You need simple social media tips that are clear, easy to follow and relevant.
Yet, the hunt for some simple social media tips that will actually help you can be somewhat tricky and difficult to find.
You’ve found them.
Whether you are using social media just for personal fun or promoting a brand or raising interest in your business or ministry, social media can be a huge hurdle to those who aren’t sure where to start.
And if used incorrectly, it can actually damage and not help.
I get asked questions quite often about how I use social media.
“How do you do it? I wouldn’t even know where to start.”
“Where did you learn to do that? All those buttons and codes… the writing… it seems so complicated!”
“How do you have time? It seems so overwhelming!”
“How does it help you?”
“Could I do that too?”
I had the benefit of jumping in to the blog world early.
I had a blog before I had a facebook.
Twitter was brand new.
Instagram hadn’t even been invented yet.
Blogging was so different. I could learn as I went.
Now, blogging and social media can be quite complicated especially if you want to dig in and build your business or brand name.
There really IS a lot to learn.
And, now, as missionaries, the whole social media thing just got a bit more intense and a whole lot more complicated. Curious? Read this.
You need help with your social media. You want it to be simple and helpful. You need a quick guide without all the bells and whistles. You are hunting for a simple list of social media tips.
Here you go
1. Start small. Don’t try to tackle a blog and twitter and stats and pinterest and facebook and mailchimp all at once. Pick one thing to learn and learn it well. Slowly begin to add other avenues of social media as you start to need them.
2. Think big. I know this seems to negate the first point, but it really doesn’t. I would have done things SO much differently at the beginning if I had known how big social media would become… but I didn’t know. I didn’t think big. I didn’t consider how much technology would change and grow or how much I would fall in love with writing. I didn’t dream big when it came to my goals for writing or how incredibly God could use this in my life. Dream big. Think big. Plan big. Don’t box yourself in by your own low expectations. Do the research and have some idea where you want to go with social media and communication for your ministry or business. For example: If you are starting a blog and choose a blog name, go grab that name on every social media outlet there is. Even if you don’t plan to use it yet. That way it is there, ready to use when you grow and want to branch out into something new.
3. Find friends. Who is using social media in a way that you respect and admire? Who is doing it well? Who has a facebook page that is interactive and growing? Who has an instagram that pulls you in? Who sends you an email you actually read? Find those people. Read their content. Learn from their online space. Learn from their online presence. Ask questions. Start liking, interacting and connecting with those who are already doing social media well.
4. Don’t be annoying. Things like asking for likes (I’ve done it… it is so easy to do!) or leaving comments like “Please visit my blog” or tweeting “follow me and I’ll follow you!” can be really bothersome in social media world. Nothing shouts “NEWBIE!” like someone who runs around bothering other social media users. Plastering “Sign up for my newsletter!” across all your social media accounts will, unfortunately, NOT grow your email list. Stand on your content, grow your brand, put out things that speak to YOUR readers and connect in real ways. It is slow growth but it is loyal growth.
5. Be clear about how to follow! What are you focusing on? Building an email list? Growing your instagram? Giving people too many choices of where and how to follow often makes them walk away and not choose any of them. Or, they choose the easiest of them all… a facebook like… and then they never see your stuff again because of some unknown algorithm. Be clear on what action step you want them to take and focus on that first. Tip: Gather those emails. Emails are gold in the marketing world.
6. Be Creative. Light bulb—> You do NOT have to post the exact same thing with the exact same words and the exact same picture on every single social media outlet you use. People do not want to repeatedly see the same things over and over. I want my instagram followers to know they aren’t going to see the same pictures when they open my facebook. And I don’t want my blog to just be my facebook posts written a different way. People who see the same things everywhere will tune out and get annoyed or bored. They won’t open your emails either because they’ll assume they already saw what you are going to tell them in the email. Be different so followers find new things in different places!
Your social media outlets can tell different sides of the same story by giving different glimpses from different angles. You are telling your story. Let your social media enhance, engage and envelope your readers in creative ways.
7. Post again. and again. Those who saw your post at 7am will be different than those who see your pin at 2:30pm or 6pm or even 10pm. This is true on nearly all platforms of social media. Different people are online at different times. Don’t assume all your followers saw the same thing at the same time. That is a huge mistake. You have to post. and post. and post. In new ways, in new places… This will ensure a broader audience is exposed to your content.
8. Realize this is a HUGE investment of time and possibly even money. Growing social media platforms means digging in and putting in the time. Research, create, write, discover… don’t get discouraged if your growth is slow. You are competing against SO. MUCH. CONTENT. It takes time to earn the right to loyal, connected readers and followers. It takes time to build a solid social media platform that is trustworthy, helpful and branded. There are no shortcuts.
