Social Media Strategy For Beginners
Everyone knows Social Media is a critically important aspect of marketing and gaining traffic and engagement in today’s digital era. Your social strategy can literally build you up or break you down in just a matter of months! But how do you assess your specific goals and begin to create a customized strategy for success? Get started with this beginner’s guide to Social Media tactics that was built to drive more traffic to your business or blog quickly, in fun, simple ways and without taking up all of your time.
A lot of new business owners and entrepreneurs are not exactly sure exactly how to use social media to their benefit.
Except it doesn’t exactly work that way.
So often I’ve heard “Facebook didn’t work for me”.
Whether your business is 24 hours old or 24 years old, creating an online presence is Crucial in growing your business. Studies show that over two-thirds of consumer buying decisions are influenced by social media.
For that reason alone, businesses of any size cannot afford to ignore it or treat it as an afterthought.
Staying on top of social media to build your brand and following and social media monitoring tools can do more than track what people are saying about you on Facebook.
Marketing yourself well on social media needs a very strong strategy and there comes the real challenge. First of all, let me explain what exactly strategy is.
It is a well planned tactical strategy to define the main aim of your social media presence, your goals and to set parameters deciding what to achieve and how to achieve it.
After all what are you really using social media for? To get more likes? More followers? More engagement? As a networking tool?
Or are you using social media as a means for more sales, more customers, to get more clicks to your website, your shop or online store?
In this guide you will learn how you should plan your social media strategy in few simple steps whether you’re a blogger, business owner or part of a Marketing team.
Set your Objectives & Goals
First of all you need to specify your goals and objectives.
- What exactly do you aim for with Social?
- Do you want brand awareness, customer engagement or do you want conversions?
There are different strategies for different goals. Determine exactly who your audience is down to what they like to eat for breakfast every other Saturday and then decide what you want from your audience.
If you want brand awareness then you have to focus on attracting more and more unique visitors to your website.
If you aim for customer engagement then your focus should be getting more comments & likes on your social media posts.
Keep your goals clear in your mind before planning your strategy. The major goal ideas are basically:
- Brand Awareness
- Customer Engagement
- Lead Generation
- Generate Revenue
- Grow Signups, newsletters, subscriptions
- Build a Community
- More Traffic to your Website
- Increase Press Mentions
Anyone from a top CEO to a recent college graduate can use social media to freely share their ideas and give an inside look into what they’re working on. It’s also a place to engage in conversations that are relevant to your interests or industry.
Bloggers use social media to increase their blog traffic, connect with readers, share valuable content, and build diversified streams of income. However, you can have traffic in droves but if it’s the wrong kind and not converting it’s utterly useless!
Business owners and larger organizations use social media to connect the people behind their logo with their customer base. They also use it for completing customer service requests and answering questions while ensuring every follower has a positive experience with the brand.
That’s great! You ‘like’ them because they’ve helped you, proved their value (hopefully) and they’ve gotten a good review (hopefully) and maintained a customer.
Audit Your Current Social Presence
Before you start with your plan; start with auditing your Social Media accounts where your social presence stands currently. Keep the following points in mind:
Check which media you are currently active on; Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+(no longer), Reddit, Yelp, Instagram etc.
Decide if it is the best social media platform for your business goals. Not all social media works for all kind of businesses.
If your target audience is people who love to scrapbook, vintage maps or enjoy fine wine you wouldn’t necessarily have a huge presence on Reddit and LinkedIn but more on Pinterest and Facebook.
Keep a note of your current followers.
Compare your profile with your competitors’ profile and see what changes you need to implement. What types of content seems to be working for them in terms of getting their audience engaged?
Social Spying Tools
I use Promo Republic and SemRush for tracking my competitors profile and seeing how to engage better with customers to reach my objectives. I recommend them highly! Give it a try, it’s FREE to start!
Articles That May Be Of Interest
Find your Ideal Customer
You really need to be specific with this part. Imagine you are plotting your marketing with all the intricacies, consistency, scheduling and dedication required; but if the audience that you are targeting is not your potential customer, then you’re wasting precious time and dollars.
Even the best business marketing strategies fail if you are targeting the wrong audience.
You need to hone in on your buyer persona and micro target them to make your strategies work which will ultimately achieve your goals and ROI. Return on investment.
Ask questions of your audience, use surveys, gather feedback, do A/B split testing and see which campaigns work the best.
Then Listen, listen, listen.
A great way to do this is through the social tool I mentioned above and by using your Email list.
