7 Steps To A Smarter Social Media Strategy
Step 1. Define Your Goals And Objectives
Step 4. What Tools Will You Use?
Step 5. What Will You Post?
Step 6. How Will You Track Your Efforts?
What do you want to gain from your social media efforts? (The "what's in it for me" factor.)
Who is your ideal customer or client? What are some of their hangups? What is a problem they have that you and your expertise can provide a solution for?
- COURSE: The [Social And Blog] Content Planning Workshop
- POST: How To Utilize Google Analytics To Blog For The Audience You Already Have
- POST: Are You Trying To Sell To The Wrong People?
CLARIFY: What is your market? Are you in a Business-to-Business (B2B) market where you sell or service customers who are business owners of some sort. Or are you in a Business-to-Customer (B2C) market—your customers are purchasing from you or using your services for non-professional reasons.
We all have that one social media channel that just clicks with our businesses.
(Mine is Twitter.)
Maybe you already know it, or maybe you need to test some platforms out to see which one just clicks best with you and your business model.
A B2B model may work best with Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube. Facebook is great if you choose to pay for ads.
In a B2C Model: Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram reign supreme. But again, you'll get the most traction on Facebook with ads. (Their algorithm is set up to favor those who pay for their "visibility". If you don't pay, you won't get to play.)
Then, decide what your secondary social platform will be.
In my experience, most solopreneurs work best with no more than two social platforms. Once you cross that line, your channels tend to fall by the wayside—you've spread yourself too thin.
I'm talking about being consistent, being reachable, and posting quality—not just quantity.
Although my secondary—Pinterest—generates more traffic, email subscribers, and income than Twitter does, it's a "visual search engine". Not a exactly a "social" platform.
It's a pretty hands-free platform for me. (I'll share how and why in a few.)
What you can do if you're new:
Check out what your direct competitors are using for social media.
- Is it working well for them?
- What are they posting about?
- How can you do it "better"?
- What are some discerning qualities of yours that can help you to stand out on these platforms?
- Six Social Media Platforms For B2B Marketing In 2016 via LinkedIn Pulse (by Kent Lewis)
- The 3 Social Media Networks That Are Best For B2B Marketing via Artillery Marketing
- The Best Social Media Channels For B2B Marketing via Rival IQ
- The Best Channels For B2C Social Media Marketing via Rival IQ
SUGGESTED: 3 Differences Between B2C And B2B Social Media Marketing via OKtoPost (by Ben Green)
There's a plethora of tools available to automate and / or assist your [no ads] social media efforts.
Because my favorite Pinterest-autopilot tool is no longer available (BoardBooster), I strictly use Buffer for automating my social media posts throughout the week—for Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn.
But there are tons of options available for social automation, strategizing and more.
(It just all depends on your budget, time or team to use for marketing, and marketing goals.)
- Hootsuite (social media manager)
- [Meet]Edgar (social media automation—literally...)
- Feedly (ideation generation)
- SproutSocial (full social media management)
- Socedo (B2B "demand generation")
...to name a few [reputable] brands.
Because I can tell you from experience, to truly get a return from social media, you can't be on social media all the time.
You're going to have to automate some things.
That's where one or a few of the listed software sites come into play.
One of the most common questions I'm asked is "What should I post on social media?"
Unfortunately it's an "it depends" kind of answer.
It depends on:
- your industry
- your niche
- your market
- your personality
- your target prospect
- your "what's next" offering
Because it's all fine and dandy to get an immense amount of social traffic from your efforts. But how are you getting their information? How are you tracking it?
How are you growing from it?
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Since we'll get to this soon, let me get to the some suggestions on what you can post on social media. Okay, these are pretty generic because, again, all those keys listed prior are necessary to your social strategy.
With that said, you can post:
- Links to your own content. (Shocker, right?) Got videos? Podcasts? Blog posts? Images? Whatever content that represents your brand, message, and overall goal well can be used in your social media strategy.
- Quick tips or tricks. Got something you can share and get it out and relayed succinctly? It's post-able.
