Oftentimes I see people tweet/post why is this social media app free?
This is usually in response to a funny post or an argument on the timeline. It’s a simple question yet one that has an often ignored simple answer
The app is free because you (the user) are the product.
Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram are offering you this service for free for your data (your likes, ads you click on, videos you watch, posts you share or retweet).
They present this data to businesses that run advertisements on their platform. But you might already know this. So how do you use this to your advantage?
To figure this out you have to identify what type of Social Media user you are.
Types of Social Media Users
Table of Contents
Social media users fall into these categories
- Business owners/entrepreneurs leveraging social media to grow brand awareness and engage with customers
- Working class professionals using social media to grow the personal brand or professional brand
- Regular user, on social media for fun
If you belong to the first two categories, this post is for you. I will show you how to extract value from your social media usage.
Let’s start with the first category
Most times users under this category just create content about their services/products without any strategy.
The idea is if I keep posting some people might see it and buy from me. This is a poor strategy.
Your social media is an extension of your brand, it offers you a direct opportunity to spread awareness about what you do and measure the impact directly.
To make best use of social media platforms, you need to have a Content Marketing Strategy
A content marketing strategy helps you streamline your activity on social media. It encompasses all the elements that make your brand stand out, it covers when you create content, when to post, the theme of your social media pages and how you engage with your audience.
For a quick overview on Content Marketing Strategy, click the link below to view this cool Infographic I shared on Instagram.
Component of a Content Marketing Strategy
Brand template: This includes the colours, fonts and how your pages look like on social media.
Brand Personality: Is your brand formal? i.e. very serious or business like or friendly – you post memes, jokes, participate in fun trends
Content Calendar/Planner : Even the best writers struggle with writer’s block, and this is also common with creating content for social media. A content calendar ensures all your content is planned for a long time.
For example, If you work with a graphic designer they would have everything ready to post on the dates shown on your calendar. This way, you never run out of content to post.
Cohesive structure: Content marketing strategy ensures all brand communications are aligned. From blogs, Tweets, LinkedIn, and IG posts, everything is consistent.
With a content marketing strategy in place, you can link all your pages into a sales funnel or your website.
This helps you track where people are interacting with your brand, the types of content your audience likes. As such you would have found the ideal audience for your business.
On identifying the ideal audience for your business, you would be able to craft stronger marketing messages to build better relationships and close sales.
To the second category of social media users.
Professionals seeking to grow personal or professional brands.
People in this category fall into two categories:
- Professionals who use social media for their day jobs to build industry relationships which will provide benefits like business leads, or networking opportunities for jobs.
- Professionals using social media to share knowledge of their industry and expertise so others can learn.
The individuals under the above categories can benefit from the social media by adding goals to their usage.
This is how you can do it:
As a professional seeking jobs, sharing knowledge or networking opportunities, the best platforms to do this are LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
You won’t get the benefits you seek by just being present or commenting vaguely like this “I’m interested” “Wow” “Lovely” to interesting posts shared by other people.
You have to share value in your posts, engage with interesting insights. When you do this, people will like, comment and share your posts.
When that happens, other people in their networks see this and three things will happen.
- They share because they find it interesting too
- They view your profile to check your background
- They send you a connection request to join your network
The actions I just described above is a fundamental part of succeeding on LinkedIn.
The LinkedIn Social Selling Index
LinkedIn has a Social Selling Index that ranks your page based on certain parameters such as how much you engage, how much you post and it compares these parameters to other people in your industry.
A LinkedIn account with a high SSI index would appear more in searches for recruiters – important if you’re looking for a job.
People would trust your profile as an authority in your field and would reach out for networking and other professional opportunities.
Let’s say you are an experienced Accounting Professional with a keen understanding of Tax, Accounting Software’s or how to ace ACCA
There are many people who need knowledge on how to pass the exams or how they can build a successful career in Accounting like you.
You can start with breaking down terms in your industry that people struggle with. You use easy to apply examples or scenarios that even a non-finance professional will understand.
