How to Get the Best Out of Any Social Media Platform

Right now it feels that social media is up in the air. Twitter has been Musked, Instagram is full of porn bots, and Facebook has rarely been a great place for small businesses to build a platform.

That’s just the big ones. Smaller platforms like Mastodon, CounterSocial, Hive Social, Spoutible, and so many more all now vie for your attention too.

Short of joining all the platforms and spending lots of money on ads, what is there to do?

I’m afraid there is no magic bullet solution and no amount of advertising money you can spend to sell your products or services. There is no high-quality image or video you can pay someone to make you or make yourself, or perfect SEO copy that will guarantee you views, engagement, and sales.

Because if that age was ever a thing, it’s dead. COVID changed a lot of things. One of those things is in how we view and support small businesses.

You’re no longer a brand, a logo, or a slogan. You’re a person with a face and they want to see it.

With that in mind my advice is pretty simple.

Be present in the community

Have you seen accounts with five-figure follower numbers and little to no engagement? Have you seen people with followers numbering in the hundreds who get lots of engagement? Why do you think that is?

The answer is simple: those big accounts rarely (if ever) engage with anyone else. They’re on what’s called “broadcast mode” and tend to see engagement as something they get, not something they give anyone else.

Peruse the timelines of these much smaller accounts with plenty of engagement and something should be obvious – the people who engage with them show familiarity. This is easy on Twitter where you can see tweet replies as a separate category. There, you’ll see those people reply far more often than they tweet.

In that way, it’s more like a friendship group with some professional networking and colleague vibes thrown into the mix.

This takes work, not money. It takes effort and to be yourself, not necessarily learning new skills (though photo, video, writing, editing and other skills certainly help to grab the eye in other situations).

In 2023, nothing beats being genuine. Nothing beats doing for others what you would like them to do for you.

Accumulating followers and never engaging with any of them won’t work. You’re phoning it in. People will notice and while you might get a follow, they will soon forget about you and stop engaging altogether, especially if you never engage with them in good faith, if at all.

If you’re a small business, the network-cum-friendship-group may not necessarily be the people who would be interested in your professional services. Some will, some won’t.

But they may know plenty of people who will.

Final thought: it’s called social media and not follow and forget media.

2 responses to “How to Get the Best Out of Any Social Media Platform”

  1. loved reading your post.
    This is what I found out in your post
    Great post! It’s true that social media is constantly changing, and it can be overwhelming for small businesses to figure out where to focus their efforts. I really appreciate your emphasis on being present in the community and engaging with followers. My question is, what are some specific ways small businesses can engage with their followers beyond simply responding to comments and messages?
    Thanks, Ely

    1. Two other ways really: firstly, find your audience and engage with them. Be active rather than reactive. That doesn’t guarantee results and it will feel like a thankless task at times. The other is produce stuff people want to engage with. Again this has issues – it doesn’t guarantee results, but if you ask people to share stuff around, your visibility will increase.

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