Your social media does not want to kill you: A basic guide to help you make the most of your startup experience on 5 socia...
5 social media platforms - Elisabeth Epstein & Wellington Davies Updated September 2014 
RealClearAdviisors LLC Social Med...
5 social media platforms - Elisabeth Epstein & Wellington Davies Updated September 2014 
RealClearAdviisors LLC Social Med...
5 social media platforms - Elisabeth Epstein & Wellington Davies Updated September 2014 
RealClearAdviisors LLC Social Med...
5 social media platforms - Elisabeth Epstein & Wellington Davies Updated September 2014 
RealClearAdviisors LLC Social Med...
5 social media platforms - Elisabeth Epstein & Wellington Davies Updated September 2014 
RealClearAdviisors LLC Social Med...
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Social Media 101

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Your social media does not want to kill you:
A basic guide to help you make the most of your startup experience on 5 social media platforms

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Social Media 101

  1. 1. Your social media does not want to kill you: A basic guide to help you make the most of your startup experience on 5 social media platforms Compiled by Elisabeth Epstein and Wellington Davies at RealClearAdviisors
  2. 2. 5 social media platforms - Elisabeth Epstein & Wellington Davies Updated September 2014 RealClearAdviisors LLC Social Media Marketing Baltimore | Nashville | New York City | Philadelphia www.realclearii.com hello@realclearii.com Introduction You run a small business or nonprofit and you believe growth would be stronger if more people could connect with your brand. You’ve decided it’s time to start a social media marketing campaign. With apologies to YouTube, Vimeo, Pinterest, Flickr and Foursquare here is a brief guide to help small enterprises who want to get going and make the most of their startup experience on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google Plus. We are aware that YouTube, with 1 billion accounts created, is huge (see Figure 1), but we consider it a more advanced platform for small enterprises just getting going on social media. It is difficult to communicate beyond your video, i.e., in most cases there is very little interaction with your audience. Therefore, it is better to establish your other social media platforms first. We talk to many users of YouTube that have set up an account and then leave it empty or repurpose someone else’s content when they realize how difficult it is to find quality videography at a price they consider worth the expenditure. Our recommendation is don’t do this. When viewers find your website or landing page, then click on your YouTube social icon, or any icon for that matter, make sure there is great content there when they arrive. You must be prepared to generate great content consistently when clicks increasingly are hard to come by. Just consider, 32% of users on Facebook have never ‘Liked’ a company, and the average Facebook fan currently “likes” about 10 company pages (more on what a ‘like’ is in Facebook section). We recommend that you stick with the five platforms in this guide and go slow. Once you have assessed your brand messaging strategy (what’s the message and who is the audience to receive it) and understand the basics of developing high quality content, it may be time for you to launch a YouTube account. Note that we have not included popular blogging platforms like WordPress or Tumblr. Yet, we encourage you to start blogging, if you don’t already. There are plenty of good reviews that discuss the pros and cons of blogging platforms. Lastly, a little patience may be necessary when setting up your company page on Facebook, LinkedIn or Google Plus. It can be tricky for some. We include a link to the Help Center for each of the five social media channels that are discussed in this guide. Welcome to the party! A Comparison Five Social Networks (how we categorize them) 1. Facebook (find friends) 2. Twitter (find news) 3. LinkedIn (find business partners) 4. Instagram (find pictures) 5. Google Plus (find all of the above) Facebook What you need to know. Facebook is the most widely used platform on social media with over 1.4 billion social profiles created. UPDATE: You have to be Everyone tells you that you have to be on Facebook because it has such a large network and there is still significant growth in particular demographic groups, e.g. woman age 55 and older (Pew Internet Research 2013). However, in our
  3. 3. 5 social media platforms - Elisabeth Epstein & Wellington Davies Updated September 2014 RealClearAdviisors LLC Social Media Marketing Baltimore | Nashville | New York City | Philadelphia www.realclearii.com hello@realclearii.com opinion, Facebook is increasingly small brand “unfriendly” as it becomes more of a fee for service social networking site geared toward larger brands. For example, it can be challenging to secure a great looking large-pixel banner photo for the image atop your timeline. This is wonderful for big brands who want to differentiate their brand and have a few thousand dollars to spend on a photograph (Twitter with its recent makeover has gone this route too). Note Shutterstock may be relatively cheap, but, in our opinion, going to its website to choose among 1,000 pictures of a rocket is not differentiating your brand. Don’t sweat it though. Invest in a great logo graphic/avatar and leave your background basic to start. Also, don’t be hustled by Facebook for paid subscriber growth, until you understand exactly how it works and precisely who you are reaching. While Facebook is purposely declining the organic reach potential of their platform they will remain an important lever for you, if you are diligent about understanding how to use it effectively. But the focus, more than ever, has to be on creative branding, e.g., your logo/avatar and paying attention to how different platforms serve your needs. Go organic, go slow, let all of your channels work together and see what’s possible.  