Nearly everyone and their dog is on some form of social media today.
It has exploded in such a way that it’s become an integral part of our everyday lives. Eat breakfast – snap a pic of it on Instagram, go to the shopping mall – check in on Facebook, read a story about Bieber doing something scandalous – tweet about what a tool he is, etc, etc. It’s no surprise then that businesses and entrepreneurs everywhere are seeing how powerful social media can be for marketing and growing their businesses. I’m not telling you anything new or groundbreaking there!
Most business owners however, are making a big mistake on social media. They’re simply posting a bunch of updates across a plethora of platforms and then sitting back wondering why nothing’s working.
The same as if you were launching a new product or service, your social media efforts need a strategy and plan in place to make sure they work! If you have no plan you’re essentially wasting your time on social media posting quotes and pictures possibly for nothing.
Here’s how to make sure you avoid making this mistake:
Set your intention
First of all you need to figure out why you’re on social media. What do you want to achieve from it? Is it more sales, customer loyalty or brand awareness? Once you’ve figured this out, you need to drive your efforts & your posts towards that goal.
Hang out in the right place
You then need to find out where your ideal customer/client is hanging out because let’s face it, there’s no point pouring your energy into Instagram when your clients are actually on Twitter! If your clients are other business owners maybe LinkedIn is the answer for you? Facebook is a great choice for most businesses given they have the highest number of users at 1.28 billion at the time of writing this! If you sell an actual product, for example handmade jewellery, you’ll probably want to check out Pinterest for sure!
That being said you don’t need to have an account on every social media platform. That’s the fastest way to overwhelm with social media and it can completely dilute your efforts. Pick the platforms that are most relevant to your business and, more importantly, that you actually enjoy using! There’s no point forcing yourself to use a certain platform that you HATE just because you think you have to!
Whatever platforms you do have a presence on make sure your profiles are fully completed whether you actively use them or not – you never know where a client may stumble upon your details and you want to be able to point them to the right place to find you. 🙂
Make a plan
Ok, so we’ve clarified why you’re on social media and where you need to be, now you need to think about your content strategy. It’s a huge no no to simply post update after update of sales pitches on social media. It’s just noise, and pretty annoying for your followers at that.
You need to create a weekly planner that highlights what times of day you will post updates and what those updates will be. You can get all fancy with this and go get some really sophisticated template but I personally keep it super simple and use Google Calendar. (Right click on the image below and open in new tab to view a larger version)
So you can see on the example there are 4 updates per day at set intervals – you can find your ideal times on your Facebook Insights if you want to get really specific with this. Then you need to create a mix of posts that include (but are not limited to!);
- Images/Quotes – these are really engaging and usually get a good amount of likes and comments on them.
- Conversation Starters – ask your audience questions, get to know them! I use questions such as “I love reading blogs – do you have any great reads you could recommend?” or “What’s your favourite productivity tool/app?” – Nobody feels my page is constantly asking people to buy, this is just basic conversation!
- Links to Other People’s Content – a really easy one and helps to position you as a person who shares valuable content – again it shows you’re not just after the sales and that you actually want to provide value to your audience! You can source your content from your favourite blogs or you could delegate this to a VA to do for you!
- Your own useful content – whether it’s a blog post or your free ebook/video series/etc you need to provide highly valuable content for your audience too! If you’re not confident with blogging this is again something you can look to a Virtual Assistant for. Do check their services as not all Virtual Assistants provide this but Virtually Angels do! 😉
- Posts about your services/products. So although I said no constant posting about buy this, buy that, it would be crazy of you to not sprinkle the odd post about what you have to offer out there. Post it from the angle of the benefits to your audience, rather than sounding spammy! 🙂
Now you have your types of posts you simply need to spread these out over your week – share Other People’s Content once every day, post an image or conversation starter each day, then you could alternate your content and sales posts throughout the week.
As you schedule your updates, copy them into the event notes or title so you can refer back easily to see what you posted when. This schedule is going to give your audience lots of variety to look at without the constant sales pitches annoying them!
Ditch the ‘Silent Treatment’!
An important point here: as you start posting more varied and valuable content through social media, you will get people who interact with you by commenting, sharing or messaging you. Do me a favour – TALK TO THEM!!! The amount of pages I see with no response to the people commenting on their posts or comments on their walls is unbelievable. Social media is a 2 way conversation so be polite and talk back!
What get’s measured, get’s managed!
Lastly, you need to decide how you will measure your success on social media.
Before we go any further: Likes and Followers do not equal success on social media.
Somebody hitting the like button on your page does nothing for your business or your bank account so measure your success with real data. What data you use will vary depending on what your social media goal is.
You can use Google Analytics and set goals for website conversions for things such as mailing list sign-ups and sales. Monitor where your clicks to your website are coming from. If your social media platforms are listed there, that’s a good indication that your strategy is working. If Google Analytics is somewhat of a foreign language to you then hire a Virtual Assistant to help you with this.