Clean up your social media!

Image: Unsplash.com

Image: Unsplash.com

We’re heading into a new year, and now, more than ever, much of your business success will have a lot to do with your social media presence. No need to get confused, just think about these simple suggestions and clean things up!

Know your platform
There are so many social media platforms to choose from right now, and all require some level of maintenance once you commit your brand to them. Don’t bite off more than you can chew; if you get frustrated over coming up with an Instagram caption once a day, then perhaps you don’t want to take on Facebook and Tumblr right now – or it’s time to think about working with a professional social media consultant. Think about your product; is it something that requires space to explain ingredients or steps (like recipes)? Or is it an object of beauty, such as jewellery, that could benefit from a highly visual platform, i.e. Instagram or Pinterest?  Perhaps you’re a writer or a comedian, and you want to use social media to express yourself or you want people to get to know you better? Snapchat or using live options to share instantly are a great way to build and entertain an audience – you just might want to have put in some practise beforehand! And remember; be consistent.

What’s your tone?
It’s vital that you work out what your tone should be; are you authoritative, or like a warm, big sister, or fun and quirky? This tone is something that customers come to rely on and trust, and it needs to be reflected across all of your social media platforms. If you’re the business owner and you feel like you want your brand to sound like you, go for it. As you grow, you’ll need to ensure that your tone remains, even if you end up moving some of your social media concerns to an assistant or social media manager.

What’s your message?
If you’re selling a product, again, think about your tone. There’s nothing worse than a brand that has a fun, vibrant Instagram suddenly switching it up to sell a product on Twitter and turning to robotic snippets that basically just say ‘buy me’.  Keep things consistent and you could find your social media is your biggest marketing tool. And remember, no-one expects you to be a one man/woman band; work with video producers, writers, photographers – get an intern to help share the load. 

Consistency; what it really means

LOOK UP THE DEFINITION OF THE WORD 'CONSISTENCY' IN ANY DICTIONARY, AND IT WILL GIVE YOU WORDS LIKe: CONSTANCYREGULARITYUNIFORMITY. HOWEVER, IN 2016, CONSISTENCY IS ABOUT WAY MORE THAN DELIVERING ON THE DAILY.

Whatever business you're in, you are constantly sending out messages about who you/your brand is. Whether that's via tweets, Facebook posts, emails, events, marketing fliers or comments on another brand's Instagram account - your message doesn't go unheard. Conversely - if you're not communicating at all, that's also a message of sorts.

The initial point to get is that you need to be clear on your message; define what you do and know it inside out. It's only when you know who you are, what you're selling, who you want to align your brand with, that you should even begin to work on being consistent. Now, if you're someone who religiously schedules tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts, LinkedIn updates at particular times and regular intervals, here's a virtual pat on the back for you. But are you consistently 'turning up' at your job (or life even) on a daily basis? It's so easy to tell yourself that you are doing a great job, just because you are doing the same things that are expected of you every single day. But, let's be clear - you don't just get points for being consistent by simply doing the same thing, every day. Consistency is about the amount of effort, the continuing trying and improving.

Are you being consistent with your message? Are you being consistent with the effort, focus, attention - love, if you will - that you put into your work? Because, if you're not, somewhere along the way, your message will start to feel off-balance to your audience. Their online eyes will begin to glaze over a little; within a month or so, they might even unfollow you.

So, how do you stay consistent and genuine? 

*Keep your mind FRESH. If the scheduling of your time, social media, eating habits is boring you, break the routine. Sign out from all social media, cancel your meetings and take some kind of break. It doesn't have to be a two week trip to Bali (although that would be GREAT); something as simple as a spa treatment, hiring a bike for the afternoon or visiting a museum will help. Just change something about your routine.

*Read something you've never read before. It doesn't even matter if you end up hating it - the action of reading means you are not only doing 'something else', it can also mean you are learning something or simply being taken away from your current reality. It can give you some distance. If that doesn't work...

*Watch some trashy TV. I'm serious. Watch any reality show and realise that your life is pretty okay; it's yours to be made and shaped into any vision you desire. 

*Workout. To be specific, do something that makes you sweat. This can have a great effect on just clearing your mind - it's especially useful if you do it first thing in the morning, before work even enters your head. I swear by this one.

Do you share?

This week I've been focused on making more time for reading. I love books, I love reading, and, as I write, I know that I need to read, regularly, avidly. But sometimes my eyes just aren't responsive to the words on the page, or iPad, especially if I've been sat at my laptop for most of the day. This week I've gone back to two of my favourites; Jen Sincero's You Are A Badass and Austin Kleon's Show Your Work!

These are two very different books, but, for me, they do share a common thread. You Are A Badass is a self-help book that isn't so squishy as others can be. Where some books might be all, 'let's get naked, scatter feathers and dance around the moonlight and hug each other', Sincero's book has more of a, 'you want it, go get it - you've GOT this' approach. Kleon's book is about the importance of the process behind any writer/artist/creative's work, and how sharing it can help you 'get known.'

The common thread I found in these two books is that they both require you to share. Sincero urges you to make things happen, in real life. Yes, hopes, dreams, plans etc, start in your mind, they start with you. And you can merrily elaborate on those plans in your head - you can create vast, epic moving pictures in your mind, where you are the director, star, stylist - whatever. But if you don't share this thing that you so want to happen, to be - or to coin a phrase, if you don't 'put it out there', then you might as well just stick to stalking your ex on Facebook, because nothing is going to happen.

With Kleon, the aspect of sharing involves your physical efforts to be the writer, artist, composer that you want to be. If you're already pinning inspiration on Pinterest, share it on your Facebook or Twitter. If you've drawn some sketches of a fashion collection but you're not quite sure where you're going with it yet, post it on Instagram. Yes, you will open yourself up to criticism, but by showing your work you are proving that it exists, and by putting it out there, you might meet someone who helps you in a major, or minor way. You might make a friend who also wants to design a men's cravat collection influenced by Cuba in the 1950s, and maybe they can help you with your sketches, or maybe you can work together. Everything you produce is something and by showing the world you are bringing your future 'you' closer. 

From a business standpoint, Kleon's ethos of showing your work is something that has been happening for decades in the hair and beauty industry. The hair world loves to share! Whether it's the latest colour technique or an experimental cut, the hair industry puts it out there; it doesn't cling to how-to steps with a Gollum-like grip. Putting that new technique or look out there pushes them to keep producing more - they don't lose anything by sharing.
For me, this is proof positive that brands, large and small, must take note and invest in social media budgets. By sharing what you do and showing the world how you operate, you will strike a chord with people who want to be right there with you. A stylist or makeup artist or blogger might not even know you exist, but by sharing your process on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook - wherever you feel your community is best served - you could make connections that you'd only ever dreamed of. Create tutorials, take photographs, produce step-by-step videos. Sharing isn't going to take away from your value at all; if anything it will help you make your stamp as an authority in your industry.