Master The Art of Social Media, Now!

 

“Follow me, I will follow you” – Wrong!

This is a rich article that will help you harness the social media game.

Some people have thousands of followers. It’s crazy when you look at it. Truth is, they can’t even engage properly with one.

If you care about the hype and appearances, you might think they have something interesting to say.

Then you start adding them to your network and the next thing you know is that your timeline is invaded by topics you don’t care about. That’s the mistake I made in my early beginnings on LinkedIn: my articles catered to the corporate world, not mentioning any art form. I felt bored and lost. Then I stopped writing to finally speak about what I really love. I engaged with people who showed the same interest in culture and arts.

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As I was scrolling through my Linkedin messages yesterday I realized how much opportunities I missed because I was too busy or everywhere on the map. Change is good.

I use Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram a lot. Being proactive on social media is sharing a work that carries all my emotions and feelings. A few days ago, someone asked me in a tweet reply: How big is social media for artists, should he or she care?That’s a very good question and today I will break it down for you, based on my own experience.

When a music label signs an artist they want to know if it’s worth the ride because… artists are crazy. They want to know how many followers, subscribers, likes you have. Numbers make you bankable. It’s not about quality anymore. It’s really scary. Maybe that’s why we have shitty music everywhere, but that’s another story.

LINKEDIN:

One thing I hate about Linkedin is its lack of messaging power. You need to get to the point quickly. People are busy, it’s hype to be busy. Sometimes the first message I get Is a person wishing me a great day and signing off even before the conversation has started. Duh!

Another thing I don’t get is why people are throwing emojis out like rice when they just met a person who wants to know them. A “Thumbs up” makes you look lazy and rude. Please don’t send emojis, have some conversation.

Ladies, I know your profile pic is the best ever and you know you look amazing, but don’t get an attitude for this. LinkedIn is not a dating site when someone like me shoots you a message it is on professional grounds only. I want to know more about what you do, not how you look.

Patience is everything. Post an article like this one, the first comments and likes will start popping later in a week or two. We artists are not well known to be patient creatures. It’s a thing you learn as you practice the medium.

I get zero return from LinkedIn groups. I don’t know why I keep posting my articles there. I am optimistic by nature I guess.

On the bright side, if someone likes your content it will make it visible to all his followers. When you comment on an article, it’s showing in your activity, increasing your exposure. Comment on others’ content, it’s paramount, you will then have a good reason to message them. You will have their undivided attention.

People want to know why they interest you so much. Don’t think that, just because a person is on LinkedIn, he uses it often. Check his profile, if he has zero activity: likes, comments. You are going to have dry conversations. I promise you. Why sending an invitation when you know the outcomes?

TWITTER:

Twitter is the paradise of written content. I use it to get traction to my blog. My images only help me illustrate my point. Making the post more visual and increase the click rate.

I know visual artists who are not that big on Twitter but go check their Instagram…

SoundCloud integration on Twitter is perfect for musicians and producers.

I always ask my Linkedin contacts if they have a Twitter account so I can follow their real thoughts and reactions.

You should also use Twitter lists feature. For example, you can create a list of influencers in your industry and reply to their tweets, their followers will notice you.

Don’t follow back for the sake of it. I see an account with 30k followers and the same numbers in following. How do you manage these numbers of the tweet in your timeline? Just follow when you know you’ll engage. Forget about messages on Twitter, get their Linkedin or Facebook for that.

Don’t follow people before checking their activities. Same rule on Linkedin.

Being “verified” don’t mean anything. You can have 400 followers and have that status. What matters is: what do you have to say?

Consistency is also key on Twitter, you don’t have to post every day but if you post things off topics you will lose followers. I use Buffer to do the work of posting my articles, for other tweets I’d rather be as authentic as possible.

INSTAGRAM:

I love the “gram”, it’s so visual! I get most of my clients from it. I post a painting and I get the likes. I turn them into conversations and invite my contacts to like my Facebook art page where they will find my store.

