10 Social Media Tips to Make You a Rock Star

10 Social Media Tips to Make You a Rock Star on EverythingEtsy

One of the neat things about building a blog with hundreds of posts is that comments keep coming in even months or years after posts are first published. As a result, I hear from lots of people every single week about the challenges they face in social media.

I’ll let you in on a secret: none of them are a surprise. I’ve faced all of them and still do but thankfully I’ve still been able to build a social media following that adds up to just under 100,000 followers between Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. {Yay, Thanks to you!}

I’m just starting to get into Google+ and I’m excited about it.

10 Tips for Social Media Bliss

Here are ten tips I’ve learned from my own four year experience and from friends I’ve met along the way. If you keep these in mind, you can build a large following on social media.

You do want that, right? Having a large following on social media has so many benefits, the greatest of which is that you can really reach and help lots of people, which is amazing and rewarding. You also gain so much from what your followers share with you. It’s so much fun and I just love it.

So here are my ten tips for social media bliss, first in a numbered list, and then thoughtfully {brilliantly, imho :-)} expounded upon one-by-one.

  1. Give it time.
  2. Think long term.
  3. It’s not personal.
  4. Be consistent.
  5. Follow Friday {and Monday, and Tuesday, and…}
  6. Newsjack.
  7. Be reasonable.
  8. Remember, it’s forever.
  9. It is worth it.
  10. Help people.

If that list leaves you with questions, maybe I’ve already answered them in the explanations below, if not, leave a comment at the end of the post and we’ll get a discussion going.

1. Give it Time

The most common complaint I hear is something like this:

“Social Media (or a particular site, such as Facebook) just doesn’t work for me! I haven’t gotten a single sale from it yet. It’s not worth my time.”

As a mom, social media reminds me of raising kids. Kids start out as babies and you really don’t expect anything from them. You don’t expect them to be reading, writing, or doing chores; yet. As they grow, you expect more out of them until eventually {we hope} they are self-sufficient and do things without your help at all.

Growing your following (and your business) is just the same. I think most people understand this, they just don’t understand at what point their Facebook following is an infant, when it’s a toddler, etc.

Based on my experience, here are some numbers to help you see this:

Followers Corresponding Age
Less than 500 Infant
500 – 1500 Toddler
1500 – 5000 Walking & Talking
5000 – 25K Elementary School
25K – 100K Middle School
100K – 250K High School
250K – 1 Million University
Over 1 Million Phd. – Doctor of Social Media

Of course this is just an {unscientific} attempt at illustration and nobody can say exactly how many followers you need before you start to get something (sales, blog traffic, etc) out of social media, but this does help you see that it doesn’t make sense to expect too much too soon.

So you have to give it time.

You also have to give it time in another way… you have to put your time into growing it and getting better at it all. Unlike raising a real child, you can actually get through these levels faster by putting in more effort, aka more time. {because you have so much of that to spare, right?}

Some experts say you should spend two hours a day on social media and that’s probably about what I do. It sounds like a ton and you may be wondering where you’ll get that much time. Thankfully it’s better if you don’t do it all at once. I spend about fifteen to twenty minutes at a time six or seven times a day and that seems to work well.

For what it’s worth, this time investment felt like “work” at first, but once I really got into it, it became fun and doesn’t feel much like work now. It’s especially nice when you feel like some of what you share is helping others, which is mentioned later.

So the first tip is “give it time” and give it your time.

2. Think Long Term

Do you remember the class in school, or maybe from your parents, that explained the workings of compound interest? You know where they convince you that even though your savings account only pays 1% interest, it adds up over time. {mine never worked that way…}

While that may not be very exciting for a savings account at today’s non-rates, it is very exciting when applied to the growth of your social media presence, and it applies just as well.

If you increase your audience by just a few percent every month, the growth doesn’t seem so fast at first, but it will get faster! As your base number grows, that few percent gets to be more and more growth which will eventually lead to the big numbers you’re after.

