Social media is incredible. It sparks inspiration, desperation and all things in between. My social media footprint has been limited, but is steadily growing. When you hear about something being an overnight success, it’s usually with years of work behind it. Social media is chaotic, powerful, distracting, and needs to be studied, learned and engaged.

Where do you start? One of the first things to look at is your current online presence. What does your presence look like? What words do you use? What pictures do you use?

Keywords, tags, photos etc. are so important. For me, all of my online presence was scrutinised by my mentor. What I didn’t know! But, the more I looked into a social media presence, the more overwhelming it became. I’m not a writer, advertiser, or a great public speaker, but I need to become those and more. I started with a google search as so many do. “How to improve your profile on LinkedIn”. Well, that was a lot of 5 steps and 7 ways etc coming back at me! I admit I was overwhelmed, to start. It’s a normal response, and social media takes time to understand.

As a small business I must have an online presence. It’s what I keep getting told, and the more I look into the benefits of social media the more I realise in today’s world it’s absolutely right. There is no avoiding it. So, I developed a social media strategy, a plan. A social media strategy doesn’t need to be complicated, but it should define the messages you want to tell, when to send out those messages and what platforms you intend to use. What are your ideal periods of the day to target your audience? How are you tracking your strategy? Analytics are so important for reflection and refinement.

Gary Vaynerchuk says that “…you start realising that social media is just the slang term for the current state of the internet.” 1 There are 1.79 billion monthly users of Facebook as of today’s date 2. That’s phenomenal! What is everyone doing? And, where can I fit Blue Ninja into this? Twitter is fast-paced, 24-hour intense information. How can I get Blue Ninja’s footprint started? LinkedIn is a professional, visible platform. What do others see about myself and Blue Ninja?

If I can offer one tip for you – refine and refine again. Work on what you say, how you say it and where you say it. Use your taglines and your values to get you started. Be positive, learn from others and follow those that say it best. Automate where you can. There are so many tools that support social media platforms like Hootsuite and Buffer. There are many people (thought leaders) extremely visible on social media, but how many of those operate in real time? Get the balance right between automation and being there in real time and responding to others and you’ll go far.

Throughout my social media journey to date I have had many enlightening moments. I use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to get Blue Ninja out there. I got professional photos taken by the amazing Sane Seven, updated my website with the support of Lehrmann London and panicked to my very calm (and now award winning) mentor Amanda Johnson from VACT. It won’t all be perfect, but it’s a long game.

Social media is one of those beasts that takes patience to tame. I have mastered a couple of tools – enough to get me by whilst I continue to learn. I now have a social media presence. Is the content amazing? Maybe not at the moment, but it will become better as I learn and keep working on it. I know how to source information, schedule, refine, hashtag, blog and create useful content to a small but loyal following.

I wish others well who stare into the social media chaos and feel overwhelmed at first. It does get better, I can attest to this. Social media becomes manageable and I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I am.

All you need to do is #bebrave.

 

Coming up next: F is for Flexibility