Five Steps to Improve Your Social Media Strategy

Have you ever wondered why some businesses succeed at social media while others fail? The difference is a solid social media strategy.  3 in 4 consumers make a buying decision based on online content wouldn’t you agree that consistency and a strategy is crucial?

Social media was once seen as the wild child of the marketing department but the times have changed and the industry has matured.  It’s a great place for brands to have a little fun but it also has a real and measurable impact of a businesses’ bottom line.

Social media can no longer live in a silo, it must work in tandem with the rest of your business strategy.  Whether you’re looking to reinvent your current strategy or you’re just looking to get started the five steps below will help you create results.

1) Define Business Objectives and Goals

The first order of business with developing a social media strategy is clearly defining your goals.  Goals are the fuel to propel your online efforts and they give context and purpose to what would otherwise be a random one off social media tactic.

Goal setting is a staple of all marketing and business strategies and social media is no exception.   Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California conducted a study and found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.

Surveying key business stakeholders and asking questions is essential. Prove your teams worth by tacking the questions head on and understanding business obstacles and social objectives that can help brands overcome them. Some questions to help you get started:

  • Who are you looking to connect with?
  • What are your goals of using social media?
  • How much time can you commit to managing your social media?
  • Who will be responsible for running your social media?
  • What does success look like?

2) Understand and Know Your Audience and Focus on Networks that Add Value

As you’re posting and sharing on social media have you taken time to determined if you have a defined focus? Do you really understand the needs of your target market?

The better you can describe your audience and potential clients or consumers the more likely that your message  will capture their attention.  As you develop your audience personas you’ll see that the problems you’re solving for each market will be considerably different.  Knowing exactly what your audience needs and ways to find and meet them is important while providing content or engagement in a real and specific ways.

Each social network has its own strengths and weaknesses and each social media marketer should carefully pick and choose which networks they wish to take advantage of.

Each network provides a baseline of analytics to review your follow and fans online.  Simply asking your audience for their social media profiles is helpful as well as you’re capturing data with a registration form of other lead nurturing campaign.  Most CRM databased have places to house this information and as you’re segmenting and building audience specific campaigns this data will be essential for social media success.

3) Stand Out Online

In a busy and crowded social media world where a cookie-cutter approach is the norm, creating a differential as a way  to stand out online is a must.

The average attention span in 2000 was around 12 seconds but with the mobile and digital revolution it’s deteriorated quickly. Now, the average attention span of a human is eight seconds while a goldfish is believed to have an attention span of nine seconds. Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information. 

In order to use social media to its best, start by examining what your company means to your customers. You must determine not only what is unique about your business, but also how that uniqueness compels customer to keep coming back.

It’s important to review your messaging matrix daily to understand whether your message is benefitical and valuable or just contributing to the online noise.  Using social media effectively helps you stand out from the crowd. Understanding what makes your company, your culture and your customers unique will help you make your messages unique, too.

4) Create a Cross-Platform Strategy

It’s important to research and understand exactly how, when and why your audience is using social media.  Successful companies and brands determine where their time is best spent.  Understanding the audience and demographics and understanding how demographic groups use social media in a distinctive ways is crucial.  The bottom line? It’s vital to identify your customers preferred social media platforms so your strategy and focus and direct.

Just because a network has billions of users doesn’t mean it will have a direct contribution to your brand’s objectives. Instead of trying to be everything to everybody, focus your efforts on networks that hold the key to your target audience and objectives.

Social has long lived within the marketing department, but that doesn’t mean it can’t (and shouldn’t) have a hand in nearly every business function, from human resources to research and content marketing. To create a fully integrated social media marketing campaign, you’ll need to involve and integrate multiple departments, especially if your goals have a direct impact on them. Work with all your teams to determine how you can best support their goals and what key performance indicators are important to them.

5) Track, Measure and Adjust Along the Way

Tracking and measuring your social media efforts should be the backbone of your social media strategy. It’s sometimes difficult to measure and track social media success however setting clear KPI’s and updating often and along the way is crucial.  Social media is useful is useful in many ways, however it can turn into a tremendous time suck if you’re not paying close enough attention to where your time and effort is best spent.

That’s where analytics and analysis come into play.  Leveraging information available within your analytics dashboard to learn as much as possible about what content and actions are making the biggest splash across your social channels is key.  Evaluate how and why some content works and why some may fall short .

Takeaways: 

Sprout Social provided their readers the below seven step social media marketing checklist. It’s helpful if you’re reviewing your existing strategy and trying to determine how you check out.

Not everything will work on social media and that’s okay.  You can’t have success stories without failures along the way to provide a solid learning experience. The key to a successful strategy is to track, measure, and adjust along the way to determine what is working and how to do more of that.

Video and visual are must haves within my 2016 social media strategy, I’d love love to hear your thoughts on this piece and what you’re looking to do this year within your social media strategy.  Leave a comment or send me a tweet @marissapick.

 

 

 

 

 

Three Social Media Marketing Myths Debunked

Social Media is similar to Pandora’s Box.  It holds powerful tools which can help boost your business to new customers, retain loyal ones, and help to engage online within the digital world, or if can be a ton of wasted resources if not used properly.  Along with anything new comes a lot of misconceptions.  Although you maybe questioning the most efficient ways to maximize social media with your audience, don’t give up! Here are three major myths I come across which I’d like to take a stab at debunking.

Myth #1: I Don’t Have Enough Content to Fill my Social Media Feeds 

Social media outlets are fast paced and constantly changing.  Content gets posted online, flooded, pushed down, and becomes irrelevant quickly and before you know it.  Although this may seem like a wasted effort it reminds us that it’s important to repost the same content in different ways to best represent your brand.  Getting creative and thinking of interesting and exciting ways to share your content while avoiding making it seem too repetitive is important.  People often miss things, forget them, and if it’s evergreen content, then it’s always useful.  Putting a new spin and angle on how you repost it will help it live long and prosper. One of my favorite tools is pablo by buffer or canva, both can help quickly create visual content to accompany your content, and did I mention they’re both FREE.  Remember, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text (click to tweet this) so visual content within social media is a MUST if you want to stand out and drive engagement!

