Why You Need to be Vigilant About Social Media and Your Kids

Why You Need to be Vigilant About Social Media and Your Kids

What would you do if you knew your teenage son or daughter was sending nude photos of themselves to teens of the opposite sex? What if those photos were posted to Snapchat or Instagram?

 

If you’re like me, you would be absolutely furious and enraged.

 

But this is happening each and every day in small towns, large cities, public schools, private schools, and yes, even Christian schools.

 

You think you raise your children right, teaching them right from wrong, but once they get a smartphone and social media in their hands… well, sometimes what you teach them fades into the background in favor of acceptance and validation.

 

Four years ago I wrote an article about how withholding social media from your children does not make you a bad parent. I thought it was time to revisit the topic of children/teens and social media.

 

My oldest daughter is 13. She has Snapchat and Instagram. However, we set the passwords and she has to leave her phone available for us to check it spontaneously whenever we want. That was the deal. I can log in to her social accounts on my phone and see what’s going on. So far, so good.

 

However not all parents are vigilant like that. They give their kids smartphones and let them open social media accounts and never take a second look. Many of the girls in my daughter’s seventh grade class have ‘Finstas’. Not familiar with Finstas? They are fake Instagram accounts where they hide their identities and post horrible, derogatory things about their classmates – or posts that are inappropriate for their public-facing accounts. They are selective in who they let follow them because of what they post. And their parents have no clue.

 

Snapchat isn’t any better. I will say the majority of what they do is send daily streak snaps to keep days-long streaks going with their friends. Many of these are a blank screen with the word ‘streaks’. However, what gets sent via group snaps and individual snaps cannot be seen by the general public. That is where a lot of this takes place.

 

Why is all of this happening? Why are kids acting like wild college kids on social media? To put it simply – they have parents that are not checking behind them. They are not being held accountable to their actions. Parents want them to fit in so badly, that they let them do what they want on social media with no recourse.

 

Do they realize that some of things they post can get them suspended from school? Or hurt their chances of getting into college? Or even a job?

 

No.

 

Why is that? Parents are not educating themselves and their kids about the dangers of social media. My daughters are out of luck there. With a mom who owns a digital marketing company and a dad that is a Prosecuting Attorney for the state… let’s just say their every move is watched.

 

According an article from the New York Times last year titled The Secret Social Media Lives of Teenagers, “Even though 86 percent of teens say they’ve received general advice around online use from their parents, researchers at Common Sense Media found that 30 percent of teens who are online believe their parents know “a little” or “nothing” about what social media apps and sites they use. And yet, teens still say that their parents have the biggest influence on determining what is appropriate and inappropriate online.”

 

If parents would take the time to educate themselves on social media and the potential danger it can bring, most of what’s going on with children and teens on social media wouldn’t be happening. Parents are not being vigilant enough. These are our precious children and we should protect – and educate – them as long as we can.

 

Being vigilant may look like we are being nosy or being a helicopter parent, but if we are not monitoring their social actions, no one is. Here are five reasons you need to vigilant:

 

  1. You are protecting them from strangers and others who are out there to prey on our sons and daughters. Even with all the internet-nanny programs and account restrictions, that still wouldn’t stop a predator from seeking out your child. If you want to know if this really happens, I can let you talk to my husband. He’s prosecuted many cases over the years where the under-age victim was lured via social media. Just because that Instagram account says they are a 15 year-old from a high school in the next town over, it doesn’t mean they really are.

 

  1. You are protecting them from cyber-bullying. Being a teenager is hard enough without the technology, they don’t need the burden of the online bullying to hurt their still-building self-esteem. Our kids need to find their self-esteem and validation from their parents, their church, and healthy friendships. Not social media.

 

  1. They post content without thinking. Some of this content may hurt them (or haunt them) on down the road and/or hurt a friend’s feelings. Children and teens (and even some 20-somethings) are not mature enough to understand the long-term ramifications of posting hurtful content and inappropriate pictures.

 

  1. Social media can wait – it’s not going away anytime soon. Kids are only kids for so long. Let them be that. Let 9 year-olds ride around on bikes. Let 12 year-old boys play baseball or football. Encourage your kids to be active and social – without an electronic device. Remember back to when you were their age.

