With an overwhelming number of new and unique social networks entering the market, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay focused, or even gain a significant benefit of being a member of any social networks at all.
Social media has become so engrained in people’s lives, often times it would be difficult to communicate without it.
In early 2013 the average user would spend roughly 3 hours per day on social media. At the moment, there isn’t more up-to-date data available, but we can imagine that this number has grown significantly, especially after the rise of social networks like Instagram and Pinterest — true suckers of time and energy.
As web designers, we’ve got a broad spectrum of specific niche social networks available to us. You could say that this part of the Web has got its own system to work with, but I’d like to stress that the big six (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram), are still invaluable when it comes to building your business, or gaining more clients.
THE FOUR PRINCIPAL BENEFITS OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Before we can analyze a few of the social networks in depth, we need to take a look at what the real benefits of social media are; and whether we should bother to build our own communities or not.
I know of plenty people who prefer to work within their own small circle of friends and business partners, but at the same time social media benefits are invaluable in many ways.
Your ability to provide people with the latest scoop in whatever it is that is happening in your particular niche, can lead to these people becoming your loyal followers and readers. It is when we’ve finally been able to prove ourselves as reliable and trustworthy that people tend to come back for more.
Know, like and trust. A term that’s coined under KLT. It is meant to mean that whenever people know you, like you and actually trust you; will they feel free to promote you; buy from you; and even encourage you to do more of what you have done so far. It takes time to get here, but it’s worth every second you’ve spent to achieve this result.
Your latest icon set of smiley faces for a bulletin board is content, and if you can continue to produce the same quality content over and over again not only will Google come to aid you with organic traffic, so will people who’ve relied on you for so long.
Because you don’t have to close the door when you leave your digital office, it is often that whatever it is you’re selling through either means, will continue to sell itself even when you sleep. Social media is a term that should be understood on a global scale, while you sleep many parts of the world are only waking up.
WHICH NETWORKS SHOULD YOU JOIN?
In the spirit of what I said at the beginning of this post, I’d like to go over four major social networks that can be most helpful to web designers, for building more business and clients, with minimal effort and maximum return.
The place to be when it comes to discovering new things. Each pin you open becomes a discovery of something new and unknown. The social network is popular with women (with as many as 70% of users being female), but that certainly doesn’t mean that men can’t use the network. With 70 million active users, Pinterest is ideally positioned for discovering new products, recipes, artwork, places to visit and a lot more. Take this as inspiration to signup for an account right now, and to begin publishing photos of your work in your own personal pin board.
What are you working on? Dribbble is a community of designers answering that question each day. Web designers, graphic designers, illustrators, icon artists, typographers, logo designers, and other creative types share small screenshots (shots) that show their work, process, and current projects. It is one of the leading design websites in the world and attracts millions of monthly visitors who not only trade inspiration, but also opportunities. Dribbble is unique in that everyone seems to follow the site’s etiquette, which provides a transparent and fair browsing experience.
Twitter is so powerful and popular that it is impossible to disregard it as one of the go-to channels when it comes to keeping in touch, learning new things and also making a buck on the side. In the world of design, every single author; blogger; thought-leader and so on, has a Twitter account, and there are people following it, engaging in social discussion. Twitter lists make for a great way to keep up with all the latest in your choice of profession.
Facebook is definitely on the very top of the list when it comes to having easy access to consumers and their business pages. This is why you’ll see so many people utilizing all that Facebook provides for engaging and connecting with businesses. Individuals, small businesses, and independent creative companies are socially engaged on Facebook, and they’re always looking to hire someone just like you. With over 1 billion active users every month, you’re bound to find at least one person who will be hooked by what you’ve got to offer.
IT’S ALL ABOUT ENGAGEMENT
TIME IS MONEY
In order to get a great response from your followers, don’t make them wait in line for something that others might give away for free. Save time wherever possible.
MONEY IS HARD WORK
Why should someone spend their money on your products? Why should someone hire you? Cut your followers and clients a deal, they’ll make sure to return to you.
Never display that you’re displeased with something within your field of work, chances are everyone tends to dislike something about their work. Keep it smiles, keep it funny.
If there is one thing to learn here, then it is the importance of trust. Trust builds everything around us, if we trust someone once it’s more than likely we’ll trust that person again.
If you can manage to follow at least one of these at any given time you’re already performing better than the majority of social media users.
3 TOOLS TO ENHANCE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT
Here are three tools that will help to accelerate your social media progress, and generally help to have a better experience of sharing, reading and connecting:
I setup my Google+ auto-poster from my blog’s RSS feed nearly six months ago, and to this day it continues to work perfectly fine; without any maintenance required. It’s one of the things that I use HootSuite for: to help myself save a bit of time with automated tasks. Google+ API still has a lot to learn, and is quite unstable in many ways, so services like HootSuite prove to be real gems.
HootSuite, is a social media management system which enables organizations to execute campaigns across social networks from one web-based dashboard. They excel in providing deep analysis of your social media accounts, as well as provide the necessary tools to maintain multiple accounts at the same time, all within a single dashboard.
It’s a shame that I was one of the people who did not initially believe in this application, but I guess I can make up for it now by being a daily user of this small, yet magnificent social application.
Buffer helps you manage multiple social media accounts at once. Quickly schedule content from anywhere on the Web, collaborate with team members, and analyze rich statistics on how your posts perform. The real value here is in the addon the Buffer team provides for all major browsers. With the help of this addon, you’re able to share everything you like, from whichever page you like. It also makes it a breeze to share photo tweets on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
TweetDeck is a Twitter client for desktop, web, and mobile devices. TweetDeck was originally an Adobe Air desktop application, designed with a unique columned user interface. Its goal was to be a realtime application that allowed users to monitor that information in a single concise view. In 2011, Twitter acquired TweetDeck and rebuilt the application in HTML5.
It is a powerful tool when used correctly, it has features like tweet scheduling, as well as the ability to monitor custom search results for new tweets. A must-have for anyone who runs a business, or has a blog that actively receives comments and social shares.
START WITH THE SMALL THINGS
This is all the necessary information you’ll ever need to get a good start towards social media success. I really like the list of tools we’ve covered here, as I’m a proud user of all four, so I can guarantee their efficiency and rewards. The biggest obstacle is the learning curve, the ability to understand what works for social media, and what does not. Ultimately, most of the success is going to come through engagement and trust.
Featured image/thumbnail, via Twin Design / Shutterstock.com