6 Social Media Strategy Takeaways From my Recent Workshop About Instagram and Pinterest
It's been awhile since I've taught a social media workshop... about a year and a half actually! My last social media workshop was for SCORE NYC in November of 2016. The topic was Facebook advertising.
I really love the work that SCORE does and I'm happy to support them by periodically teaching social media workshops. If you aren't familiar with them, here's a description of what they do from their website:
SCORE NYC is a volunteer team of experienced business mentors dedicated to providing insights and knowledge to small business owners and those wishing to start a business with.
This time around my workshop topic was Instagram and Pinterest, which is definitely a much more fun topic than Facebook ads. The challenge proved to be covering two social media platforms in the same amount of time that I'd usually have for just one.
Sure enough, when I finished creating my presentation, I realized that I'd have an awful lot of ground to cover in a very limited amount of time! I was a little worried about how I'd pace myself and if I'd be able to get to all of the information I'd prepared.
Public speaking can be nerve-racking but teaching is different because I don't feel as though all eyes are on me. I really find teaching enjoyable and teaching others helps me to deepen my understanding of a topic. I really came to understand and appreciate this during the years that I taught English while living in Taiwan.
I got a lot of great feedback after my workshop. And after reflecting on what was covered, I thought I'd share some of the key takeaways here:
1. Be consistent on social media. Post daily or not at all. If you only post sporadically, you can't expect to grow a dedicated following.
Let's say that you have a business and you post only once a year to sell and promote your products at the end of the year, This will not be very effective, if you've been dormant for most of the year. It will be a lot of effort expended for little to no return.
2. If you are going to be on social media. Pick one as your primary platform and master it. Then maybe you can consider a second one.
3. In order to decide which social media platform you're going to be on, figure out which social media platform your customer or target audience is most likely to be on and to spend time on.
4. Instagram may have the highest level of engagement at 2.2% per-follower, while Facebook’s is 0.22% per-follower. However, in order to get a high level of engagement on Instagram, you'll have to participate by you, yourself engaging with others.
Ways to engage include responding to all comments on your posts, liking and commenting on other Instagram users' posts, following back followers and selectively following others on Instagram.
5. Paid advertising on social media should only be considered if you have the budget set aside for it, or if you have specific target or goal in mind. Make sure you set things up so that you get something in return for the ad dollars you spend e.g. capture an email to grow your email list, or sell a product or service.
6. It's ok to decide that you are not going to use social media for your business. If you are a small business owner or a sole proprietor, perhaps you don't have enough time to post daily on social media or to come up with a social media strategy. Especially at the early stage of your business, there are better ways that your time could be spent.
In closing, I'd like to share my thoughts on what really worked in my workshop and some areas that I need to improve on. First, here's what worked:
1. Interaction. I did my best to interact with all of the workshop attendees, by keeping my style conversational. I constantly invited them to give their feedback and to ask questions throughout the workshop.
2. Live demo. Since Instagram is a mobile based app, I projected my iPhone onto the projector screen, so that I could point things out about Instagram and demonstrate how to use certain Instagram features.
I also did a live demo of how to create a Pinterest ad.
3. Being able to go with the flow. My presentation was over 80 slides long! I thought that I had it all planned out, but I didn't end up going through all of them one by one. By interacting with workshop participants I focused on what they had questions about and were interested in learning.
Also, at one point my laptop and slide presentation froze. I knew that I'd have to re-boot my laptop, so I used that as an opportunity to have my workshop participants take a look at handouts that I'd prepared for them. I asked them to take a few minutes go through and answer some of the questions listed on the handout.
4. Overpreparation. Know your subject matter inside out. I prepped and prepped, and prepped some more. I was pretty comfortable with the workshop subject matter of my workshop and had a good idea in my mind what I wanted to highlight and focus on when I ran short on time during the workshop.
Here's what I need to improve on:
1. Be crystal clear on instructions that you give workshop attendees if you plan to have them do activities during the workshop. When I asked a couple of the workshop attendees to share their answers to questions on the handouts I'd provided, their responses didn't answer the questions. This tells me that they did not understand my instructions and they didn't read the instructions on the handout.
2. Plan how you will close or conclude the workshop. I didn't plan out any strong closing remarks to tie up the workshop. I did share a quote related to social media for my workshop attendees to think about at the end of the workshop, but I didn't think specifically about what I'd say to conclude things.
3. And finally... make sure that your computer's desktop is clean if it's going to get projected on screen for all of your workshop attendees to see!
In the photo above I’ve mirrored my iPhone onto the desktop of my laptop, which has been projected onto the screen. Notice how messy the desktop in the background looks. it looks even messier than it actually is because the projected version of the screen has squashed everything on the desktop together!
Also note that I’m using the Instagram profile of @elisedarma (digital nomad and entrepreneur and a notable Instagram expert) as an example of an optimized Instagram bio and to point out the key fields of an Instagram bio. Hat’s off to Elise for everything that I’ve learned from her about Instagram and was able to share in my workshop!
It was such a pleasure teaching this workshop and working with the Science, Industry and Business Library! I'm already thinking about doing another workshop on social media.
But before I plan anything I'm wondering a few things:
1) What aspect of social media are people struggling with the most? and
2) Which workshop topic you be most interested in taking a class on: a) Facebook b) Instagram c) LinkedIn d) Pinterest e) Twitter
I'd appreciate it if you'd share your thoughts by commenting on this post!