Last Christmas, I mentioned that I was wavering about getting involved in social media when a friend suggested ‘there’s only one way to do it, just get stuck in’. Good advice, though I think that I might have taken ‘getting stuck in’ to a new level.
For me, joining social media (essentially to promote this newly designed blog) coincided with a freelance job to help a client capitalise on their social media presence. Talk about the blind leading the blind, but they were game to take a chance on me, so currently we are on this steep learning curve together. To be honest, I have not yet dipped my toe into the wonders of Snapchat or Google+, but can say that I am au-fait with boosting Facebook pages and posts, tweeting, retweeting and utilising popular hashtags, but it’s all still a work in progress.
So what have I learned so far?
There is a heck of a lot more behind the scenes work to do than is obvious at first. Last week I spent hours ridding my Google Analytics page of crawlers or bots (essentially fake traffic generators that infiltrate your website and mess with your statistics). I have literally spent days looking into how to ‘get followers’ on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram and to be honest, what I’ve learned is that not only is it like pushing water uphill but it’s also, potentially, a bit of a scam.
If you think about it, if you are pushing anything on social media, it’s about getting information right up in everyone’s face. You might have the best content, or the most exciting announcement, but it’s really no good if no one ever sees or hears about it. It turns out that pushing your social media to a wide audience is largely about TRICKS. The more I learn, the less ethical it all seems but it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and if you are in it, then you need to be ready to play fairly dirty.
- Boost your Facebook page for more exposure, even if it costs a few dollars. Facebook, you are onto a good thing there. Join lots of groups on Facebook that are relevant to your network, comment, say hi, gain credibility, then sock them with what you have to say.
- Follow loads of other people on Instagram and comment on their posts. Also, make use of popular hashtags to expand your reach and again, keep the likes going. I recently learned that there are also some scarily unethical hacks that make getting followers easy, not just tricks such as like4like or like4follow but also downloadable apps, or websites where you just have to fill out a survey for x number of followers. It’s possible to pay for fake follows too.
- Twitter, ditto above and also follow loads of people. You can pay to promote tweets too. Include good keywords, links and photos in your tweets. You can say ‘please retweet’ and apparently that works! Mention other users in your tweets using the @username sign (helps if that person is a celebrity too). Engage in chats, reply to questions. Engage, Engage.
- Post often but also think about scheduling posts so that your pages (instagram, Facebook and Twitter) are updated regularly and at the correct times during the day and night to maximise your impact.
- Social media (and even websites) is all about the face behind the name. Use a profile photo rather than a logo where possible and invest your feed with as much personality as possible.
- Pinterest – I haven’t really got to you yet. I have created boards and filled them with my own pins. Got re-pinned once. My husband spends ages giggling a funny memes on Pinterest but has never posted anything. More work and research required to optimize this platform.
Feeling exhausted yet? I am! So, in Conclusion
I must admit, I do enjoy flicking through an Instagram or Facebook feed, but to be honest, I don’t really find it addictive. Why?
- With Facebook there is a heck of a lot of ‘noise’. Very little is particularly personal (and even the personal stuff is pretty well curated, so not really a true reflection of life). No, sorry Facebook, I’m really not interested in a post by someone who I completely don’t know when it just comes up on my feed because a friend of mine happens to have ‘liked’ it.
- Instagram – having done my research, it seems all too possible to fake followers. It’s like someone has burst the balloon and now I know it’s all a con. However, I do like looking at pretty pictures. I do follow some fashion bloggers but have not quite got to the Kardashians yet.
- Twitter – is still a bit beyond me to be honest. Again, so much noise out there.
- My email account is heaving with notifications and junk. Thank goodness Gmail sorts this for me but my phone is not so good at filtering. I’ve entered into the zone of hundreds of useless emails per day, when formerly my inbox was a lot more relevant.
- LinkedIn – sorry but I’ve kind of forgotten about you and Pinterest, we need to do some more work together. Over coffee perhaps?
I think it’s kind of sad how much store my kids set by number of likes or followers, particularly now that I’ve learned that anyone can easily get likes and follows dishonestly (which begs the question, why on earth are advertisers so invested in working with bloggers and social media operators?). Will this bubble ever burst? Engaging on social media is a huge amount of work, but, for businesses, I can (reluctantly) see the benefit. What do you think? P.s. you can follow me by clicking on any of the social media icons at the top of my homepage 😉
Related posts: Expat Stereotypes: http://africaexpatwivesclub.com/2016/01/alison-the-facebook-fiend/