 

  1. Not using social media to communicate at this age allows them to be taught the proper way to carry a conversation with others. I know teens (and college kids) who could use a lesson in that. With a generation that is texting the person next to them instead of talking or Snapchatting pictures instead of enjoying an event, the lesson of how to hold a proper conversation is being lost. Not to mention their writing. I cannot count the number of times I have told my daughter that “k” or “ik” (that’s “okay” and “I know”) is never an acceptable way to respond to a text message from me or anyone else.

 

A study from Common Sense Media found teenagers (ages 13-18) use an average of nine hours of entertainment media per day and that tweens (ages 8-12) use an average of six hours a day, not including time spent using media for school or homework.

 

The world is a scarier place now than when we were all kids in the 70’s, 80’s, or even the early 90’s. The amount of information and the immediacy of communication at their fingertips is outright frightening.

 

But if we as parents are vigilant about our children and their technology – checking their text messages, checking their social accounts (that means logging in, not looking at what’s public), we can help our children navigate this and make it a more positive experience.

 

What are your thoughts/experience with this?

 

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a marketing company specializing in digital & social media marketing located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of 17+ years. In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Elite. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

7 Social Media Questions I Always Get Asked, Answered

7 Social Media Questions I Always Get Asked, Answered

I get bombarded with questions about social media all the time. In Walmart. The school pick-up line. Church. Social media is what I’m known for.

 

Last month, a good friend of mine in the business did a round-up of the top social media questions she gets asked and posted them on her blog, so in the spirit of share, and share alike, I thought I would do the same. The timing is quite fitting. I recently led a workshop with my good friend Louise Pritchard of Pritchard Volk Consulting on Branding and Social Media Strategy for The Southern C Summit and many of these same questions came up again. They are common questions, which means that business owners are still learning how to effectively use social media in marketing their business.

 

Before I dig into these questions and give you my answers, let me preface it all with this. This is simply the advice I give based off of over 16 years of overall marketing (and advertising) experience, including almost 7 years of that working solely in social media and digital marketing. There is good advice and there is bad advice. I mean, really, really, really bad advice. There are social media consultants out there that prey on inexperienced business owners like ambulance-chasing attorneys prey on victims. They take advantage of that business owner’s inexperience in this arena and lead them to practices that are just wrong, and sometimes against the rules. My company, and myself, pride ourselves on being one of those who follow the rules to the very end, so know the advice we give comes from experience and research 🙂

 

So let’s take a look at the most popular social media questions asked, and the advice we give {for free!}:

 

What social media platforms should I be posting on?

Before you decide what platforms you are going to use, you have to answer three questions –

 

  • WHY am I using social media in the first place?
  • WHO am I targeting?
  • WHAT is my end goal?

 

Let me explain. You have to know why you are using social media to market your business online – everything you do has to come back to that. After you know why, you have to know who you are targeting. This is very, very important. You will only use the platform(s) that your target audience is using. Let me repeat that. You will only use the platform(s) your target audience is using. You will rarely, if ever, use every single one. Once you know your target audience, you will essentially answer the question, BUT, you have to know what your ultimate end goal is for using social media. That will also play a role in what platform(s) you are using.

 

Example: You are women’s retail boutique that wants to target women ages 30-45 who like trendy clothing. After looking into the demographics of the platforms, you’ll see that the majority of that audience are using Instagram first, then Facebook, followed by Pinterest. So you choose to start with Instagram and Facebook.

 

Here is what Buffer found in their State of Social 2018 that most businesses were using (and keep in mind, this is an overall average – you need to do what is best for your business and your target audience):

Source: Buffer

 

How much should I post on social media?

Posting on social media requires a careful balance. You do not want to post too much, but you don’t want to hardly post at all. There is research to support both. The amount you post is ultimately up to you. Based on my years of experience, this is my recommendation:

 

Facebook & LinkedIn Company Pages: Minimum 5 times/week

Instagram: Minimum Daily

Twitter: Minimum 3-5 tweets/day

Pinterest: Minimum 3 pins/day

 

Your posting frequency will be determined by your goal and “why” statement in your social media strategy. You want to make sure you are posting enough to satisfy your goal in why you are using social media.

 

People have said Facebook is dead and not worth posting on anymore, is that true?

Honestly, I so badly want to eye roll when people ask me this. With all of the fake news and viral Facebook doomsday posts that go around several times per year, no wonder people think this. Facebook is not dead. People of ALL AGES are still using this (including teenages and college kids!) and the daily active users count is growing (see chart below). There are over 3 BILLION people on Facebook. If you want to reach your target audience, you are going to have to do something on Facebook – and more than likely it’s in the form of a Facebook ad. As seen below, Facebook is still the leading platform of choice for social media marketing.

