We’ve all been there — in a social media funk — wondering how you can jump-start or revitalize your efforts. Maybe social media is new to you and you are looking to grow your presence online, or maybe you are an early adopter and need to refocus your efforts.
Either way, there are a few key things you can do to take your social media efforts to the next level. Here are twelve…
1. Update your profile picture
When is the last time you updated your profile photo? This is the one thing that everyone identifies you with on social media.
Tip: keep a folder on your computer or in DropBox of some of your favorite photos of yourself. It may sound vain, but this is an easy way to rotate out stale profile photos periodically. Also, if your photos are outdated, it may be time to take a new photo — and perhaps spring for a professional one that reflects your personality!
2. Update your cover photo
Just like your profile photo, it’s important to keep your cover photo on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus fresh. I recommend updating it once a month or once a quarter. Even just a simple and beautiful photo will make a great cover photo.
Tip: take photos that reflect you and your personality and save your favorites to use as cover photos! The best cover photos are the ones that you create and you own.
3. Update your “about you” sections
Time to dust off your “about” sections on all your profiles! Go through each network — even the networks that you don’t use too often and make sure all your work history is consistent. Make sure you have some personal information that you are comfortable sharing, and most importantly, that your contact info is readily available. If people want to contact you through social media — make it easy for them!
4. Do a social audit
Take a hard look at all of your social networks and decide which ones make the most sense for you and your brand. Do you need to be on all of them or are you just spinning your wheels? Which networks do you enjoy the most? Which ones are you most comfortable sharing on? Which ones are helping to expand your sphere? Asking yourself all of these questions will help you prioritize the most important networks for you to be on.
5. Look at the friends you are connected with
Now is a great time to look at your friends and connections. If you can’t remember who they are, is it worth being connected to them? Many times it depends on the context and the network. Twitter is a great network to connect with people you don’t know but Facebook is generally better suited to strengthen relationships with people you know on some level. If you just met someone once and now are Facebook friends with them, but have had no interaction, is it worth it? Take the time once a week to purge a few contacts.
6. Get consistent with your posts
To really jump-start or revitalize your social media strategy you need to consistently be posting content. Whether that is once a day or a few times a week, you need to be consistent. Posting once in a blue moon really doesn’t accomplish anything — it doesn’t further relationships, it doesn’t build business, and it sends the message that you aren’t really part of the community.
7. Write on other people’s walls
Instead of focusing on the status update, make an effort to write on other people’s Facebook walls or message them directly on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google Plus. Find an interesting article? Don’t share it with your entire network, but share it with the one or two people you know will love it. See that someone is celebrating a success or going through a tough time? Reach out and post a message on their wall or send them a private message — it’s a little thing that can go a long way.
8. Be intentional
Social media is noisy. To have any long-term success you need to be intentional and the best way to do that on Facebook and Twitter is to create lists. These friend lists are private on Facebook and are either public or private on Twitter — your choice when creating the list. Create lists for friends and potential clients you want to connect with and make it a point to authentically connect with them on social in a consistent manner.
9. Content strategy
If you have never thought about a content strategy, now is the time. What type of content resonates with you and your brand? Now may be a great time to create an editorial calendar where you can map out content for 30 days or more. When you have a general idea of what you will post and when, then you are able to be much more consistent. Remember, content can be blog posts you write, articles you find interesting that you share the link to, photos you take on Instagram, videos and much more.
10. The 3-day rule
Once you have a content strategy, it’s time to start looking ahead and plan some of your social media posts. The key here is to think three days ahead with your content and to use tools like HootSuite or Sprout Social to manage your scheduled content. I would never advise scheduling posts too far in advance, but by having a nice mix of scheduled and organic posts you will be presenting a much more consistent presence on your social networks.
11. Pick your big 3
Which three networks give you the most bank for your buck? Is it YouTube? Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? There are several social media networks and it is possible to be very successful on all of them simultaneously — however, to take your presence to the next level — focus on the three that are the most critical to you. Focus your time and energy on those and then add in other networks where it makes sense.
12. Make it a priority
Social media is so easy to do, that it is also so easy not to do. It’s usually the first thing to go dormant when we get busy with work or life. But to really maximize the effect of social media, you have to make it as important as checking and responding to emails in a timely manner. It has to be scheduled on a daily basis. If you aren’t there, it’s almost like a virtual “closed” sign is hung up for your business.
One of the great things about social media is that we are still in the infancy of these new communication platforms, and all it takes is just tweaking a “few dials” to really ramp up your social media strategy. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this — please leave me a comment below!