Today I’d like to talk about Social media. I described Social media in a past post as a time sap. I guess it all depends on how much time it is sapping and the results you are getting from it.
When I started my business , I lived on twitter and Facebook; I used it as a really important tool to get my name and my business ethos out there. At the time of starting I had no bookings so my time was spent promoting and marketing my business and it was the perfect FREE tool for doing so.
I did such a good job that I even started giving talks about social media and one 2 one lessons on the subject. I still believe that twitter especially was a huge part of getting my brand and business out into the market places and people getting to know who I was. I would often meet with suppliers and they told me they thought I had been going much longer than I had simply because of my presence on Facebook and twitter. For that reason I LOVE twitter it gave me a step up and a real boost to the business.
Forward on 5 years and now I don’t feel as if I use twitter and Facebook half as much as I used to. Why? Because I simple don’t have the time!
Social media takes up your time, your energy and it is something you really have to dedicate yourself to too get anything from it. When I started I had the time to make it work for me, following the right people, engaging with them, connecting with people.
Social media can make you feel you are part of something, make you feel that you are in a gang; it can make you feel less lonely. Being self-employed and working from home is a pretty lonely place to be, and having people out there that are connecting with you in the same situation can often be incredibly reassuring.
However it can also have the adverse effect, it can swallow you up, it can eat your time and it can have a negative effect if you don’t use it properly.
In my time I have seen bulling, name calling, slagging matches, you name it. People using social media for all types of wrong and not playing by the rules. This sucks bug time!
These days I only look at social media as a business tool and that is it. I have separate personal accounts for twitter and Facebook and do my best not to mix the two, I also use the personal accounts a lot less than my business accounts because I still see social media mainly as a business toll.
However I still feel it is important to have a voice, for people to know it is you behind each social media account; your personality has to shine through otherwise your followers could be chatting to a robot.
So how do I use Social media?
I have looked at my Wedding Blog stats and broken down where I get most of my traffic from in regards to social media and referring sites. And from here I have been able to see where I need to use my time most wisely. I’m will do the same research in a few months time for this blog once it has been running a bit longer.
Pinterst is WAY in front of the other two, so this is where I spend more of my time. Dedicating my time to the social media platform that gets me the best results means that I am reconised on Pinterest! and people know me for my pinning (amongst other things) I pin images form my own blog posts but I also pin a lot of other stuff as well. If you are only pinning your own work it can get pretty boring for your followers and you are defeating the point of pinterest. People often email me and say how useful they find my pinterest boards, how they used them for inspiration when planning their wedding and that really makes me happy. I LOVE pinterest and I love the fact that is doesn’t have to be all about weddings. With the birth fo this new blog I have found myself pinning more house stuff and as for the food and cute cat and animal photos don’t get me started!! But I just see this as a way for my followers to engage with me more and get to know me more. I have heard of photographers getting bookings from their pinterest accounts; it is such a visual tool that it is perfect for anyone working in a creative industry.
BUT don’t let time slip away with you. At the beginning just like any social media you have to spend time building up your boards and a following. However I now allow myself a set amount for time a day on pinterest otherwise I could be on there all day. Short sharp bursts of time is better than endless hours spent pinning.
Facebook is a great visual tool but also great for connecting with people and for sharing each other’s work. This is probably the oldest and most popular forms of Social media and most business these days will have a business Facebook page. Some companies will build a Facebook page and a good following before getting a website and some will even use this instead of a website.
I still find it a useful tool for connecting with people, asking questions, getting feedback on subjects and new material for the blog. I try to keep my albums updated as I know that brides will look at these for inspiration.
It is also important to keep an eye on your Facebook insights and post at times when the most people are on Facebook, take a look at your insights page, you may learn a lot about your fans!
I have to admit I have a love hate relationship with twitter. As I mentioned I used to use it A LOT, but now I find I rarely have anything to say. My life is pretty dull. I am mainly sat behind a computer for 12 hours a day, so I really don’t have that much to say. I am also very busy so just don’t have the time. I don’t often connect with people as I just don’t have time to sit and constantly read my feed. I am aware that I could probably do with using it as a networking tool more.
I see lots of industry people on twitter constantly chatting away, telling people about their day, endless conversations with people, and to be honest I do wonder where they get the time. If I do chat with people it is more often via a direct message as I’d rather keep my conversations private. And don’t get me started on #FF!
As time has gone by with twitter and the more followers I have, I have realised that I can’t say the sort of things I used to say. I used to go on there to have a rant but I have learnt that this is just unprofessional and leads to no good. So I have learnt to keep my mouth shut and if I have got something to say, to use my personal account.
There are of course other forms of social media.
- Google + is becoming big news, and is a wonderful tool for SEO.
- Iinkedin is big in the corporate world. I used to be on it but found it was no good for creative types like me, again though it is all subjective.
- Instagram is fab, but again I see it more for personal use. I mainly post pictures of Dee and of my dinner (yes I am that annoying person at the restaurant)
- Stumbleupon, surfingbird and many other wedding related sharing platforms…..so many I can’t name them all.
The things I have learnt and a few rules to go by:
- Choose your preferred social network and stick to it. Don’t try and use all of them otherwise you will do nothing else with your time.
- Start using a platform like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to manage all your social media. Trying to do all individually is a nightmare. Using one of these means you can manage all your accounts in one place.
- When using a new social media, you have to dedicate a bit of time to it to get it up and running, to find your voice and to find followers. It only works if you do
- Set you self a time limit each day for social media and stick to it. It is all too easy to get swept away before you know it you have wasted hours.
- If you are using social media for work remember you are at work. Remember that anyone can read what you are writing. That includes your customers. Be mindful of everything you put out there because once its out there it’s out there for good
- Don’t air your dirty laundry in public. I have seen to many arguments with people and it just comes off as bad form. Always think about what you say before you say it, and if you have a problem with someone and you want to talk to them about it, send a personal message or a direct message.
- Don’t over share. Do you really want your customers and suppliers seeing everything about your personal life? Keep it professional.
In summary what I am saying is that in the beginning, in the first year of business twitter, Facebook etc are all great tools to get your business out there and for people to know who you are.
But you need to use it wisely. You get back what you put in, same as anything in life. As time goes by you will find you have less time for it, so this is where you need to streamline and find the ones that work for you the best.
Always remember you are running a business and stay professional throughout. And with anything in life don’t forget your please and thank you’ s!
I’d love to hear your thought, how have you found social media? do you use it in your business? or is it just for personal use? Have you had any great experiences or any bad one?
Any advice or hints and tips you have learnt?