The first step to doing this would be to do some research on the questions people are asking on Google.
I googled ‘’major challenges facing the accounting profession’’ here is my search result below
Google search gives you a good insight into questions people are seeking to understand.
After getting these results, you want to create a document in Google Docs to keep your findings in one place.
From the top result from my search I see
- Tax Cuts and Jobs Act implementation continue.
- Automation and AI are taking over more traditional accounting duties.
- Accountants need to diversify their skills
- Cybersecurity is becoming a bigger priority.
Using the results above, the next step would to create a content calendar based on your expertise.
For example, It is possible you know a lot about taxation and how accountants can diversify their skills. So you focus on that.
Why you need a content calendar for social media
Based on your capabilities you can create a content calendar to guide how you will discuss the topics and distil the information to your audience.
Content calendars help you to streamline your content and create topic clusters you can build on.
The gif below explains the importance of Content Calendars.
Content calendar example
Depending on your schedule you can choose particular days to share your thoughts and engage with people, for my example I have chosen Monday and Thursday as my posting and interaction days.
To ensure it is easily recognizable and connect it to my goal of growing my personal/professional brand I will name it Simplifying Accounting with Amos.
In this simple calendar I have written topics I would talk about in different weeks, I also made the headlines interesting to get the attention of people.
On the days I want to post, I would have written my thoughts in an easily digestible format and I would share as a thread on Twitter, or as a post/article on Linkedin using the hashtag #simplifyingaccountingwithAmos.
Doing this consistently will improve interactions with your content, using the hashtag contributes to your personal brand as people would align Simplifying Accounting with your name.
Professionals using social media to strengthen their brand
Whilst writing this blog, I looked into my personal networks to see two individuals I have interacted with their content and received value.
The first on the list is Christina Soname (@thechristinasho), known for her Dear Young Professional series on Instagram and LinkedIn.
Dear Young Professional is a series of helpful and educative career tips Christina shares every Monday that has amassed a considerable following due to the value people get from it.
In what ways can you benefit other than jobs and networking opportunities?
Selling Information products has seen huge growth on the internet in the last few years with solutions like Gumroad and Amazon creators can easily sell their knowledge in the form of ebooks, courses and get paid for it.
The internet has made this accessible to everyone, however you need to build your personal brand to reap the rewards.
So how can you do this?
After building an audience over time, you would have offered enough free and valuable content to have them trust you as an authority in your field.
To maximise the impact of what you have done you need to start building an email list.
You can curate all your posts done so far and transform it into a shareable ebook or PDF file.
Then create a landing page where people can fill in their details – names, emails, phone numbers.
The next step would be to start warming up your audience to the idea that you would be launching a course called Simplifying Accounting with Amos where you go into more detail in breaking down accounting concepts that people struggle with for a fee.
Because you have already created value, your audience will trust you enough to pay.
The strategy above will also work if you are hosting a webinar or writing a book.
If you are not seeking job opportunities or looking to sell information products. Having a strong personal brand can improve your popularity in your current job.
The second professional I have seen used social media in building a strong brand is Sharee (@Shareee on Twitter).
Sharee has become the face of Mutual Funds at a popular Nigerian bank due to her consistent tweets on the benefits of mutual funds, and how to start investing in them.
Her tweets were so good I reached out to her and invested some money in mutual funds.
She converted me into a customer just by consistent education, I would assume she’s gotten other people to sign up too which will definitely make a positive impact on her work performance.
Sharee has also leveraged her popularity to building the Aspiring Fitfam brand, a social community of fitness enthusiasts.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless if you use social media properly as a business owner or a working professional.
If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
I am a Content Marketer, Social Media Manager and Web Designer and I can help you scale your business presence and personal branding
If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy these posts inspired by design and small business strategies.
- How to identify the marketing audience for your business
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Follow me on Instagram on @designedbyamos, I share tips on Marketing, Small Business and Web Design.