- Inspirational, industry-related quotes. Can you make a quick graphic to accompany it? (Even better.)
- "This vs. That" content. Great for realtors with comparable properties to sell among many other industries, "This vs. That" posts create social engagement and easy-to-share images and content.
- Responses. Did someone share a public Tweet or comment on your Facebook wall about you, your brand, product or service? You can re-share that content, too.
- Funny, [industry-related] jokes. Tread lightly. Depending on what you do, alienation might not be an alley you want to go down. But, jokes also add some personality and "this is a real human being"
- Other people's content. Seriously, though. Constant self-promotion is annoying. Mix things up and throw in links to others' content that your audience can actually benefit from. It helps you connect with others in your niche, and shows your audience that you're smart, confident enough in your own work to share others', and you're an authority in your industry.
Get creative! There's lots you can share. Brainstorm what your audience might or does like, and cater to them.
Now, the question of:
How often should I post to social media [each day]?
This is very platform-specific.
And then there's the question: how often SHOULD I versus how often CAN I?
The best reference I've found is from Buffer Social: https://blog.bufferapp.com/how-often-post-social-media
But, it still doesn't answer the question of Should vs. Can...
EXAMPLE: My highest-performing Pinterest strategy requires circulating nearly 100 pins each day (this generates a full-time income, though). Some suggest 50, and others think both are crazy. 10 times per day—max.
It's up to you. It's up to your budget. It's up to your goal.
EXAMPLE: I automate 10 posts per day on Twitter, and manually post another 1-4 each day (depending). Twitter is a fast-moving platform. If you're not "talking" you're not being heard.
I post to LinkedIn once on one day each week. And Google Plus five times, twice per week. Easy, peasy.
So, the real questions you need to ask yourself are:
- How often can I manage to post to social [with or without an automation tool] each day?
- How many days do I need to post each week? (Just weekdays? A couple times a week? On Saturdays, too?)
- What will I share with my followers? Even if you have none right now, you still need to be posting like you're sharing with a good, professional friend who loves to hear from you.
Hootsuite offers some pretty cool social management software on the lower cost end of the spectrum.
But, if you have a website, you can also discover traffic and social referrals from your platforms through your Google Analytics integration.
Not sure how to do that?
Here's a video from Google that's a great start:
Otherwise, most all social platforms offer in-house analytics. (You just have to do some poking around to find it.)
I sure hope not.
But, if you're feeling some information overload, go ahead and bookmark this page so you can come back and tackle the steps, step-by-step.
I've found some incredibly helpful activities to maintain my social strategy along the way. And some of the most helpful have been:
- Batch-creating social media content—images, graphics, quotes, 10+ variations of copy for everything—in one day each month.
- Scheduling time recurring events to manage social so it becomes second nature to you. Like each:
- Wednesday I organize and fill my Buffer Queue for the following week.
- Thursday I add 20+ pins on Pinterest to my secret BoardBooster boards to circulate for me according to their Random Pinning Campaign Schedule. (Confused? I wrote about it here.)
- day I read at least 5 articles from others, and the add quality and valuable posts to my Buffer Queue for Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn.
- Responding to people on social media within a scheduled, set timeframe every single day. Seems too simple, right? But one of two things can end up happening.
(1) You wind up loitering on your social channels longer than you intended.
(2) You just don't respond to everyone.
You don't have to respond "in real-time". But you need to respond to every request, comment, statement, etc. directed to you. (Some generic things you can just "Like", though. I talk about that in the Growth Hackers Email Group.)
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I hope you enjoyed these 7 simple steps to a smarter social media strategy.
If you have any feedback, thoughts, or questions, don't hesitate to email me directly.
I answer every email personally.
Best wishes and happy strategizing,
P.S. Comments, emails, running a business and being a mom of 3 were just too much for me to handle. So, on-website comments got the boot. But the lack of a comment box doesn't mean I don't want to hear what you think! Share your thoughts with me via @GoffCreative on Twitter or directly via email.
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