9. Dedicate time. Even just 15 minutes a few times a day to hop on facebook or twitter or instagram will be beneficial. Comment, interact with readers, return emails, promote your latest post, check stats… quick amounts of time really add up if they are used well. Take advantage of scheduled posts. That means if you have a large block of time you can write and write and post and post… having it all scheduled to go out at different times a day. I had a friend say, “Why were you up blogging at 5 am?” I said, “I wasn’t.” She looked at me and said, “But your blog posted then.” I responded, “Well, I wrote that last weekend and had it post for me while I was asleep!” All those hours it appears you are online, you probably aren’t if you utilize scheduled posts well.
10. Be You. Be genuine. You can’t copy what someone else is doing. It will show. Readers will know. Followers can tell if you aren’t being real. Write like you. Take pictures like you. Pin like you. Comment like you. Just be yourself. That will attract others who are interested in YOU and what you have to offer online or in your business.
11. Know your audience. Are you reaching families? Customers? Supporters? Women? Men? Know who is reading now and who you want to be reaching in the future. Blog to that. Post to that. Write to that reader. Post for that supporter. Focus on your audience. What do they need? Why do they come to you for that information? Take some time to get to know your audience.
12. Respond. Social Media is NOT one sided. Respond to comments. Tweet back. Send emails. Like other people’s instagram pictures. Be interactive so that your social media isn’t one sided. This helps you connect and also helps your readers connect with you.
13. Let’s talk email. Above I mentioned that emails are gold in marketing. This is true. Where every other social media platform has some timed, like-based algorithm to stop your readers from seeing what you post, email is YOURS to control. If someone gives you an email address, it shows trust. You have direct access to them. A few things to consider: newsletter services, email services and so on STILL filter who gets what of the emails you send out. Email can still be seen as spam and your reader never gets it. Honestly, that is a HUGE topic that I don’t know a lot about or could even begin to explain. BUT… email is still your best way to contact your support base or customer list or readership. Gather emails. Don’t be spammy. Get creative with your subject lines. Keep emails short, quick, and easy to read. Only include a few or even just ONE link to a blog post or facebook discussion. Again, giving too many choices means they delete your email and won’t open the next one because you’ve overwhelmed them in the two seconds they had to check email.
Need to learn more? Visit my good friend The Blog Maven. She’s queen of all things marketing. Take her class. Send her an email. She’s awesome.
14. Be patient. Real growth is slow. slow. Take the time to learn about SEO or increase your writing skills or take a photography class or read some how-to posts in an area you want to learn about social media. But be patient. It all takes time.
15. Don’t forget pinterest. Pinterest has changed SO MUCH over the past years. And it has hurt a lot of bloggers and business who relied on that steady traffic. But don’t throw it all out. Pin your posts. Which also means spending some time creating branded, eye-catching pins for your blog or website! Pin other like posts. Spend a few minutes a week browsing and pinning and creating some fun boards. You might enjoy yourself and also help grow your brand in the mean time.
A few extra tips for missionaries:
- Make sure your supporters know where and how to communicate with you. Don’t assume they do.
- Don’t always post about financial support. Share you, your life, your ministry and let God take care of the rest as people begin to connect with you.
- Make sure you have a clear ways to support from your social media. Explain in detail the how, where, when and why.
- Social media can be risky and easily misunderstood. But it CAN be done and done well.
- Remember this. EVERYTHING you post is there forever. Wiping your social media presence clean once you get going is nearly impossible. Keep this in mind for where you work, how you post, who can see your posts and what your wording tells people about where you are, where you live, what you do and so on. Be careful. This is a bigger deal than most people realize.
- If you are NOT going to be actively writing, posting and putting up new content, you do NOT need a blog!!! Again, you do NOT need a blog! A simple, easy to read, straightforward website with all your info, easy giving link and contact button is all you need. And some organizations provide free for you, like ours. A blog comes with the expectation that supporters will find new posts, new info, new stories. If you don’t do that regularly online, or you save those stories for your monthly/quarterly newsletter, do NOT invest the money in some elaborate blog design because you think you need to have one. You don’t have to have a blog. But make sure you have other ways to update your supporters with current news and prayer requests.
- Fun Bonus! I have about an hour session recorded online for using social media in a ministry context – Click here to listen
- Mailchimp – free newsletter service
- How to start a blog
- Blogging Resources
- 5 Tips for Newsletter Writing
- More social media tips and articles
I’m updating this post as I learn new things or the world of social media changes… which it does often.
But currently, those are just a few of the social media tips that you need to know as you start out using social media.
Everyone is going to have a different story of how they started out and so will you. You will make mistakes and that is okay. Learn from them and keep at it!
Everyone will have different opinions of how and when and what… do your research, know your goals, dig in and start posting. You will form your own opinions and start to build your platform.
Before you know it, you’ll be a social media pro and I’ll be asking you for help!
Let me know if you have something you would add to this list.
What are your simple social media tips?