The ABCs of Social Media

Social Media Building Blocks  Vizion Interactive

My son’s first year in school is going pretty well, and because it’s time for me to do another post here at Vizion, I thought I’d follow my post about the ABCs of SEO with the ABCs of social media. Oh, and for the curious, my son does know his ABCs.

A is for automation. While too much automation can be a bad thing, when your schedule gets too hectic it can be easy for forget to post and promote content. Setting your social feeds to post your blog content automatically can help cut back on the time you have to spend making sure your posts are being shared. Sure, you’ll need to reshare said posts, but it’s one less thing you have to worry about.

B is for blocking. This is to be done sparingly, if at all. While you may not always have the friendliest encounters online, blocking someone should be a last resort.

C is for community. Duh, right? But it’s important to remember this. If all you’re doing is sharing your company’s content and never sharing anything else or responding to people, then you don’t have a community. Instead, all you have is an RSS feed of information that doesn’t add value.

D is for daily updates. It’s important to make sure you’re updating all your social media accounts on a regular basis. While it may be difficult to make updates several times a day, it’s important to try to make an update at least once a day. If possible, build up to updating even more frequently.

E is for evaluation. Whether you’re sharing content, following other users, or engaging with other users, it’s important to test what times are best for posting content. See who’s sharing content within your community and whether there are any trending memes you can take advantage of. You can use Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and FollowerWork to help figure out this information.

F is for freebies. If there’s one thing social media do really well, it’s a contest. People love free stuff, and if you do the contest right, your social media accounts can blow up (in a good way) with lots of shares and new followers.

G is for gratitude. If someone shares content you’ve shared, make sure to thank them. A little gratitude can go a long way.

H is for humor. Humor can generate attention. Memes, videos, and jokes are great content to share, but it’s important to think things through. Be sure to carefully review all images so you don’t post anything that might be inappropriate.

I is for influencers. No matter what social outlet you’re using, there are always those users who you want to share your content. While all users matter, those who have a greater reach than others are the ones who can really help amplify your presence.

J is for journalism. Social media are a great way not only to share content but also to discover content and learn what’s going on in areas outside your own. By monitoring hashtags and locations, you can keep an eye on a variety of topics and places.

K is for KPI. When you fire up a social media campaign, you have to know how to measure KPI, better known as key performance indicators. By defining what makes your efforts a success, you’ll be able to report to your boss or client how effective the campaign has been and how it can be even better.

L is for links. Links . . . really? Yes, really. When you’re sharing content, you have to make sure you’re using the right link, and if you’re scheduling posts you need to make sure the URL will be live when it’s published. And if you’re using any tracking parameters, make sure they are properly in place before pushing anything out.

M is for managing. Even if you only have one or two accounts, you still have to make sure you’re managing them. That means paying attention to the schedule, automation, KPIs, how the community is growing, and more. Your social media efforts can’t grow unless they’re managed properly.

N is for niche. This is a vital point you need to pay attention to. Knowing your niche, or your client’s niche, is vital to having a successful social media campaign. How do memes work for your niche? The more you know, the better it will work. Who are the influencers in your niche? If you know, you’ll know how to target your content at them. What social platform does your niche flourish on? Knowing all this will make you more successful.

ezgif-1878045541O is for oversharing. Is oversharing possible? Yes, yes it is. While it’s great to be consistent and post content daily, if you share the same content several times a day (even if it’s going viral), it can be too much. There’s no need to share something more than two or three time in the same day if no one else shares it. If it’s going viral, then it’s already being shared, so why share it again? If it’s not going viral, then try another day and time and share it again.

P is for people. Never forget that social media are used and run by people, and people are fallible. They make mistakes, and emotions can vary from second to second. So before you berate someone for making a mistake, block someone or reply in a negative manner, please take a few seconds to remember that stuff happens. No one is perfect, so evaluate each situation as a unique incident.

Q is for questions. Not everyone has the answer to every question. If you are asked a question, it’s OK to reply, “I don’t know”—but you should follow up with “but I’ll find out.” And then you’d better find out. Also—and this is a big secret, folks—it’s OK to ask questions on social media. You’ll never know if you don’t ask, but if you ask you’ll always know. “But I want to be an influencer!” Really? You think influencers never ask questions? True influencers don’t care if they don’t know, but they always ask when they need an answer. And influencers always get answers.

R is for responding. Did someone ask you a question on social media? Then respond. Did someone @ reply to you with a comment? Respond. Did you get a comment on your blog? Respond. Did you receive a DM or an e-mail? Respond. Do you see a pattern here? Respond.

S is for social. Whoa, whoa, you’re telling me I have to be social on social media? Yes, yes I am. It is possible to respond but not be social. It’s possible to share content and not be social. It’s possible to ask a question but not be social. Being social means communication is taking place both coming and going. Be welcoming, be responsive—but, above all, be social.

T is for teaching. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a social media role or not, teaching is vital to success. When someone takes over your role or when you’re training someone, you have to know the brand, the social outlets, and what works and what doesn’t. So while you’re having fun “hanging out online,” you also need to share what you know.

U is for understanding. This ties in with “people,” but it’s worth mentioning again. Someone could be having a bad day, or even a good day, and that could determine how that person behaves online. Just because you have a bad interaction with someone doesn’t mean that will always happen. Similarly, someone who seems to be a great person to connect with can turn out to be a real jerk.

V is for vision. Do you want to grow? Great. Do you want to gain more shares? Great. Do you want to secure your role in social media? Great. But if you don’t know how to get there or what you need to accomplish, then you have no vision. Look at what others are doing; read, research, and review all the data you can. And ask questions. If you want vision, you have to know what to look for.

W is for where. Do you prefer Facebook? Sweet. How about Twitter? Nice. But what about LinkedIn, Pinterest, 4Chan, Reddit, Imgur, Tumblr, Google+, WordPress, Blogspot? You have to know what social media outlets work best for your brand and, ultimately, for you. If you don’t know what part of the Internet you and your brand belong in, you won’t know where to share the content you create.

X is for Xanga. Do you remember Xanga? Great. Do you not remember Xanga? Great. Xanga is a dead social media outlet. Same with Ello. The point is this: social media outlets are born, they change, and they die. MySpace is one I’d say has died, but it’s notable because it’s still a good memory for some. Just because a social media outlet exists doesn’t mean you should use it. Test it, monitor it, but don’t fully commit to it unless you know it will work to your benefit or that of your brand or client.

Y is for you. Never forget that you know you. When you’re in a good mood, how you communicate online will differ from how you communicate when you’re in a bad mood. While people may want consistency, they may not always get it. So be sure when you’re representing a brand online that you’re keeping the communication and sharing consistent.

ezgif-4021940529Z is for Zzzz. While social media never sleep, you will. So if something happens when you’re offline, make sure you know about it. And if you have to stay up late, then fine, stay up and take notes and make sure to respond or reshare in a responsible manner. And don’t forget to take some hours off so you can actually sleep and get ready for the next day. Even people who run, create, share, promote, and connect are people who need sleep. You need sleep.

And there you have them—the ABCs of social media. Do you have some potential replacements for what I have listed? Please leave ’em in the comments below.