Just incase you ever thought success on social media was all about luck, I’m here to set the record straight. In order to find success with your social media, you need an understanding of your niche and its audience, as well as a fully planned strategy. Not what you were expecting?
I know, social media is supposed to be a fun and enjoyable activity after work. Whatever happened to no Facebook on the clock? Still, any job that has even basic marketing in place understands that social media is a worthy tactic to implement – but if you have a wing it attitude, then you are just wasting your time.
Why, you ask?
- You are competing with a user’s friends and family. Why should they pay attention to a sales pitch?
- Most social media platforms are so crowded, that feeds like Twitter update over 10,000 times in one users timeline with ~ 500 friends
- Social Media users behave differently depending on platform and even time of day. Without research, you can really miss the mark
These are just a few reasons that should help you realize that social media is not easy. As a brand, you have a mountain to climb. All the more reason to be intentional, right? Here are 13 ways that you can beat the odds, and make your own luck on social media with a strategy.
Note: For the sake of consistency and your attention span, I’m only going to focus on four top social media platforms, but information can be found online for each point listed.
1. Understand intentions, and set Goals
With social media, there are a lot of possible outcomes. Setting goals will help you become more intentional and realistic with your expectations. Ask yourself, “What do we want to gain from the social activity that we are doing?”
- Create Brand Awareness
- Gain traffic
- Connect with your audience
- All of the above
Once you’ve decided why you are on social media, then create some realistic goals for where you would like to be within a few months / a year.
2. Choose the appropriate Social Accounts
There are a lot of social media platforms, and more coming out every day. Just this year, Periscope, a video sharing social platform began a fast pattern of growth. This makes the idea of your marketing strategy that much more intimidating. But, guess what.
You don’t need to be on every social media platform!
It’s true. Some platforms are more suitable for brands, depending on the niche. So how do you know which to choose?
As far as picking and choosing platforms, this might be the exception. Statistically, over 90% of adult online users have a Facebook. No matter what your niche you are in, you most likely want to be marketing on Facebook.
Statistics from March 2015 state that there are over 600 million users on twitter with over 200 million active. Twitter comes in second for most popular Social media site. If you have the time and ability to post short snippets of conversation 3-5 times a day, then micro-blogging is a fantastic way to share your brand with a large audience.
LinkedIn is for white-collar professional networking. It’s basically an online resume. The whole point here is to grow your professional network, and connect with professionals. It’s great for lead generation, and collaboration.
Instagram is another very popular app due to the rise of mobile internet use. With this in mind, marketers need to understand the definite age demographic that uses it. According to Wishpond, 43% of mobile owners aged 18-29 are on Instagram. If you are selling specifically to young adults, this is for you.
Google+ has been scrutinized, praised, and studied as it has risen to power. Also, if you need a YouTube account, you get an account here first. This may be why the platform has so many users, but so few of them active. It does have a great community posting power for those with your niche interests, and could still be a good place to have a presence.
Along with Vine, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, Periscope, etc. you have a lot to choose from. Don’t feel like you need to manage all of these in order to have a good social presence, but explore your options, starting with the most popular and well known.
3. Research your audiences trends
Understanding how your audience is using social media will influence how you post to them. Knowing what attracts your users will make it easy for you to attract them.
- Tweets got 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets with images (research from Buffer)
- Videos get shared over 1000% more times than links and text combined. (source)
Understanding the trends in speech, images, video, as well as use of emoticons, punctuation, hashtags etc., will give you a head start when you begin posting regularly to your chosen platforms.
4. Post at the right times
Every social media platform is used differently, and at different times. Here are the best times to post on a few platforms according to research by Neil Patel.
Post on Thursdays – Fridays anytime between 9am to 7pm.
Post Wednesday – Sunday around 5pm to 7pm.
Post on Tuesday – Thursday around 7am – 8am, 10am – 11am, and 5pm – 6pm.
Post Monday – Friday around 9am to 11am.
5. Post more than once but don’t get spammy
Posting consistency is another point for you to consider. Once again, this is an area which where you need to understand the platforms which you are using.
Facebook’s algorithm has recently changed so that your posts get seen depending on your audience’s engagement with your posts. So that I avoid being spammy and maintain engagement, I have begun posting once a day for Facebook, and reposting content as slowly as once per month.
Since Twitters timeline features the quick snippets, it updates regularly and fast. You should plan on posting 4-8 times a day on it, and reposting once or even twice a day.