I always reply to comments about my work and I make sure to return the favor. The Same viral effect, when you comment a pic you gain traction to your Instagram and also get new followers.

I also like tons of pictures every day, using them later as an inspiration source for my next paintings.

Again, all the videos giving you tips on how to get followers fast are ridiculous. Following 100 people a day and using tools to get rid of those who don’t follow back. How low can we go?

Send a message as to why you don’t follow back or just start chatting. It’s simple.

FACEBOOK:

I don’t understand why my friends on Facebook don’t get my art. I stopped posting on my personal account. Your friends or cousins, family want to see pics of you holding cats, not your craft. It’s better to keep things separate, because as your reputation grows your inbox will be saturated by trolls or bots messages.

Don’t invite your friends to like your page it doesn’t make sense.

You can use Facebook ads to boost a great post and invite the people who like it to like your page without adding them as friends. That’s awesome.

2 billion users on Facebook, if you are not into it, you better change your mind.

Create a professional page and post there.

Groups are very active, I always post my work into groups. In return I get likes and you already know the drill about likes.

Your page comes with all the information about your blog, site, and store. Growing your page’s likes should be your top priority.

Have your links ready to share.

SNAPCHAT:

I don’t use it! I think it’s for people who really like selfies and their facial features at every hour of the day. Plus it’s so complicated to use. I tried so many times to jump in. I gave up.

SOCIAL MEDIA RULES:

Start a blog. Write often. Everybody can write. You will spend 20% of your time crafting stuff and 80% marketing it. So many artists don’t write and it’s a shame because it’s a wonderful way of expression and your audience wants to know the reason you are doing that sorcery.

Be proactive. Content needs action. Share a lot. Repetition is okay, by posting the same old content you make sure everyone sees it. Trust me they will see it! Don’t stop because you think they don’t. You’d be surprised. Someone asked me about a drawing I posted years ago to ask me if it was on sale.

“500 is a huge number” as Pharell Williams stated in an interview. Imagine yourself performing in front of 500 people! Why do you want 100k people, if you can’t satisfy 500?

People ALWAYS have time for things they are interested in which is why I always give value first. Value is your content: articles, images, videos, links etc.

Don’t get mad if they don’t respond to your messages or emails, people have their lives. Sometimes they go into a lot and they will never tell you. Be patient and don’t ignore them, they need you, they don’t know it.

Be frank, messages can get twisted if a person is rude to you address the situation say how you feel. Stay polite, but don’t get fooled around too long. It will happen soon enough when you will ask the sale.

Ask every day but don’t ask for money, show the value! Ask for your work to be shared, ask if it has been seen, ask how it inspired people. Money is important but relationships matters. Make friends “god damn it!”

Don’t sell yourself short. People will not buy from you because you are expensive. People buy expensive sh*t every day, sh*t you don’t even craft. Don’t compete on the price, compete on the value! You don’t sell to someone who wants your art for $5 when you have spent nights crafting it and he tells you he’s on the first class flight to his next conference. Why wasting your time convincing such a person? Your work is great, you are great! Some people just don’t see the VALUE! Show them.

Be yourself! Thank your unfollowers because they remind you not wasting your time trying to please everyone. If I write nonsense and my English language is “good enough to put me in trouble” – as one copywriter once told me-, I will get this content off my chest anyway and introduce it to the person who cares. See how it flies, adjust and the next will be better.

Don’t buy followers, you are not that low standards.

You only need ONE like. That’s all you need. Cherish that like and start a conversation, you never know where new opportunities come from.

Drop me a comment in the section below. I’m Lionel Thomas, I make beautiful music for the eyes and I’m curious to know more about you. Tell me your story! Follow my blog, like my Facebook page. I’m also on Instagram and Twitter.

How To Write Effective LinkedIN Invitations?

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Story 1:
After receiving multiple reminders telling you that you have a package to pick up, you call the company who let you know that the package is actually a free water tester kit that they’ll bring to you to test your water and then offer you service to improve your water at home.