 

 

How much should I expect to spend on Facebook ads since that is the only way to be seen?

Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way – if you are going to use social media (and Facebook) to market your business, you are going to have to run Facebook ads. To make this point, when Buffer presented their State of Social 2018, they found that businesses that have invested in social media ads are more than twice as likely to report that social media marketing is “very effective”.

 

Source: Buffer

 

Back to the question on hand. Facebook ads can be run for a minimum of $1-$20 per day depending on what your objective is. You can get more detailed information in my Facebook ads primer here, but what I would suggest for most small businesses is to expect to spend $2-$3 per day minimum for brand awareness ads and $5 per day minimum for traffic ads. At those amounts, you will see quantifiable results.

 

How can I get more Instagram followers?

I feel like this is the $50 million question. Of course, there are (illegal) shortcuts such as buying followers and gaming the system, i.e. following people then immediately unfollowing them as soon as they follow back, however, I do NOT suggest either of those.

 

Growing your Instagram following is hard. And that is the 100% honest truth. You will fight tooth and nail for every single one of your followers, but they will be authentic, engaged followers. So how do you get them?

 

  1. Follow those accounts (both business and personal) of people you know and people that are relevant to your business and that interest you. Not everyone will follow back – and that is okay.
  2. Use hashtags in your posts and follow hashtags that are applicable to your business. A lot of posts and accounts are found from hashtags (and you can see in the insights on each post if people came to that post from a hashtag).
  3. Engage with people and hashtags! The more you engage with people and hashtags you follow (and don’t follow), the more exposure your account will get and over time, your account will grow.

 

Do not get tied up in the vanity number of how many are following you. In the age of people buying followers, it’s hard to know of the millions of Kim Kardashian’s how many are actual human beings. Focus on quality posts and engaging and things will be fine. You can start off by following and engaging with us on Instagram (shameless plug, I know!).

 

How do I manage my time doing my own social media and still run my business?

Time management is always a sticky subject. You could literally spend all day doing nothing but social media for your business. But that’s not why you have your business. Using social media to market it is just one teeny tiny part. This was a question that came up in my workshop and here are three tips I gave that will help:

  • Set aside a specific time to bulk create your content. This could be one day each month or a few hours at the start of the week. Use this time to create as much content as possible to spread out and use for as long as you can.
  • Schedule Posts as often as far out as you can. Set aside time each week to schedule your posts for that week or one day each month to schedule out standard posts for the month so you have something out there. Just keep in mind your ‘WHY’ statement from your strategy. You have to have purpose in everything you post. At ME Marketing, we work a month in advance for all of our clients.
  • If doing this yourself, set aside time each day to dedicate to nothing but your social media. Be diligent about this time. Use it to respond, post, engage. Be focused and purposeful. This could the first 45 minutes of the day or an hour mid-day.

 

What tools are out there to help me manage my social media?

There are many tools out there to help you manage your social media. The programs range from free to paid, based on the number of platforms you use and features you need. We are partners with Sprout Social, so that’s our go-to and first choice (and they offer a FREE 30-day trial!). These programs allow you to schedule posts, respond to posts, view analytics, monitor your reputation – and more. Other choices out there include Buffer, Hootsuite, and CoSchedule. Like I preface anything, you have to choose what works best for you and your business.

 

Of course, I get asked all sorts of questions, but these seven are the ones that have come up the most over the past year.

 

Social media is fluid. It changes all the time. What works today, may not work tomorrow. And isn’t working today, may work next week. If you are managing your business’ social media yourself, please make sure to educate yourself from reliable sources so you know that you are doing things right (see list below). If you need help, you are always welcome to contact us and let’s talk!

 

Here are some reliable, vetted sources that we suggest to follow for good advice, other than this blog of course 😉 :

 

We’re curious… what social media questions do you have?

 

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a marketing company specializing in digital & social media marketing located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of 17+ years. In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Elite. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

An Updated {Short} Beginner's Guide to Instagram Strategy

An Updated {Short} Beginner’s Guide to Instagram Strategy

About two years ago I wrote a short primer on beginning your Instagram strategy and since then Instagram has taken the world by storm. Today, I present to you and updated version of that post. If you want to read the original, for fun, you can here.

