you. Scrolling through negative posts daily is not healthy, you eventually absorb that energy and it will manifest in your own life. To keep your mindset in a good and productive space, it is essential that the things we pay attention to are in alignment with our mindset goals.
2. Be clear about your brand
Here’s an exercise. Write your name or your business/blog name in the middle of a piece of paper. Around it, write as many words that you feel are associated with it. Brainstorm it. What does your brand represent? What first impressions do you want people to have when they stumble across it? What do you want to be known for? Use that to guide your posts. If it isn’t being a pizza enthusiast, maybe don’t post about it too often (unless you can make a connection to what you do).
3. Get to know your followers.
I’ve read countless articles on how to increase your number of followers and it all boils down to one thing: interaction. Take the time to connect with the people who are commenting on your posts. Get to know their names. Follow the regular ones back. Leave likes and comments. Interact, not just with “great post” but with genuine words in relation to the post. Start conversations. It doesn’t have to take all day, it doesn’t even have to take an hour. But the investment of your effort and energy into building online connections will bring you many rewards in the future.
I love positive quotes and there are an endless supply of them online. There came a point where I asked myself, why not share my own? Why not put my own words over photos and stick my own name on it? Dear Writers, I’m certain there will be powerful sentences that you can lift from your work and turn into a social media post. Stick your website address on it. Your Instagram handle too. Start sharing. Keep sharing. Don’t stop.
5. Have a theme to your posts so that people know what to come to you for.
Now that you understand what you represent, or what you want to represent, post with this in mind. Of course, there is room to sway a little. I use my Facebook profile to post stuff that isn’t directly associated with Annika Spalding the brand, but everywhere else my posts reflect writing, empowerment and positivity. It is important to have a style that is unique to you because it makes you stand out. In a sea of posts that all look the same, you want YOURS to be the ones that people click on. So think about how you can do that. Look at what others are posting for inspiration and then adapt that for your own use. Don’t copy. Create your own style.
6. Join online communities.
It’s all very well wanting to create your own online community but I think it helps to be in one first. For some people, they feel alone in their creative pursuits so they join online groups to connect with people who have similar goals and motivations. I think it is beautiful that we have so much access to other people who often live in different parts of the world. I’m in a few groups on Facebook and I enjoy the quality of conversation I find in them because we’re pretty much on the same page. I also have my own group and I love witnessing the connections made when people comment on each other’s posts. Simply type what you’re searching for in the Facebook search bar and scroll through the results until you find what you’re looking for.
In anything we do, the route to success is laced with consistency. It makes no sense to spend a whole week putting out blog posts but then write nothing for the following six months. Even with writing a book, giving up between writing activity makes it harder for you to return to it. Having a routine of what you do and when you do is much easier to maintain, and vital when building a strong online presence. Posting consistently, in brand, with valuable content, every single time, is the key to building up a strong relationship with your following. They come to expect your mailing list on Mondays because that’s when you always send it out. They come to expect your Facebook Live Q&A sessions on Wednesday evenings because they know that is what you always do. The come to expect your networking hours on Sunday mornings because they know that’s when you do it, each week without fail. All of this will guarantee engagement from an audience that becomes familiar with your posting style, and that can only happen with consistency.
8. Be consistent with your brand.
I know when we’re starting out, it can take a little while for us to feel firm in who we are and what we do. Over time that changes, we rebrand and rebrand again until we are confident we have arrived at our purpose. Through our experiences we learn so much more and begin to apply that to what we do, this often invites a revamp or, again, a re-brand. This is totally normal, it happens all the time. Often the re-brand is just an extension of what you began with. It has grown. It has evolved and here you are.
However, be wary about changing your brand too often. If you started with a blog about penguins, then switched to beauty, then switched to social media tips, then to travelling and then back to penguins again, what on earth is your brand? Who is following you? How confusing is this for current and new followers? It isn’t clear what you stand for, what you represent or what people can come to you for. This means people won’t be able to take you seriously because it looks like you don’t take yourself seriously if you can’t stick to one discipline.
So while your brand evolve with the times, be mindful about how often you give the whole thing a revamp. Make sure you doing it for reasons that are true to who you are and what you want to achieve, and not in response to the latest online fad.
9. Stay active.
Along with consistency, being active online will help boost your profile. Nobody wants to follow an account that is never used. I know how overwhelming social media can be and this is why you should certainly pencil in time for breaks. I took a whole month off recently and it was beautiful. But don’t give up on it altogether if you want to build an audience that engages with you. If you’re writing a book and spending less time on social media, schedule your posts or share updates on your writing journey. If you haven’t written a blog post for weeks, you should still post on Instagram and perhaps do a throwback to some of your favourite posts. Stay active, stay present, stay in people’s minds.
10. Be innovative.
Post about what you’re writing, your writing space, an image that inspires you or a book you’ve just finished reading. As writers, we spend much of our time in our heads, finding ways to accurately represent our thoughts and ideas through magical written words. When creating an online presence, it is important to invite our audience to witness that process. Don’t just take photos of the page you’re writing, show them what inspires you. Share with them a typical day as you balance your writing with the needs of your family. Be creative in your posts because this is what will keep people interested.
I could add so much more to this list but I think these 10 tips are enough to get you started. Let me know what works for you in the comments below.
Thank you for reading!
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