Everyone is talking about the power of social media and its ability to reach the farthest corners of the world. Social media gurus have created a new job market to advise those who have no idea by building a base of followers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Boomerang.
There is absolutely no doubt in the fact that reaching out directly to a group of followers is the only way to deliver your message quickly, efficiently, and without too much wastage. Traditional marketers and advertising agencies are scrambling to hire a group of young men and women who understand this medium.
Businesses are setting aside separate marketing budgets and looking for young “experts” for this new medium of communication.
And yet the time honoured principles of marketing remain unchanged – if you have a good, credible message, you will be noticed and if your product or service fulfills a needed or perceived demand at an acceptable price, you will get customers. The medium of communication is the only change that is taking place in the brave new world of social media.
Understand The Medium Well
Twitter is an easy yet very complex medium to work with. It is very easy to start tweeting but it is a challenge to keep your message limited to only 140 characters. Once you are able to communicate in the restricted word limit, you will realise how cogent and pithy your communication can become.
Instagram is an incredible platform for photographs and Boomerang is for GIF files. The fastest growing segment on Facebook is the forty-plus generation as the young move to more exciting platforms. In addition, there is, of course, LinkedIn which is now gaining a lot of traction amongst the professionals.
And then there are the blogs. Everyone has a lot to say to a select group of people so how will they get heard in all the noise and the clutter where millions are expressing their opinions every nanosecond?
The first step is to set up your account with a carefully selected photograph and background and establish your own security norms on every platform.
There are many sites that will help you to understand your followers and unfollowers. It is definitely worth your while to visit some of these sites to understand the social media analytics that is available for free.
Decide The Subject You Wish To Tweet/Instagram About
This is important. If you decide to tweet on any subject, remember that you must have enough to say and say it with confidence and credibility. The subject is not the issue. That is your choice. What you say is important for your large base of followers on Twitter or Instagram – talk of interesting things to your potential followers. Quoting today’s breaking news is not necessarily a great idea to start with.
Followers will “follow” you but your challenge will be retaining your followers. Remember that while it is very easy to follow you, it is equally easy to unfollow you.
Build A Database Of What You Want To Say
Once you start to “speak” on this medium, you will be surprised at how soon you run out of things to say. It would help to create a data base of what you want to say on your selected subject(s). Keep making a note of your thoughts so that you don’t forget these. Once you have your data base ready, communicating becomes easy and you have a lot to speak about!
The life of each message is a few seconds given the speed at which messages are being sent out by others – therefore, don’t hesitate to repeat your message again and again because your audience may have missed out your communication.
Avoid using foul language and stay away from controversy. If you don’t like someone else’s communication, “unfollow” the person instead of reacting on an open platform.
It is important for people who read your Twitter/Instagram feed to see you regularly to stay connected. Your followers must feel that they are connected with you.
Therefore, based on your own trial and error, you will be able to understand the best time that your communication is read. I found that my Tweets/Instagram messages are read, retweeted, liked or favourited in the mornings at around 7 am, in the late morning around 12 noon and in the evening around 7 pm.
Remember that your messages are reaching a global audience and time zones need to be factored in. I have also found that it is better to tweet three or four tweets/Instagram messages at a time. When you do this, you get a “significant share of page” for a few moments for new followers to notice you and hopefully start following you.
When people respond to your messages, it is a good practice to respond to them. An engaged follower will “favourite” or “retweet” much more frequently, thus spreading your message to a large follower base.
However, I am not suggesting that you thank every follower that you have or question every follower who has “unfollowed” you!
The general unwritten custom in the Twitter world is if someone requests you to retweet, you do so without wondering why you should give access to your followers. Of course, if you find the content objectionable or if someone is trolling you, you are within your right to block such a follower. There is nothing that could be as exciting in the world of social media as seeing your tweet being retweeted or your post being liked by a large number of your followers.
Don’t compare the number of your followers with film stars, politicians or cricket stars. They are public personalities and people follow them so that they don’t miss out on any aspects of such high profile lives even though they may not have anything significant to say! More than 95% of people have less than 1000 followers.
Build your base of followers slowly but surely. From a small base you will suddenly see a lot of people following you and your base will grow every day.
Happy Instagramming and Happy Tweeting!
[Ashutosh Garg is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of the best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye and The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur.]