 

Before we get started, let’s look at the stats now:

  • 800 million monthly users
  • More than 800 million daily active users
  • 8 million business Instagram accounts
  • 72% of Instagram users have bought a product they saw on the platform
  • Over 50% over businesses are posting Instagram Stories

Source: http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/important-instagram-stats/

 

Sprout Social mentioned in one of their Instagram marketing guides, “As people join Instagram in droves, brands have a unique opportunity for engagement with their fans: Instagram posts generate a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%, which is 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more than Twitter.”

 

Before you jump headfirst into using this platform (or if you are already there but needing a bit of guidance), there are some basic elements to consider when crafting your plan for your business. Let’s take a look…

Why are You Using it?

Like anything you do for your business, you have to know why you are using it. Are you trying Instagram because you are tired of Facebook? Maybe you want to be your competition to the punch? Before taking on more than you can chew, make sure you have the time, energy and resources to dedicate to doing this right. Once you have, start crafting your Instagram strategy. To save time and not reinvent the wheel, I’m going to recommend you bookmark Sprout Social’s Instagram Strategy Guide (it’s linked at the end of the article).

Which Photos Will You Use?

Photos are the backbone of this platform – without them, Instagram simply wouldn’t exist. Choosing what graphic to post is very important. Here are some simple things to keep in mind:

 

  • Optimal photo size is 1080px x 1080px; for Stories, 1080px x 1920px
  • Will your photo be landscape or portrait?
  • Filter or no filter?
  • Does it match the message you are wanting to convey?
  • Is it appropriate?
  • If I’m sharing someone else’s content, do I have permission?
  • Photos with faces get 38% more likes.

 

Unfortunately still at this time, there is not a direct way to upload a photo via your computer. I’m sure one day we may have this option, but right now, there’s not. Here are the most common ways to post your photo to Instagram:

 

  • Take a photo on your smartphone or tablet and direct upload from the device.
  • Create a DropBox folder or a folder in Google Drive and upload the photos you’d like to use and sync it with your smartphone or tablet. You’d then download the image from the cloud onto your device and post from there.
  • Repost App. This is an app that allows you to share other people’s Instagram photos. When you open it, it brings up the feed of who you follow and you just tap the photo you want to share and it allows you to open it up in your Instagram account to post.

What About Hashtags?

Hashtags are very important when using this platform for your business. 70% of hashtags on Instagram are branded. Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6% more engagement than those without. Like Twitter, these allow you to be found when someone searches. Instagram’s guidelines on hashtags can be found here. Jenn Herman of Jenn’s Trends is one of the top Instagram strategy people I know. She wrote an article about using hashtags on Instagram and here’s what she says (and I suggest as well) –

  • Use relevant keyword hashtags
  • Don’t use too many hashtags
  • Use industry related hashtags
  • Keep your audience in mind
  • Don’t hijack hashtags (basically using a popular hashtag to butt in on a trend or conversation)

 

One of her best suggestions on using hashtags was to create a list of hashtags and save them on your mobile device, “On your mobile device, I recommend you create a notepad note (on whichever app you prefer) with your favorite/preferred hashtags. You can even create multiple lists if you have multiple types of content you share on Instagram. Set the list with your core hashtags and simply copy and paste it into your Instagram post caption to save you having to type them in each time. It’ll also make sure you don’t leave any out!”

How About Following People and Having Them Follow Me?

On Instagram, in your feed you will only see the posts from those you follow. If you click on eyeglass at the bottom, it pulls up the search where you see photos from people based on the people you follow. You can also search people and hashtags as well. To be found and get followers, it’s important for you to use hashtags (see above). Most people you follow will follow you back, however here are some tips when you follow people and getting people to follow you back:

 

  • Have your bio completely filled out and include a link to your website. Also, make sure you have a legit and professional-looking profile photo (read: no bikini pictures or topless (if you are a guy), no vulgar expressions, etc.).
  • Post relevant content. Your stream should not be a collection of selfies.
  • When you do follow someone and they follow you back, do not immediately unfollow them. This is my biggest pet peeve. I’ll have people follow me and I’ll follow them back if I like their content and 2 days later, I’m scrolling through my followers and see they are not following me anymore. Talk about rude. Beware of those who follow you who are following A LOT less than follow them.
  • Check out who is following your competitor and follow those people. Keep in mind to only follow quality people.
  • Comment on other people’s posts. If someone comments on mine and I’m not following them, more often than not, I’ll follow them. Of course, look at their bio and what they’ve posted first.
  • Use relevant hashtags.

