Anarchy is defined as a lawless society that operates in an unruly and disorganized manner, without adherence to the rules of social conformity. Each week the Sons of Anarchy television show epitomizes this definition through the reckless behavior of the members of a motorcycle club as they cause chaos wherever they go. Having a group that disregards the laws of society may be very entertaining for television viewers, but most people know that a world without structure would not work. In the same way that society needs organization, so does promoting your brand through social media. While some may think using social media is easy, in order to be effective, you need a unique strategy and a clear plan. But if your company tries to attempt it without this structure, your efforts will be ineffective; in other words, you will have “social anarchy.”
There are many types of social media, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Vine, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. Since social media channels are free to use, many marketers want to take advantage of them to promote their products or services. All of these social media channels have their own benefits and attract different demographics. But they all have one thing in common, and that is they are more effective when a strategy and plan is implemented using the following tips.
Determine what you want to accomplish with your social media efforts in quantifiable terms. For instance, is your goal to drive more traffic by 10%? Or increase conversations by 5%? Once that is established, choose the social media that makes the most sense for your brand. Do some research and determine which demographics match your objectives. And if you are unclear, experiment with different channels to see which platforms help you reach your objectives.
BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE
You can tweet or post the most amazing offer, but it will not be effective if no one sees it. Start by writing an interesting bio on each platform. Use keywords based on what makes your company unique so that when people come across your profile, users can quickly determine if they want to follow you. Next, start following or favoring people in your target audience as this will provide awareness that your company exists and, in turn, gives them an opportunity to follow you. It is also good practice to make sure that the ratio of your followers to those following you does not differ significantly, especially for Twitter. Review regularly to unfollow those who do not follow you back. There are also services like Crowdfire and Friend or Follow which can help you clean up your list.
SHARE CONTENT ACCORDING TO PLAN
Your content marketing strategy should always come before your social strategy because without content you have nothing to share. Your goal is to use this content to drive followers to your site to learn more about your expertise and what you have to offer. Brainstorm and create a list of content ideas that you feel will be most beneficial to your consumer. Upon building these content elements, put together an editorial calendar to keep track of your social media efforts. Include the date, the content you will be sharing, the social media channel you will be using, the tweet or post copy, the appropriate hashtags, the image and even the time it will be sent.
VARY YOUR MESSAGE
Since you will be posting or tweeting multiple times, make sure to change your copy and images each time so it does not become stale for the follower. Come up with a slightly different strategy for each channel. For example, Indiana-based Oliver Winery does a good job posting unique messages on different social media channels. On Instagram, they posted a “behind the scenes” collage of images to show what goes into bottling their wine. On Pinterest, you can see pictures of their location and wine makers and on Facebook, you can see the final product. Each of these platforms tell a little bit of their story and by varying the message per channel, it gives users a reason to follow you on all your platforms.
BE CONSISTENT & RESPONSIVE
The more helpful content that a potential user sees you posting on a regular basis, the more attractive your company or brand will be to follow. Use a social media management tool, such as Buffer, Hootsuite or Sprout Social, and dedicate some time at the beginning of each week to schedule tweets or posts so they are sent on a consistent basis. And what goes around comes around, so if you want others to share, be sure to share other relevant posts, especially on Twitter. And, one of the biggest benefits of social media is that it allows for a two-way conversation, so be responsive by providing advice, solutions or to thank customers for their business.
To learn which methods are most effective, set up Google Analytics, or an equivalent program. This allows you to determine how many people are coming to your site from the various channels. Some social media management tools also have the ability to see which tweets and posts get the most likes, favorites, retweets or clicks. As you begin to review the data, adjust your efforts accordingly based on what is most effective. If you learn one channel is bringing in more traffic, focus more of your time on that platform and eliminate those who are not bringing you results. Review and adjust this data on a regular basis.
As you can tell, putting together an effective strategy will require dedication, but it is achievable by following the above steps. If you write down your goals, build your following and provide value on a consistent basis via social media, your audience will not just follow you, but they will become loyal customers who use your services.
So when you are ready to be successful in social media marketing, be sure to have a strategy, because a lack of a plan is criminal and may cause “social anarchy.” So, strap on your helmet, rev up your bike and ride on to success with social media marketing!
What are your thoughts? What are some other tips for creating a social strategy?
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Want to learn more about a social media strategy? Check out the following resources, where I obtained some of the above information: 10 Creative Ways To Use Instagram for Business, How to Get More Followers on Twitter, How To Build A Social Media Plan & Get More Followers on Twitter With These 12 Tips.