This will be a tutorial about what I know about operating social media accounts. You will note that I am not quite cool or savvy enough to use ALL of the options available and that I will contradict advice I’ve given elsewhere in this blog. Bottom line: your social media accounts are yours, which means you can handle them as you see fit. However, just be mindful of the potential consequences if you get a little too saucy in your opinion sharing.
My primary social media accounts are Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and this blog (WordPress):
Facebook: Heroic Technical Writing
WordPress: You’re already here, but I do have a personal page as well known as The Real Bart Leahy
I’m on Instagram, though not very often: writinggopher. Some folks use their Instagram accounts to sell products online. I’m not up on that, but my friend Chef Katrina is, if you’re interested in learning more.
I also have a couple personal email and social media accounts, which I reserve for people I actually know. I’m a little pickier about whom I connect with on those pages. That said, I still include a link to this page in my email signature blocks.
Using Short Posts to Feed Larger Ones
The first important social media lesson I learned on the job was that shorter posts should feed larger posts, and those shorter posts should be sufficiently interesting to make your readers want to share or click on them to learn more.
Mind you, this lesson was taught back when Twitter posts were confined to 140 characters and the site wasn’t terribly great with images. Now Twitter more resembles Facebook, as posts can now be up to 280 characters and users have more options for adding emojis, images, or GIFs.
The process used to be: Twitter feeds Facebook; Facebook feeds the blog; the blog provides short and long pieces of wisdom for your readers to consume and, ideally, allow them to take action (share, interact with, or buy something).
As of this posting (January 2020), I use Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook all pretty much the same way. When I post blogs to WordPress, it automatically sends post titles and links to the other three sites, which then refer my readers to the blog.
Do You Have an End in Mind?
The other useful thing I know about effective social media is that it helps to have an objective in mind when you post, assuming you’re posting solely for business reasons.
Feeder sites (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook)
What do you want your readers/customers to do with the content you post here?
- Like or repost to increase traffic on that account?
- Respond to the post and start a dialogue/discussion, thereby increasing your traffic or audience?
- Click on your links to increase traffic to/on your blog?
Note that most of these are about driving traffic: getting enough attention so your readers are curious or motivated enough to respond to you where they are or go to your site.
What do you want your readers/customers to do with the content you post here? Here is where your intended outcomes matter:
- Like or repost to increase traffic on your page?
- Respond to the post and start a dialogue/discussion, thereby increasing your traffic or audience? Some business pages include discussion or user help groups that allow your audience/customers to talk amongst themselves about your content or products/services. This would require a bit more work to moderate.
- Buy a product–say, a book? E-commerce order pages should be easy to navigate and quick to respond. Eventually, I’ll have a book you folks can buy online to get more in-depth content, so there will be some return on investment (ROI) for me.
- Procure a service? If your business site is also used to attract clients–mine is not, for the record–you might have a page or web form that allows the potential customer to provide enough information for you to follow up and start a hiring dialogue. Again, your turnaround time for these requests should be rapid: an “I’ll get back to you” message immediately and an actual email or phone call follow-up within 24-48 hours, depending on weekends, holidays, etc.
A Confession or Two
Officially, that’s all that I do. In reality:
- Not everything I post on Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook is business focused. I follow and interact with individuals, organizations, and communities that interest me, some of which have little to nothing to do with my business.
- I post occasional opinions. Some of those opinions would be classified as political, which I usually advise against for the very reason that said opinions can cause me problems with customers if I was foolish enough to critcize them–which I don’t. If I had a dedicated business account, the behavior described in the first two bullets obviously would change.
- I do not cross-link every account to every other because the audiences are different.
- LinkedIn is really just a business networking site, so I’m almost all business there. I usually post only links to my blog there
- Facebook is expected to be a little more social, so occasionally I’ll add personal comments or vacation photos to the blog post links.
- My Twitter account is a little more freewheeling, as noted above, but that’s also where I present myself as Bart Leahy, Private Citizen, to share my thoughts on the great matters of the day in an electronic public forum. That said, I don’t repost everything I say on Twitter or my blogs to my personal Facebook page because I read enough politics there as it is.
- My personal blog comprises thoughts from Bart Leahy, Human Being, and is rather more personal than Twitter. The people who read that page are mostly my family and friends, though occasionally I share links from my personal page on my other accounts if I feel there’s some need to do so. That is why my personal page gets 1,300 hits a year while this page gets twice that many visits per month.
- My personal Facebook page is usually where I share snarky memes, jokes, and random quizzes, just like everyone else.
Social media is always evolving. This post will likely appear quaint next week (for some, it probably already does); however, if you are a freelancer and have business goals in mind, you can shape your traffic in such a way so that you have an aim in mind. Can I guarantee that you will achieve that aim? No, but then I’m not paid to do that. I know some people who do, if you’re interested, though. Best of luck to you.