Story 2:
You are waiting for important feedbacks from your prospects regarding the response you sent to assess their business inquiries. You then hear an email notification while you’re making your morning coffee. You rushing to your desktop, opening your browser, and discover mail  from someone in Africa who received a million dollar inheritance and need your help (i.e: bank account details) to recover it.

Uncomfortable truth: “We are surrounded by scams!” We’ve been the victims of cold calling/emailing or scam techniques and schemes for decades, now we can smell the sale from miles away. Today I will focus on LinkedIN’s most important feature: invitations.

LinkedIN is my favorite engagement tool. Unlike Facebook, Twitter or Instagram It aims at people who are down for business and networking. I’ve already told you about the 3 Things We Are Doing Wrong On LinkedIN let’s go deeper

  1. Profiles : a total stranger has put some time and effort to write his story (LinkedIN bio), please read it carefully! At least read the headline, ads that sell have short and efficient headlines. Once you’ll start reading it, you’ll ask genuine questions. Especially if you both share common activity fields. Note these questions down. They’ll be helpful.
  2. Activity : Activities are key elements on LinkedIN, they will tell you how many followers people got, the articles they put online, their likes  and comments.
  3. Groups : like Seth Godin said: “we are all part of a tribe”. I love marketing and advertising, social media and design. Where will I find professionals talking and sharing stories about the things I really care about and giving me the opportunity to bounce off ideas? In LinkedIN Groups! If you we are part of the same tribe, chances are our conversations will be interesting.
  4. Causes: what are your passions? Art and culture? Sports? Music? Animal lover?
    If you do, let me tell you something: we are already friends, but you don’t know it!

Now you know four aspects to take your engagement skill further. LinkedIN is all about connections and sending the right invitations to the right people. How to send and personalise an invitation? My friend and LinkedIN expert Viveka Van Rosen can help you do that.

A good advice: stay creative. Remind yourself that you are a stranger and an intruder on the wrong side of the gun. To sparkle my curiosity -and keep me from pulling the trigger 🙂 – tell me who you are: How did you find my profile? Did I say something interesting in it? Do we have connection in common? Are we in the same group? Did you like a post or comment I wrote? So many ways. Be original, make me smile or laugh in 300 characters. If you write a quote, instead of running your polite “looking forward to read from you” jargon you’re on a great start: “Great minds think alike”.

Should you copy and paste invitations? Sure, especially if you have a lot of them to send over! Just tweak them a bit to show that you really care. And please…oh please…spell my name correctly : Denzel and Lionel aren’t the same person. I wish they were! 🙂

Practice, practice, practice!  A great source of inspiration could be dialogue from movies, tv shows, even books/comics! Look how strangers start a conversation with a character you like.

An invitation example could go like this:
Hi XXXX
I just liked your comment in regard to __________. I hold a similar viewpoint. I wish to connect with people on the same wave length. Hope we’ll share interesting conversations around ________. Happy to connect!

In conclusion, what undermine our success is the obvious things we know but miss everyday. Make a goal to send five genuine LinkedIN connections everyday. Track your failure/success rate and adjust.

We all hate underhanded marketing and time-wasters. We get interrupted all the time, even by LinkedIN invitations coming from nowhere! YOU are the product. I strongly believe that you can help someone out there – out of your country –  by contacting directly and honestly and maybe -I’m sure!- a great conversation will follow!

Your turn! Please, inspire us now! Share your stories and some examples of your best invitations, the ones that worked for you, in the comment section below!

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong On LinkedIN

There was a time, not so long ago, before the invention of the internet or  e-mail, when we used to write letters. We used to sit down and write with passion and strong empathy, because we knew that it would take weeks before our correspondents get that mail. When it will arrive? Will they get it? How will they feel when they’ll read it?  The anxiety was real. These are the common things most people do and that will undermine your success on LinkedIN.


Sending too much (not personal) invitations.


