One of the great things about a career in social media, and by extension having a social media column, is the ability to help people with their social media questions. They usually come in randomly over Twitter or sometimes via email, but I make it a point to answer all of them.
Which got me thinking. Just because one person has a question doesn't mean others don't wonder the same thing. So here are some of the questions I've received and my responses.
What platform do I use?
LinkedIn? Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Snapchat? The answer often depends on who you ask and that person's experience, but here's my take: Be where your audience is and use the platforms you like using. One thing you want to avoid at all costs is posting the exact same content on multiple platforms. Stick with one platform unless you can offer different experiences on each.
When do I post?
I've heard that everyone is online at noon, but I only have a small window of free time between 9:44 p.m. and 10:16 p.m. First, try not to get too caught up in what you've heard. There are studies everywhere claiming to know the very best times, but the truth is there's no set time when people are online. Everyone is different, so your experiences will be different. That said, I wouldn't do it at 3 a.m. because there will be a smaller audience at an off hour, but otherwise just fit it in where you can/pay attention to trends you've seen involving your audience.
What if I don't have time?
Make time. It's 2017. I won't sugarcoat this one.
How do I know what to post?
This one isn't as hard as it seems. The beauty of social media is it lets you amplify what you think is important. If you have something you deem relevant or important and think your network would benefit from seeing it, then that's what you should share. Use social media with the goal of establishing yourself as an industry expert, a go-to for people now and in the future. Do that and your social media will take on a life of its own. And while advisers can be limited in what they can discuss due to compliance issues, focus more on the theme and tone to judge success. Social media posts that are as exciting as three-hour PowerPoint presentations are not recommended.
I'm impatient. How long will it take to see results?
I won't sugarcoat this one either. Social media takes time and effort. I've been doing this for 10 years and I'm still working hard at it.
Who should I be on social media? What do people expect?
Be you! They expect you to be authentic. Nothing is more important. And authentic means not being robotic. There are all kinds of social media tools that will write posts for you, or post at a certain time every day. Forget about that. I'm all for saving time, but if you choose efficiency over authenticity, your message suffers.
I've been doing this for a while and it's kind of fun. Is that bad?
Heck, no! When you're having fun, it comes across in your messaging and people will be more likely to want to approach you as opposed to someone who clearly is doing it because they think they have no other choice.
Should I talk about my business at all?
You should use social media to socialize, not advertise. I always stick to that (next question notwithstanding.)
What if I have more social media questions or an idea for one of your columns?
Thanks for reading Social Media Adviser.