In my last blog for HerBusiness, I talked about Getting Started on Social Media. This blog is part 2 in the series and focuses on the more detailed marketing aspects of social media. With today’s technology social media marketing is an essential part of any marketing strategy, but the nature of the beast is that it’s constantly changing and evolving. Here are some practical tips to help you get started or tweak your social media marketing strategy:
- Plan for success – a social media plan, like any marketing plan, is your roadmap to keep you on track and focussed on where you want to go and how you are going to get there. So take the time to develop a plan and stick to it! Some things to include are your objectives, target audience/persona, social media platforms, your brand persona/tone of voice, key messages across platforms, key products/services, offers and calls to actions, posting strategy (timing and frequency), advertising, etc. Here is an article with some tips on doing a plan. You can also consider paying a digital marketer to do a comprehensive plan for you and you can save money by doing the implementation yourself, this way you’ll be driving the best strategy to get maximum results.
- Content is king – content NEEDS to be relevant, interesting, targeted and varied. With so much content out there what you’re posting needs to stand out and connect with your audience – it needs to be informative and you need to limit the salesy content. You can slip some sales pieces in, but too much and you will lose your audience. Make sure you mix it up and include links to articles, videos, infographics, images, etc. Visual is always more effective.
- Repurpose – do a content audit take a look at the content you have already created. Some of the content you have can be repurposed (eGuide, infographic, etc.) or updated to use on different social media platforms.
- Plan it and make it happen – Develop a social media calendar of posts and be specific. It doesn’t need to be complicated, so start with a basic chart in word or excel, or download a free template off the internet Content Calendar. You should include what the essence of the content is, who will create or source the content, which platforms will you post the content on, when will the content be posted, etc.
- Time to send – what day, time and how often you post can greatly affect your results. Optimal times to post differ for the various platforms and constantly change. You can do a search to see what is currently being touted as the optimal time and frequency for your specific social media platform, schedule your posts to go at these times and monitor your results. You can then review and tweak to see which times on which platforms work best for your business.
- Schedule it and manage it – sign up to a social media platform. Using a social media management platform allows you to manage all your social media networks in one place, easily schedule your posts and view the all-important analytics. A platform like HootSuite has a basic level free membership, but if you can stretch to the $10 a month plan I would recommend you do as it gives you more functionality. You can streamline your social media tasks – load in all the posts for a week or a month – set and forget!
- Increasing likes – run a competition or poll, have a giveaway, promote special offers and free downloads, ask a question, etc. to encourage people to follow and like. You can even add a “Like” button to your blog posts or your website to make it easier for potential customers to like your post/s. Some overseas services offer to get thousands of likes for you, but remember quality is more important than quantity. It doesn’t matter if you have thousands of likes if they aren’t your target or likely to buy from you.
- Boosting posts – when you’re boosting your posts you should be boosting original content and always have a definite goal in mind, e.g. getting more blog traffic. Facebook and Twitter are generally the best social media platforms to boost posts on. The negative side to boosting posts is that it can cost you money. If this doesn’t fit into your social media budget you can invite your fans to join your email list, that way you can continue to send them valuable content with no additional cost to you. However, if you don’t boost your posts you will get less reach (ie air time) even with your existing followers.
- Build connections – connect with anyone you meet both in person and online, after all the point of social media is to leverage connections. Also the more connections you have the wider your network becomes. Personalising this process works the best, e.g. Inmail for LinkedIn, send messages to people to encourage them to connect with you. Messages should be short, but personable and should have a catchy title that sparks curiosity in the recipient to increase the likelihood of getting a response.
- Follow others – follow others to encourage them to follow you. People who follow are more engaged and more likely to follow your call to action. You can install “Follow” buttons to make following your business even easier. Develop a message to thank anyone that does follow you and where possible encourage them to your website, etc.
- Groups / Associations – develop a list of relevant groups that your target market is part of and join them. Be active in discussions and make posts to engage and lead fellow members to your website.
Social media is complex! You need to be strategic and patient and integrate your social media marketing in your marketing plan. It takes time and perseverance to establish your brand on social media, to get the following you want, along with generating more leads and encouraging your followers to respond to your calls to action. As with any marketing activities it’s important to review your metrics and tweak your social media marketing to optimise your return on investment I hope you find the above tips and tools helpful. Here’s a link to 6 social media templates to help you out Social Media Templates.