“Every expert was once a beginner.”
I’ve been a social media consultant for the past ten years and I am still as excited by the possibilities of communicating online today as I was when I sent my first tweet a decade ago.
That’s not to say that I have forgotten what it was like to be starting out on this journey. There can be a steep learning curve at the beginning and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with so many tools and platforms to choose from.
If you’re new to social media marketing, or if you aren’t quite sure you are using it right, then this article is for you. I want to share with you ten of my best tips to set you up for success.
1. Set SMART Social Media Goals
I t’s no secret that goal setting increases your likelihood of social media success, yet it never ceases to amaze me how many businesses have given scant thought to creating their social media goals. Without goals, it’s hard to know exactly how well your social media marketing is performing. Clear goals will not only propel your strategy forward, but they will also serve as defined metrics when it comes to measuring your progress. Describe the specific goals and outcomes you’re seeking to accomplish with your social media activity. These should be aligned with your business goals.
For a goal to become a reality, it needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic, as well as time-specific — these are often called SMART goals. SMART goals are one of the longest-lasting, most popular goal-setting frameworks for business.
Recommended Reading: How To Set SMART Social Media Marketing Goals For Your Business
2. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
It’s important, especially if your resources are limited, that you’re focusing your social media efforts in places that will generate the most return for your efforts. There’s no point spending your time on a particular social network if your audience isn’t there. Nor should you spread yourself too thin by trying to be everywhere at once. Every additional platform your business is active on means additional time and effort required to engage and create tailored content for that platform.
Before becoming active on a social network, try answering the following questions to help you choose the platform that is right for you.
(i) Will this platform help me achieve my marketing goals?
(ii) Is my target audience active on this platform?
(iii) Will this platform match the content I create?
Recommended Reading: 5 Questions To Help You Choose The Right Social Media Channel
3. Get To Know Your Audience
Develop a deeper understanding of your target audience. Where do they like to hang out online? What content is most relevant to them? What kind of information are they looking for? How do they like to consume that information? Once you deeply know your audience, you can then start to build relationships with them and create content that is relevant to them.
Insider Tip: Creating audience personas is a crucial part of designing your social media strategy and truly understanding who you’re trying to reach.
4. Analyze What’s Working For Your Competitors and Industry Peers
Your competitors and industry peers are valuable sources of insight. Look at the type of content your competitors are creating. Identify which content is performing well for them in terms of social shares, comments, likes, etc. Brainstorm around how you can take a piece of content they have created and put your own unique twist on it.
5. Create a Social Media Style Guide
A social media style guide will help you present a consistent style of communication across all social media platforms. Whether you are a team of one or have multiple staff posting to your social media accounts, you should create a style guide that outlines exactly how posts look and read.
Take Action: Your style guide should define the following:
- the tone and voice of your brand’s social media presence;
- the writing style of your posts — consistent format, spellings, etc;
- the colors, logos, and fonts you will use;
- how you will use hashtags and emojis.
6. Add Images To All Your Posts
You’ve surely heard this before, but it’s worth reiterating: images matter — a lot. Visual content is 40x more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content according to research by Buffer.
Add an image to all your online posts — even those that are text-based. To aid brand recognition and create a strong visual identity, maintain consistency across all your images by sticking to the same colours, fonts, and layouts.
7. Don’t Just Add To The Online Chatter
Don’t just add to the online chatter. Before you post something, stop and ask yourself would this pass the re-share test? Why would I want to click on this information? Why would I want to share it with my friends/family? Jonah Berger, the author of “Contagious: Why Things Catch On,” says “before people share a piece of content, they evaluate its social currency.” Commit to creating content that your audience will want to share because they believe it will be of value or interest to others.
8. Develop a Regular Posting Schedule
Social media marketing is an ongoing commitment. You need to post consistently to stay in front of your audience’s eyes and keep growing. And the more your audience hears from you, the more trust you’ll be able to build. Set aside one day each month to map out upcoming events, holidays, and so on, which you would like to write or post about. Then use a simple excel spreadsheet to create your content calendar. Do the same thing with another spreadsheet for social media postings.
9. Post When Your Audience Is Online
If you search for optimum posting times, you will find many guides online. You can follow these recommendations as a starting point, but I do recommend you do your own testing to see which days and times work best for your own particular audience within your industry.
Recommended Reading: When Are The Best Times To Post On Social Media In 2019?
10. Don’t Just “Do Social”; “Be Social”
Finally, we all know those folks who only tweet you when they want you to read, comment or re-tweet their content. Don’t be one of those. Don’t get a reputation for being interested only when you want something. Focus on building online relationships. You can’t expect people to care about your community if you don’t care about theirs.
Insider Tip! Follow the 80/20 rule — post 80% non-promotional content to 20% posts with calls to action for your own content.
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