We live in a fast-paced, high tech world where we get information and news on the go from anywhere. We use different platforms to share our lives, stay connected to family, and be social. But now there are so many different social media platforms, how do you know which one to use? Who has time to manage all this accounts? What is a hashtag and why does it look like a "number" sign? Well it's time to answer these questions, and more!
What is the purpose of all these different platforms?
Yes, there are a lot of social media platforms and they each target a different audience. For example, there is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and of course websites. But let's face it - that is a LOT to manage! What is their purpose?
Facebook: primarily for learning about upcoming events, creating groups for discussion, marketplace for items, and staying connected with family/friends
Instagram: primarily used to tell stories through pictures, uses a lot of hashtags
Twitter: primarily used for fast and quick information through the use of hashtags (#); not used as much with millennials
Snapchat: short videos or pictures that can be shared with the public or between two people. Most often there is no record of the videos after a certain time frame
YouTube: videos and/or video blogs
Website: should be used for central location of all info, pics, videos, etc
Ok, well now you know what each platform is used for, but why do we need all of them? As I mentioned before, each platform targets a different audience. By utilizing each platform, you expand your audience, but you don't necessarily need ALL of them if you learn to use the one(s) you have and make it worth your while.
Who has the time to manage all of these accounts?
Honest answer - NO ONE! At least, no one that isn't getting paid to do so! It is a very time consuming job (trust me!) and that is why nowadays there are actual jobs available for social media marketing. (Crazy, huh?) So how does one person manage?
You can use one platform, which in turns, manages a few at a time, such as HootSuite. It's a social media management platform that runs like a dashboard for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Twitter and more. You can try it free or buy a subscription. HootSuite is a one stop shop that allows you to schedule and make one post to send to all platforms. However, this does mean learning another program/platform to reach your end goal. I have used HootSuite before and it was helpful for a bit, but over time I stopped using it. (But I use my social media differently from most.)
Another way to make best use of your time is to link accounts together so when you post to one, you can choose for your post to automatically post to other platforms. Instagram is great about this! When you make your post, you have the option to link it to Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Super helpful!
In regards to time management and managing these accounts is to (1) doing a little bit throughout the day or (2) do it all at once at the beginning of the day and set the times when the posts should be made. Now, you can only do this for Facebook, and you will have to make all the other posts manually. I start my day by making the posts designated for that day and try to get ahead of the game by setting as many posts as I can. I also run other social marketing accounts so for me, it takes about 3-4 hours to accomplish all this.
How can I reach people to engage in my posts?
When you start marketing yourself or community service or anything - you MUST do your research on your audience and campaigns. I have done extensive research to know when MY audience will see my posts at peak times. Did you know that in your Facebook feed, you only see 11% of what is on Facebook from your interests, family, or friends list? True story! You should really be using hashtags when necessary and tag your sponsors/pageant system, etc.
Research the hashtags that have the most use. (Hashtags are in fact the "number" sign = #) These hashtags are used to track a conversation topic. When you search "#thecrowningmoment" you will see all the posts that have included this hashtag in their caption/comments. My biggest tip to you is to only use the hashtags you NEED in Facebook. Do NOT overload them on Facebook, as it will come back as spam. I do suggest, however, to use hashtags in Instagram and Twitter because those social platforms basically run from those hashtag campaigns. I also suggest you create your own hashtag that you should use in all your posts across all social media platforms. You don't need a ba-zillion of them - like 1-3 hashtag campaigns will do. After you have completed your research to know which hashtag campaigns are popular AND pertain to your campaign, use them when it's necessary.
For example: TCM girls do a lot of volunteerism so when I post about a TCM girl and community service I would write it as such:
"#TCM girl, Erin Husbands, Miss #BatonRouge, volunteered with @Boys and Girls Club! #volunteer #volunteerism #thecrowningmoment"
Notice that I worked in the hashtag campaigns within the caption and also tagged the organization I volunteered with. Since the hashtag grammatically wouldn't fit into my sentence, I threw it in at the end AND notice I used "volunteer" and "volunteerism" because both are popular to use, therefore, my post has a greater chance to be noticed. I also used "#BatonRouge" as a part of my title to also catch people searching about the city.
What do I post?
Again, you must do your research. Think about what YOUR goal is and then map out how you want to achieve this. Next, be realistic on how much time you have to devote to managing your accounts. I would suggest starting simple. Make a post once a day or every other day. When you get used to it, try twice a day or three times a week. Gradually increase your posts until you have worked it into your routine and find a routine that works best for YOU.
Vary your posts. Alternate between pictures or videos, news, events, information, and about you! Remember to use each platform for its purpose! Watch and see which of your posts do best and then adjust your posts to more of what engages your audience. For example, if the most people were engaged with your pics about traveling then increase those posts, get more people interested, then gradually add varying posts to grow your audiences.
Social media is ever evolving so always stay up to date and change with the tide. Don't overwhelm yourself! Start small and add what you can, when you can, and for your own purpose! Have fun - it should be fun sharing your story and shouldn't feel like a job (unless it IS your job!). For more examples, feel free to check out our social media outlets to learn more how TCM uses our social media, and hopefully it helps you hit the ground running!