I can’t tell you how exciting it is for me that my overall follower base across the various networks grows at a rate of approximately 800 people per week now!

3. It’s Not Personal

only one repin

original image by crimfants on flickr, from wikimedia commons

It can be hard not to get your feelings hurt. This never really changes either. When you don’t have many followers, that fact alone can hurt your feelings. When you do have followers some of them will say things or do things that might hurt your feelings.

The cure for hurt feelings is, of course, to run the other way! That’s not really an option for us here.

So knowing this, and knowing we have a long-term outlook, the only workable approach to social media is just don’t let it hurt you in the first place.

It may be easier said than done {it is}, but if you remind yourself of a few key points it might help:

  • “Follower” doesn’t mean the same thing as “Friend” or “Family”. Even “friend” in social media doesn’t necessarily mean friend. Don’t let someone you don’t know (and doesn’t know you) ruin your day.
  • Remember it’s all about perspective. If someone disagrees with something you say, and they do so in a mean way, it might just mean that they have a very different perspective than you.
  • You are not your follower count. Just like your personal worth isn’t determined by your clothes or your kitchen cabinets, neither is the number of followers you have necessarily an indication of the value of what you have to offer. It’s very likely just an indication of time investment and/or you’re still learning the ropes. Everyone has to do that.

4. Be Consistent

Consistency is key in three super-important areas…

  1. You need a consistent presence
  2. You need a consistent voice
  3. You need a consistent message

Your presence is simply how often you show up. My sweet husband wants to be big in social media, mostly because of me. He’s a typical man and it drives him crazy that I have more followers than him {way more!, heh}, but he doesn’t show-up consistently and he knows it. A tweet once every two months isn’t going to do much for you.

Your voice is just your online personality. Your tone, the amount of humor you use in your messages, your tendancy toward sarcasm or lack thereof, etc. The main point is that people learn to expect a certain feel from you and it’s best to keep that fairly predictable. You can throw a curve ball every once in awhile to keep it real, but not too much.

Your message is your subject matter. Unless you’re a celebrity already, you won’t get much traction talking about every subject under the sun. You have to pick a topic or a related group of topics and stay on it even when you don’t feel like it. Your message is the biggest part of why people follow you. They want information about “x” and you share that.

5. Follow Friday {and Monday, and Tuesday, and …}

Human nature tends to say this to your subconcious:

“If you follow more people than who follow you, that makes you a “follower” not a “leader” and, let’s just call it what it is, a loser. Don’t be pathetic, have a little pride.”

As is usually the case when pride gets in the way, that is the wrong way to think. The truth is that the more people you follow, the more will follow you back. You can always go back in later and unfollow people who you either don’t benefit from or who never followed you back, but it’s not a bad thing to take the first step.

The reality is this: The accomplishment of your goals is much more about how many people follow you and who those people are than it is about how many people you follow.

When I send out a tweet, there is a chance that 23,000 of my followers there will see it and retweet it to their followers. The potential impact of that is exactly the same if I’m following two hundred, two thousand, or two hundred thousand. The impact of my tweet is based on my followers, so if following helps build followers it just makes sense to follow, follow, and follow.

The other benefit of following…

One of the keys to success in social media, and it’s covered by item number 10 in the list “Help People”, is in sharing great and useful stuff. If you follow the right people (aka, people who are into your message) then they will really help you do that by sharing great stuff themselves.

So following helps you get followers but it also provides a stream of great content you can share to help you keep followers.

6. Newsjack

When the San Francisco 49ers played the Baltimore Ravens in the Superbowl, as you may recall, the lights went out in the middle of the game. What an opportunity to gain followers!

I was at a party praying for the lights to come back on so we could-please-finish-this-game, but other people were ON their game in social media.

Oreo was super quick with this image on Facebook

Oreo Cookies nailed it with a Facebook image post saying “You can still dunk in the dark.” That image has now been liked and shared a total of almost 30,000 times.

