Yes, social media has its own shortcuts like keyboard shortcuts. These are things you can learn once and use everywhere.
I love to learn new keyboard shortcuts. Without a doubt, they speed typing. Back in the early ’90s, I learned my first shortcuts: Ctrl+X, Ctrl+C, and Ctrl+V aka cut, copy and paste.
And they still work today. They work just about everywhere. Even Mac computers use the same letters. Instead of Ctrl, the Mac uses Command as its modifier key.
This makes me crazy. The Command and Ctrl keys are in different locations on the keyboard — not by much, just enough to turn my fingers into awkward contortionists. The fingers don’t work as fast as they do on a Windows keyboard. But I digress. Back on point.
Keyboard shortcuts save a lot of time as you can learn once and apply everywhere.
The same applies to social media.
What are social media shortcuts?
Some of social media’s best practices work in all networks. For example, sharing original, relevant, and valuable content often gets clicks and shares in every network. In Twitter, you tweet a short thought or tip. In Facebook and LinkedIn, you can add thoughts or tips in a paragraph or two or three.
The same applies when you share relevant and valuable articles that your target audience wants to read. However, social networks like LinkedIn don’t like links. They want to keep people on their website.
Instead of just sharing the article and link, comment on it. Share the gist of the article’s message and your thoughts. Sneak the link in the comments. Another option is to publish the post and then edit it to add the link.
If the article has a picture or you have one that relates to it, you can pin it on Pinterest or take a picture and post it on Instagram. (You can almost never go wrong with cat or dog photos. Yes, even in business! Some of my most popular social media pictures consist of one or the other.)
And so on. Here are eight social media shortcuts to learn that will boost your social presence and engagement.
1. Create a complete social media profile
This is golden rule No. 1. Do not pass go, follow, like, comment, or anything until you’ve created a complete profile. If you do, folks may not return the follow or like. Some prefer to learn a little about you before deciding to connect with you.
I tend not to connect with people who don’t have a profile. Rarely do I connect with anyone who has a bio but no picture. More often than not, I connect with those who have both.
Before you do anything in a new social network, fill out your profile and add a photo. It doesn’t take much time, as you should have both readily available. Just copy and paste a bio and upload a suitable photo.
No photo? Have a colleague or friend take a close-up picture of you with a suitable top and a plain background. If you don’t have time to do that, come back later. However, don’t do anything else until you check this off.
2. Listen on social media
Imagine attending a gathering. You see people you know huddling and chatting. You head over to join them.
What’s the first thing you do?
This helps you figure out the topic of conversation. It also shows respect for the group because you won’t interrupt anyone. When the time is right, you’ll interject.
A customer calls you, complaining.
The first thing you do?
You first want to understand the problem and empathize. Then, acknowledge you hard and respond appropriately.
If you don’t have an answer yet, say that and give a timeframe when you’ll follow up.
If a company doesn’t have the resources to engage on social media, then it needs to create an account with a profile and watch for mentions.
Customers complain on social media when they believe the company fails to listen. Don’t let those mentions float out there unanswered.
3. Build relationships
The best way to make social networking work for your business is the same just about everywhere. Approach it from the perspective of building relationships through conversations. Treat people as people not as sales leads.
Yes, social networking gives you a forum to provide customer service. Helping customers strengthens the relationship.
Yes, companies want to make sales. But few will drop a dime without getting to know you.
Would you make a business deal on the first DM or tweet you see from a company promoting its services?
This Zig Ziglar quote describes a good way to approach social media. “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
Think of the last time someone helped you. This should be easy because we tend to remember people who did something for us. Every social network gives you an opportunity to help others.
4. Respond on social media
Listening is half of the equation, especially when a customer complains.
Customers forgive mistakes. They just want acknowledgment.
If you don’t have answers, respond as quickly as possible. A simple “Thanks for letting us know about it. We’ll look into it and get back to you by Friday” works.
5. Mention others
When mentioning others in an update — an author of an article, for example — add @ before the person’s name to turn the name into a clickable link. This also works in most social networks. (In some networks, you can type a name without @ and a list appears.)
People may receive notifications when they’ve been mentioned, or they look for mentions. This prompts them to think of your company and possibly visit your social media profile. Most of us appreciate a mention. Positive ones, of course.
6. Provide value
This means sharing things that others value. It can be linking to a relevant and informative article, giving kudos, offering advice, and helping others. All without mentioning your product, service, blog, or website.
Not just anything of value works. It still needs to pass the relevancy test. If you are targeting B2B marketing professionals, then a valuable post on how to boost profits in your restaurant business would not be relevant.
7. Be yourself
Yes, be yourself, even if you’re representing a company account, not your personal account. Companies that succeed in social media show a human side by talking conversationally. They open the curtain to let you peek behind the scenes and get to know their process.
On LinkedIn, personal pages perform better than company pages. Of course, there are exceptions. But not many. You can always repost something from the CEO’s LinkedIn page to the company page. The key to company pages is to keep them active. No one wants to see a company page with zero updates or the last update being months ago.
8. Identify relevant hashtags
LinkedIn didn’t always convert hashtags to linked text. Now it does. Most social media sites do.
Make a list of hashtags relevant to your business and industry. Post that list on the company network so all employees have access to it.
Don’t just do hashtags suggested by the social network. For instance, LinkedIn often suggests hashtags when you write a post. These are not always the best hashtags to use.
Some of those hashtags have very few, if any, followers. As you create your list of hashtags, look at other people’s posts. People in your industry. Competitors. See what hashtags they use.
Look up those hashtags and see how many followers it has. Instagram and LinkedIn show you the number of followers. Identify a mix of hashtags. Some with many followers and some with only a few hundred followers.
And when you post a captioned video, always, always use #Captioned. This is a unique hashtag. Unlike other hashtags, it doesn’t tell you the topic of the post or video. It lets people know the video has captions.
Like keyboard shortcuts, these social media shortcuts work globally. Sure, each has unique shortcuts that won’t work elsewhere. You adapt. That’s why it’s not effective to automatically cross-post the same content across multiple social networks. Maybe you can automatically post on two networks, but rarely more than that.
What social media shortcuts would you add to this list?
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