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Ever asked your contact to introduce you to another contact and as an answer you got: “I absolutely have no idea who that is!” Social media is not about the numbers it’s about great conversations. I used to think that the more connections I could get, the better. I was totally wrong. People have absolutely no reason to accept your invitation just for the sake of accepting it, the only question they are asking is: will you solve my problem?

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Don’t connect yet!

There are easy steps you can take to maximize your chances of interaction on LinkedIN:
1-Go read their profile: don’t scan it. Read from top to bottom where their interests are.
2-Always send a personal invitation: introduce yourself, the reason you are contacting them, use “you” instead of “I”, add humor in your message, make it short. The next time you see a profile and that blue button “connect” which is screaming for a click, don’t. You have the choice in the app and website to custom your invitation, use it.
3-Say thank you! A person stopped his activity to accept your request, it’s an opportunity to engage. Be thankful!

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Custom it

Wrong answer to endorsements.
Endorsement are powerful on LinkedIN as they validate your expertise, and they are free! But why this is what I get 90% of the time I endorse someone: “Thanks for endorsing me for _________”. That’s it. End of conversation.  Can you do better?


Saying congratulations or well wishes to strangers.
My agency celebrated its 10th anniversary a month ago. That day was fun, I was overwhelmed by the number of messages I received. Thank you! Unfortunately, they were almost all the same: “Congrats on the anniversary, I hope you are doing well.” and I’d go like “Well that’s very nice of you, I’m well thanks! How’s your day/activity going?” Aaannnnd…no answer. Please don’t spam the “Congrats” button if you are not keen to engage with someone. It’s like showing up at birthday party -without a gift 🙂 – and leave in the minute. LinkedIN placed that button for you to use it very carefully.


One more thing: remove some connections.
You can’t please everyone, thank God! Learn to ditch -politely-  your LinkedIN connections. Let them know that you’re still open to conversation by leaving your email for example. Don’t chase people: send one message, wait and set a follow up reminder. If
at the second message they still don’t respond, send them an email apologizing and reminding them that you tried to contact them. After that, don’t be a pest let them go and move on. LinkedIN is about motion.

Of course this is a short list, I can’t wait to learn from you. How do you deal with your social interactions and engagement?  Let me know in the comment section below.
Have a blessed day my friend!

16 Best Practices To Increase Your Social Media Engagement (Part II)

* Read about the ’16 Best Practices To Increase Your Social Media Engagement (Part I)’ in a new tab first


12-Master the hashtags
Hashtag rule Instagram and Twitter. Find what hashtags are running in your niche, and add them to your posts. Don’t put more than two or three hashtags, at the risk of sounding like a presenter on The Shopping Channel.
13-Ask politely
Great appraisals on your work i.e. testimonials, heartwarming messages will come your way. And you’ll want to use them in your social media marketing materials. Nothing wrong about that but ask the person’s permission first. Make sure to hide his/her name and profile pic if you are not really sure of the outcome. It’s common to quote people on Twitter, but not that easy on Facebook.


14-Get those emails
An email is personal, it’s like a phone number. People will stay away from social media for a while but how long can they avoid their mailbox? You need emails to build your list, send invitations, or just say hello. Your marketing depends on it: ask for the emails.


15-You have something to say
Social media is a lot about trials and errors. I think everybody got something interesting to say, I’m a big fan of great stories, so are you. Don’t belittle yourself


16-Pick your poison, to each his own
I don’t like Snapchat, it took me a week to test it and I uninstalled it right after. The app was opening on my face every time, and I always had to shut down the camera to get down to the chat part. My thoughts afterwards: “this is an app for people with big ego”. Maybe I’m wrong. Pinterest? It’s a huge source of inspiration for me and a great mood board. Pick your favorite platform and stick to it.

