Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How to Build a Social Media Un-Strategy

I hear lots of talk about building social media strategies, and I know I can't be the only one who thinks that sounds just a little bit icky. I know it's a huge industry now, and that's seriously amazing because it's a great tool. But I think for small business owners like bloggers and Etsians, it's better to keep it pretty natural when it comes to social media. The goal is to be intentional about your social media use without being TOO intentional. I did some thinking about how I use it myself, and came up with some tips. I'm not a ~social media guru~ so feel free to take these with a grain of salt. But these have worked so far for me (and I also include some mistakes I've made along the way), so without further ado I present my social media un-strategy:

Choose Platforms You Like
Not every social network makes sense for your business, and you won't necessarily like using every one. If you try to do too much you'll just end up dropping them or posting erratically and it won't do you any good. I, for one, don't enjoy Facebook. I still have a Facebook page just because it is so popular, and some people use it to contact me - so I can respond to them, but I don't really use it to post anything. And that's fine with me. You have to find what works best for you so that it's not so forced and unnatural. When I used to try and use my facebook page I always just ended up spamming links. I couldn't keep up with posting photos and everything else Facebook has to offer. It just didn't work. So I dropped it. Don't be afraid to drop a network if it doesn't work out.

Showcase Different Sides of Your Biz
There are plenty of other social networks that I do use, though. I use Twitter to post links to new blog posts, as well as photos, links to stuff I like, and just everyday thoughts and ramblings. I use Pinterest completely for myself as a way to bookmark things for later - diy projects, cool things to buy, home decor etc. I use Tumblr in a similar way, just with more of an audience in mind. I know I have a larger following there, so I choose posts that I think my readers would like, while still just posting stuff I think is cool. And I use Instagram to post everyday photos, photo challenges, and some outfits that don't make it to this blog. I link to blog posts using all of these platforms (except pinterest), but there's not a whole lot of overlap in the content of each one. Someone could follow me on all four sites and would not see the same content over and over and over again. For me, there's just a lot of inspiration out there and it's nice to have a place to share all of it, but there's no need to share it too many times. Give your network a reason to connect with you on different platforms, if you use them.

Connect Your Networks
That being said, SOME overlap is not a bad thing. For instance, if every once in awhile a person who I follow on Twitter auto-posts from Pinterest, I can get a glimpse of the kinds of things they post and see if I'd like to follow them there. It also just shows me that they have a Pinterest and links me to their account - I can't find the link if you never share it! Again, don't get spammy with the "Like me on Facebook" links via Twitter over and over and over again, but every once in awhile it can't hurt to share it because you might have new followers that didn't even know they could connect with you on Facebook. Or wherever.

Share What You'd Want to See
Do you enjoy following people who only pin their own products on Pinterest? What about people who update you that they're brushing their teeth on Twitter? Didn't think so. Just put yourself in someone else's shoes and take a look at what you post. Would you follow yourself? If the answer is no, then who else would really want to follow you? Change it up, and I think you'll find that posting stuff you like will not only expand your network but also just make the whole process a lot more pleasant for you.

Don't Force It
You can't just build a network overnight, and trying to do so will just turn a lot of people off to you. Don't try to be so uber professional that you seem stiff and not like a normal person (unless that's "your thing," which is cool I guess but I probably just won't follow you). And don't try to get others to promote you by just asking everyone individually to promote you. What have you ever done for them? And why should they? Or you could be one of those people who just goes around following others so they'll follow you back (and then unfollowing them later so it looks like you have waaaay more followers than people who you follow. That makes you cool, dontcha know?) That's not only dumb, but it's also rude and it defeats the whole purpose of social networking, which I will go over below.

It's seriously right there in the name, guys: social networking. It's pretty simple. Your social networks shouldn't just be a place for you to spam links. Follow others, respond to what they say, have conversations, and make friends. You can help your friends and they will help you out in return. This is pretty much the whole point of social networking. BADABING BADABOOM.

Have Fun
If you're not having fun with it, then it turns into a chore and you'll eventually fall off your game. Not only that, but your network can tell when you're not being yourself or when you're just there to boost sales or views. There's no reason for people to want to follow you if your interests are only self-serving and you don't offer anything extra-special content wise. If you don't like it, don't use it. There are other ways to market your biz. This one just happens to be easy and free and fun (for most of us).

So that's pretty much it. I think I got a little long-winded, but it's fairly simple - be yourself and have a good time with it. Don't try toooooo hard. Do any of you have any other tips to share? I'd love to hear them!

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  1. I love this! I can totally relate. I try not to over-think it and be natural about social media use. It's easy to be overwhelmed, but it's okay to take a step back an figure out what works for you and your brand. Thanks for sharing your insights, Annie.

  2. Great post!! Really, really informative. Also, completely [hearting] your skirt in the post below ;)


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