I want to start by changing your attitude regarding social media. Most people hate it and I get why. It can be a slow and painfully confusing conundrum getting your head around all the different platforms. But instead of getting frustrated, change your attitude and start to think positively about the potential that social media offers us.
In a just over a year, I managed to build my social media following to over 20,000 and a Love Her Wild Facebook group to over 5,000 members. Not groundbreaking numbers by any means, but enough that I could make a living out of something I love doing.
Social media is a powerful tool when used effectively.
I get asked a lot about my top social media tips so here they are. This is based on what has worked for me and I hope it helps.
How much have I spent?
Just a quick disclosure in case you are wondering….I’ve never spent a penny on social media.
I’ve never paid for followers (we need a serious talk about this in a second) and I’ve never paid for adverts. For now, money shouldn’t come into it.
What are the best social media platforms?
The 3 platforms I use for social media are; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Of course, there are many more available but I feel like these 3 cover the exposure I need and I can manage them comfortably.
Facebook is my favourite as I find it so flexible and interactive. It’s great for sharing my blogs and videos and the Love Her Wild Facebook community is quite remarkable in its ability to bring people together.
Twitter has been invaluable when it has come to building relationships with peers (other adventurers and adventure brands) and is great for relevant discussions.
I was late to the game with Instagram but my following has boomed and I am really starting to understand its value. I think it is the easiest platform to communicate and engage with others. It is also well loved by sponsors!
A word about YouTube:
In my opinion, YouTube is a dying platform. Since Facebook has upped their game with video (and YouTube has reduced their advertising commisions) vloggers and video sharers are starting to move entirely to Facebook.
On Facebook, your video plays automatically meaning higher view rates and the engagement is considerably higher (another big advantage that it is so comfortable/east for people to share). YouTube still requires a click through which means you will get much fewer views. Plus you will get much fewer comments and likes on YouTube in relation to viewing rates.
The biggest advantage of YouTube is that you can search for relevant films but I think that Facebook will offer this feature soon too. This feature is most relevant to those who are doing ‘how-to’ type videos so if you fall into this category then you may still want a YouTube account.
There is no harm in posting your videos across different platforms. Although when it comes to selling yourself, having 10,000 views on one video looks better than 5,000 on the same video on 2 different platforms.
A word about Pinterest:
I don’t use Pinterest yet, but I plan to. I’ve heard a lot of bloggers say that Pinterest is their highest driver of traffic so I feel like this is a really valuable platform worth getting my head around (although I’m aware it will take some time as you need to create ‘Pinterest style’ images for every one of your blogs).
I signed up for a software called Hootsuite that I have found really helpful. It basically allows you to manage all your platforms in one place, although the biggest help for me is being able to schedule posts. For example, if I want to run a competition, I’m going to want maybe 7 reminders on my social media over a strategic timeframe. With Hootsuite, I can do this in one go so that I don’t need to keep thinking about when to post or trying to remember when my last post was.
Cheating: Follow/unfollow and paid followers
There are 2 ways you can ‘cheat’ at social media:
The follow/unfollow game
Here’s how it works. You follow a load of people then hope that some of them will follow you back. 1 or 2 days later you then unfollow them all and repeat the process. What this does is slowly creeps up your ‘followers’ while keeping your ‘following’ numbers fairly low.
This game is mostly played on Instagram. This is the reason your ‘followers’ number sometimes goes up and down without explanation. People are playing the follow/unfollow game.
I think it is far more effective to use your time liking and commenting on other peoples posts. This gets you noticed without being so blatant!
Paying for followers
Another way you can get followers easily is to pay for them. It’s quite simple…you head over to Fiverr pay $5 and you will get 1000 followers. Simples….
Except there’s a good chance your account will be shut down instantly. And also they won’t be real followers. Most of them will be fake accounts set up to follow people who are paying for this service and nothing more.
Why do you need ‘real’ followers anyway?
Firstly, brands and sponsors are getting savvy to these games and are also taking in to account your engagement levels, not just your following numbers. They are likely to use something like Social Blade (a platform that highlights suspicious activity like too much follow/unfollowing or a sudden jump in numbers) to do a quick check that you aren’t using dodgy tactics.
But here’s the biggest problem….
Ask yourself the question, why are you building a following? Maybe you have a product you’d like to sell (blogging also comes under this category if you want to use affiliate links or make a living from it) or maybe you want an audience to share your ideas, inspire or drive a change for good.
