1. Which social media sites should you be on?

You’ve got the blogging down – now how do you continue to grow your online profile? Through social media. We’ll discuss the best platforms for different businesses, gaining new followers, getting mentions, what to post and when, competitions, collaborations and the best (free) Facebook groups for becoming part of the online ‘freelance/business’ community.

Which social media sites should you be on?

The likelihood is that you’re already using social media – if not for your work, then for your personal life. But there are some considerations to make in terms of using social media for work…

Should you do one platform really well, or five quite well?

When I launched The Early Hour, I set up accounts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest – you name it, I had an account. I went to a talk with a social media expert and he recommended using less platforms, and learning how to really do them well. I thought: what do you know? And continued to spread myself thinly across all those platforms.

Of course, he was right. At least in terms of launching. But I had to learn from my own mistakes so I put lots of energy into learning how to work Instagram, Facebook and Twitter especially. I spent time finding content to share, writing captions, sourcing images (or – even better – taking my own photos).

It was time-consuming and what happened is that the Instagram community started to take off, while the others grew more slowly. Perhaps it was because I liked Instagram the best so engaged more with people on there. I found there was less trolling. So I started to naturally spend a bit more time over there and it paid off.

I should say that when I was devoted to those three sites – and using them all properly rather than just sharing the same content across them all – they grew more quickly. But I decided to streamline my efforts; keeping Twitter and Facebook going on in the background but putting most of my attention into Instagram.

So I’d say if you’re at the start of your journey, focus on one platform. Follow people and learn about how to use that platform really well. Get the accounts set up on the top three – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – so that no one else can nick your handle, but either share the same content from your main channel across the other platforms or just let them sit until you have the time to really focus on using them properly.

Try to secure the same handle on each platform so it’s easy for people to find you. And make sure you link from your website through to your social media accounts so people can follow you via that route.

What blogger, journalist and author Sarah Turner – aka The Unmumsy Mum – found was that after her blog took off, she got a load of followers on her facebook page (now at 647,000). She focused on growing this platform then when she launched on Instagram, they followed her over and she had a ready-made audience on this new platform. I’ve noticed this happen in reverse with lots of ‘Insta Mums’ who have a huge following on Instagram then launch a Facebook page, share their Instagram content on there too and quickly amass hundreds of thousands of followers. And they’re not even making fresh content.

Which platform is best for you?

  • If your work has a very visual element – for instance: food, film, yoga, fashion – Instagram is a no-brainer. Pinterest too.
  • If you create content or design online courses, Facebook and Twitter are great ‘referrers’. This means they send people to your website. People are less inclined to leave Instagram and follow a link, as it’s harder to get back. They do, though, so don’t discount Instagram as a platform for this kind of work.
  • LinkedIn is the social site for business news, though they’re keen to encourage a broader variety of content. So if you don’t already have an account, it’s worth setting one up, linking with people and sharing the content you’re putting out on Facebook and Twitter – particularly blogs posts or articles you’ve written. Or if you’re into writing business pieces about your journey (securing investment, entrepreneurship, business tips etc), you could write posts exclusively for this platform.

But for freelancers and business owners, I’d always recommend Instagram – even if you’re creating content; as I do – because there’s such a strong, supportive community on there and it’s great for building a brand and following.