As you might or might not know, to earn my daily crust I work with small businesses as a digital marketing consultant, and I’m a huge advocate of social media as a brilliantly effective (and crucially, for most SMEs, cheap) way to promote your business online. My social media coaching is all informed by my own experiences, building up a social media presence for Sal’s Kitchen and @bathindiechat (which, for example, gained over 3000 Twitter followers in its first year), so I’ve got a trick or two to share – and I’ve also learnt all the things not to do, along the way. Now, I present three questions that I always hear during coaching sessions and at workshops. Want more of my wisdom? Click here to find out more and book me for coaching!
- How often should I post?
The standard answer to a question like this would be that there is no answer – it all depends on the platform, your own audience, etc. That’s true, and paying close attention to your audience and how they act is always a good idea. But there are a few sweeping generalisations that can provide a useful place to start. Where Twitter’s concerned, I’d recommend at the very least being active (interacting with other people’s posts) every day, even if you don’t always post. But Twitter moves very fast, and if you only post something (an event, an offer, a blog post) once, a good proportion of your audience will probably miss your message – so posting every day is a good idea. Instagram is governed entirely by an extremely complex algorithm that dictates who sees what, which is why you get posts popping up in your feed from 6 days ago. So you can get away with posting less – two or three times a week will be fine – but you need to play the game in order to be rewarded by the algorithm.
- Should I pay extra to promote my posts?
As I’ve mentioned, one of the things I love about social media is that it’s such a great tool for small businesses, and that’s because you can get good results by spending time instead of money. You might be tempted to take the shortcut of splashing the cash, but if you can play a more long-term game by putting in the hours it will be worth it for the community you build. If you’re going to spend money on social media, I would save it for Facebook – I don’t bill myself as a Facebook expert (although I’m happy to recommend one) and part of the reason for that is Facebook makes it quite hard for you to get good organic results, which I resent. But if your audience is on Facebook, which it might well be, that’s where you need to spend the money – for Twitter & Instagram, spend the time instead.
- Should I connect my social media accounts?
To clarify, this is a question about hooking up different platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so that you post on one and the same post is automatically shared on all of them. People are always keen to ask about this because it seems like a super easy way to cut down your workload. But is it a good idea? Yes and no. Facebook owns Instagram, so the two platforms work well together and if you set up Instagram to connect to Facebook, your posts will come across beautifully. Twitter, on the other hand, is a totally separate entity, so if you set Facebook and/or Instagram to post on Twitter, it won’t work very well – you often won’t get your Instagram photos for example, just a link for people to click (which they won’t click), and because Twitter has a strict character limit, you probably won’t get the whole message either. So: feel free to set Instagram to post on Facebook, but don’t bother connecting the others. By all means share the same thing on all your platforms (you probably have different audiences on each) but write a new post each time.
Got a burning social media question? Leave me a comment below, or hit Contact Me above – and don’t forget to check out my various brilliant social media workshops here.