A Beginners Guide to Social Media

social-media-appsIt is no surprise that social media is one of the most popular forms of marketing right now. Although that is the case, many of us struggle to stay on top of changes in the social media scene. Below are tips, regarding hashtags, links and content, for social media beginners to create effective posts on Facebook & Twitter.

Hashtag | The hashtag is used to mark keywords or phrases on social media platforms. It links users who are talking about the same topics. It can be used on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook. To increase the value of your hashtags, follow the advice below

  • Limit your hashtags to 1-3 per post. The affect is minimized when they are used in excess. Your posts will appear more relevant & professional if you maintain a maximum or 3 per post.
  • Teach your audience how to use your hashtag. Believe it or not, hasthtags are a part of your brand. In order for your hashtags to be useful & hopefully used by your audience, you need to teach your audience how to use your hashtag. Do this by being consistent with the hastags that you use. For example, if your Organization’s name is Support Our Students, will you always write #supportoutstudents or #SOS? Or both? Whatever you decide, be consistent.
  • Stay in tune with what’s current. In order for your posts to reach your audience, you should try to be as “hip” as you can while staying true to your content and brand. For example, if it’s the holidays, if there’s a huge sports game that day, or if there’s a social issue that’s trending on social media, try to make your posts relevant to that. Even though this requires more work, because you have to stay up-to-date with what’s trending on social media, it will ultimately result in more effective posts.
  • Avoid being overly specific. Hashtags such as #imalwayslate #ilikecrackersonmondays, don’t get a lot of traction. If your specific hashtag has a purpose, such as trying to connect with a certain niche or because you are trying to be intentionally over-the-top, then you may use it. For everyday posts, though, try to stay away from them.

Links | Links are wonderful for social media. Viewers respond well to them, and if people are viewing the link you are sharing, this can be extremely resourceful for you. If you track your social media or review analytics, you can see this. Below are a couple tips to get the most our of the links you share.

  • Erase the link URL on Facebook. This is a Facebook trick that a surprisingly large amount of FB users still do not know. After you post a link into your FB post, you can delete the actual URL. Make sure that you allow the link box to load in the draft of your post, and then you can delete the URL of the link, and press “post”. This way, your posts look seamless & professional.
  • Personalize the link image on Facebook. After you have posted a link the draft of your FB post, you can customize the image that shows. You can do this by clicking the bottom of the photo where it reads “Upload Image” usually in pale white writing.
  • Shorten the link for Twitter. Naturally, we all struggle with advertising on Twitter because you only have so much room to write your message. This can make it challenging to include links in your posts, because links take up so much room. In order to shorten a link, you can (and should) sign up for bitly (https://bitly.com/) which is a website that shortens your links for you. Super cool.

Content | Prose is not appreciated on social media as it is in other settings. If you want to share more than a paragraph, do it through a blog or link to a website. Otherwise, it is more than likely that your audience will disregard your post.

  • Take Action: Encourage your audience to take action by starting posts with “Get involved today!” or “Win a cash prize”, etc.
  • Relevant: Keep the posts relevant to the time that you are posting it. For example, post detail-oriented & live event posts during the day, and share creative and thought-provoking posts in the early morning or evenings when you audience is more likely to take the time to read them.
  • Pictures: Images are always more successful at grabbing viewers’ attention than words. Use them wisely by using high quality photos and posting live photos during events and throughout the day.
  • Maintain Branding: No matter what you want to post, make sure that you relate it back to your organization. You can do this by explaining how you are involved in the event, photo, or website that you are sharing. You can also do this by including your logo and color scheme on as much online marketing material as possible, such as graphics, photos, and links.

2 thoughts on “A Beginners Guide to Social Media

  1. My issue with social media marketing is that there will always be more social media websites each year, and it is hard to keep track of which ones to really focus on. Sure Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace are the current leaders, but just a few years ago it was Friendster and Livejournal. Times change, and devoting too much to a failing site can be costly.

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