If you’re somewhat overwhelmed by all the social media tools out there, you’re not alone. In this dispatch, I’ll share what I’m doing and what you could also consider doing if you’re indeed feeling less than comfortable about marketing on social media.
The only social media apps I use for my business (on my cellphone) right now are:
Q: What do I do with Facebook?
A: Generally speaking, Facebook is one tool that you don’t have to worry about much right now. I’ve uninstalled Facebook App on my phone as it wasn’t adding anything to my life. If anything it was sucking my time away although it was only 5 or 10 minutes here and there. My advice is to treat your Facebook business page as a business directory listing. It needs to have basic information such as a short bio, opening hours (if relevant) and basic service information. I don’t see a great need for creating content specifically for Facebook. If you’re publishing content somewhere else (which you should be doing), you could simply cross (auto) post it there as well.
Q: What do I do with Instagram Reels?
A: To be honest, I’ve not been hugely active in publishing Reels content, but things are moving in that direction. This is because the Instagram algorithm favours Reels content. This was the case when it first started supporting video content and now Reels take the front seat so to speak, so they’ve very much moved on from being just a fun distraction for young people.
Pay attention to how people spend their time on Instagram. You’ll notice, as I’ve done, that a lot of content consumers (some of whom we seek to serve) have quite short attention spans so Reels are great for them. I don’t have any hard evidence to back this up but I know from my experience that there is a growing number of people who consume Reels content exclusively without following anyone (profile) in particular for specific types of content (fed by IG).
If you don’t know this already, in the same way that YouTube is also another form of a search engine, IG Reels are fast becoming one of those search tools for anything and everything.
So what should you do?
The good news is that you don’t have to be the singing and dancing queen to be successful when it comes to Reels. Chances are if you’re reading this you’re not keen on being or doing that either. Focus instead on educating your audience. Useful content (for people like us) is always easier to come up with than ‘fun’ content. I have some ideas for my new Reels content which will involve me teaching stuff but I have some really simple examples here. Remember though that it needs to be 1 minute or less in duration. If whatever you filmed is longer than that you could always speed things up using an app like InShot. And use bold/large text captions (summary/key points) if possible which is helpful for those who don’t enable audio while using the IG app.
Q: What’s the easiest way to create Reels?
A: Shoot a short clip or two and bring them into an editing app such as InShot. Add anything you’d like to include (text, graphic, stickers etc), and export for Instagram. Create a new Reels post, add clip(s) and publish. If you fancy adding music you can do it there (don’t add music outside of IG due to copyright issues).
Adding stickers, text and other effects within IG is tedious and clunky at best unless you’re a twenty-something and very used to using apps like TikTok. I found it too frustrating to do any editing on Instagram so I’ll be doing all my edits outside and just bring in one whole clip for my reels going forward rather than stitching anything within IG. I’ll keep you posted on my new Reels content when I have them up there.
Q: What about hashtags?
A: I saw a very good article about them the other day. Here it is.That was the best I’ve seen so far with the latest updates. My short answer is we no longer need to list 30 hashtags for each post. That means we want to be very selective (and strategic) about the ones we do use.
Q: What about LinkedIn?
A: After having deleted my LinkedIn account twice in the past (lost all the connections I had along the way) I’ve re-established my account recently with all my experience listed. Why?
I noticed busy people who may have been reluctant to be on other social media channels tend to be ‘active’ on LinkedIn. And perhaps those who stopped using Facebook are still on LinkedIn. That’s probably due to the fact that LinkedIn better represents the professional image that is linked to people’s livelihood (jobs).
LinkedIn users, from what I’ve been noticing, ‘behave’ better and are more engaged in a positive way. And the best thing is, it’s not inundated with advertisements (just yet).
Be judicious about posting relevant content there though. Overly commercial content will do more harm than good for your brand.
Q: What if I don’t want to be on Social Media?
A: If you already have a decent size email list, have a strong online presence, you’re a contributor (writer) for a well-known media outlet (or more) and you’re getting plenty of work via referrals, and have a couple of bestselling books/products, you would be okay not to have any social media account. I know for a fact that Cal Newport isn’t on any social media. Famous fiction writers are not on socials. And borrowing Cal’s comment this week, any really serious theorists and researchers are not on social media as they are busy going after a Nobel prize :) (paraphrasing here).
However, if you’re reading this (I say again), you’d have found me on Social Media. Or at least you’d have checked me out on one of the social media channels. People need to be able to find you somehow. I can find Cal Newport easily enough as his publications are all over the Internet. His social media presence will not add much value to his audience. On or off social media, either way, is okay and it’s entirely up to how you would configure your marketing strategy. Just like Cal, if you’re invited to talk/share by others there’s no need to have one’s own social media presence. Use this question if you’re still not sure:
Can people find you and what you do easily online?
In case you’re wondering, people like Cal have their own website and an email list and they appear on other people’s platforms (e.g. YouTube channels and podcasts). In actual fact, they are on social media but not with their own accounts/profiles. One day, I may also cease to exist on social media for one reason or another but right now I need to be available, so you’ll find me on almost all social media platforms if you search for me.
Q: How much time do I spend on social media?
A: I spend between 5 to 30 minutes on Instagram daily according to my mobile phone’s activity tracker. I publish once a week or less. And as you can imagine, I don’t engage much with others. I would spend about 10 minutes on Linkedin once a week if not less. That’s it.
Q: What’s the plan going forward for you, Songy?
A: I plan to cross-post some of the posts I write on LinkedIn when appropriate. I’ll be experimenting with different Reels content on Instagram. I’ll be launching a photography service paid ad campaign locally here in Perth, Western Australia on social which I haven’t done for a few years now.
In terms of my time spent on social media tools, it will remain more or less the same until I’m ready to launch a webinar which will be later this year.
And remember, these are just my opinions and observations. Do what’s right for you for your specific niche and business.
I hope this has been interesting/useful.