Myth #2: My Social Media Channels Can’t Show Personality

Although your content should be targeted around your industry and demographic to best optimize, don’t be afraid to show personality.  Behind your brand you’ve got REAL people following you and engaging online.  Even if it doesn’t directly relate to your brand, product, or service spreading some humor can help to humanize your brand’s message.  We’ve found quotes, funny gifs, and office photos and interesting news articles helpful at CFA Institute.  Have a little fun, let your hair down, and get creative with your social media posts!

Myth #3: My Demographic Is Older, So Social Media Isn’t Relevant or Worth It

Contrary to what you believe, the older crowd is quite active on social media.  According to comScore Mobile Matrix the average tablet minutes spent on social networks per visitor is up 115% from 2015 in the 55+ age bracket.   According to FastCompany the fastest growing demographic on twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket (click to tweet this).  This demographic has grown 79% since 2012. For Facebook this group has jumped 46%, for Google+ 56%.

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Not broadening your brand to reach an older age group, or ignoring their presence on social media outlets will severely limit your company’s potential for growth.

What do you think of these three myths debunked? Would love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment below or send me a tweet, thanks!

10 Types of Content we CRAVE!

If your content doesn’t resonate with your audience, then they won’t follow you where you want to take them.  For content marketers, this is a cardinal sin. It’s important to ask yourself what kind of content universally resonates with people.  Social Media is all about engagement, and driving conversation.  Content is fire, and social media is gasoline, so having a basic understanding of what resonate is imperative. Inspired by Scott Aughtmon’s post for Content Marketing Institute I created a list of 10 types of content we all love to consume.

  1. Content that tells us a story
  2. Content that inspires us to action
  3. Content that challenges our assumptions
  4. Content that evokes emotion
  5. Content that takes us along a journey
  6. Content which helps to educate as well as entertain
  7. Content which provides a fresh point of view
  8. Content that reveals secrets
  9. Content that encourages us to never give up
  10. Content that surprises us

It’s also important to keep the four rules below in mind as your creating content as you’re working to influence, inspire, and drive action.  You don’t necessarily need to have each of these types of content within each piece you produce, sometimes one is enough.

  • This is the kind of content we never get tired of.
  • This is the kind of content we always have time for.  
  • This is the kind of content we don’t forget.
  • And this is the kind of content we want to share.

I hope these provide some inspiration to get your content marketing in shape! Please leave a comment or send me a tweet and let me know what kind of content you crave!

Authority, Impact, and the Future of Influence Marketing

Influencer marketing is the most powerful tool in getting a brand’s message to an interested audience in a relevant and authentic way. Whether launching a new product or just trying to raise brand awareness, it’s effective in driving engagement, visibility,quality traffic, and more. Last week I spoke at ClickZ Live New York on Authority, Impact, and the Future of Influence Marketing.

The future of influence marketing is up and coming as marketers are trying to hone in on how to develop relationships with key influencers with hopes to lift awareness of their brands. It’s not enough to market through influencers, now it’s crucial to find a way to collaborate in partnerships with influencers.

Within my speech I discussed the four rules of influencer marketing:

1) Popularity Does NOT Equal influence.

2) To be influential, a person has to be actively writing on topics which matter to your audience.

3) To be influential, a person has to have authority.

4) Influencer’s drive action.

Platforms like Instagram and YouTube have led to the rise of a new generation of influencers that have amassed huge followings on niche subject matters. A research study by Nielsen showed that buyers trust experts and influencers over branded content. It’s important start a campaign with a precise set of goals, and understand the purpose of your influencer outreach plan.  Whether its to get them to be a brand advice, guest blog, or vouch for your brand you must begin by defining concise targets and have various KPI’s for various social media networks.

So how can you find Influencers? Great Question, here are some of my favorite (and free!) tools:

1) Follower Wonk Enables you to find, analyze, and optimize for social growth, and search bios of those influencers you’re after (especially very niche topics!).

2) Twitter provides free analytics which outlines top followers, influencers, and also gives a nice overview of your impressions, mentions, and more.  I also find using twitter lists to be an excellent way to tap into and influencer and “digest” twitter in a more streamlined manner.

3) BuzzSumo allows you to find the most shared content and see what content performs best, as well as discover key influencers.

4) Topsy is one of my favorite tools to search all tweets and measure social trends, but they’ve also got an influencer option which has proven quite helpful.

5) Klout is the original tool to rank influencers based upon social networks and reach, they’ve started a content first approach, but hey, I still get free perks, and i’m still a fan!

Once you’ve found your influencers it’s important to get closer and engage with them using social media.  Being socially active you’ll be one step closer to your influential audience.  When reaching out to an influencer you’ve got to recruit, initialize and grow your relationship, and then nurture. Make sure your outreach is relevant.  Taking time to research your target influencers interests, and understand who they are and what they like is crucial.  Engage on social media by sharing an article, providing an opinion, and engaging when them in conversation without an ask. Once you’ve built your initial conversation pitch free it’s important to reach out offline to discuss next steps, and if possible remind them of your discussion and engagement to spark the conversation.

My slideshare from ClickZ Live is below, and remember Jay Baer’s quote, “Content is fire. Social Media is Gasoline.” When done right tapping into this new generation of influencers can put your brand on the map, increase traffic, engagement, and so much more.

What do you think of the presentation, send me a tweet @MarissaPick, or leave a comment below.