Social media might seem overwhelming in the beginning, but spending just a small amount of time each day on creating content and engaging with others can quickly lead to freebies, comps, and even assignments and photo sales.
For example, I was on a girls’ trip to Las Vegas last year and sharing a lot of our activities on social media. I mentioned we were trying out the most creative cocktails we could find in Vegas, and several bars reached out and invited us to come try their creations. I ended up turning that into a story, even though that hadn’t been my original plan. All thanks to my social media presence.
If you’re just starting your social media journey, you likely have questions about what to do. After teaching social media workshops for years, I’ve learned that similar questions crop up time and again.
I’ve rounded up some of the questions I answer for my students most often below.
1. What should my bio on social media say if I’m not published as a travel writer/photographer/blogger yet?
I would advise using “aspiring travel writer/photographer/blogger” until you have something published, and then I think you can immediately take out the “aspiring” after you’ve published that first article, blog or photograph. It’s important to identify yourself as a travel writer/photographer/blogger in your bio so when you interact with destinations, brands, or editors they’re aware of the potential opportunity to work together.
2. I wear multiple hats professionally. Should I have more than one set of social media accounts?
As someone who owns and manages multiple sets of accounts for different business ventures (I have Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for each of three different businesses), I urge you to stick with one set of social media accounts if at all possible. It is difficult enough to find time to post and interact on one set of channels, much less trying to do it every day for multiple sets.
If your two ventures are related (such as travel writing and photography), I would definitely keep them under the same umbrella. The key question to ask yourself is: who is my audience? If the audience overlaps, keep the content together. However, if there’s no overlap at all, then you may need multiple sets of social media accounts, one for each venture.
3. I’m not gaining any followers on my Facebook business page. What should I do?
There are a few things you can do to gain more followers on your Facebook business page. First, you can periodically post the link to your Facebook business page on your personal profile and remind people that you keep your travel-related content over on your page and that they should follow you there for updates.
On your Facebook business page, you also have the option to invite your friends or people you’re connected to through groups. I would only invite people you know well enough to believe they would be interested in your content. Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t let you write a message to people saying why you’re inviting them, so it’s important to only invite people you already have a relationship with who will understand why they’re getting the invite.
4. My Facebook posts only reach a small percentage of my followers? Why is that and how can I reach more of them?
Every social media channel is governed by an algorithm, the exact contents of which vary by platform and aren’t disclosed publicly. These algorithms decide who sees what and when. Unfortunately, it means that nothing you post will reach every single one of your followers.
When you first post something, the social media platform decides who it thinks would be most interested based on factors like their past interaction with you (likes, comments, direct messages, and even the time they spend looking at previous posts from you).
There is one way you can influence the algorithm, however, and that’s by creating posts that encourage engagement from your followers. The more the people who do see your post engage with it, the more people the social media channel will show it to because the algorithms reward engaging content.
The best way to boost engagement? It’s not by paying for ads or a “boost” (don’t do that), it’s by simply asking a question related to your post at the end of your caption. That encourages people to answer, thus boosting your engagement.
5. How should I respond to random people who send me direct messages?
Many of us—especially the women in the audience—receive direct messages from strangers of the opposite sex that seem to be about something other than our travel writing or photography. Unfortunately, unless your profile is private this is something you’ll likely continue to experience. You shouldn’t make your profile private, because then destinations, brands, and editors won’t be able to see your social media content and it will be more difficult to make meaningful connections on social media.
I usually ignore the first message I receive from someone and that does the trick. If the person messages me again, then I use the block feature to prevent them from contacting me further.
Remember not to give out any personal information to anyone on social media, even if you think you know them. Hackers often create fake profiles with stolen photographs to look like someone you know, so it’s best to make sure you only exchange personal information by secure means with someone you’re certain is the right person.
Hopefully that answers some of your most urgent questions.