 

In conclusion, no matter what you do, it’s vital nowadays to keep the conversations going and using the same courtesy rules of the real world on social media. When you’ll stop communicating, you’ll lose your mojo. I like to stay organized and track my discussions by using Nimble. It’s a CRM which keeps all your social media conversations in one place. A great follow up tool!
Your share! Let me know about your tips to leverage your conversations and keep an high engagement level in your social media strategy


About the author:
Lionel Thomas is the founder of KILIFORI, a creative agency dedicated to helping businesses from both Africa and further afield to meet their marketing goals by telling their stories in a simple, uncluttered way that allows the most important elements to rise to the surface. His approach is distinguished by a passion for stories, drawing, photography, design and interactive media. 

How To Turn Strangers Into Friends On LinkedIn… and Elsewhere

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‘Strangers are what friends are made of’ this is a sentence that caught my attention and is extracted from Jack Schafer and Marvin Karlins’s book entitled ‘The Like Switch’. Winning people over ain’t easy. Especially on social media where the next friend is one click away from the previous one. Ever asked for a recommendation on LinkedIn and got the answer ‘I really don’t know him/her’ back? That’s the sad truth: we are friends on professional networks but barely know each other.

Picture yourself as an FBI agent and you have to interview a suspect who don’t want to talk to you -he let you know this fact upfront-. What will you do? The author just went in the interrogation room everyday, opened his newspaper in front of him, without saying a single word. One day, the guy asked him ’why you come here everyday and read that paper?’ he answered ‘because I want to talk to you’.. et voila! They finally had this conversation.

In the virtual world, we don’t have newspapers. We can’t be invasive like that (i.e send messages to someone until we get an answer).

Here are some tricks I use everyday when I wear my networking cap

Ask genuine -sales free- questions
The question have to be open-ended. You only need to based them on those 5: ‘How…’, ‘Tell me more about…’, ‘What..’, ‘Why..’ Where..’ The rest is about your own creativity.

Show a genuine interest
Your friends are posting content that matters to them, trust me, you should read it and give an honest feedback. You can’t expect people to comment on your blog if you don’t show the example. LinkedIn is not very good at showing people’s interests, but Facebook..that’s another game to play. Try to add your LinkedIn connections to your Facebook (not all of them!) and follow them there (wait some time before doing this, build better rapport first). I noticed that people are acting more friendly on Facebook. LinkedIn is for business matters.

The hobbies finder
Work is boring, stress is everywhere people like to get entertained. They go to remote places on weekends for hiking, fishing, horse riding. What’s your poison? They like the same things you do? Let’s find out using great questions.

Give…more!
Put your content out there and post it regularly, on every social media venue you care about. Use the ‘Update’ feature on LinkedIn and provide a link that leads to your blog. Giving brings you more conversations, that’s what you are here for, to discuss over things. Not to sell your services/products to strangers. I use my blog to express my ideas and feelings and give free tips based on my experience. Can’t wait to open a YouTube channel soon!

Get on Skype/YouTube!
We need to see you to: know you, agree/disagree with, laugh with and trust you. Distance has never been an issue and shouldn’t be an excuse nowadays. I’m always asking for a permission to have a Skype gig whenever my friends got some time on their hands.
What about YouTube? Marques Brownlee loves technology: he’s a geek. He got 2 millions -and counting- viewers on his YouTube channel, post videos mostly shot in his room. Looking at Marques, you can tell that he’s easy going, not using complicated words, always ready to smile and gives his frank opinion in every of his reviews.
This success doesn’t happen overnight, you need to rehearse and feel comfortable in front of a camera, say things that are relevant and resonate with your audience. Some video editing skills would be a plus.

It’s not about you!
I met this guy once who told me -point blank- that my content was pointless, irrelevant and bored him to death and he didn’t want to me to reach him out any longer. That’s TOTALLY fine by me! Don’t waste your time trying so hard to please someone when others are craving to know you better! Be polite, keep your integrity and move on with elegance. It’s your best solution.

One last thing, you’ll notice that people are very slow to answer on LinkedIn. That’s normal, using these principles will allow you to take the discussion further and on other medium like Facebook, Whatsapp, or Instagram who knows.

Your turn! What are your tricks to win friends in a virtual world? How do you approach strangers on social media and professional networks?