Each Facebook post has an average “lifespan” of 24 to 48 hours. Make it count!  Users must ‘Like’ your page in order to see your posts on their timeline/newsfeed  Facebook compiles comprehensive analytics on all users that engage with your page, making it a valuable demographic resource. You receive a basic set of analytic tools after you start your account and another set of tools is released to you when you achieve 100 “Likes.”  Monitor post popularity carefully to influence future content creation. Seek engagement, e.g., reach, post clicks, likes and comments.  Be considerate. Do not overload your Facebook feed with marginal quality content just “to get something out.” This may cause friends to “unlike” you if you clog their timeline.  Decide on a schedule to post to Figure 1
  4. 4. 5 social media platforms - Elisabeth Epstein & Wellington Davies Updated September 2014 RealClearAdviisors LLC Social Media Marketing Baltimore | Nashville | New York City | Philadelphia www.realclearii.com hello@realclearii.com your account and stick to it. Don’t start posting every 3-4 hours for a few weeks and then drop to one post every 3-4 days. Transitions should be thought out and occur slowly. You can start out slow, e.g., 1 post per week, then move to 1 post every 2-3 days, and go from there. This a rule of thumb that we believe you can follow across platforms.  Here is a link to the Facebook Help Center. Twitter What you need to know. Twitter’s simplicity is where it shines, and being limited to 140 characters makes you think hard about your message. Twitter is great for finding out detailed news on a topic. We often start with Twitter #hashtags (learn more about hashtags below) to do research on topics before we use Google’s search engine. However, to become a grand master at engagement on Twitter can be a challenge. The reason is among your Twitter audience, there are more subject matter experts. They are more demanding in their information needs and have shorter attention spans than on other social networking sites. It’s a tough crowd. But we think the benefits outweigh the cost of attracting their attention. Others see the value too. So, we believe it is worth the trouble to get good at “tweeting.” We think the trick in tweeting is to make your tweet very informative, but phrase it in a way that a person reading it will want to share it again because it will be phrased as if they said it. Here is an example. #Math matters to us, and here is a demonstration why (your embedded link here) MT @YourCompanyName. When someone shares this information, it sounds like they could have authored the tweet, i.e., “Math matters to me…”  Each Tweet has a “lifespan” of 2 minutes to 5 hours. Since so many users can comment or tweet about an event from so many vantage points, news can get old in minutes. A tweet is like a stock market quote. Twitter, therefore, typically requires many more post updates than other social media platforms. Make it count!  140 character messages are posted and displayed on users’ newsfeed. Viewers must “Follow’ you to see your newsfeed  Twitter Lists can encourage included organizations to follow you; sort organizations/people into specific issues/topics so you can better follow themes and spot trends.  Demographic info is based on “Interactions/Notifications.” UPDATE: Effective July 10, 2014 Twitter does not offer a nice dashboard with the most important basic analytics you will need, e.g., impressions and engagement. There are also a number of outside vendors that sync with your Twitter account to provide analytical tools for you to assess your success. Try Fruji  Tweets with links, pictures, quotes and/or data facts get noticed more than those without.  Common Twitter abbreviations o RT = Retweet o MT = Mention o For a more complete list of abbreviations see SocialMediaToday.com  Hashtags (#hashtags) divide tweeted subjects into specific topics of conversation and can promote growth of followers. When writing a tweet about a well-known topic or an event you are attending, find and use the designated hashtags (#worldcup2014). You can target your post and make it easier to be noticed. Be sure to give credit or attribution to the source, if it didn’t