Promoting Across the Web?

Of course you’ll want everyone to know you are on Instagram now. When you launch your account, make sure you have your Instagram link on your website. Also, post a status update with your link on your other social accounts. I have several I follow on different social media platforms and their Instagram posts are much different (for the better) than their Facebook updates. Here are some ideas to promote your Instagram account across the web:

 

  • Status update on your social platforms.
  • Link on your website.
  • Write a blog post about why you’re using it.
  • Share your Instagram photos to Twitter and Facebook.

How Often Do I Need to Post?

Like any other social media platform, you have to use it regularly to benefit from it. Posting once per week is not going to do it. Plan on posting 2-3 times per day. The more active you are, the more your account with grow. As of January 2018, you can now schedule and post directly to Instagram through the major social management programs, such as Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Buffer, etc. Another option is Schedugram. Of course, Instagram allows you to share your photos to other platforms, but if you do choose to go that route, I would only recommend sharing the photo to Facebook. Twitter only show the link and caption, not the image.

Tracking Analytics?

Last but not least, you need to be able to track and measure your Instagram efforts. Fortunately there are two options – Iconosquare and Sprout Social – to help! Both programs let you manage comments on your Instagram photos and gives you analytics on your accounts. Sprout’s Instagram services are included in their social management software while Iconosquare is a stand-alone program.

All of this can be applied to Stories as well. And videos.

 

Using Instagram can be A LOT of fun. It’s a great way to get a behind-the-scenes peek into the daily lives of business and individuals. If you use it the right way, you’ll see your presence grow.

 

What are you doing with your Instagram strategy?

 

Follow me on Instagram –

Personal Account – @mandyedwards0821

Business Account – @memarketingservices

 

Instagram Resources I Recommend:

18 Instagram Stats Every Marketer Should Know

Hashtags on Instagram

Sprout Social’s Instagram Strategy Guide

Schedugram

Jenn’s Trends (take a look at her Jenn’s Friends Program too!)

Sprout Social (Link takes you to a free 30-day trial and is my referral link).

 

17 Tips for Connecting on Social Media

17 Tips for Connecting on Social Media

One mantra I’ve adopted while working in social media is to connect with intent. I have to have a reason to connect with someone because I don’t believe in connecting for the sake of padding my numbers.

A few years ago Jennifer Hanford and I did a series of 101 posts on the subject of connecting. In this post we’ve compiled and updated them, giving you a list of great tips to use when making new connections on all of the major social media platforms.

 

Facebook

With over 1 billion people there, Facebook, of course, is the largest social network. You will have many connection opportunities that span the globe. Here are 6 tips to keep in mind.

 

When Connecting Personally…

  • When connecting with someone on a personal level, make sure you know them. I know this sounds silly, but it’s true! I get friend requests from people all the time that I have NO clue who they are…even if we live in the same town. For me, I have to be able to place how I know them – an online group, a conference, school, church, etc. If I can’t, then sorry, we won’t be connecting today.
  • See who your mutual friends are. There are some that I do know but do not agree with who they associate themselves with. People will not admit it openly, but everyone gets judged by the company they keep.
  • Are the only online to play Farmville or Frontierworld or Cooking World or some other silly Facebook game?? There are some who are only interested in the online gaming and only want to be friends so they can move up to the next level. Unless you don’t mind your newsfeed being filled with endless game requests and “so and so just beat level 1,002”, I wouldn’t accept. Unless it’s your mom. Then you have no choice.

 

When Connecting Professionally…

  • I reiterate points 1 & 2 from above – since there are over one billion people on Facebook, for your safety make sure you truly know them.
  • If you connect with someone, do not invite them to every.single.page you manage. Same goes for events. There are those out there who connect only to spam you with “Like this page” or “Like that page”. That’s screaming a one-way relationship.
  • If your competition is wanting to connect, it’s okay, but be forewarned. I always joke to keep your enemies close, but your competition closer. Yes, it may seem like a good idea to accept your competition’s request to connect, but unless you’ve activated some really detailed privacy setting, they will get to see what you are doing. You may see it as showing what all you can do, but they will see it as things they need to do better or one-up.

 

Instagram

When Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and launched in October of 2010, the service brought a whole new meaning to online sharing. Instagram, as you know, is known for its photo and video sharing (and selfies and pictures of your dinner plates). There are many ways to connect with the millions now using this network.

