Chad Morris, Staff Writer, interviewed Vice President of Digital Marketing, Samantha Morris, for her top social media tips in this 6-part series.

Being effective on social media requires that you maintain a regular, active presence on each platform. For that reason, you should resist the temptation to make an account on every platform. When you do that, you’re at a greater risk of being spread so thin across each channel that your posts become sporadic and you become forgettable. Instead, you should focus on one or two that you really enjoy. Then, by setting short and long-term goals, you can work towards engaging effectively with your network.

Each platform has its unique communication style that affects the content you publish and how you engage with others, so choosing can be a very personal decision.  For example, three of the most popular platforms – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – are quite dissimilar to one another, despite an overlap of features. Facebook has a lot of personal exchanges of information and its notification system makes it easy to engage in fluid, community-wide conversations. Meanwhile Instagram is geared more towards creative, visual expression. The content can still get as personal as Facebook, but Instagram comments only notify those who are explicitly tagged making conversations more targeted. Then there’s Twitter, which is built on short sound bites of content, where conversations are mostly one-on-one between the audience and the poster. Twitter can be effective for thought leaders and those with useful information to push, but it tends to be less personal and less inviting to those new to an industry. Often someone really meshes with one platform and struggles with another. That’s an example of how important it is that the platform you choose reflects your preferred communication style. If it feels uncomfortable, don’t force it.

Once you’ve registered on a platform, you’ll want to establish one to three long-term goals. It’s best done as an annual exercise with the aim to improve your presence on social media throughout the year. Next, you’ll want to set out consistent short-term goals that allow you to gradually progress towards that much larger objective. Be specific with your goals. Then, using metrics and analytics – some of which are native to the social media platforms – you can track your progress.

For example, say you’ve gravitated towards Instagram because you’re comfortable with a camera and want to share creative photos from both your personal and professional life. Your long-term goals are to increase the average engagement – likes and comments – each post gets by 125 by the end of the year, while also building up your number of followers from 200 to 600. You’ve chosen these goals because you’re new to Instagram and want to grow your network and better understand what effective content looks like.

Your short-term goals could be to every week publish three to five pieces of content, engage with 40 posts from existing connections, and 20 posts from people outside your network. At the end of the month you monitor how many engagements each post receives, as well as how many new followers you’re gaining. If your progress is lacking, you might adapt for the month ahead by analyzing what content performed well and why. It could be that a specific time of day yielded the best results, or that the subject matter appealed to a specific, responsive demographic.

By being experimental within structured perimeters, you can learn what works in the short-term to put you on the path to your long-term goals. Proper goal setting in combination with choosing the appropriate channel for your communication style ensures that your social media use is both effective and enjoyable.



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