One of the key things we try to establish at Finegreen is ensuring all staff have a good and strong online presence. In the modern, social media era, it is a crucial ingredient for any marketing strategy but is also a hugely valuable networking tool across all fields and industries.
Social media is fantastic medium for online engagement and to keep up to date with all the latest news, events and trends going on in our quick and ever changing society.
Whilst some of us can cope smoothly with this online tranisition, others may find it more difficult and because of this, not develop their online presence due to a lack of knowledge and/or understanding. Once you get to grips with the basics, the rest should follow at your own comfortable pace.
Finegreen Marketing Manager Ben Fineberg gives his top 5 tips when launching and developing your online social media presence - I won’t detail all the different platforms currently available but will focus on the 3 most popular; Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook:
1 – Be sure to join the right social media sites to meet your needs.
Do a quick search of social media on Google and you’ll see there is a large number of social media options (you can see the Top 15 here, all with quite different tones and features, which can create confusion when deciding which is the best, or most relevant one for you!
For ease of use, I’d suggest starting with Twitter.
Put simply, Twitter.com gives you the chance to create your own profile and follow other users to join in on conversations you find interesting. You can search what people are talking about and then get involved in discussions whether you have zero followers or a million! As time progresses and you get more involved, other followers will add you to relevant “lists” and you can complement this account with other platforms, including:
LINKEDIN – linkedin.com – The world’s biggest professional platform to promote yourself for your business & career development. When you have created an account (standard accounts are free), you have the opportunity to add status updates, which are typically more professional & career focused than the more relaxed tone generally used on Twitter.
On LinkedIn your profile also allows you to add an online CV alongside images and presentations and once you are more comfortable with both of the above mediums, you can actually integrate the two.
FACEBOOK – Facebook.com - Similar to Linkedin, Facebook offers you your own, more detailed profile and a status update tool. It's often seen as a more personal form of social media and can be thought of as your home on the Internet, a place people can go to leave you a message, browse through your photo collections, or even chat with you while you are online. It can be a great way to keep in contact with friends and family, and even find long lost friends that you haven't spoken to in years. More recently, businesses have also used it to promote their brand or service in lots of creative and innovative ways. Facebook's own Facebook for Business page gives some very useful advice and regular updates
2 – Use a social media dashboard like Hootsuite to manage all your accounts in 1 place!
Trying to get your head around just one of the above platforms may be confusing, but if you want to use 2 or 3 of them, it can also become quite time consuming opening separate Internet browsers and having to log in each time.
A social media dashboard can really help as you can then place all your accounts in one place to view quickly and efficiently. A great example is Hootsuite, which gives free users up to 3 social media platforms (premium paid for accounts get many more), but 3 is usually sufficient if you’re just starting out and using the 3 mentioned above in Tip 1.
One of the main benefits of Hootsuite is that as well as being able to view all relevant updates in one browser (rather than needing to have each open on separate browser tabs) you can schedule your own updates to a specific date and time as well as adding images and shrinking URL links (particularly handy given Twitter’s 160 character limit on posts). To set up your free Hootsuite account, you can download it for free from www.hootsuite.com
3 – Share and engage! The purpose of social media is to engage with others, whether its friends, family or colleagues and business associates.
Be sure to get familiar with the social media lingo - Like/Share, Favourite, Retweet and of course, joining in conversations/Commenting on updates where suitable.
You can also add images and video, which can certainly help to improve your presence online. If you have a smart phones you can also download the platforms as Applications from your App store and use while you’re out and about! 10-15 minutes a day is usually a good time frame to begin with (though don’t be surprised if you get addicted!).
But as you get more confident on social sites, do think about your ongoing online profile and remember that it's very hard to undo what you've already done on social media as these sites create a digital timeline of your online actions.
4 – Understanding the use of #hashtags – Once you’re more comfortable using social media sites, Hashtags are a great tool for searching keywords or trends for brands, services or events.
For example, when Finegreen ran our annual leadership conference ‘Setting the Pace’ in 2013 and 2014, we used the hashtag #FGSettingthePace for delegates who use twitter to share content amongst colleagues who were unable to attend. You can use hashtags to promote events in advance and get people sharing this keyword to raise the profile of the event or service. For more information on hashtags and how to use them, have a read of Sprout Social’s very useful guide here
5 – Customise your LinkedIn profile – As well as ensuring your Linkedin profile is regularly updated and features your headshot image and keywords in your summary, it’s important to customise your profile URL address so it looks professional (as opposed to the generic one LinkedIn gives you which includes random characters!)
You can then also feature this link on your email signatures and any contact information you use on a day-to-day basis (business cards, personal or business websites).
To amend this and to help give you the perfect profile, check out our friends at Undercover Recruiter who gives some great tips here
I appreciate social media can be confusing and difficult to understand or get to grips with. But it can hugely beneficial, both from a personal & business perspective in terms of catch up with past friends, networking with current and potential clients, and developing online relationships with connections from all over the World.
I hope the above tips prove useful for you as you look to develop your online presence!