Audi took the opportunity to poke a little fun at their rival Mercedes-Benz (whose name is on the Superdome where the lights went out) by tweeting that they were sending some LED lights over to help out.

Other companies and thousands of individuals jumped at the chance to talk about something that tens of millions of people were experiencing at the same time. It was a rare opportunity to take advantage of news that wasn’t negative, sad, or scary.

While not all “newsjacking” opportunities reach millions of people, the news stories that effect your niche and fit with your message are great opportunities. I myself need to get much better at this, and I encourage you to try it as well. It’s a great way to get your content shared.

7. Be Reasonable {expectations}

Hand-in-hand with the first tip above, Give it Time, is the idea that if you expect too much too soon you’re going to be disappointed. Building a social media presence that you can use to help others and help yourself is a long-term project and you’ll enjoy it much more if you’re not constantly disappointed in the way it’s all working out.

If you like to measure progress or set goals, try setting a growth rate target in terms of percentage. Early on you can set pretty high hopes such as 40% growth per month or even more. As your numbers grow that kind of growth (in percentage terms) gets harder to attain but your actual growth in numbers is speeding up.

Also set resonable expectations for things you hope to gain from all of this. You’re not going to be able to support your family from Etsy sales from social media alone. You won’t be able to drive hundreds of visitors per day to your blog when you only have 500 fans on Facebook. (Pinterest does better for driving blog traffic)

I can’t give you any concrete numbers because they vary for everyone. All I can tell you is that it takes more than you would expect to get a really meaningful return.

So manage your expectations in terms of time and return. You’ll stay much happier for it.

8. Remember It’s Forever

The simple lesson here is the same for your blog and for social media. Once it’s out there, it’s out there, so don’t post things you’ll regret.

Emotional posts and tantrums might feel good at the moment but they persist even after the emotions that instigated them are long gone.

I’ve been guilty of throwing a #fail hashtag at a store or two after getting bad service and it’s true that you might get some results, so there may be times when you just can’t resist throwing your social media weight around, but I’d use it sparingly.

I’d also avoid things that might offend certain people or groups. Some might say that I’m not being “real” when I do that, but I don’t see it that way at all. To me it’s just being nice and finding some common ground to talk about.

Some people have made a name for themselves being edgy and it certainly looks like fun so if you want to go for it, more power to you. My advice is to remember that what you put online is forever so keep to the straight and narrow.

9. It is worth it


All of this may sound like too much. I can see you asking yourself “Is it really worth all that?”

The answer depends on your plans for the future, what you hope to see happen. If those plans include any sort of online activity as a major part of your life, then the answer is most definitely yes.

So if you want to build a profitable Etsy shop or other eCommerce business, a busy blog that you can use to support a business or cause, or if you want to build a name for yourself for as-yet unimagined future endeavors, then you should rest easy knowing you’re spending your time well.

If you stay consistent to these ten tips and keep learning from your experience and from the experience of others, you’ll find yourself in a good place a year, two, or five down the road.

10. Help people

I saved the most important tip for last. This one is really more of a guiding principle than a tip. It’s like this ever-present star in the sky pointing you in the way you should go.

Be helpful to your audience.

If you’re investing the time in social media you’ll get to know who your audience is. The better you know them, the better you’ll understand what they want and need. You’ll get a feel for what they, as a whole, are trying to accomplish.

Help with that and you’ll get where you want to go.

~Kim

Let’s discuss it… what tips do you have for social media success? Or what questions or challenges do you face that this blog post didn’t answer? Maybe someone can answer in the comments.

Here are a few more social media posts you might enjoy:

Comments

  1. says

    Your tips came at a perfect time! My friend and I recently started our blog and are getting a bit frustrated with our lack of audience. These tips helped me get a little more motivated and not so concerned that we aren’t getting followers at the moment.

    Thank you :)

  2. says

    GREAT post! Especially the part about how time spent on Social Media is not wasted time – it is work, just like making your art/craft/merchandise. I’m a bit sad to see that my less-than-500 follower Facebook page is still an infant, but I’m enjoying helping it grow!

