20 Actionable Tips for Social Media Success In 2018

Social media is an ever-evolving and fast-moving field, and with so much to learn and do, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. To help you stay on top of things I’ve put together this go-to list of things you can implement right now to increase your effectiveness and lead you towards social media success in 2018.

Did you know that on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest? Your headline is the first impression you make on a prospective reader. By adding more power words — words that cause the reader to relate to an emotion and/or trigger action — you can increase the chance your audience will click through to read your copy.

A vanity URL is the user name that you assign to your social media accounts which uniquely identifies you. Before you create your vanity URL, your social media profile is given a default URL that includes a string of random numbers (this is not the case for Twitter where your user name is chosen at the start). For more information on claiming your vanity URL visit these pages at Google+ LinkedIn and Facebook.

To create and maintain interest with your audience you need to post consistently to stay in front of your audience’s eyes and keep growing. One of the best ways to do this is to create recurring content. Recurring content form hooks which keep readers interested in coming back to your site. Having specific days or times that you post content means followers will get into the habit of checking your social media to see if anything new has appeared. Examples could be creating a regular Twitter chat or Facebook Live event or a weekly round-up post on your blog.

The internet is global and if you want the spread of your content to reach further than your own backyard, you need to hit multiple time zones. Scheduling tweets allows you to reach followers when they are most likely to be online (even if you aren’t there at the same time) and allows you to maintain a regular and consistent online presence.

Buffer’s Scheduling Tool

Use a scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your updates to reach more people, more often.

To optimize your social media reach, it’s useful to know the best times to post your updates so they reach your audience when they are online. If you search for optimum posting times, you will find many guides online. You can follow these recommendations as a starting point but it’s best to do your own testing to see what days and times work best for your own audience. Make sure you track the data, experiment with other posting frequencies, and compare the results to get a truer sense of when your audience is online.

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.

I like to use Evernote to store notes and ideas because you can tag and create folders for easy retrieval. 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.

Use a tool like Bit.ly, which creates shortened links to track the performance of your content. Snip.ly is another url shortner tool to try. It allows you to enhance every link you share (whether your own content or someone else’s) with a call to action.

When people click on the Sniply-generated link, they can view the article you shared and see a CTA.

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.

Buzzsumo is a useful tool to explore which pieces of content are popular on social media around a certain topic. Use it to analyze which content performs best for any topic or competitor, and find the key influencers to promote your content. You can also input your own domain name into the search bar and see at a glance how often and where your content is most shared. Review your high performing content across all social networks. Which content worked best for you? Create more of this content in the future. Here’s a snapshot of my own website’s performance to illustrate.

Add an image to all your online posts — even those that are text-based. Not only do photo posts get more engagement than links, videos or text-based updates, they actually account for 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook. According to Kissmetrics, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts.To aid brand recognition and create a strong visual identity, maintain consistency across all your images by sticking to the same colors, fonts and layouts.

Nadya Khoja Venngage (via Unbounce)

Your social media profile should be considered a key element of your personal brand. Optimize each of your profile pictures to convey a professional, friendly and approachable image. Make sure to upload images with the correct dimensions for each social platform. Don’t miss the opportunity to use your cover image to tell the bigger story of what you are passionate about or to promote any upcoming events.

Fill out all sections of your profile across all social platforms and schedule a review date every month or two to check your information is still up-to-date — for example, update your pinned content and change your cover image to reflect your current status

It’s important that you create consistency across all networks by using the same images, logos and other branding elements. Keeping a consistent profile helps cement a picture of you in the minds of others. Here’s a helpful IFTTT recipe to ensure your profile photos are synced between Facebook and Twitter.

With Search Appearances, you can see how many people found you in search, as well their companies and job titles. This is such a cool feature, particularly for job hunters.

Twitter Lists are one of the most effective and simple ways to get a handle on your Twitter engagement. Each time you follow someone new on Twitter, get into the habit of adding them straight to one of your lists. If you haven’t already started with your lists, start building them today. Follow my step-by-step guide to find out how to build your first Twitter list.

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.

Follow this step-by-step guide to create your first Twitter Moment.

Use hashtags to identify real-time opportunities for engagement in news and events, identify current trends and key influencers.

If you want to be successful with your social media plan, stop random acts of hashtagging and use a good hashtag to tie all of the pieces of your campaign together — Peg Fitzpatrick

Watch out for hashtags on Instagram this year — it’s going to be a big trend. Instagram recently announced that users will now be able to follow specific hashtags on the platform, in addition to profiles, with posts using those tags appearing in your main feed. And it appears that Twitter will soon suggest variations on hashtags and reveal which versions are trending and how many people have shared the hashtag within the past hour.

When creating your own hashtag, make sure it is easy to remember. Check to see if your hashtag isn’t already being used for something else.

Find trending hashtags with tools like Twitonomy, Hashtagify.me and RiteTag.

RiteTag is a useful Chrome extension which gives you instant feedback on your hashtag choices as you type them. It checks the hashtags you begin typing in real time and color codes them:

  • If your hashtag is green, it means the hashtag will help your content be seen now.
  • If your hashtag is blue, it means the hashtag will help your content be seen over time.
  • If your hashtag is gray, you should select a new hashtag because it has low levels of engagement.
  • If your hashtag is red, you should select a new hashtag because it’s so popular, your content will disappear into the crowd.

Recommended Reading How to Use Hashtags to Increase Your Online Presence

If you have an automated message set to deliver a canned direct message when someone new follows you, then unset it. If you want to reach out to a new Twitter follower, be sincere about it.

Video is booming. By 2020, Cisco predicts that video will make up 80% of the content we consume online.

Live video was extremely popular in 2017 and this trend will continue in 2018. People are spending 3 times longer watching live content than ones that have been prerecorded. Thanks to the rise of Facebook Live, Twitter Live, and Instagram Stories’ “Live” mode, you now not only have the ability to communicate with their audiences via social media, you can also do so in real time. If you haven’t already gone live, make it a priority in the coming year.

YouTube has become the third most visited website in the world and the second most popular search engine.

While producing your own video may seem daunting, video creation has never been more accessible through smartphones. You can also create simple videos for your channel using free tools such as Adobe Spark and Lumen5 (see my YouTube channel for examples of Lumen5 videos).

To wrap up, the key to success is to work smarter not harder. You don’t have to implement all these tips at once. Try adding one new strategy to your social media plan each week and measure its impact at the end of each month. This way you will know which of these strategies are moving you closer to your social media goals. You can then put your energy and focus on these and avoid wasting time on strategies that don’t deliver results.

Here’s to your social media success in 2018!

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Social Media Consultant. Keynote Speaker. Digital Storyteller. https://hcsmmonitor.com