If you know me offline, you’ll be well aware that my hair changes on a regular basis. If you know me online then you’ll probably know that I post a random selection of content on different platforms from time to time and that most of that content gets a minimal response. Most of the things I post get no response whatsoever (unless you count spam), nor should they, most of it isn’t worth responding to. The majority of my posts aren’t for any form of commercial gain so it doesn’t matter, but from time to time my afro highlights the basics of how to be successful on social media.
First things first, the only way to guarantee how many people will see your posts on social media is to pay the social media companies to show them to a specific number of people. If you really want people to see your Facebook posts, tweets or Instagram posts then you have to pay Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Ignore what an assortment of random people will tell you, that folks is a cold hard fact.
At this point, I’m sure you’re wondering what any of this has to do with my hair and when we’re getting to get onto social media and the lessons my hair can teach you. Posting things on the internet does not mean that anybody will see it. Some people will see it, lots of people might see it, but if you need people to definitely see it, it will probably cost you money. OK now that we have that out of the way, lets get back to my hair!
I have occasional spikes in the popularity of my online posts. I recently changed my hair and posted a picture on Facebook. That post generated 108 likes, which is considerably more than most of the things I post. The last big spike was my graduation and the time before that, was the last time I changed my hair and posted a picture on Facebook.
First rule of social media – choose the right audience. My personal audience on Facebook is made up of my family and friends. There are very few people on this earth who care how my hair looks, but of the tiny percentage of this planet’s inhabitants that do care, almost all of them are in my Facebook friends list.
I have very few hard and fast rules in my life, one of them is that I won’t be Facebook friends with people that I don’t know in real life and wouldn’t be willing to spend a couple of hours in a pub / coffee shop with. It’s a pretty simple rule, but it works for me and means that everybody on my Facebook friends list is a genuine friend / relative that I actually like. There are a few people on there that I wouldn’t want to be trapped in a lift with, but there isn’t anybody that I don’t like and that as far as I know doesn’t like me. This means that when I post things on my Facebook wall I’m sharing things with people who have a genuine relationship with me. The perfect audience. It’s highly unlikely that your business will find an audience as devoted as my friends and family but the key point is to steer well clear of the scatter gun approach.
There is a popular expression in digital marketing “Content is King” which has since been updated to include a secondary phrase “but Engagement is Queen” Creating interesting content is the starting point. It should go without saying that what you post, needs to be of interest to your audience. Boring irrelevant content is always a bad idea. If it doesn’t pass the “so what” test then it probably needs a rethink. “Claire’s new hairdo” passes the test of being at least mildly interesting to my selected audience. My relationship with “my audience” means that they are willing to engage with me online. Which in real life, means that when some of my friends see the picture of my new hairdo, that they “do something”, they click the like button, they comment, they post emojis and gifs, all of which signals to Facebook that this post is of interest. Once Facebook decides that my post is of interest, they show it to more of my Facebook friends and those friends engage with the post by liking and commenting etc.
As a web developer, I primarily work with small businesses, most of whom are using social media as a part of their business and most of whom are not seeing results. A lot of this is due to confusion about how Facebook works, especially for small businesses. If 100 people like your Facebook page, that does not mean those 100 people will see everything you post. The fact that Facebook is “free” leads people to think that it’s cheap way to market their business and it can be, but if you need 100 people to see your posts then the only way to guarantee that is to pay Facebook to show your posts to 100 people and more importantly, to pay Facebook to show your posts to the right 100 people. There is a lot of misinformation about Facebook and how it works, but as most of that has nothing to do with my hair, I’ll leave that for another day.