Whatever your reason, you are going to need real authentic follows. Individuals who know who you are and like what you do.
Trust me when I say it is better to have 20 true followers than 2000 fake ones. My Patreon scheme is a great example. I’ve built up Love Her Wild authentically on nothing more than hard work and good intentions. I have over 90 Patreon’s now – that’s 90+ individuals who believe in what I do so much that they are willing to support me financially.
How many Patreons would I have got from 2000 fake followers who don’t know my name and have just robotically clicked ‘like’? Not a single one.
Authenticity is the highest value in social media. Not the number.
For more proof on this, check out the 1000 true fans theory.
#11 top social media tips
These top social media tips are my golden rules and what I keep in mind across all my platforms.
#1 Get it looking good from the start
From the day you open your social media account, get it looking as good as you can. Use Canva to create a nice cover photo. Pick a great profile picture (use the same one across all your platforms – you want to be consistent). Make the most of the description and link spaces available to send people to your website.
Set the bar high from the beginning. That means making your posts a bit more profesional….no more blurry selfies!!
#2 Have a clear message
Branding is SO important when you are starting out building…well, anything really! Be very clear about who you are and why you are unique from all the other people out there. You should be able to describe yourself and your blog/brand in one simple sentence.
You want this to come across clearly on your social media pages so if somebody comes across you, they know straight away what you are about.
Have you also read my blog: 11 smart things I did when growing my adventure brand? This might give you some ideas!
#3 Get every single one of your family and friends to like your pages
Use your friends and families support to give you that initial boost on your social media pages. Share on your personal profiles asking friends and family to like your page. Do this more than once!
You could send an email out to everyone you know asking them to like your page. Or even better, ask them to share your page.
#4 Keep in mind that small numbers are a big deal
Social media is a slow game which is where people go wrong because they get frustrated. But here’s the thing, every single follower is to be celebrated. It is very rare for people to unfollow (unless you really mess things up) which means that most of those followers are for life.
If you have got 1 new follower today, you have taken a step in the right direction. I sometimes set myself challenges to try and grow 30 followers in a day!
#5 Aim for the 1000 mark
Your first goal on social media should be passing 1000. This puts you in a different league.
The closer you get to this number, the easier it becomes. The more followers you have, the more likes and comments you get which means the more people see you and the more new followers you get. Numbers grows numbers.
So basically, those first few hundreds are going to be the hardest.
#6 Get over your embarrassment
Embarrassed to shamelessly ask your friends to like your page? Embarrassed to get involved in a Twitter conversation between peers in your industry that you really admire? Embarrassed to post on your social media page when you only have 64 followers?
Well, get over it! We’ve all got to start somewhere. Even the big players with millions of followers started with 1.
The bolder and braver you are with your social media, the more likely you are to grow.
#7 Get followers to like your other platforms
Once you’ve got a chunky following (I’d say at least 500) it is worth asking people to like your other platforms. So once in a while on Facebook, ask people to follow you on Instagram. Or ask your Twitter followers to check out Facebook.
Include your Twitter and Instagram handle in your Facebook description as well.
#8 Offer something different on all your platforms
There is nothing worse than seeing an automated Instagram post on Twitter or Facebook. This is so lazy! It doesn’t work and it makes your social media platform look hollow which is a damaging thing.
Also, if you are a Facebook user mostly and you see an automated post from Instagram you are much less likely to interact because clearly you are only using Instagram.
Use different photos and videos on each platform (you don’t have to do this all the time, but most of the time). Offer something unique to each. My Instagram style of writing and what/how I share is very different to Facebook.
#9 Follow the best
Follow people that have lots of followers and spend time reading their feeds and noticing their engagement. They are the best people to learn from and you will pick up lots of invaluable tips.
It’s fine to copy when you see a good idea, but it’s always better to put your own spin on it if you can.
#10 Remember that not everyone will see your post
Only a percentage of your followers are going to see your post….the amount will depend on timing and engagement rates. This is why important things need to be said more than once!
In terms of call to action ‘read this blog’ or ‘buy this book’ it is often sugested that a person needs to see it 5 times for them to act.
#11 Always value your followers
This is so important.
Spend time reading and replying to followers comments. They need to (rightfully) be valued. It can be difficult to reply to everyone if you get a lot of comments on one post. In this instance, comment on the first few and then ‘like’ the rest to show you have read them.
That’s a lot to take in
Thanks! Now go check out Part 2 of my social media tips.