Did you read my recent sister article to this one? Not surprisingly, it’s called 6 Tips to Rock Your Social Media Strategy – Part 1.
This is a follow-up with more “how to” tips to help. I’m repeating the beginning of that article here because the pre-work to creating a social media strategy is SO important (if you’ve recently read my first article, jump to #4 below to get started here)…
I’ll start where I always start when giving “marketing tips.” One of my key learnings is that you can’t create a social media plan without some good old-fashioned strategy work. See the chart below. Social media is a “Step 4” activity. In other words, you don’t start with “I’m creating a Facebook page!” You must lay the groundwork first or you will fail.
If you haven’t clearly defined your overall business strategy, brand strategy and marketing strategy (Steps #1 - #3), I would highly recommend reading these articles before starting with any type of marketing activities (i.e. social media plan)…
Only NOW are you ready to determine your marketing activities. How and where will you find and interact with your customer? A website, blog, email, cold calls, SEO, direct mail, Google ad words? Will you conduct seminars, write articles in publications, create a video series, send direct mail? Should social media be part of your plan?
I’d say YES to that last question. First, it’s what’s expected. It’s called Social Proof. When you first hear about a new product/company/service, do you go to Google/Facebook to learn more? Of course you do! I’m not going to do much convincing here – social media is either right for your brand or it’s not.
If it is, I’m sharing numbers 4 through 6 in my list of things I’ve learned to make social media as successful as possible…
4. Earn the right to talk about yourself
As you know, people are bombarded with marketing messages. As marketers, we must remember this and respect people in our social media posting. If someone is following you, it’s a privilege to be able to serve content to them. Don’t take that lightly.
Don’t constantly advertise yourself. Follow the Pareto Principle’s 80/20 rule. Try to have 20% of your content be promotional - about you or your company. The other 80% should be helpful, interesting, fun, informative content. Here are a few ideas…
• Share great content. Ask yourself, “Is this intrinsically interesting to me or will it be to my audience?” If not, don’t post it.
• Be helpful. Share articles, memes, pictures, etc. your followers will find useful or helpful. There’s plenty of good, shareable content in the healthcare industry if you’re on the lookout for it.
• Be timely. Remember to work your content into holidays, health months, etc. Use #TBT to show a picture of your CEO in some bell bottoms and an afro. Speaking of…
• Engage. Ask questions, get personal, conduct polls, show pics of your new team members or happy clients.
• Mix it up. Post articles, videos, testimonials, stats. Generally, be a curator of great content in all forms that helps or engages your followers.
• Don’t fake it. Don’t believe the LIKE hype. I’ve seen Facebook pages with 10,000 likes and NOTHING going on – there’s NO engagement on any of the posts. You can buy “fans” or “likes” (i.e. pay people in other countries to follow you), but that doesn’t get you a true base of real followers who like your company, product, service, etc.
• Respond quickly. If someone comments or asks a question through social media, be sure to respond as soon as possible. People expect fast answers on social.
• ALWAYS be positive. There’s enough depressing stuff out there (especially about health care and insurance). People want to be inspired, so share good news or put a positive twist on bad news.
• Have a plan for bad guys. No matter how positive you are, there are jerks out there that will have pissy comments. Generally, we don’t delete negative comments unless they fall into a certain category of nastiness. Have a policy and post it on your page. We use this: “We love getting your comments! Our goal is to create an open and respectful space where feedback is valued and sincere conversations can take place. Candid, constructive feedback is welcomed. Comments or posts with harsh or bad words will be deleted.”
5. Use it to grow your business
There’s a process to marketing…
• Short-term: the goal is to get attention, earn some brain space, or be top of mind when someone is looking for our product.
• Mid-term: the goal is to get them to act. You might want them to call you, write you, request more info, subscribe to your newsletter, download an e-book, etc.
• Long-term: the goal is to convert them to buy your product or service.
Social media can help at each step. I’ve written a few other articles that might guide you to grow your networks and business using social media…
6. Track your plan and success
There are two items you should think about tracking…
Remember that social media is about quality, not quantity. You don’t have to post 2X a day, but it’s important to come up with a plan and then have the discipline to stick to it. One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing a social media page with 2 months between posts. So, come up with a plan that’s doable for you or your team and then carry it out consistently.
This doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming – K.I.S.S. Come up with some simple reporting that tells you if all your efforts are paying off. Consider a dashboard with a few stats that you review monthly….
• Audience size/growth – these show that you’re appealing to your audience and staying relevant.
• Post Likes, Comments, Shares – this information helps you determine the types of posts that do and don’t drive engagement.
EXTRA THOUGHT! Proceed with caution
Remember, you don’t own your followers on social media – Michael Hyatt calls it a “rented lot” - so it’s important not to rely too heavily on social media to grow your business.
Here’s a quick story to demonstrate: I have a friend who used Facebook to advertise her products and a monthly local event. A few years ago, she would post the next event and people would come out in droves to buy her products. Then, Facebook changed their algorithms. When she posted, only a small percentage of her followers would see her events. This literally ruined her entire business model and she ended up closing down that part of her company.
What if you gained a ton of connections and followers through your LinkedIn Publishing and one day LinkedIn decided to shut down that program. You just lost your advertising venue and don’t have access to any of your faithful reader contact information.
The goal is to use social media to draw people in, but then get them to subscribe to YOUR newsletter or drive them to YOUR website so that you have a consistent way to market to them
Now it’s your turn! Are you considering more or less activity on social media? Do you have tips for others who are struggling with a social media plan? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!