Since LinkedIn is mostly for networking, I suggest only posting once per day. However, I would suggest posting 1-2 times a week on your groups, as well as occasionally writing on their blogging platform, Pulse. These are all places that get a lot of view and traffic, and are interest related. Once again, avoid reposting here (esp. in groups) so as not to appear spammy.
In a similar fashion to LinkedIn, I post to Google+ 1-2 times a day, and reposting once a week or every two weeks (depending on how consistently your page is moving.
6. Avoid negativity
Social media is an important way that you can push the human side of your brand. You can speak one on one with your clients/customers, and push a sale in a very personal way. When publishing for your brand, as well as using social media in general, it is important to avoid negativity.
It’s easy to spot someone on Twitter or Facebook just looking to rant negatively. In fact, Twitter has become a platform where complaining about company will most likely get a response, and great policy changes can come from this.
But it’s generally bad social etiquette for a company to rant, rave, complain, or hate on social media. Keep it positive, and keep it focused on your customer.
7. Push Content
Content marketing is a tactic that will not die as long as the internet exists. Providing information about products, and things that pertain to your niche will help guide your leads down the conversion funnel. As you create content on your blog, push it through social media sites.
With Facebook you can even boost specific posts (paid advertising) in order to get it seen by more of your followers.
The posts that you create for social media should be written with them in mind. Whatever content you write should provide value, and be something your customer will want to share with their friends and family.
It should have things like:
- Social sharing buttons
- Tweet-able quotes
- Compelling headlines
8. Create conversations with your audience
In the same regard as sharing your own content, converse with your audience. If you spend all of your time promoting your site/content/self, your audience will fade away. That is an easy way to become spam.
Focus on your audience. Using the @ symbol on twitter, reach out to a client, brand ambassador, or fan of your company. You can also do this on Facebook and G+. Create conversations, and show gratitude whenever possible. This strategy is much more likely to get a response than brand promotion.
9. Listen to Your audience and respond quickly
I once worked for a company that referred to customer complaints as “fires.” They encouraged anyone working in the company to put out fires quickly to keep damage from spreading. With social media, companies have the ability to listen to the complaints of their customers.
If there is anyone tweeting negatively about your brand, be quick to put out the fire. Speak with them directly, and be willing to meet their needs.
In the same way, don’t be afraid to be a little sassy. Twitter users eat that stuff up. Check out the great branding work on Taco Bell’s twitter account. They even got a buzzfeed feature.
10. Connect with Influencers
Every social media campaign should consider influencers. Your brand’s reach can be extended through popular social users. Connecting with popular influencers in your niche and promoting through them will help your audience to further trust your brand.
One thing that you should be aware of is the difference between engagement and followers. Don’t reach out to an influencer just because they have a ton of followers. Instead, make sure that they have engagement amongst their followers. Otherwise, they will only be pushing awareness to a tuned out audience.
11. Improve Brand Awareness (create hashtags)
Just having your brand active on social media can improve it. Gaining a following and creating a persona for your brand on different platforms will boost awareness for that persona. Along with influencers and a clearly defined niche, your brand will gain traction on SM.
A great way to improve your brand awareness is to take advantage of hashtags. Choosing the right ones will help you target and define your audience, and appear in their searches. Along with that, feel free to brainstorm 1-3 hashtags for yourself that will further establish your brand. Here are some great examples from other brands finding success with hashtags.
Red Bull – #givesyouwings
Charmin – #tweetfromtheseat
Coca Cola – #showyearheart
12. Offer Value (sell, competitions, giveaways, etc.)
Throughout your social media campaign, your overall goal should be to provide real value to your audience. This can obviously be done through content, personality, and even customer service. But, you might want to consider actually giving something away.
Many companies find great success creating competitions and giveaways for their audiences. It encourages social sharing, because users want their friends and family to know; and it encourages engagement, because interested users will take part in the competition.
13. Discover Opportunities to collaborate or gain Clients
Especially with sites like LinkedIn, you should always be looking for possible clients, or coworkers. Reach out to people whose interests are similar to yours. Connecting with people in your niche is always a good thing – Instead of feeling competitive, consider them co-workers that can help you.
With other social sites, be on the lookout for users that need your services or product. Be willing to do some outreach to get a lead. Your marketing campaign should factor in everything from creating loyal brand fans, to social selling.
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