By: Sarah Virkstis (@SarahVirkstis)
Maintaining consistency on social media platforms can sometimes be a daunting task. Not only do we need to make appropriate time for classes, studying, extra curricular activities, internships, volunteer opportunities, and work… we also need to find time to manage our social media.
As a young professional, it’s likely that your phone has a plethora of applications for staying connected: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, email, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, Reddit, YouTube and maybe even a WordPress or your own website. It sounds like a lot, and it is. The options are endless as new platforms are developed every day. However, maintaining a social media presence is key to networking and furthering your career.
So how do we keep it all straight?
It’s Time to Get Organized!
The first and most important tip to maintaining a balanced social media presence is consistency. I can say from first-hand experience that this makes a lasting impact on your following and overall viewability of your content.
Nobody wants to continue following a person or business that never has anything to say. For instance, my photography account on instagram had close to 300 followers by the time I had my first post in the spring of 2017. Currently, that same account has exactly 116 followers after not posting for a little less than a year. Learn from my mistake and BE CONSISTENT! If you have to schedule time into your weekly planner to dedicate to content creation, then do it! Just try not to get sidetracked by mindlessly scrolling through other people’s content.
Let’s Talk Strategy
Sometimes, regardless of how hard we try, consistency and organization can still be an issue you may face when trying to stay up to date with your socials. Life happens and gets in the way of things. We’ve all been there. But fear not, there’s a solution!
To add to the plethora of apps you already have, there are now loads of applications and software downloads available that can be unquestionably helpful in the long run. These applications include: Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Social Sphere, Social Bolt, Later, and Buffer: social media manager.
These apps are readily available in your App Store or Google Play. All of these applications focus on the organization and preplanning of your social media platforms. Within these apps you have the ability to plan and schedule posts, view post interactions, and analyze the performance of individual posts as well as the overall analytics of your accounts.
Do your research
You don’t have to be a beauty guru or daily vlogger to have a beautifully curated platform. Find what styles and colors inspire you. Jot down notes of things you like about other Instagram accounts. You can even use Pinterest to find creative ideas to help you in furthering the uniqueness of your brand.
Doing your research also includes knowing your audience. This doesn’t necessarily imply that you need to cater your content towards specific groups of people. However, if you are a young adult like myself, there’s a higher chance that the majority of the people who follow you are in the same age range and of the same mentality. Make note of those details!
I won’t delve too much into branding as there is already another PRSSA blog post about personal branding. What I will say is that branding, along with consistency, is another essential piece of the pie! Find what inspires you and try curating your platforms to the audience that most relates to your personal brand.
Having a more well-rounded platform can sometimes mean having to clean out the dirt. We shouldn’t hide from our pasts or mistakes. However, “cancel culture” is going extreme in 2018; the risk of losing a job, a relationship, or potential connections due to something you tweeted about four years ago is all too possible.
If you feel that there was a time where you might have posted something that you no longer want to be associated with, by all means, please delete it. A good rule of thumb I use is considering whether my grandma would approve. If it’s something I wouldn’t want her to see, chances are, the post is going bye-bye.
Wrap it up
In the end, it’s really all up to personal choices. Do you want posts that reflect your personal or professional life? What apps are you going to use to build your following? Do you want to create separate accounts specific to the business/professional world?
Again, you don’t have to be an influencer or blogger to be good at social media. It just takes a little time and elbow grease!
Oh and one more thing- everybody is in a different place in the process, so don’t sweat it if you don’t have the most professional or curated platforms. Just as social media changes and evolves, so too do you as a person. Today there may be a photo filter you live by, but in six months is completely not your style anymore. Change. Grow. Learn. Adapt. Evolve.
Sarah Virkstis is a Junior at Grand Valley State University double majoring in Communications and Advertising & PR with a minor in Photography. Sarah is currently an active member in PRSSA and is also a competing member on the Grand Valley Equestrian Team. Having worked in Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, for six months, Sarah is an enthusiastic Disney fanatic. In her free time, you can find Sarah out at Lake Michigan playing fetch with her dogs, even in the dead of winter.