By Jess Goulart
Photos courtesy of Highways Agency.
Let’s face it, social media is a dog eat dog world. If you’re looking to brand yourself, you have your work cut out for you.
Take Twitter, for example. Google what makes a successful twitter account and a slew of inspirational “how-to” articles appear from all manners of people claiming to be experts. And that’s no wonder, because professional Twitter consultants charge up to $2,000 to set up an account, and $3,000 a month for ongoing active management.
These people want your business, they want you to believe that with their help you will be trending in no time.
But statistics say there are 115 million active Twitter users per month, and only a tenth of a percent of them have over 10,000 followers. Discount “inactive followers,” or followers that don’t participate in your account, only add people in hopes of a return follow, and that percentage drops even further.
Of course, you can now buy followers on all social media platforms, but though this will boost your numbers the level of engagement from these followers will be low. Low engagement equals low visibility, because even if you have hundreds of thousands of likes on Facebook, if no one is interacting with you your page is given a low Edgerank score. Edgerank is an algorithm used to determine what is displayed on user news feeds, and it heavily weighs participation.
Buying followers also ruins your rep, and hello, that’s what your social media accounts collectively are–your digital reputation.
Still want to try your hand? Well, you’re in luck.
Joyce Manolo has a background in finance, culture, and marketing, including project management for YouTube’s Twitter and Google Plus accounts. She currently works as a social media data analyst/reporter at Skift, a 2-year-old travel media company that covers the business and trends of travel, boasting over 2 million site visits per month.
Each week Manolo publishes an article called “5 Travel Brands Winning on Social Media.” To select them, she watches data from 2,500 companies for spikes in visibility, then researches what the brand did suddenly to gain the traction. She then compares the overall creative against her experiential library of social campaigns. From this process, Manolo crafted her top social media do’s and don’ts exclusively for BTR:
• Know one’s own brand.
• Know your competitors.
• Create a content strategy (platforms, messaging, timing, and frequency).
• Stay human.
• Join conversations.
• Be inconsistent.
• Staff or scale poorly; know if you need to hire a manager for your accounts or not.
• Autofeed (spam).
Then, Manolo says, the easiest way to boost your numbers isn’t to buy them, but to collaborate with brands that are already established.
“I’ve seen a ton of user generated content paired with contests on Instagram (@Tourism Queensland), guest content creators like guest tweeters (@Sweden), Instagrammers (@FlySwiss), InstaMeets (but not so much on Facebook or YouTube), and collaborations with content creators, bloggers and influencers on YouTube and Instagram,” Manolo explains.
“An amateur should create aspirational content that is published regularly, hashtagging it with care, and be part of a larger community of bloggers to help promote each other’s content.”
Manolo’s advice serves as an excellent reminder that social media is supposed to be, well, social. Stick to these guidelines, and you’ve got a great start.