I’m sure you’ve read a thousand times about the benefits of using social media. I think we all have. But very few tell you how to actually do it.
Here are a few of the things that successful social media marketers do:
Effective social media marketing takes time and effort. A Social Media Examiner industry report found that 64 percent of marketers spend six or more hours a week online using various social media platforms for their business. And the time spent was higher among those who have more experience with social media marketing.
Regardless of how much time you devote, you need to account for it from the earliest stages of your planning. Documenting your goals and the amount of time you can spend to achieve them will help you to focus your efforts where they will be most effective.
Treat your social media efforts just as you would with any other business task. Assign deadlines and goals, establish standard procedures, and set aside a dedicated block of time to fit the work into your week.
Mix it up
Try different types of posts to keep followers engaged. If there’s not enough variety, followers will quickly lose interest. Give people every reason to follow you, and meet your business objectives.
Here are a few types of posts you may want to experiment with as you formulate your ideal mix:
- Updates. Let your followers know what you’re up to and what’s on your mind.
- Images. Posts with images typically see a higher engagement rate, regardless of the social network.
- Video. If images engage people, then it only makes sense that moving images combined with sound engage, too.
- Informational posts. Provide links to your how-to blog posts or videos, offer quick tips, or share a recipe.
- Motivational posts. People share things that inspire them. That’s why quotes, unique ideas, and heartwarming stories are so popular on social channels.
- Promotional. Mixing in a promotion every now and then can be effective for getting leads. Just be careful not to do it too much, or people will tune out.
Just as important is knowing what not to post. It’s okay to inject a little personality into your social media, but remember to keep it professional. Sharing information that’s too personal, offensive, or otherwise unprofessional can hurt your brand. To be safe, create separate work and personal accounts, and keep privacy settings at a maximum for personal pages.
Post and track
It’s important to post regularly. Sporadic updates may get you some likes or shares, but it won’t get people coming back and interacting with you on a regular basis. To build trust and to establish yourself as a resource on social media, you have to consistently deliver value over an extended period of time.
But your work isn’t done there—you’ll want to make sure that you track your results so that you can optimize them for future success. Experiment with frequency, timing, and content to see what gets the most engagement, and then do more of that.
When using analytics, focus on the metrics that align with your business objectives. It’s easy to get excited when a post reaches a lot of people or gets a bunch of likes. But if your goal is engaging people to strengthen relationships, for example, then comments or conversations might be a better measure of success for that post.
Most social media networks have built-in analytics features that you can use in addition to a wide range of third-party solutions.
If at least thirty people like your Facebook business page, you can access Facebook Insights. Click on the insights button at the top of the page to see page likes, post reach, and engagement statistics.
Go to www.analytics.twitter.com to see how the number of impressions and engagements (i.e. retweets, favorites, replies, follows, or clicking a link) for each tweet, as well as the engagement rate. Just remember that Twitter is about authentic conversations, which can’t always be tracked with these metrics.
With Pinterest Analytics, you can find a range of useful information to determine:
- The pins and boards from the profile people love most
- What people like to save from your website
- The gender, location and other interests of your Pinterest audience
- Which devices people use when they’re pinning your content
- How adding the Pin It button to your website leads to referral traffic from Pinterest
Create a Calendar
There are several benefits to using a social media calendar. It can keep you on track with your frequency and strategy. It can help you optimize the timing of your posts by channel. It simplifies content audits. And it allows you to view the results you track at a glance.
The first step in creating your calendar is to decide which topics and types of posts you want for each channel. Then populate the calendar with specific posts.
For each post, enter specific details, such as the social networks where it will appear, who is responsible for creating and distributing the content (if you are part of a team or if you outsource the work), and specific times that you plan on posting to each network.
For example, let’s say that you plan on sharing the eight pink recipes from the Pink edition of American Lifestyle magazine throughout National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One of your entries might look like this:
|6 Pink Lemonade Ice Cream PieType: RecipeAuthor: ReminderMediaChannels:Facebook – 1 p.m.|
Twitter – 9 a.m., 2 p.m., 9 p.m.
Pinterest – 11 a.m.
It’s a good idea to create your calendars a week or month in advance so that you have the proper time to research and plan. Then monitor your accounts daily to respond to comments and engage your followers.
Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to a successful social media marketing strategy.