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Don't Play the Fool: Social Media 101

If you have a pulse on the social media world, you may know that Google+, is shutting down for good. It’s no prank; the social media channel that was built to bridge the gap between professional and personal networking will be shutting down personal accounts on April 2nd. With this shift in the social media space, many CEOs and managers are forced to reconsider their own digital presence. Are they on the right platform? Are they posting the right content?

We sat down with HighRock Group’s social media expert, Lane Routzahn, to find out her take on the end of Google+ and what kind of social media presence CEOs and their companies should have.

Q: What happened to Google+?

With the recent news of its security breach and its longstanding difficulty attracting users, the end of the Google+ is not a big surprise to most people. But for those who were active on the platform, they need to figure out another way to communicate with their customers. This means adapting to another social media platform. When you start on a new social media channel, it’s good to stick to that one platform and learn how to do that well. Each platform is different, so it’ll take time to understand ins and outs of how people interact with each other and how brands interact with their customers. Give yourself time to really establish a solid presence on that platform. Once you feel you’ve mastered that platform, you can branch out to other platforms.

Q: I built a presence on Google+…what should I do now?

Because of the unpredictability of social media (think the political and privacy-related issues that Facebook has faced for the last several years), people are less likely to be loyal to specific sites. If you’re building a presence that you want to be a regular source of information for a specific area, you should be thinking about which channels make sense for you to be on. Different types of customers use different social media platforms, but it’s important for you to be on more than one. If you had built a presence on Google+, consider making the transition to Twitter. You can still search trending topics and articles and follow brands for updates. Additionally, Twitter makes it easy to access to personal content, if you decide you also want to build out your personal brand.

Q: What distinctions should there be between my personal brand and my business’s brand?

There are obvious differences for some of the content that you should post to each page – business news vs family updates, as an example. However, everything you post should fit under one clear and professional brand. If you’re finding it difficult to find content to post under your personal page, think about topics that interest you. Share an article about an entrepreneur that’s pursuing new business model or share an update about your personal business and highlight the team that’s involved in it. Everything should seem natural; if your content feels forced and you’re not excited to post it, take a step back.

Q: What kind of content should I post to my channels?

Everything you post should be “on brand”. One way to establish your brand voice is to create “buckets” for your goals – e.g.  “connecting with customers” or “sharing useful and relevant information.” Then, when you want to post something, ask yourself if it falls into one of your buckets. In some cases, depending on the topic, it’s good to post the same content on all your channels. However, try to create diverse content for each platform. This keeps your followers engaged and interested in your posts. If they follow you on multiple platforms, it creates a habit for your followers to check your pages to see what you’ve recently posted.

Don’t be afraid to weigh in on trending topics. Even if it’s not directly related to your business, it’s a good idea to join a conversation. Social media is built on conversations, and joining a discussion can extend your brand’s reach.

Q: Any parting wisdom?

Know that whatever type of content you post doesn’t have to be set in stone. Social media is always evolving, and it doesn’t sleep; something that goes viral only lasts for a day or two before people move onto the next big thing. It’s okay to take a step in a new direction, not knowing whether or not it will work, because you can always try again. The beauty of social media is that you get a fresh start every morning.