Since the introduction of the first social media platforms such as MySpace in the early 2000's, social media has been on the rise. Every year, it is seen steadily growing in importance. These days, if someone can't find anything about you online through a basic search, they might not trust you, and will certainly move on in their search for another financial advisor. Having an online presence, be it small or large, legitimatizes a person and is a way for future clients to get to know you. Social media can be a way of publicizing your values, your work, and your capabilities to the world. It can also make you stand out to potential leads. Given this, it can be of no doubt that social media is extremely important and highly relevant in this day and age - and it's only going to get more so with time. Building personal pag
es is one thing, but a business page must be carefully tailored in specific ways, to optimize searches and convert as many leads as possible.
It is important to know that not all social media platforms are created the same. Each of them have different algorithms, and techniques for getting exposure on one platform may not be the same as another. That being said, there are ways to tailor posts so they fit all platforms, as will be resumed in the conclusion.
LinkedIn is the cornerstone of any business that wants to market themselves well online. What is interesting about LinkedIn is that it has a very business-centric environment, so your audience will likely consist mainly of professional peoples, who know the territory and likely won't be strangers to your work. As in all social media, the point of having your business be online is to market yourself, therefore: content is key. Regularly updating your page with blog posts, business updates, and creating showcase pages will keep people who are scrolling through your page interested, so that they may get to know your business, and potentially become a lead. Remember to pin important things so they remain at the top of your page, and link any relevant posts to your website for more traffic and exposure.
Along with useful, relevant, and interesting content, there is one thing to remember that is key: customer service isn't just done through email and in person. People who find you through a platform such as LinkedIn may chose to comment on one of your posts or contact you through there, and answering all inquiries will set you out as a business that is there for all current and potential clients.
However, just because LinkedIn is a professional tool, this doesn't mean you should be too formal at all times. When posting content such as blogs to your page, make sure to mix in some fun and lighthearted content. People like to read something that sounds like it was written by someone who knows what they are talking about, but is also down to earth. This technique of humanizing yourself to your audience makes people automatically trust you a little more, and trust is what turns a lead into a client.
Lastly, remember that all content can be posted to all of your social media channels with slight modifications to avoid having to create different content for different platforms.
Twitter is a platform which can be lots of fun to browse through quickly, due to it's character limit. Because you are limited to small amounts of writing, and have to post snapshots of your content rather than the entire piece, it is recommended that you tweet content linked to your website more than once. This is also due to the fact that Twitter's algorithms only show users content which the platform thinks interest them, so your followers may never see your tweets if you only post them once and they don't interact with you a lot. However, you don't want to over tweet something and annoy your followers, so experiment a little and see what works best for you.
As previously mentioned, make sure to keep your content relevant, interesting, and useful. This shouldn't be an issue if you are simply sharing the same content around all social media platforms, as the biggest challenge is simply creating the original piece for your ideal customers, and the rest just involves some mild tailoring, and sharing.
Lastly, reaching out to people is incredibly important on all social media platforms; Twitter is no exception. The more interaction you have, the more Twitter shows your posts to your followers. It may be interesting to play around with video, as video content is now being prioritized by many platforms.
To reach out to the right people directly, rather than casting your net out too wide, you can use the advance search settings. Advanced search will help you find people with issues relating to your fields, or questions you might be able to answer. You can also search people and have people find you by using hashtags, just be careful not to over hashtag and annoy readers. A general rule of thumb is to keep it to about 5-10. By doing this, you prove yourself an expert in your field and gain a new follower, who may now become a lead.
Following the pre-established trend that most platforms no longer show content based on chronological order, comes Facebook. Facebook has strategically modified their algorithms to reduce organic reach unless a user does certain things. The biggest and most important of these things is use live video. Live video is much better than regular video according to the platform, and is the key to user engagement. Video has been proven to be the third most important type of content that users like to see. It doesn't have to be anything too complex: just filming oneself in an office and answering some FAQs can be interesting. If people choose to follow along in real time and ask additional questions than you can answer them right away.
