“Social media is now the #1 activity on the web—just think of all the other popular activities that used to reign supreme online. Now, social media is king.” – Erik Qualman
Social media has revolutionized the way we communicate and consume news online. A study says, 27% of time spent online in the US is spent on social networking sites.It’s no surprise that the social media demographics have grown exponentially, over the past few years. And, most of your target audience too is a part of this 1.5 billion social media population. The social media wave is here to stay. So it’s very important to strategize before you invest your time and money to boost your social media presence.
As a publisher, it’s vital to integrate your social media efforts with your overall content strategy to successfully build a community on these networks around content. Here are a few tips to kickstart your social media strategy.
1. Start With Tangible Social Media Goals
Always start with attainable goals. It’s very important to be clear about what you want to achieve with your social media efforts. A measurable goal gives the whole process a particular direction as well as a defined dimension to work within. For example, as a publisher you may want to:
- – Increase your site traffic numbers then your goal would be X number of Pageviews or number of visitors
- – Increase engagement around your content – your goals could be increasing number of comments & shares
- – Create a loyal social media fan base – your goals could be to increase to ‘X’` number of mentions or conversions
TIP: Once you have set your goals, make sure you have all the tools in place to measure the traffic coming that’s coming to your website from social media. For example, you can use Google Analytics or a paid tool like RowFeeder.
2. Analyze Your Audience
It’s very important to know your audience demographics and their online habits before you formulate any strategy for them. Ultimately it’s about them not you. Social media is all about building relationships. For example, your target audience might not be equally active on every social media platform out there – so perhaps neither should you. Knowing who you wish to reach will guide the content you will create. So, analyze:
- – Where is your audience?
- – What are their pain points?
- – What are they talking about?
- – What are their likes and dislikes?
Without a good audience insight you can’t predict what is going to capture your audience’s attention and will get them on board.
3. Decide Upon the Platforms to Ignite Your Efforts
There are many social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest being the most popular ones among them. These communities are not even identical in nature neither do they have the same set of audience.
For example, Facebook is a platform where people come to socialize so the site maintains an informal tone, where as LinkedIn is a professional networking site with a more serious kind of community, naturally maintaining a formal tone is the ground rule. Likewise Twitter is a micro blogging site where content gets the maximum popularity and Pinterest being an image sharing site attracts more women and promotes any kind of graphic content and so on.
It’s not necessary you have your audience everywhere, find out where you have them in maximum number and focus on those platforms, instead of scattering your attention everywhere. This will help you get a better result.
TIP: For all the chosen social networks you are going to build your presence on, make sure it’s easy for the user to identify your brand. For example, use the same logo everywhere to gain the trust of your users while interacting with your different social media accounts.
4. Create an Effective Content Mix
Providing high quality, engaging, relevant and informative content is a prerequisite. You need an effective content mix to create content that people want to talk about. Different social networks have different audience with different motivations, you can’t have a uniform content strategy for them. Yes, you may have same message for the audience across all the platforms, but the presentation has to be different. You need to use different content format, style and topics depending on the audience taste. For example, you can upload an image from your article and share the link with an attractive caption on Facebook; photo posts get 39% more interaction on Facebook than text based posts.
You can create infographics on LinkedIn and Pinterest too; it’s not just a travel or food photograph which gets those precious pins.
You can have a mix of interactive posts, informative ones, graphic and multimedia posts, but make sure you use them intelligently considering the targeted platform.
5. Increase the frequency of your updates to become more visible
You might not have enough time & money to invest in social media. Counter that by posting a number of updates every few hours to engage your audience.To get maximum visibility, try to increase your number of posts
on daily basis.
Choose a Best Time to Update
It’s very easy to miss an update on social media as:
- – People are not always logged in to their accounts
- – Quickly it goes down the page as new updates comes on top
- – Your audience can be operating from a different time zone
Keeping these things in mind, you should try to post updates multiple times on a day. As per Leo Widrich: “5-10 times a day on Twitter and 1-4 times a day on Facebook gives you the optimal outcome”. According to him “8am to 8pm” is the good time for posting on Twitter and Facebook.
TIP: There are tools like Buffer which tells you the best time to post your updates on different social networks. The app also lets you autoschedule your posts to gain maximum eyeballs.
6. Plan and Schedule Your Updates with an Editorial Calendar
It’s ultimately content which drives all the conversations on social media. To keep sharing timely & good quality content, you should have a preplanned content schedule. Of course, you will be sharing links to your blog updates, but that’s not all you should be sharing. It’s very important to plan your updates around a theme.
And, for that just like you have an editorial calendar for your blog, you need to have a content plan to feed your social networks too. This way, you can also use your old & popular posts from archives rather than being dependent on the latest news.
7. Network with the Influencers & Your Audience
Try to connect with the leaders in your niche. Promote their content to get noticed. A recommendation works like magic on the social media. It says a lot about your credibility. One tweet or a retweet exposes you in front of a whole new set of targeted audience, which helps you multiply your site visits or increase engagement, at a higher rate.
Also, build a relationship with your fans & followers. Humanize your brand. They are real people who care for real conversations. So, don’t be a fake. Respond nicely to every comment and feedback they have shared. Make them feel a part of the community. A community is driven by the people behind it. Social networks are just the platform, creating engagement with your content is the key to social media success.
8. Keep Yourself Up to Date on Social Media
Social networks like Facebook, Twitter are constantly evolving their platforms and introducing new tools for engagement. You need to update yourself with the new features introduced by these social networks to be more effective with your social media efforts. For example, recently Facebook added Hash Tags feature to its platform. Familiarize yourself with the latest features. Try & test them to improve your message and amplify its reach.
Use Hash Tags
Hashtags is popular way to gain more social media exposure across all social networks. It started with Twitter and recently Facebook has also introduced this feature. You can use ‘#’ tags to get your post and content to be seen by a huge audience who is looking for that specific keyword. Through Hash tagging your content or discussion becomes a part of all that open communication and discussions happening over the internet. Hashtags is an organized way to amplify the reach and visibility of your content. It also helps others to find your content easily.
TIP: You can use special hashtags in your post for a special event or special coverage.
9. Tell a Story
Humans are prewired to hear good stories. A storytelling approach is a winning formula to create shareable content. Storytelling approach also helps in establishing personal connect with your audience and adds authenticity to your content.
The luxury brand Burberry effectively used the storytelling approach to drive engagement on its Facebook page with its “The Art of the Trench” campaign.
In the year after the launch of the Art of the Trench in November 2009, Burberry’s Facebook fan base grew to more than a million, the largest fan count in the luxury sector at the time.
Apart from these things you can come up with an advertising plan to promote your message to get more visibility. For example, sponsored stories on Facebook, promoted tweets will help you get a better exposure. Building a community doesn’t happens overnight. Social media too demands a lot of patience to reap results. So, make sure you give it the importance it deserves.