    • says

      Hi Sarah! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I hope you feel encouraged by the number/age chart because everyone… every single account on all the social networks starts at the same number. Just like birthdays, the milestones are celebrations along the way. I still remember celebrating big numbers like 5000, 10000, etc.. So you may be raising an infant at less than 500 at the moment, before you know it you’ll be watching that number roll past 20K and this will seem like yesterday.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Kim

  3. says

    Well I was humbled to see that my FB page at 1200 is only a toddler and my blog is just a baby, even though I’be had it for 3 years now. Your 10 points a very clear and helpful. Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Linda!

      I know that feeling too. We’ve got some blogs that we haven’t really had the time for that haven’t grown at all. I guess the growth comes wherever you put the work in. The great thing about blogging is that most of the time it doesn’t feel like work once you get started. It’s that first push that’s the hardest.

      Kim

  4. says

    This is just the thing I needed to read right now. I’m trying to grow my blog and I keep getting caught up on not having many (any?) followers. That seems to slow me down but I’m going to try to focus on the long term & keep these tips in mind. Thanks!

    • says

      When we didn’t have any followers, I remember a couple of things that helped get the ball rolling…

      1. We tried to make really cute follow buttons so people would notice them and want to click.
      2. I made a point to ask for follows at the end of blog posts. I don’t do that with every post, but I still do that.

      These two steps helped get things off the ground and are still part of the mix.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

      Kim

  5. says

    Great post! Loved all the tips especially the chart comparing numbers to stages of growth. My FB page is walking and talking, my blog still a baby. Would love to know more about how to grow my blog with Pinterest and ANY info on Gooogle+ !!!

    • says

      Hi Caitlin,

      I really love Pinterest and it has been an great source of growth for us. The same ten tips apply to any social media, but the one key I would add with Pinterest is to try and get really great pictures for your blog posts. We wrote some posts awhile back about the camera {amazon link} we use. It has really helped me get good “repin worthy” pictures. It’s been a learning curve with the pictures, but for getting blog traffic and helping with Etsy sales, photography has been big.

      I hope that helps and thanks so much for your comment here!

      Kim

  6. says

    Great post- found via blogher on Facebook. I am struggling with finding a voice on my blog. I know that is why most days I get zero comments (cue sad face.) I have a wide range of interest, but I am not sure how to narrow down to just one or two. I need to get this post in my mind and really do some work on giving my blog a real theme.

    • says

      Hi Jeny!

      I just came from your blog and I think you’re doing fine with a voice. Loved the “Nice to meet you.” post.

      Not sure I can help you on the narrowing down interests just yet. When I figure that one out, you’ll be the first to know! :-)

      Thanks for being here and leaving a comment.

      Kim

  7. says

    Thanks for the tips. My most useful tips would be about time. People ask me how one of my businesses got to 11700 fb fans. Well I put in a TON of work and time!

    I also like the scheduling abilities for some SM sites. They can save lots of time, but trying to keep it real, use them in moderation.

    Again, thanks for the post!

  8. says

    Kim, what a great post. Well thought out and so useful. You’ve also clearly mastered #11–It’s all about the content.
    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go share/RT and post this everywhere.

  9. Jeni says

    Great tips, thanks. I’m still an unborn! Just collecting ideas and tips in readiness. Had a camera for Christmas and going to start a course on how to use it (!!) in a couple of weeks, so watch this space, as ‘they’ say. :o)

  10. Seth says

    I’m currently hitting a brick wall trying to use Facebook to market locally. I’m a guitar teacher, and I want to build a following of guitarists or those who want to play guitar. What I’m mostly getting are friends of friends who know someone liking my page, so, therefore, no one really responds when I “engage” in guitar related discussion and topics.

    My goal is to have a community of guitarists (and potential guitarists) discussing guitar and music.

    I feel the infant level would be much smaller of a number if I’m concentrating locally, no? What can I do to focus getting guitar-interested followers?

