Only a few years ago, social media was a new phenomenon, and this was something that only the most adventurous of businesses was willing to try. Fast forward 20 years and social media marketing has become an essential component of every progressive business’ growth strategy. Even better, because social media has become so entrenched in our world today, best practice guidelines have been put in place and you can learn a few lessons from other businesses’ successes and failures. Let’s take a look at the most crucial steps that should be employed to ensure social media success no matter how far into the future you may like to do your planning.
Even if you are being experimental on social media, you need to set goals. How are you ever going to measure your success if you have not determined what your goals are?
You should have a monthly plan in place to determine which content you will post and when. Looking at your analytics and client leads will help you to create a content plan that your readers will respond to. It is also important to monitor progress as you go along too. If something new comes up, or a particular tactic does not work, your plan will need to be adjusted.
Make Sure You Are Active On the Most Effective Channels
Choosing the wrong channels on social media is where many businesses go wrong with their strategies. So what is the best place for your business to be active? Well, that is wherever your target audience is most active. Hubspot offers the following insights into choosing the right channel:
For example, if you are targeting CMOs, LinkedIn is probably a better prospecting tool than Facebook. By design, LinkedIn is a professional network, and the content is more geared for a business crowd.
It should go without saying, but we will say it anyway: you should invest the bulk of your budget and efforts in the areas where you can expect the greatest returns.
Grow A Following
Regardless of how effective your communication is or how eye-catching your brand work might be, if you do not have a large enough audience, your brand cannot be expected to reach very far. Your messaging is only as effective as the number of prospects it gets to.
This is perhaps the most time-consuming and challenging of all social media activities: growing that captive audience that will be receptive to your messaging. Experts say that the most effective way to get people to follow you, is to start following them. Better yet, start participating in other conversations, liking and commenting on others’ posts. This is how you get your brand noticed organically.
You can also simultaneously start investing in sponsored content and adverts on your social channels of choice. This can help accelerate your progress but it should never be expected to take the place of organic building.
Brafton.com says that in order to attract attention, your headlines and social posts should always address your reader directly:
People actually like seeing content tailored to their needs. Readers don’t simply want the word “you” in any headline they see. The main idea of a headline should make actually using “you” pertinent. So brands should consider headlines like “The essential infant care product you’ve never heard of,” when they’re targeting new parents.
Time and Plan the Frequency of Your Posts
There is no magic formula for the right number of posts; this is something you will need to work out according to your audience and the levels of engagement you can generate on your pages. Also, remember that you should aim to do a follow up post after you have posted something that generates a lot of activity as this will give you added exposure to the audience that responded to post number one.
Of course, you will also need to study your insights so you can see when your audience is most active and responsive. If you have chosen Twitter as your platform of choice, Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm will probably see you getting the best results. LinkedIn patterns of behavior are quite similar. If you are speaking to a consumer audience on Pinterest or Facebook you might find you get better responses after hours or over weekends.
What is important is that you do pay attention to these patterns and plan your content calendar accordingly.
Never Waste an Opportunity To Include A Call To Action
Every post you generate has the potential to drive your prospects to do something: sign up for a newsletter, fill in an inquiry form or buy a product. And if you expect a return from your social media budget then you need to guide your audience to complete the call to action and do as you expect.
Exercise Some Word Economy
Sometimes, when it comes to words, less is better, and that means cutting back on some of the words you may have used before reading this suggestion from Sujan Patel:
Most website owners can stand to remove half the words they originally added to their copy. Before publishing any new content, pare your sentences down to their most basic elements and then add back in only those words that truly support the goal of your content.
Go a Level Deeper With Your Content
If you want your content to stand out over your competitors, you need to offer your readers something they will not get elsewhere. And, often that means taking it down a level and going where no one else goes. If you want to elicit an emotion, or better yet, get your prospect to complete an action, you need to provide detailed, in depth content that is genuinely interesting.
Of course, only time will tell you what your readers want to see when they land on your pages and, if you really want to maximize that return, you will listen and implement.