The start of a new year is the perfect time to review your social media marketing to determine what’s working (or not) for you. If you’re on social media simply for the sake of being on social media, see this as an opportunity to step back and think about why you’re doing it.
Is your New Year’s resolution to build a stronger personal and business brand online in 2017? Then follow these 17 tips to take your social media marketing to new heights of success.
1. Create A Winning Strategy
Social media tactics without strategy is just noise. If you haven’t already done so, create a strategy to guide your social media marketing in 2017. What business goals do you want to achieve using social media over the coming year? Write down your top 3–5 objectives over the next 3, 6, and 12-month period. Make them SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. If you already have a strategy in place, start the new year with an audit of your current position to determine what needs adjustment — and an audit of your competitor’s position to look for gaps you can fill.
Take Action: Follow this step-by-step guide to create (or review) your social media strategy.
2. Perfect Your Social Profiles
Review each of your existing social profiles. Is it time to update your bio with new information? Should you use a more professional image for your avatar? Are your header images clear and compelling? (Tip: Use a tool like Canva to create header images). Are you making good use of keywords? Do you need to include a new call-to-action? Now is the time to perfect your social profiles to convey a professional, consistent and recognizable brand image across all social platforms.
Take Action: Make sure you upload images with the correct dimensions for each social platform. Click here for a useful social image size cheat sheet.
3. Get To Know Your Audience Better
Develop a deeper understanding of your target audience. Where do they like to hangout 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.
Take Action: Use this Coschedule guide to build your audience persona (a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers)
4. Set Up A Social Media Monitoring Dashboard
Social media is a two-way conversation that requires you to listen more than you talk. Use listening tools to become not just a master listener but a master responder. Recommit to listening, genuinely responding, and engaging with those people who take the time to interact with your social profiles and your content.
Social Media Monitoring is the process of proactive listening (in real-time) to what is being said about you, your company, product, service, or industry on the Internet.
Take Action: There are many free and paid monitoring tools which can help you monitor social media. These tools vary in scope and range across number of sites, sophistication of analytics, integration with other applications, and of course, price. Check out Monitoring the Social Web. How to choose your tool for more information. An easy — and free way — to get started is to set up simple Google Alerts for your own name, your brand name, and industry-specific keywords.
5. Focus On Being The Expert One Channel At A Time
Each year brings shiny new social media tools and new features for existing tools. It’s tempting to jump on board the latest social platform with the aim of being everywhere at once; but rather than spreading yourself too thinly, focus on mastering one or two platforms really well before moving on to the next one.
Take Action: Look back at 2016 and ask yourself what you were good at doing. What worked well for you? Then do more of the same. Aim to become known as the go-to expert on one channel before you move on to the next one.
6. Don’t 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?
Take Action: Hootsuite recommend you set up an editorial process for your posts. To help you, they have prepared a handy flowchart along with a list of questions to aid you with vetting your social media posts.
7. Understand The Psychology Of Social Sharing
The New York Times did a fascinating study on the psychology of social sharing a few years ago. It showed that people want to connect to other like-minded people, they want to support issues they care about, and above all they want to share content that will be useful for those others in their network .
CoSchedule followed it up with this infographic.
Take Action: Jonah Berger, author of “Contagious: Why Things Catch On,” says “before people share a piece of content, they evaluate its social currency. Create 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. Set aside one day each month to map out upcoming events, holidays, and so forth, which you would like to write or post about. Then use a simple excel spread sheet to create your content calendar. Do the same thing with another spread sheet for social media postings.
Take Action: Include the time the post will be published. It’s useful to know the best times to post your updates so they reach your audience when they are online. Here’s a helpful guide to the best times to post to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (Tip: It is a good idea to do your own testing to determine the optimum times for your own particular audience).
9. Put A System In Place To Collect Content Ideas
Whether it’s an excel spread sheet, Google Docs, or another note-taking system, create a place to add links to interesting articles, studies or ideas for content to share.
Take action: Evernote is a super useful online tool to store notes and ideas. You can add tags and create folders for easy retrieval. Evernote’s in-browser Web clipping tool allows you to save the full text of PDFs, Web content and other materials. It will also alert you if you’ve already clipped an item or show content that’s related to what you’re saving. You can also email notes to your account and the content will be automatically stored and organized for you, allowing you to quickly reference it in the future.