  5. 5. 5 social media platforms - Elisabeth Epstein & Wellington Davies Updated September 2014 RealClearAdviisors LLC Social Media Marketing Baltimore | Nashville | New York City | Philadelphia www.realclearii.com hello@realclearii.com come out of your head. You must credit the source, and can do so using their @TwitterAccount.  Here is a link to the Twitter Help Center. LinkedIn What you need to know. LinkedIn is your online business rolodex. But that does not mean you are going to connect with 500 business contacts that are going to help you grow your business in the next month through LinkedIn. In fact, you should not want to add that many contacts that fast. As Mark Birch @Strong Opinions advocated in 2011 “Know your target.” That is still rule number one today, and it will be rule number one 10 years from today. Here are more current rules of the road from Forbes. But we like Birch’s old rules better than Forbes new rules. And we have some “strong opinions” too. For example, we would contradict the Forbes article, and say you can make your LinkedIn look like a resume, don’t feel compelled to embed a video of yourself and you certainly don’t need to have 500+ contacts. The point? Don’t be afraid to own who you are on social media. It is hard to speak in absolutes on social media. If you go slowly, you will pick up the frameworks. If you don’t have the budget for a professional, go ahead and jump in, but go slowly.  Each LinkedIn update has a “lifespan,” of about 1-2 weeks since that is how long posts remain in view in a newsfeed. Make it count!  When someone follows your page it will enable your content to appear in their newsfeed  Make sure when you copy the URL to share a story in LinkedIn, you go back and delete the URL, after your image appears and before you are ready to post. It looks much cleaner if you do. This is true with Facebook posts too. There is no need to have the extra URL in your header. Your image already has a hyperlink embedded.  Posts with pictures get more “Likes” and Comments.  Describe each post using a 1-2 sentence unique description, different from the title.  Try to update your LinkedIn at least once per week, especially if you are not very active on Twitter or Facebook. We view LinkedIn as the “low hanging fruit” of social media and establishing a base here could prove very valuable. It is much easier to get the attention of the Quiet Follower and Casual Liker” on LinkedIn. There is less noise on LinkedIn. Posts are generally all business related and good content tends to get read, ‘liked’ and commented on.  Here is a link to the LinkedIn Help Center. Instagram What you need to know. The King and Queen of the “selfie.” Instagram is a photo-sharing platform where almost anything goes, if it is good natured and in the spirit of having fun and making people smile. It is the best social media space to spread awareness and invite conversation through imagery.  Each Instagram post has a “lifespan” of 24 to 48 hours. Make it Count!  You should follow similar organizations, users and comment or <3 as many posts as you find interesting. This will encourage responses to your posts.
  6. 6. 5 social media platforms - Elisabeth Epstein & Wellington Davies Updated September 2014 RealClearAdviisors LLC Social Media Marketing Baltimore | Nashville | New York City | Philadelphia www.realclearii.com hello@realclearii.com  You can allow users to post directly to your page, effectively crowd sourcing some of your content.  Experiment with all of the different digital photograph filters on Instagram to improve the look of your pictures. Lo-Fi is a great one to enhance your food pictures.  Share your content on Facebook and Twitter, it’s easy.  Here is a link to the Instagram Help Center. Google Plus What you need to know. For years, many people have dismissed Google Plus an important social media platform on par with its size. Not anymore. Given the recent moves by Facebook to reduce organic reach potential of your posts (see Facebook section), the anxiety many can have about Tweeting (see Twitter section) and the free opportunity to use Google Hangouts on Air to promote your brand, we believe Google Plus will become the defacto go-to social media platform for small brands in the next three years.  Each Google Plus post has a “lifespan” of 24 to 48 hours. Make It Count!  You will need a Gmail account before you can start a google Plus Account.  Similar to Facebook’s “Like” utility, Google Plus provides both an easy, non-committal response method in its “+1” button and comment utilities.  Circles organize Google Plus users into specific topics of interest. You can send messages out to general public or specific groups. Users are able to post directly your Google Plus page, so you can effectively crowd source some content.  Check the “Following” circle every time you log on. Users can be placed in multiple groups if appropriate.  Quotes and pictures have the highest likelihood of being re-posted, shared or liked.  Vine videos look great in Google Plus. It was ironic that Google Plus was crushing Twitter using their own tool against them. Twitter has stepped it up with their new look, but Google Plus still looks better in our opinion.  Google Plus Video Hangouts on air are great. The video quality is amazing and they are free. In fact, once you make the leap to conduct a Hangout on air, it is time for you to start a YouTube account as your Hangout will be recorded and uploaded to your YouTube page. Also worth noting is Hangouts will rank high in Google searches. Hangouts may not seem intuitive at first. Our recommendation would be to start using Hangouts as a phone service alternative to Skype until you see the promise of it as something more, e.g., internal video conferencing or external branding tool for your business. If you take the plunge, try these tips on managing a Hangout.  Here is a link to the Google Plus Help Center.

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