Step 1: Goals and planning
This is the most common mistake when it comes to social media marketing. Majority of the people and businesses (like you and me) get involve in social media without any strategic planning.
For them, social media marketing would mean:
- Determine the link to the shared
- Prepare a call-to-action
- Adding some hashtags
- Publish the social update
- Wait patiently for traffic (or for it to go viral)
I wish social media is that simple. In most cases, people who do this will usually encounter many social media failures.
Just like this one below (taken directly from my Buffer account):
As you can see, reaching over 3,800 followers and not a single click or engagement? Yes, that’s bad.
Even worst, I was uploading them using Bulk Buffer (no offence and nothing bad about the app) and this means that I spend little to no time at all to organize my tweets. I was just hoping to tweet out as much as I can … within the shortest time period.
While this problem is often considered fairly big, don’t worry as there is actually a solution to this.
Introducing, social media planning and goals settings. Allow me to make this real short.
Social media planning should be used to determine the type of audience you are reaching out to. A great example is the Facebook audience. Facebook would give the potential advertisers the number of reach, age, gender and location information for them to maximize their ROI (Facebook ads).
Such similar planning would help you reach out to the right people you are targeting.
In terms of goal settings, this is an important step to determine the level of success for your social media campaigns. Goals set should be achievable and on top of that, logical. Goals should to determine and score a certain plan (especially A/B testings).
Do you know how many social media platforms there are now in the market? I would say at least two dozen of them.
Here’s a bummer: You do not need to participate in as many social media platforms as possible. Instead, you should just focus in growing your social influence on one platform at a time.
If you are not able to make up your mind in finding the best social media platforms, use the below as your guidelines:
Facebook – Used by all walks of life and have over a billion users. This platform is extremely useful for those businesses who wants to make a mark in social media.
Twitter – My personal favorite social media platform. This is a very challenging platform as you are required to share everything under 140 characters. A very popular platform for online marketers around the world.
LinkedIn – If you have a brand and looking to connect with influencers, this is one social media platform you must participate in. An excellent platform to build serious influence and become an expert in your own field.
Google+ – A balanced social platform that focus highly on engagement. Leverage this platform by participating in communities. Personally, I consider this as a business / leisure social platform.
Important note: There isn’t any best social media platform but if you are still looking to find the right one, you can check on this post by WishPond.
Social media is not about quantity, it is all about quality.
Sharing several tweets during the time where the majority of your followers are active would increase the maximum reach. A simple example is that sharing a tweet at 6pm would provide more engagements compared to tweeting at 3am in the morning.
Tools that help you to find the best time to share:
- Followerwonk (free)
- Buffer (freemium)
- HootSuite (freemium)
- Sprout Social (paid)
A great post for reference can be found here on Buffer blog and if you are a Twitter fanatic like me, I have lighted the information on my free eBook, The Ultimate Twitter Marketing Cheat Sheet.
Managing multiple social media platforms is not a walk in the park. In most cases, it takes a lot of man hours just to reply to all those comments you received. Not to forget, communicating with your followers.
So how do professional social media marketers manage this?
Introducing, social media management tools.
What are social media management tools?
Long story short, these tools help you to manage various social media accounts under one roof. Imagine this:
- Login to Facebook to publish an update status
- Login to Twitter to publish a new tweet (and responding to others)
- Check your LinkedIn company page to monitor engagements
- Check for audience reach and monitor what your competitors are doing
I bet the above sounds like a huge hassle. For me, it’s insanely troublesome since I am managing over 20 social accounts (mine and my clients).
I could easily spend several hours a day just by logging into a social media dashboard to manage all my accounts at the same time. You can also check out this post for useful social media tools.
Important social media take away:
- There are both free and paid tools for you to consider
- Free tools are great introductory to social media automations but with very limited features
- On the other hand, premium tools provide more flexibility but could come at a very hefty price
- Always use a tool that first your needs and budget
Step 5: Starting engaging (more) with your followers
Social media marketing is nothing without followers. Whenever you have a follower, give them a welcome buzz and make them feel at home.
But Reginald, why do I need to engage with my followers? They are all loyal!
People will only start following you because you are providing them with value and I bet you are doing that right now. However, we are all human and followers recognition is important. Recognize them (treating them with thank you and welcome) as important people and they would do the same to you in return.
Here are some simple steps you can do to start engaging with your followers:
- Giving them a welcome message when they like or follow your page
- Share only quality articles with them
- Take the opportunity to share their article with your own audience (and giving credit)
- Throw in questions to get them engage even further
In my latest blog post on ways to keep your social followers engaged, one of the important facts that I highlighted was managing your social media accounts correctly.
For example, I am living in +8 GMT and managing over 2 dozen social media platforms isn’t really easy.
Most of the time, I’m pulling my hair off (literally speaking)!
Instead, we need to have good time management and use social media dashboard to maximize our productivity. The most important takeaway from this is you need to engage with your followers (say for instance a mention) even if it is 24 hours later.
It is always better to be late than never.
Phew! This post is really long and I totally apologize for it. I hope you find this post useful and a little (honest) insight of what I think social media marketing is all about.
Yes, it is way bigger than me (or anyone of us) but hey, we all got to try what works right?
I am very curious to hear what you have to say about this. Do you have any social media marketing tips to share with us? See you in the comments below!
Images: ”social media marketing and posts on a blackboard/ Shutterstock.com“
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