Years ago, when I started teaching yoga, I created a separate Instagram account for my business where I would post pictures of myself doing yoga poses and a few memes. It did NOT come naturally to me. I had rarely (if ever) posted selfies on Instagram before and it felt like I was bombarding people with ME ME ME content. But guess what? It worked.
I started getting DMs asking for yoga classes, other yoga teachers who were starting out would reach out to me asking for advice, and brands would email me about brand ambassador opportunities. And all that happened when I had about 300 followers. Not an impressive number at all. But that just goes to show—it isn't always about the numbers. It's about authenticity and speaking from the heart, which is something we can all do, no matter our follower count!
So if you're looking for advice on how to create a social media strategy here are a few of my top tips to get you started:
1) Do your research
The first thing you should do is check out what other people in the industry are doing. What are they writing about, what channels do they use, how often do they post, what hashtags do they use, what does their engagement look like? Doing this will help you immensely. It'll inspire you with creative ideas for content and will remind you that you're not alone.
There are plenty of solopreneurs and creators on social media hustling every day to grow their businesses. Knowing this shouldn't make you feel overwhelmed by the competition. What you have to offer is different from everyone else. Remember that.
2) Get to know your audience
Your social media strategy will only work if your content resonates with your audience. This will depend on what your business is. As a yoga teacher, I posted about yoga poses, yogic philosophy, and self-care along with my schedule and workshops. My students appreciated getting to know their teacher a bit better and I was able to give some support to students and teachers who were starting out.
Know what your community needs help with, what are their pain points, what makes them laugh? This will be your guiding light. Your social media presence should be complementary to your business. It should be about using your story and experience to serve others.
3) Track the right social media metrics
While you may think you know what your customers like, there's nothing like having evidence to back you up. Once you start posting on social media, keep an eye on how each post performs. Those numbers will tell you what topics and types of content most excite your community. Test, iterate, reiterate and do more of what works.
Not all posts will be winners, and that's ok. Some posts will get you very little reach and engagement, but the truth is that you don't have to care about vanity metrics. For example, the number of likes on an Instagram post might not matter to you, but the shares or DMs do and those are private stats. Focus on the metrics that will bring you the most benefits.
4) Pick specific social media channels
While knowing what social media channels your customers most use will help you grow more seamlessly, you should stick to the channels you enjoy. Posting on social media will take regular, persistent work, so it needs to be somewhat fun for you to be on it.
As a rule of thumb, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Tiktok are great for visual creators who like using photo and video content. Twitter, Medium, Quora, and LinkedIn are perfect for writers. But there are several other social media platforms out there, find the right one for you.
You might feel tempted to join all social media platforms—DON'T. This will only stress you out. Choose 1 to 3 places to post your content and focus on building a community there. As a solopreneur, you're probably wearing many hats at once, make sure you don't turn yourself into a social media manager.
5) Post AND engage
Posting on social media is half the battle, now you've got to engage with your community. Don't forget to respond to comments or questions and to like and comment on what your community is up to. This is a nice way to deepen your current relationships as well as a way to make new connections.
When engaging with your online community, make sure you don't waste time aimlessly scrolling. You can find potential customers by using targeted hashtags or seeing who engages with content and accounts you like and follow. It's important to build rapport, instead of spamming strangers.
While building my yoga business, I began to follow several Lisbon-based yoga teachers on Instagram. My intention was to learn about their practice and how they communicated with their community online. This led me to make a few social media connections with like-minded people who were going through the same thing as me. I wasn’t thinking about them as potential customers, (after all they were yoga teachers themselves) but knowing them opened doors to partnerships, recommendations, and substitute teaching.
6) Be persistent
Now that you’ve done your research and posted on social media. What next? Keep at it. You’ve got to keep posting consistently to grow your reach.
How often you should post will depend on the social media platform. For example, it’s great to post on Twitter many, many times a day, while studies show that engagement drops after posting more than once a day on LinkedIn.
7) Set realistic goals
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the social media influencer game and wish for hundreds of likes and followers. But if you’re here, it’s because you are a solopreneur, a small business owner, a side gig hustler, you are not an influencer and neither do you want to be.
As you start working on your social media strategy, set realistic expectations. Don’t expect viral success from day to night, don’t compare yourself to creators who have been on social media for years, and again, don’t hold on to vanity metrics.
Decide how you want to set your goals. This may be spending 5 hours working on social media a week, or engaging with 3 new followers, or attempting to get higher engagement than usual on a post. Whatever your goals, you can always adjust. They are there to serve you, not be a source of stress.