As a college student in pursuit of marketing tools and know-how, I stumbled across HubSpot’s Inbound Certification through a blog post on Marketo.com detailing free must-have marketing resources.

I was very pleased with the certification course’s user-friendly videos, explanations, and was especially intrigued by some of the social media tips and guidelines outlined by HubSpot. Here's what I learned through HubSpot's Inbound Certification.

Social Media Isn’t as Easy as 1-2-3

People starting out in business assume they know how to use social media -- make a Facebook account, create a Twitter handle, set up a Google+ page, a Pinterest board, or even a LinkedIn profile. Then pop open a soda, heat up a nice warm bag of buttered popcorn, kick back in your leather reclining chair, and watch as your business venture/product takes off on its own. Your popularity will skyrocket!

Sadly, that’s not exactly how social media works. The key word here is content.

What content of yours are your users sharing? Why and how are your social media visitors announcing to the world that they approve of your product in the first place? You need to create interesting content that people want to see, want to share, want to put their seals of approval on and “like” or retweet.

With no remarkable content, you will be making about as much of an impact on your visitors as the curator of an art museum could make on his/her visitors without any artwork – or, in fewer words, you would be extremely ineffective. Without artwork, why would anyone want to visit your museum? Without content, who is going to promote your social media links and profiles?

Each Channel Comes With a Different Approach

Sure Twitter, come on in – but would you please stop singing? Goodness gracious, Pinterest, please don’t bring all of those photo albums in here -- it’s going to get way too cluttered! LinkedIn! Great to see you -- thanks for coming and for agreeing to look over my resume. Now where is Google+, and why is she always late to these things?

HubSpot’s Inbound Certification specifically addresses each of these various social media outlets, each of which has its own rules. Let’s say I want to set up some social media pages for my business and start posting immediately. Which ones do I choose and how do I market similar information differently to each audience?

Here are the major players (otherwise known as the “big four”) and their uses:

  1. Twitter – Twitter is used for quickly sharing information. Posts often have an informal tone and aim to capture someones attention with short-form content. 

  2. Facebook – For Facebook, use less frequent, more valuable updates. Make your posts humanizing and personal. Visual content does particularly well on Facebook.

  3. LinkedIn – On LinkedIn communication is slightly more formal. Try sharing industry updates, case studies and other professional content. 

  4. Google+ – Like Facebook, visual posts do well on Google+ and since each post gets indexed by Google, they can be helpful  for search optimization.

Make sure your content is relevant to the platform you are posting on. You’re like a curator at an art museum, and you need artwork (content) in order to get visitors, right? But a big mistake people make is not tailoring their content to an individual network following the above guidelines. If you work in a modern art museum, you should not be displaying artwork from the 15th century. If you work at a Native American art museum, you wouldn’t showcase art by Claude Monet.

Not all social networks are created equal, and in order to get the most out of each one, you need to tailor your content to each one’s strengths.

Social Media Should Be Like a Cocktail Partyartofsocialmedia_twitter

One of the most important nuggets of information I received from HubSpot’s course was the “cocktail party rule.” No, this rule does not mean you should throw yourself a cocktail party for every 100 likes your Facebook page gets – though that would be pretty cool.

The cocktail party rule reminds us that the people at cocktail parties who garner lots of attention are not those who only talk about themselves. The people that everyone wants to talk to (and wants to be) are those individuals who are not only interesting, but also engaging in conversation and genuinely interested in what others have to say.

So how can you be that person on social media? Don’t post just your own content! If you only post on social networks to spread awareness about your own products, people won’t stick around. Post breaking industry news, contests/promotions, others’ educational content, and most importantly – be helpful. If visitors to your page have questions or comments, respond to them – your effort will be rewarded with trust and loyalty.

Get Your HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification Today

This was just a small part of the knowledge I gained from HubSpot’s certification course. I became HubSpot Certified as a means of learning about inbound marketing independently. I endorse HubSpot’s certification course because it is straight-forward, detailed, and easy to follow along with – not to mention that the professors are outgoing and open to further conversation.

If you’re looking for a free way to boost your inbound marketing know-how and gain valuable insights into any of the following topics, this course is right for you. 

Do you have any social media strategies that you would like to share? Have you perfected the art?

Attend "Building a Better Social Business" Webinar

 

Originally published Jan 21, 2014 9:00:00 AM, updated November 08 2017