Start collecting emails and ask them what their biggest frustrations or obstacles are right now. Ask them what they want, what they need. Your job is to solve their problem or their pain. Look for clues and figure out what they need.
This is how you engage and build a following. How you show you care and that you are listening.
Keep an eye on your Competitor
As mentioned it’s very important to be well aware of your competitors.
Your competitors can tell you a lot about what strategies to pick, and what to do, after all they are targeting the same customers as you are.
You can learn a lot from their successes and mistakes and implement them while planning your strategies. Pick some of your top competitors, check their social media pages and get an idea about the posts that are getting more engagements and research them.
Automate your Sharing Ability
There’s good news, and there’s bad news. The good news is that today, more than ever, it’s easy to make good content. The bad news, however, is that anyone can make content.
There’s a lot of white noise out there. Anyone can write content, but writing the right content will set you apart.
To create ridiculously good content, you’ll need to enhance your strategy from the ground up. More importantly: You’ll need content your readers will share.
These 14 steps will get your strategy rolling and make your social initiative worthwhile for your readers.
14 Steps To Improve Your Social Media Strategy
1. Engage Your Readers
2. Mention People
More than ever, mentioning social influencers is a non-negotiable social marketing strategy.
In the past, creating shareable content was easy. You’d post a picture, link your friends, and sit back.
Now, a majority of Facebook posts are images and especially videos.
Instagram that has the feature ‘stories’ now has increased this even more.
Focus on people first when you share out your content. Utilize the social network’s mention or tagging feature to directly link to relevant influencers.
3. Get the Conversation Going
Next, you’ll need to create conversation. You may already be creating conversation topics, but are you replying?
Again, there’s the white noise factor. If you’re posing questions, waiting for answers and reaping Likes, you’re one of the billions of similar entrepreneurs, small businesses and social impactors who’re doing the same.
4. Facebook is actively ranking shared content by how much engagement it’s getting.
So make it a point to engage people in the comments of your shared content.
5. Use Unique #Hashtags
6. Use Click-to-Tweet Features
Next, you should make Tweeting your on-site content easy. Twitter can be quite useful. Incredibly useful, actually he-he…
Create in-post quotes that are easily tweetable, making it super-easy for people to share your quotes to Twitter. Trust us, it takes out a lot of the legwork.
7. Create ‘tweetable’ quotes within your content to boost shares and engagement!
Lucky for you, our WordPress social sharing plugin, Social Warfare, allows you to do exactly this.
Not only can you create tweetable quotes in your blog posts, you can customize what is shared when someone just hits the regular Tweet button.
8. Use Custom Pinterest Images
You can upload rich Pinterest-optimized images which are ready to be shared if you’re using the right plugins.
Well, firstly, it’s a known fact that taller images perform better on Pinterest.
Secondly, your Pinterest images should have intriguing, captivating descriptions. Make sure every Pin is optimized to perform long-term in Pinterest’s search, which is the fastest growing search engine around!
This happens to be one of the premium features that’s baked into Social Warfare from day 1. And it flat-out works!
Tailwind can help automate the scheduling of hundreds of pins over an entire month or more.
8. The Psychological Factor
9. Positivity Wins
In a study initiated by Jonah Berger, over 7,000 New York Times articles were examined for share capability.
Positive news, the study found, was more likely to go viral. Social media users enjoy being “the bearer of good news.”
Content which elicits high-arousal emotions like excitement, delight, and awe will be shared more often than low-arousal emotions, such as sadness.
Positive content is far more likely to be shared, so stay positive!
10. Make sure it’s useful
People share content to help others, enrich lives and spread information. This is why “how-to” articles thrive. They’re genuinely useful, and they offer information which strays beyond the typical day-to-day information waterfall.
11. Make it inspirational!
Call-to-action marketing works for a reason. On average, people are more likely to share content which defines themselves in a social realm.
In fact, a majority of people will share content which simultaneously gives information while defining themselves. People want to mirror their image.
If you can link your content to a cause, highlight modern issues and—even better—provide a solution, your audience will follow.
12. The Importance of Aesthetics
Is Your Content “Good-Looking?” Shareable content looks good, and it won’t be annoying to absorb. Looks matter when content is considered.
Make sure your content is easily scannable, and make sure it doesn’t require an unorthodox eye path to read (remember the importance of user experience).
13. Your written and visual content should be Cohesive
When possible, break up the content with bullets and subheads.
Make sure your font is easy to read and help people comprehend by making sure the font is not so small that they have to strain their eyes.