Instagram is a great social media platform that provides people from all over the world to share their personal photos with friends and family, and it is a great place for users with common interests to connect and come together to share and discuss content. Here are 4 main ways to connect –

 

Connect through Photographs

You’ve heard the old saying: “a picture is worth a thousand words.” And that’s absolutely true.  It is easy to connect with others by capturing the world from your viewpoint. Images allow us to connect with one another on a different platform simply by displaying a message to one another. Whether the message be about your experience at a concert or your favorite food, Instagram allows for others to discover and understand the world through photographs.

 

Connect through Exploring

One of the easiest ways to connect with others on Instagram is on the ‘Explore’ tab. This feature consists of 15 most popular ‘liked’ images from all over the world. This allows you to venture out and view images you may not see on your normal feed. While also providing different content, exploring can connect you to other users. The great thing about the explore tab is that it is constantly changing. It updates the most popular 15 pictures every few minutes, allowing us to connect to even more people.

 

Connect through Hashtags

If you are looking to connect with new Instagram users, adding a hashtag to the picture you upload is a great way to do so. Displaying a specific hashtag connects you with more like-minded people. This feature allows you to share your photo to a wider audience who probably would not have seen the photo without it. If you are at an event, use that event’s hashtag to connect with others there.

 

Connect through Stories & Live

Now that Instagram has Instagram Stories, you can tell a story while being authentic. People will see the real you. If you’re account is public, anyone following you can see these and some may just pop up in the ‘Explore’ tab. And much like Facebook’s Live option, you can go live on Instagram as well and connect live to people.

 

Twitter

I opened my first Twitter account in the fall of 2010 for the intent purpose of following University of Georgia football. Never in a million years did I think I could actually make friends and connect with businesses. It’s now my favorite social media platform to use for business. It’s the platform I’ve gotten the most clients from too.

I’ve written two previous articles on Twitter following – 8 Reasons I Won’t Follow You on Twitter and 8 More Reasons I Won’t Follow You on Twitter – that really touched on some general, cosmetic points. However, here are some deeper connecting tips for Twitter that will make you a more seasoned and polished Twitter user.

 

Connect with like-minded people.

In any business, reputation management is very important. People will look and judge you on who you are surrounded by. By following like-minded people, you will find a community you can grow with and learn from.

 

Tweet people you want to get to know.

Even though that person you want to meet has 100,000 followers, if you don’t tweet them and let them know you are there, they may never find you. I’ve developed relationships on Twitter with people I normally would not have access to simply because I started tweeting (and retweeting) them and started a conversation. Anyone reputable on Twitter will not ignore someone who is trying to strike up a conversation. It may take them a day or so to respond but the serious ones will respond.

 

Give credit where credit is due.

Did you like a blog article and tweet it? Give the author credit in the tweet. Liked a tweet and agreed with it? Again, credit the author in the tweet. When you credit the author it’s mentioning them and they will take notice. Taking the time to give credit to the original author or the one who shared it on Twitter (you can use “h/t” for “hat tip to”) will show that you care and are purposeful in using Twitter.

 

LinkedIn

Making connections on LinkedIn will help you realize the power LinkedIn holds as a social platform where professionals interact and engage with others.

First things first, you never have to pay to make connections on LinkedIn. The free version provides you with the same connection and networking abilities as the paid version. Secondly, you do not need to be an “open networker” to connect with anyone you wish, but know that most users prefer to connect with meaning and intent on LinkedIn. Unfortunately, LinkedIn attracts a lot of spammers, but the platform does provide easy ways to report and ban them. If you do not mind occasional spam and want to connect with a large volume of people from all over the world though, you may consider joining open networker groups.

 

Here are some of the basics to get you started:

 

Put your best foot forward with your LinkedIn Profile

  • Your profile gives people their first impressions of you so make it count!
  • Make sure your profile is complete and current with a professional picture, employment information and relevant qualifications.
  • Always be honest with the information you provide, especially if you are seeking employment or potential clients.

 

Where to find your connections on LinkedIn

  • One of the first places to find new connections is on LinkedIn’s home page when you are signed in. There is an entire section called “People You May Know.” Based on information you have filled out for your profile, LinkedIn makes suggestions for you. Do not be too surprised when it shows you people you may not really know.
  • You can also find people with whom to connect through the advanced search function. This allows you to search for people by name, company, job title or location.
  • Another way to meet people is through joining and participating in LinkedIn groups. People typically join groups in order to network with like-minded people. With a group association, it becomes easy to connect since you most likely have common interests.
  • As you connect with people, you become “1st-level” connections with them. You are then able to view their connections; their 1st-level connections are now your 2nd-level connections. You can also see when your 1st-level connections make other new connections. As a result, you now have a larger network and more people with whom you can connect directly.

