Ah, the smell of a new social media account. Take a moment to pop the bubblewrap and kick the tyres. Everything looks good? Excellent. Now we have to rev it up and get the motor purring.
Getting your social media accounts started and ticking along is no easy task. It takes time and effort. A lot of it. So many people, so much noise, especially if you start following the spammers and the bots (which is obviously not recommended). But at the same time, you don’t want to be known as Mr/Mrs No-Pals. So how do you speed things up a little?
Before we start, I just need to point something out. Obviously there are numerous social media sites out there — too many to count. So to make things easy, in this article, I am just going to go with Twitter. However, the principles below apply to any social media site. Twitter not your gig? Then take the advice below and apply it/adapt it to that site.
So without further ado, without going into the unethical side of things (buying followers), let’s take a look at nine ways to get those social media accounts chugging along.
Find Your Friends
This is an absolute no-brainer. Who’s going to talk to you the faster than your friends? At least you hope so!
On Twitter, just go here and decide which email to log into. The password part will be done by an authentication token, so Twitter will never see your password. Then it will scan your address book to see if any of your contacts are currently on Twitter. If so, you will see a list, and asked which ones you want to follow.
The nice thing is that it continues to scan your address book, so if a contact makes a new Twitter account, you will be told about it.
Once you have got your friends in there, try looking for other people you would like to follow, such as celebrities, politicians, TV shows, movies, people who are talking about topics you care about (more on that below), and much more. There’s a search box. Use it!
Dress Up Your Profile
If you had to follow one of two profiles, one with nothing on it (no picture, no header, no background), and one with a picture, header, and background, which one would you choose? Obviously you would go with the one with the window dressing. The one with nothing may have fantastic updates, but if the page says nothing about the person running it, then people are more inclined to unfollow it. I’m sure there is a scientific study out there backing me up.
Back in 2013, Yaara showed us some options on how to make images for all the major social media networks. One which she profiled, and which is growing on me, is Social Media Image Maker. It already has the sizes pre-set. You just have to upload the images you want to use. Get a good photo of yourself uploaded, and a nice attention-grabbing header image.
Also make sure that you fill in the box that says something about you. You obviously don’t give your banking PIN number or your social security number. But try and be a little bit open.
Create Valuable Content
After you have dressed up your profile, and got some followers in there, including Justin Bieber, the next step is to create some valuable content, content that people will want to share with their followers. Sharing your content will spread your user ID and brand to other followers, ones that may not necessarily have ever heard of you otherwise.
Where would you get that valuable content? Well, news sites for one. There is also a site called RadURLs, which lists what is trending on social media. Also try out Swayy, Narrative.ly, Digg, Instapaper Daily, and of course, the old and trusty standby — YouTube. Twitter also has a Discover tab, which tailors content based on who you are following and what you are saying.
The one cardinal rule though is never to carpet-bomb your social media networks with LOTS of updates at the same time. The idea is to spread the updates out, so that they go out one every 30-60 minutes. That way, you don’t blitz someone’s account, and at the same time you’re creating a sense of anticipation of — “what’s coming next?”
You could obviously do this the manual way, but where’s the fun in that? The automated way is to use an app called Buffer. You put in your accounts (the free account option allows three accounts), and for each account, you pre-configure the times you want the updates to go out. You install the Buffer browser extension, and when you are on a page you want to share, press the Buffer button, and the box comes up :
Click “add to queue” and the URL gets added to your Buffer queue, ready to go out on the next pre-configured time. There is also an option to push it out right away. And if you prefer, Buffer offers mobile apps for scheduling social media updates while out on the move (iOS & Android).
Join Conversations & Say Something Constructive
Emphasis here on the word “constructive”. The Internet is full of people who think it is perfectly acceptable to hide behind their computer monitor, and spew out hatred and verbal abuse. I’ve never understood that. In the real world, would you gatecrash a party, grab the host by the lapels, scream threats into their face, and then leave again? Of course not. At least I hope so.
So don’t be one of those people. Instead, be a nice person online, contribute something meaningful to the discussion, and in time, they may check out your profile, like what they see, and follow you. Make love, not war.
Share People’s Content
This is something which is going to endear you to everyone, because who doesn’t like their contributions being recognized and redistributed? Plus if you don’t immediately have something to say, then sharing someone’s update is a quick and easy way to push something out there onto your own profile. Also, the original poster may check you out, follow you, and share one of your updates.
On Twitter, it’s simply a case of pressing the retweet button. Voilà, you have an update, and the original poster is getting some extra exposure. Win-win.
Spread Your IDs Far & Wide — Add a Widget On Your Website
Once you have the social media profile well underway, it’s time to advertise the fact you have a profile in the first place! Marketing is the name of the game here, if you want your account to really take off! The three most tried and trusted methods are business cards, email signatures, and “Follow” buttons on a website/blog.
Business cards are simple to set up. Above is my card. As you can see, my Twitter URL is part of the details I choose to give out. I have actually had clients come to me, saying they had checked out my Twitter page, and it was on the basis of the tweets that they decided to hire me. So having cards you can give out means all the difference.
Email signatures are also easy. The easiest is just to have a text signature like mine :
Or if you want something a bit more fancy, you can use Wisestamp. Tina took a first look at using Wisestamp email signatures in 2012, and Mihir mentioned it in his “11 Chrome Extensions That Will Super-Power Your Gmail Experience“. As you can see below, it gives you a nicely formatted signature with social media logos, and a mugshot of yourself.
Finally, Twitter provides an official widget for anyone wanting to use it for their website/blog. Other social media networks have them too — Facebook, Pinterest, Google+…
Insert Share Buttons On Your Blog Posts
Look to the left of this article. See those Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Grouvi buttons? That’s what every blogger worth their salt needs to have on their blog posts. Because not only do you make it easier for people to share your work, you are also attaching your own user ID in there. Go free Twitter ID! Find freedom!
The one we use is called Digg Digg, and is perhaps the most popular social media widget plugin for WordPress. You can also choose other buttons such as Pinterest, Buffer, Pocket, Digg, LinkedIn, Google+, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Tumblr.
Make Status Updates While Watching a TV show
This is an easy one to get into, when first starting a social media account — live tweeting during a TV show.
By the use of hashtags, you can follow the conversation of people who are watching the latest episode of a TV show. See what they are saying, reply with what you think, and so forth. Live tweeting is a good way to find people who share the same interests and passions as you do, and therefore a golden opportunity to bump up your following list.
Republish Your Tweets To Your Facebook Account
The last one is something which is often overlooked, but this can be a good way to kickstart a new Twitter account, if you already have a vibrant healthy Facebook account. There is an option inside your Twitter options to have your tweets automatically published to your Facebook (although this is not needed if you choose to use Buffer, as I do).
To use this option, go to your Twitter settings, and click on “Apps” in the left-hand sidebar. Click “Allow“, give Twitter the necessary permissions to access your Facebook account, and that’s it. If at anytime you want to stop this arrangement, just come back to the Twitter Apps page, and click “Disconnect“. Easy.
So, if you follow the above tips, you will hopefully see some activity buzzing back and forth in your new social media accounts. As I said, even though I have focused exclusively on Twitter, these tips can be applied almost equally to any social media platform. There are also plenty of IFTTT social media recipes that can help you out.
How Do You Kickstart Social Media Accounts?
How do you get your new social media accounts off the ground? Let us know your favourite methods to kickstart a new social media account in the comments below.