Hey, you came back! Awesome! How did the first two tips work for you? For those that missed the first post, let’s review quickly.

In the last post I told you about using visuals and about monitoring and responding to your friends/fans/followers online. The upshot was to:

1. Use Pinterest if at all possible and employ infographics (or other relevant images) in your posting routine elsewhere, and

2. Monitor your account, respond to responses, and address any questions or concerns.

If you did, you probably saw an increase in engagement. If not yet, keep it up – you will.

Now, let’s build on our new adventure in better social media skills with 2 more tips. Off we go!

3. Always Be Learning

In the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin’s hard-nosed character tells his audience of half-hearted salesmen the key to selling real estate: Always Be Closing. In the realm of social media, this is a bad idea.

While always be engaging is a mantra you should definitely embrace, it applies to last week’s post. This week’s first tip (tip 3 for those keeping score at home) has to do more with the ever-changing landscape of social media.

Do you know what Panda or Penguin means when it comes to search? Did you know that Pinterest just changed their layout and added business pages? Or that Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ have pages just for businesses? Do you know what a promoted tweet is?

These questions aren’t rhetorical, they’re essential. Social media sites are constantly vying to develop the next big change that will draw more users (and keep current users), and the changes are coming at dizzying speeds recently. It may seem like a hassle to keep up with, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to stay at the top of your social game.

Here’s the part to put into action: you have to read the latest news on developments and learn them-at least weekly. You can decide who (or which site) speaks to you to follow or read, but I’ll give you some suggestions to get you started.

The undisputed king of social interaction online is Chris Brogan. Need a Facebook expert? Mari Smith has you covered. Tehmina Zaman has a laser-like focus on teaching people about Pinterest. Some must-follows on Twitter include @briansolis, @copyblogger, @davekerpen, @guykawasaki, and @prsarahevans. The best site for keeping up-to-date on the latest thing is without a doubt Pete Cashmore’s Mashable.

You can’t learn without a good teacher. The list I just gave you could be considered the staff of Social Media University. Learn from them.

4. Timing is Everything

Guilty. I have violated this rule too many times, and I’ve lost connections because of it. I would get online and start reading posts, tweets, blogs, and articles – and every one of them was so interesting and great that I had to share them. Right Now!

The result was that when others opened their page they were flooded with information that I had shared. That can get annoying, fast. You know that friend that will never shut up long enough for you to share in the conversation? That was me.

The solution to this problem? Spread…it…out.

That sounds easy, but for many of you it’s just not very feasible. After all, you have other things that need to be done with your business too. Additionally, when should you post?

This article from last year gives some insight with data collected by the URL shortening service bit.ly. It’s not comprehensive, but it’s a start. Common sense plays a part – a post around lunch time is probably going to be seen by more people than a post at midnight. This is business, though. Guessing doesn’t cut it.

The best solution for this conundrum is to use social media scheduling tools. With these nifty pieces of software you can write your posts for the week, pop them into the scheduler, and be done with it. They will usually tell you what the optimal times are as well. Ain’t technology grand?

Don’t get the wrong idea though. Automation, while immensely useful (and necessary, IMHO), does not a social media strategy make. But more on that in tip 8. (I know, the suspense is killing you)

Homework, again

You know what to do. I just told you. The learning part will take some time and lots of reading, but the timing part you can put into action today.

When does your company post on social media? Let me know in the comments. Then do some research to discover the best times for the sites you use, and practice posting at only those times for the next week. See what happens. It’s like magic.

Vishal Pindoriya

Vishal Pindoriya is a social media enthusiast, strategist and writer. He lives in London, England and is particularly interested in the proliferation of social media around the world.

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