 

Mind your manners when connecting on LinkedIn

  • When you are ready to connect, make sure you are sending personalized invitations. Introduce yourself when sending invitations to people you have never met, and briefly explain why you would like to connect with them.
  • When you accept someone’s invitation to connect or they accept your invitation, it is good practice to respond and thank them personally.

 

When using social networks and connecting, the quality of your own personal experiences depend very much on your own level of involvement. The more time you spend on those platforms and engaging with others, the more connections you’ll make.

 

Speaking of connections, Jenn and I would like to invite you to connect with us! You can find Jenn on Twitter at @jennghanford and myself at @memktgservices.

 

Connections make the social world go ‘round. What are some connection tips you would add?

 

13 Social Media Tools to Make Your Life Easier

Tools to Make Managing Your Social Media Easier

TRUE STORY: A few months ago I attended a conference (no surprise there). Throughout many of the sessions, many, and I mean MANY social media tools and programs were mentioned. I saw people feverishly jotting down the names, looking up the apps on their iPhones and such. People were all over these programs like they had never heard of them before. Owning the business that I do, I have tried just about every single one that was mentioned.

There are SO many programs out there that anyone could spend a month trying them all out and still not know which one to use or what direction to go. Trust me, I’ve been there. After five years in the social media business, I’ve seen so many programs come and go, you have to look for ones that have staying power.

So to make it easy for you, or aynone who stumbles upon this post, here’s my list of social media tools you can use to make YOUR life and your business run MUCH easier…

Social Media Management/Post Scheduling 

Being able to schedule out posts will make your life A LOT easier. However, you still have to be available to engage in real time with people – respond to questions, take care of issues that pop up – you can’t brush it under a rug. Here are four programs you can’t go wrong with. I do suggest you take the time to explore each of them on your own, rather than me list out the pros and cons of each 🙂

  • Hootsuite – With both free and paid options, this program has both mobile and desktop versions.
  • Sprout Social – This program starts out at $59/month but does allow you to try 30 days free. This is the program I have been using since I started so I would say I am biased towards it 😉
  • Buffer – A lot like Hootsuite, with the capabilities, Buffer offers a free option all the way to Enterprise levels based on your needs.
  • Facebook – Every Facebook page has the ability to schedule posts itself. This I love. For all of the Facebook pages I manage, we do this no matter if we manage their other social accounts as well.

Instagram

  • Schedugram – Even though Buffer and Hootsuite can schedule and post to Instagram, if you just need to only schedule to Instagram, this would be the program for you. It’s not free though – the cost is $20/profile.
  • Iconosquare – This one provide analytics and more marketing choices for your Instagram account and starts off at $49/per Instagram account.

Pinterest

  • TailWind – If you are seeking a program just for Pinterest scheduling, this would the one for you. They’ve just added some Instagram abilities, but I haven’t played around with that year. For annual cost of $120/account, this is the way to go for Pinterest, in my opinion. They have larger plans, but unless you want mack daddy analytics, which is what you would be paying for (and you can get the majority from Pinterest for free), go with the cheaper version.

Twitter

  • Tweetchat – Tweetchats are a great way to expand your brand online and increase your community. If you are going to hold or participate in a Tweetchat, then this program is the way to do it. You won’t keep up otherwise. Oh, and this is free.
  • TribeBoost – This program is based out of Brunswick, Georgia and does a marvelous job of helping you grow your Twitter following.

Analytics

When it comes to analytics, each platform has their own and they typically provide the best. Google Analytics provide THE best website analytics I have come across. Of course, when it comes to comparing your social accounts to your competitors, well, that could be another blog post all in itself since there are another set of sites and programs you could use. We’ll stick to this list for now:

 

I’m not going to get into photo editing and such – that’s another post for another day. These tools are here to make your business’ social media run easier so you can get back to running your business.

If you have questions about these programs, just tweet me at @memktgservices or drop me an email at mandy@memarketingservices.com!

 

 

(Disclosure: Sprout Social link is my referral link as a part of their Sprout All-Star Elite program)

Send this to a friend