“4 Uses for Social Media” is a 4-part series that you don’t want to miss, covering professional branding, networking, content, and search engine optimization (SEO) and the social media apps that work with them.
Professional branding is your presence. Networking is your conversation. Content is your story. It is a cliché’ to say, “Content is king,” but it is mostly true. Better to say, “Audience is king and content his queen.” If you remember nothing else about content, remember to know your audience. Half the battle for compelling content that draws followers and builds connections is knowing your audience.
You must decide 1) who you want your audience to be and 2) who your audience already is. Start with demographics of age, education, field, but the important part is to know not just who you are in that demographic but who your followers might be. What drives them? What do they value? Who in their life is most important—friends, family, colleagues? What are their activities—hobbies, vacation spots, favorite things? What are their goals? What do they discuss most? Add your professional brand. When you find all the commonalities among you and your colleagues, you have an outline for consistent content for your social media.
You don’t have to be a writer or wordy to have quality content. You do need to tell stories. For all of man’s history, from the earliest cave drawings, we communicated through storytelling. Think about any conversation you had in the last day. You told each other stories. It might be what happened when the dog’s leash slipped out of your hand on your walk. Maybe you shared an encouraging conversation you had with a colleague. Perhaps you expressed your aggravation with your mechanic.
Storytelling includes a photograph with a caption, YouTube or you video, and link to other people’s content. Don’t post those communications without adding a bit of you. Your money in the bank, your value is what you think about what you post. It includes the video of and the typical textual tips, failures, conference highlights, career opportunities, interesting TedTalks, personal passions, collaborators’ contribution, book reviews, special event notices, resources, field-particular comics, trending topics, your blog link, volunteering moments, etc. Engage your audience in simple, interesting questions. Post according to your professional brand, but remember people connect with people.
Learn the customs of your various social media apps. LinkedIn is professional driven. Twitter is quick and casual. Facebook is method variety. WordPress or any blogging is a mic. All depend on one type or quality of content or another, and all depend on who you are and who want your audience to be.
Just as birds looking for mates are attracted to the more colorful birds, Facebook users are more attuned to colorful, attractive pages and posts. With Facebook, you often have a personal page, to which you may add a sort of a sub-page or create a totally separate page on which to market yourself in colorful ways. This is your professional brand and networking rolled up into one. This is advertising. It is more important here than most other social media apps to think of interesting content in a variety of forms.
Facebook has leeway for forms of content and usually starts with a network of family, friends, coworkers, and alum. Fauzia Burke in her online marketing book, “Facebook creates a platform and a community of savvy consumers connecting with friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances to share advice, information, and recommendations. More than 30 billion pieces of content such as web links, news stories, blog posts, videos, and photo albums are shared each month. Facebook is thus one of the most important social media platforms for marketing and communication” (99).
In Forbes Top Social Media Tips for Every Platform Part 1 Facebook, Twitter, and Instragram, “’Every business in every industry needs to be on Facebook,’ Jakubovic says. It’s the largest online social platform with over 1 billion users, and it can give you access to potential customers you couldn’t otherwise reach. When used correctly, Facebook marketing outshines any traditional advertising.”
Burke, Fauzia. Online Marketing for Busy Authors. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.: Oakland. 2016