Social Media Basics: Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram

Surveys from the last few years have shown some remarkable stats:

  • 91% of people have gone into a store because of an online experience.
  • 62% of consumers make purchases in-store after researching it online.
  • 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • 78% of consumers say that a company’s social media has influenced their purchases.

These kinds of stats are why social media terrifies a handful of the small businesses I work with. They know they have to do something; they just don’t know what to do. To be honest, a lot of success on social media comes from an educated process of trial and error. So here’s the bright side…

There is no magic formula for social media.

Magic formulas are easy, they act fast, and they produce results right away. But the nature of success on social media is pretty much the opposite of that. Any business can make social media work for them if they do the research, spend time exploring the type of content that works for their audience, and if they are willing to dedicate themselves to the reality of the long process.

Here are a few basics for establishing a strong starting point:

Facebook logoFACEBOOK

A quick overview:

People use Facebook to see what those they care about are doing and to socialize with them in the process. In turn, they start to see what each other are wearing, what they are listening to, if they enjoyed the new restaurant in town, and anything else they are excited about.

Here’s the content that works well:

  • Posts that link out to articles on other sites or your own blog posts
  • Images
  • Videos

These types of content tend to work better than just text.

Important details for your content:

  • Cover photos for your business page should be sized to 851×315. You should also know that your profile image and call-to-action buttons will cover up some of the lower portions of the image.
  • When posting a link to an article, be sure to select the appropriate image, headline, and description text to go with it. The automated images and texts are not always correct, but Facebook allows you to change them.
  • Almost 80% of users visit Facebook pages on their mobile devices. So be sure to post content that works well on both a desktop computer and a mobile device.

My dare for you:

Spend $25 on one Facebook ad and compare the results—the reach, interactions, and website clicks—with the last $500 spent on ads in a magazine or newspaper. You’ll be amazed by the results.

Pinterest logoPINTEREST

A quick overview:

Pinterest was invented to help people create online collections of things that they love and that inspire them, which include a wide range of hobbies and personal interests.

Here’s the content that works well:

  • Content that encourages action
  • DIY projects
  • Fitness ideas
  • New product descriptions and reviews

Important details for your content:

  • Imagery is very important.
  • 3x as many Pinterest users share pins on mobile devices than on their personal computers. So make sure your content works well on iPhones, iPads, and any other mobile device.
  • Take advantage of the interest in DIY projects on Pinterest to provide how-to’s or to teach a trade secret to customers.

My dare for you:

Empower people to do what they can on their own. Most will try it and it won’t work like they planned. There’s a whole website devoted to Pinterest Fails. By working to empower them, it will instill a unique trust in you as the expert who knows how to do what they can’t. That trust will lead to a purchase when they have to decide who they would hire to do the things they can’t do on their own.

Instagram logoINSTAGRAM

A quick overview:

Instagram was created to help people use their phone’s camera to take and share more appealing photos than their own photography skill set might allow.

Here’s the content that works well:

  • Creative photos
  • Pictures that feel like they were taken in the moment
  • Videos that showcase a unique point of view

Important details for your content:

  • Videos need to be less than 15-seconds.
  • Videos also work best when they are squared, which means you could lose some of what’s seen along the edges.
  • Instagram is the land of hashtags. Hashtags are really the only way for folks to stumble across your content without someone else sharing it.
  • The only link that works on Instagram is in your profile. Links won’t work in comments or in image descriptions.

My dare for you:

Think of Instagram as a tool to build community instead of another sales tool. It won’t be 100% responsible for any of your sales, but it is a valuable part of the total body of interactions that influence your customer toward a purchase.

Once you start creating content on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, you’ll start to see what works and what doesn’t. At that point, success becomes as easy as choosing to do more stuff that works and less stuff that doesn’t. Simple, right?

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