    I find myself avoiding my page because I get block on what I should do next that would actually “be worth it.”

  11. says

    Great Post! .. has a very authentic and down to earth feel to it.. not to mention very helpful too :)

    .. we have been trying to find out, what could be considered to be a ‘sustainable’ number of followers on each of the respective networks .. i.e. the number, that if reached, in a way creates constant growth through the mere activity of the existing followers..if that makes sense? E.g. once you have reached x number of followers on facebook for example, new followers will come along automatically on a regular and increasing frequency without you having to ‘actively chase’ them..? (given you normal blogging / posting activity stays constant)

    best wishes

  12. says

    Great info, thank you. I know this article is a bit old, but if anyone is still reading I would like to add a little goes a long way. We set up a running ad campaign on our Facebook page for sponsored stories. A budget of $1.00 a day and people see the ad that says your friend **** likes siamesedreamdesign. It really is amazing how many new fans we get from that $1 a day. I also believe these are good fans being that they already have a friend who likes our style. When we don’t have any other campaigns running this is still keeping us visible to new potential fans.

  13. says

    Thank you so much for posting this information and for FREE.
    Everything you have said is so true and I plan to implement many of the strategies you have spoken about.
    I think the main thing to remember as you have emphasised is that it does take time and it does take consistency – which isn’t always easy when trying to balance work, family and your business on the side.
    It’s nice to hear from someone in similar circumstances who’s been there and done it and generous enough to share what they have learned.
    Thanks again
    Kirsten

  14. says

    Just what I needed when I needed it! Just experienced #6 Newsjack … tweeted about a pillow inspired by a currently popular tv show (Once Upon A Time) and it got picked up and tossed around within hours had a bunch of new likes on my shop and the product (a pillow). It was an epiphany for sure and your post reinforces that coupling dynamic!

  15. says

    Those are great tips and so encouraging! Thank you so much! I do get discouraged when I I I write something from my heart and get no comments, but I love blogging and sharing and networking through reading and commenting on others blogs. I just think it’ll get better if I keep at it! i agree, I think it is really important to be myself . You’re an inspiration! Thanks Kim!
    be blessed! Linda

  16. says

    Hi there. I know this post was a while back but doing a search for tips on social media brought it up. I really appreciate your thoughts and I can see I have a long way to go. But, I’m extremely computer savvy and all.
    I was wondering if you (or anyone) could point me to a little help on two things I am struggling with a lot.
    One: how many “topics”, “causes”, or “helping things” should I be posting to social media? I and my family are invved in many areas and I have been posting some of them. I wonder if I am doing too little or overreaching. We currently post about co science stuff, female empowerment and equality, a thought for the day every day, this week in history and in women’s history, inspiring articles from upworthy.com, little know world religion facts on Sunday, mad science in Monday, tiara Tuesdays, a craft funny on Wednesdays, throwback Thursday, fun craft ideas or weekend activities on Friday, animal funnies on Saturday …. It gets overwhelming trying to keep up with all of this and my listings and my actual product creation…but I don’t want to do too little either. I am the only person running this little enterprise so I don’t have anybody to back me up by picking up the slack when I get too busy in one area or another.
    Two, I have a really hard time figuring out when to post and how often. Thoughts?
    Three – I used to blog incessantly on livejournal. I was friend based and really just about life in general. I’m pretty good at it, but I don’t know how to segue that writing into something professional. In other words, what should I look for in terms of topic for longer than shirt Facebook posts and links?
    Finally, does anyone know of, have, or use some type of software or a template of some kind for time management and scheduling (both in terms of consistency and in terms of possible advance posting).

    I know that’s a lot of questions. I might actually post these same questions in other places. I know the world isn’t full if answers and some of this is just learning from experience but I feel like I am majorly failing to reach my potential here because I trying to see what works I keep changing my plans and schedules which creates inconsistency for my followers. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Chrys @ Anne’s Ribbon Garden

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