The Social Media Gym: The Equipment

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Facebook (Cardio - Everyone Has To Do It, In Spite Of Its' Questionable Results)

Ah, Facebook. The social media staple - they were kind of the first ones on the scene! Everyone does cardio, it feels safe, it feels reliable... not much can go wrong on a Nordic walker can it? 

But the truth is it takes real hard work to see any tangible difference. 

Facebook algorithms constantly shift, mainly in the direction of requiring a cash boost to get your posts seen (surprise, surprise). In defence of Facebook, you need to be there if you're a functioning business. 

Have you ever gone to try and tag a business and not found them and immediately become suspicious? That's because Facebook is such a fundamental part of our day to day life now that we assume that those without a presence on there are trying to fly 'under the radar'. 

My advice? Automate posting to Facebook as much as you can without spamming.

Set it up so your Instagram images are automatically sent to your page, queue up relevant articles with a short caption, and if you receive any coverage, share it to your page. But don't spend huge amounts of time on it as that will largely go wasted. You need to focus your time on creating content that Facebook can act as a springboard to.


Pinterest (Weight Watchers - A Bit Mumsy, But There's Power In Numbers)

Pinterest: it's pretty mumsy. I challenge you to find any website with as many creative lunchbox ideas! But, just like the community that Weight Watchers provides, it can become a really powerful tool to boost your business when something you make appeals to a lot of people. 

You just need to capture the curiosity of a segment and your pin could gift you huge volumes of traffic, the 'viral' nature of this repinning website means it should not be neglected, although I have found that it often is. 

The problem with it, is you do need to spend quite large amounts of time on it and be consistent in doing so. The most popular 'pinners' have tens of thousands of pins, and if your business is visual you shouldn't be automating these as you want to ensure visual consistency. 

Carve out an hour a week and pin as much as you can in that time, add your own pins at a ration of about 1:20 to keep your profile authentic and not too 'salesy'.

Instagram (Yoga - It's All About The Image)

Instagram is the 'gym selfie in yoga pants' of the social media world. It's all about looking good and making sure your followers know it. 

You might see the odd account on Instagram with bad photography and thousands of followers. Those followers have been bought, do not be fooled. 

There are also plenty of accounts boasting stunning photography with lots of followers who have been bought. What I am going to say, and what is always forgotten, is that it is better to have 5000 followers who actually LOVE your story and what you do, than 15,000 who are fairly indifferent but like your pictures. 

Go personal on Instagram, don't be afraid to use long captions, just because it's visual, it doesn't mean it shouldn't be about narrative too. Follow accounts that you see as your ideal customers, scroll through what they are posting to learn to understand them and what they want to see, and try and recreate it with your own twist.

Twitter (Weights - It Takes A Lot Of Hard Work To See The Difference)

Twitter is just like the weights in a gym. People want to get on board to look cool, but give up halfway through when they realise that it's actually going to be touch to make a difference. 

I see ditched Twitter accounts all the time, and it's probably worse to have an inactive one than it is none at all. 

Twitter is difficult, you can automate certain parts of it (sharing interesting articles to your audience, following people - although I don't recommend the latter), but the real value lies in putting in the time to reach out and engage with people who are discussing topics relevant to your business.

 Be subtle about it, don't be salesy. Follow the influencers in your field, follow journalists who write about your topic and interact with them long before you send any press releases. Be humorous, be prompt to reply, and build in 30 minutes of Twitter to your daily schedule. 

It will take a while to pick up, but once you have an audience, you can send out tweets to followers who are already invested in what you're putting out there, and that can only be a good thing.

Persicope (Zumba - It's More Effective If You Like To Show Off)

Nobody likes a half-assed Zumba dancer. Equally, being on video requires about 10x the normal amount of energy when it comes to talking to be even remotely engaging. As two of my favourite marketers say, '11/10 energy comes across as a strong 7/10 on video." 

So, you need to be a pretty strong communicator to make Periscope (the live video streaming service) work for your business. But it CAN work, it's a great way to connect with potential customers around the globe, host tutorials, Q&A sessions, or ask the global community for advice on specific parts of your business. 

My friend and I once put to the world of Periscope our dilemma about a strap line for a start-up, and they absolutely nailed it, despite barely knowing anything about the app in question! (and it would have probably cost us a good few hundred quid had we gone to an agency!)

 Keep it lively, have a semi-script prepared as there is no two-way conversation involved (you speak and viewers can respond via text only) and make sure you have an interesting video title to draw people to give you a go and watch your stream.

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