Make sure the video stays light and dynamic, this helps to make you seem natural and trustworthy without losing an audience's attention or bogging them down with too much information. Even if someone doesn't tune in right away, the Facebook live video can be saved and posted to your feed, or it will remain on your page for another 24 hours before disappearing.
As with LinkedIn, it is possible to keep important pieces of content pinned to the top of your page so that they are the first things users can see when searching around. Make sure any images and videos used are good quality, as this can allow you to share across all platforms (most notably Instagram) and won't annoy users. Once again, customer service is important, and answering questions through messages or comments will set you apart from others. Interestingly, Facebook shows your response time to users, and if the time is something above a few hours, people may hesitate to ask questions, and this could potentially be a lost opportunity for you.
Finally, Facebook for businesses is interesting as they have specific tabs and buttons throughout your page to facilitate business interactions. An interesting one to play around with could be the community tab, where your followers post things relevant to both of you, such as interactions with the company at events. This can be a great place to insert subtle advertising such as images of satisfied customers, but be careful to avoid coming off as disingenuous, as that may automatically turn people away. Most importantly, there is the make an appointment button on the left side, in the tabs section. Once activated, this would allow customers to make appointments right from your Facebook page, and instantly allow you to convert leads.
Last on our list is Instagram. Although Instagram may not be the right platform for everyone, it could still be useful to have, and it can't hurt to try. The most important thing to keep in mind, which not many people know, is that the platform is not necessarily all about the images. Although high quality images are important (this is the same for all social networks), captions are shown to significantly increase a page's effectiveness. Quotes are of course the biggest and most beloved Instagram caption phenomena. Users love quotes, and may choose to focus more on it, than the photo itself. The caption could also include updates about your business, latest news, products, etc.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record: it is once again worth noting that the platforms algorithms decrease organic reach unless manipulated a certain way. This is especially true for business pages, as Instagram lowers these pages reach in order to get them to pay for promotions and ads. The hard and fast rule for countering this is the same as mentioned previously: interact with your audience. A great strategy for this is to post a product offered, offer an interesting caption about it, and then cap it off with a call-to-action such as asking people to comment with their questions on the product/service mentioned.
A few additional methods are: giving a great first impression, keeping the images people-centric, having a common theme or focusing on branding, geotagging, hashtagging, and making the first 3 lines of blog posts catchy. Sounds like a lot? It can be overwhelming at first, but is clear enough once applied.
First impressions matter, whether online or in person. Make sure to add a clear profile image, a strong biography, and a link to your website, since this is the first thing a potential lead will see upon perusing your page. For the content: images with faces in them are important, so perhaps showing some employees in the office hard at work is an interesting idea. Having a common theme and paying attention to branding is a noteworthy idea. Messy profiles with seemingly disconnected images can confuse guests, so attaching your branding to these images (just as you might do on your website or blog page), is important. A simple way to do this would be to simply add your logo to the bottom right of all images.
One thing to remember: geotagging and hashtagging are different things. Geotags are location tags which you can add to your posts. This will help people searching for businesses in your area find you quicker. Hashtags are the tags which you can add to the bottom of your post. In the Twitter section above, we mentioned that 5-10 captions would be good for that platform, but Instagram is a little different. The maximum amount of hashtags which you can use is 30, but you shouldn't always use them all. Make sure the hashtags are proportional to the caption; a long caption means more hashtags. Keep them targeted, specific and perhaps even consider making your own, such as #MyBusinesNameHere.
In terms of captions, Instagram doesn't have a character limit like twitter, but only the first 3 lines will show automatically under the image, if the user is interested they can press the read more button to see the rest. This is why it is vital to make the first 3 lines as compelling as possible, to catch their attention.
In summary, utilizing multiple social media platforms, each with a different set of rules and algorithms, can get pretty overwhelming. The only real golden rule for everything, is to put the social back into social media. These platforms were not created to "set it and forget it", they are meant to help people connect and find others who share similar goals or needs. However, there are a few common denominators to always keep in mind: be active and keep engagement high, hashtag, consider placing ads on these platforms, follow others and connect to similar people, pages or businesses, and experiment. Only you can truly see what works and doesn't for your business, so get creative and enjoy the process.
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