10. Repurpose Your Existing Content
One key to maintaining a steady stream of quality content is to re-purpose what you already have. Check your blog’s analytics to see the most popular posts you’ve written. Can you expand on these to include new research or thinking? Perhaps the content can be turned into an infographic or a slide-deck. By re-purposing content you have already written, you can extend and breathe new life into your current and past content.
Take Action: Get into the habit of creating content that can be repurposed in several different ways. Read 10 Creative Ways To Repurpose Your Digital Content for ideas on how to do this.
11. Integrate SlideShare Into Your Content Marketing Strategy
SlideShare has been called content’s marketing sleeping giant. Owned by LinkedIn, it’s the world’s largest professional content sharing community. Surprisingly, given how the platform is optimized for social sharing, including the ability to embed presentations, SlideShare is often overlooked and underused by marketers.
Take Action: Expand your content marketing by tapping into the power of SlideShare. The good news is that you don’t even have to create original content to do this. Simply find some content you have already written and get ready to breathe new life into it. Read 15 Ways To Energize Your Content Marketing With SlideShare to learn more.
12. Curate Content
Content curation is the process of finding and aggregating information about a specific topic, synthesizing it to be most relevant to your audience, and sharing it in an easily digestible manner. Curation can deliver many benefits including, establishing thought leadership and credibility, increasing visibility and driving social shares. (Tip: Don’t rely on curation alone; curated content is designed to complement your content creation plan — not replace it).
Take Action: We’re living in a world of information overload; by providing a clear, contextually relevant voice a good content curator will separate signal from noise. Set up an account on a content hub like Scoop.it. Use it to create and build a community of shared interest and amplify your voice.
13. Use More Images
The trend for visual social media continues to grow as evidenced by the increasing popularity of Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram. The aesthetic quality of images encourages engagement and shares not just on these channels but also on Twitter and Facebook — research has shown that a tweet or a Facebook post that includes an image draws more attention than a text-only update. You should also ensure that every single post on your blog has at least one relevant image. Optimize your images for Google search by writing an image caption and adding relevant keywords to the file names that describe the content of the image.
Take Action: Avoid cheesy stock images; build up a photo library by using your own photographs and by finding suitable creative commons images.
14. Create Twitter Moments
Twitter Moments — a tab on desktop and mobile that shows the top news stories trending right now — allows you to curate a series, or gallery, of tweets revolving around a particular theme, such as a developing news story or cultural meme.
Take Action: Follow this step-by-step guide to create your first Twitter Moments.
15. Get into Live-Streaming
Live video was a big trend in 2016 helping users to attract, engage, entertain and build relationships with their audience in a more authentic way. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg had this to say about live-streaming:
Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket. Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world. … This is a big shift in how we communicate, and it’s going to create new opportunities for people to come together.
This trend is set to grow even bigger in 2017 so get on board the live-streaming train.
Take Action: Live events build engagement and real community. Hold live Q&As, give people a peek inside your business, and show them the people who work behind the scenes. (For a comparison of livestreaming options read Which is the Best Social Network for Live Video — Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram?)
16. Optimize YouTube For Your Brand
Would you be surprised to learn that YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google on the internet? And that YouTube is owned by Google? Knowing this, doesn’t it make sense to have content on this channel that is optimized to be found by someone looking for your product, service, or niche, while at the same time boosting your authority in the eyes of Google.
Take Action: Salesforce have produced a helpful infograpic which shows you how to use YouTube to make sure your videos are fully customized and optimized for success. Check it out here.
17. Tell More Stories
Storytelling is one of the simplest and most effective ways to connect with your audience. Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience reveal that your brain is hardwired to respond to story. In fact your brain on story is different than your brain when it is receiving any other form of information, including straight facts and data.While facts and figures engage a small area of the brain, stories engage multiple brain regions that work together to build rich emotional responses.
Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today — Robert McKee Brown
When human beings need to persuade people about ideas, we tell stories. Steve Jobs knew this –It’s the reason apple sold millions of iPods by skipping the technical specifications and simply stating that one thousand songs could now fit in your pocket.
Take Action: Identify your signature story. Signature stories are those stories that uniquely identify you. To find yours, create a timeline of your life and reflect on those events and experiences that truly define who you are today. Think about the defining moments in your life, challenges you have overcome, and your personal triumphs, and then craft these into a compelling story. Read 30 Experts Share Effective Business Storytelling Tips and How Brands Can Become Great Storytellers for more storytelling ideas.
Here’s to your social media success in 2017!
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