Social Media is bloody difficult but it has become this year's business challenge that I needed to look more closely at. To blog more, to connect with my customers in a meaningful way, and generally get a grasp on this social interaction milarky. I'm fairly busy running DYP so I confess that blogging has always seemed a bit of a chore because it's not instant, it needs developing and nurturing.

The DYP face book page is used as a documentation tool, a sketchbook, a way to showcase new products, develop ideas and to quickly connect with my audience. Facebook is easy and quick to use and I can access it easily on my iphone. The same with Instagram, I can post photos and a link, use multiple social media outlets within one app and bam it's out there!

I've yet to crack Twitter, I struggle to not feel like I am shouting into a mass of noise. Reading up on the etiquette, I try to follow suggested rules, interact with people, RT and #Followfriday. I try not to over spam but at times I am left feeling frustrated and deflated because I just feel it's not the best social media platform to connect with people. Though on the plus side I do have a lot of followers (*hello* Waves) but surely there has to be a less stressful way of doing it?

I always thought that twitter was microblogging the sharing of information and ideas but at times I've found it a convoluted platform. The hashtags for networking events work really well at gaining interaction but it is quite a short lived experience. I tend to forget when the hashtag networking is happening and I miss it even though I set a reminder on my phone! I probably am a bit too lax with social media. I feel I could be permanently on my mac 24 hours a day and it wouldn't be enough to get good coverage. So that leads into paying for advertising: I don't have a massive advertising budget and I spend about £40 a month on advertising through Facebook and Google Ads. It's not a lot at all but it's what I would spend if I was standing at a fair for example so I use that money for my marketing.

You might ask why I'm being so open about my social media marketing and advertising. Well it's made a blog post to start with! It's also let me vocalise what I've had running around my head for ages. I'm coming to the conclusion that a limited few really understand the mysteries of the internet, how to appear high in rankings, finding key word combinations or the best SEOs. A lot of companies claim they know how it works but actually from my limited researching, a lot want to take advantage of businesses who have limited social media knowledge just to make a quick buck. This mythical untameable beast of the internet works very differently for each individual and that is the key - individuality.

Granted there are basics that are essential for every website in order to have a google/search engine friendly ranking. If you want to get recognised then you need to build one on one relationships with your customers/audience. This is what I'm realising, you don't need to have tens of thousands of followers that don't interact with you because the quality of the input from a handful of people is far more rewarding.

Having read up on the best social media practice, ebooks, articles, forums, newsletters - I still feel at a loss as to how to apply all of the advice, (which at times is conflicting,) to my website. I follow gut instinct for a lot it and again individuality springs to mind because what works for me may not work for someone else. Pretty obvious you might think but it is so easy to get bogged down with 'advice' that I had to stop, step back and reassess what I was doing.

So where do I go from here? Well I've got a plan and that plan involves using Hootsuite to schedule posts, photos and products. Is it overwhelming? Yes, as at the minute I'm new to using it but I'm hoping it will be a fab tool to help me feel like I'm in control of my social media. I also understand now why people are paid to do this as a full time job because it's so absorbing!

I'm also drawing up a plan as to when and what to post, to try to find a balance and generate reports to see when people interact on social media. It's going to take time to tweak and I won't deny I know I'll get distracted because there isn't instant gratification. That in itself is a lesson to learn!  Writing a blog is a long term rewarding goal and essential to building up a brilliant and loyal customer base. Not just a quick fix–emotional interaction and the fact I've come to understand the difference is already a massive leap forward in achieving my goals.

 

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