You want people to have a stunning reading experience.
The Growth Factor
If you can handle the content side of your strategy, you’ll grow. More importantly: You’ll keep growing.
People who craft valuable, compelling and emotional content will be shared. It’s just what catches the eye.
It can’t be said enough: There’s a lot of noise out there.
Think about how many people, today, are promoting their own content, trying to start their own business and are trying to surpass their competitors.
Your brand image matters, and it’ll grow if your power it with healthy content.
Informative material works, as do intuitive links, cross-channel social media marketing options and having the right social sharing plugins.
Take charge with tools like Social Warfare, strategize your content and go viral!!
Resource – Dustin Stout
Plan Your Content
It is very important to have attractive and engaging content in order to drive your audience’s attention.
If the content that you are posting on your social media is not engaging enough then you may not drive enough attention and you may even lose your current followers. Sounds scary right?
The key is to deliver fresh and engaging content consistently to get more visibility from new visitors and retain existing followers. Remember the 80/20 Pareto Principle – 80% output is determined by 20% of the input.
Applied to social media this means to apply 20% of content to your brand and 80% to whatever will delight and engage your audience and keep them connected to you.
Remember – Emotions influence what consumers buy. Not intellect.
The different types of contents that you can share are:
- Blog Posts
- Company News
- Invest in a Tool (Hootsuite, Buffer, etc) see more below
The main feature and benefit of such a tool is that it lets you schedule posts for the future so you never miss your deadline, and you can schedule posts in advance per your content calendar.
Some of the best automating & sharing tools are:
Social media optimization
Social media optimization is often described as the usage of social media accounts in the purpose of promotion through increasing awareness of the brand or product.
The goal of social media optimization is similar as the goal of search engine optimization. It is used for generating traffic and raising awareness, but instead of using the website, like in SEO, social media optimization uses social media channels to achieve this goal.
Social Media Monitoring Tools
Businesses should use social monitoring tools for a number of reasons. First and foremost, social monitoring allows you to capture powerful insights into your customers, competitors, and industry influencers. It’s the best way to actually hear what’s being said about you on the web!
Here are 15 of the Top FREE Social Media Monitoring Tools for your business:
Due to huge influence of social media websites, search engines have to take into account the results generated on those websites in order to provide relevant and useful results to the search engine users.
Therefore, social media optimization helps you establish a connection with search engines, which has a positive impact on search engine optimization, and thus results in better ranking for your brand.
Social network influence is measured through likes and follows, which are perceived as votes, proof of the quality of a website. Thus, search engines take social signals as factors that reflect the importance and the influence of a website, and therefore, these results will affect ranking.
Resource: eMarketing Institute
Track, Analyze & Optimize
Now after you have planned everything, optimized your posts, engaged with your audience and added fresh, engaging content in the form of text, graphics, contests and video,… then comes the step where you need to measure whether the efforts that you are putting in are actually paying off!
It is time to track, analyze and implement necessary changes as required. Marketing is solely based on trial & error.
You need to keep on optimizing your measures to improve your chances of success.
Run split A/B Testing and see which of your content/ads have performed the best.
The great thing about these automated platforms is that they come with analytics built right in so you can run specific reports to see which campaigns and KPIs (key performance indicators) are working for you the best, getting you the most ROI, and which need some tweaking:)
In addition, if you use social networks to promote sales on your website or in an online store, using social insights will be extremely helpful as you will find out which social network generates the most revenue.
As a result, you will determine if you should improve or change your approach on certain networks, or if you should perhaps completely give up using a certain network, due to low response.
Furthermore, you will also get the data about the users, such as their location, gender or age, which will help you with determining your target audience.
For instance, 70% of my traffic is from Pinterest and 28% from Facebook leaving a teeny percentage to Twitter and Google+, hence those 2 are the real traffic drivers I should focus on.
Keep in mind this is just a basic guide that barely scratches the surface of a complete social media strategy.
But don’t be discouraged! The main points to wrap up in developing a strong, successful social media plan is:
- Be Consistent
- Be Engaging & responsive
- Be Professional
- Be Helpful
- Be Reliable
- Be Generous
- Be Interesting
- Be Inspirational
- Use a combination of approaches
Social media is much like keeping up with any relationship with the ones you care about! Don’t make it overly complicated. Keep sharing that amazing content and most of all LISTEN:)
To fill in the missing pieces of your social marketing plan contact us and let us come up with an actionable plan to improve your traffic and boost your business!