Time is precious, regardless of the size of business or industry you're in, which means in some cases Social Media and your presence on it gets neglected or worse leaves you in a state of frustration.
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google +, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn...it can feel like some what of a minefield when it comes to how best spend your time.
Some people are of the option that having a presence on every channel is the best bet, but when you think about it, not all platforms are made with the same end-user in mind and unless your business has a customer who fits the user profile of each platform, are you wasting your time using them all?
To work out where best to spend your time, look at your target audience and what kind of content they already consume, as well as thinking about what they may potentially consume in the future. It is more than simply giving them what they want, it's also about providing content that opens their eyes, challenges thoughts, provides insight.
Time and time again I see brands and individuals take to Twitter, Facebook etc and flail rather than flourish, the reason for that is simple; a lack of understanding of why they are on there, and what they want from it. Instead they follow people they know in real life, tweet or post a few times, chat occasionally and then lose faith in it.
How do you avoid this? I suggest before you step digital foot onto any social platform you create a social media strategy, to do that successfully you must first determine what works in terms of engagement, these 4 steps help with that;
1. Know Who You Want To Speak To
Write a plan, go into the process with a clear idea of the people you wish to connect with, regardless of the platform. To know who you want to connect with you must know your purpose;
Are you there to share expertise - if yes then you want to connect with people who will read and engage with the content you share. In my case for example it's business owners, other freelancers and digital publications.
Are you there to sell - if yes then who are your customers, where can they be found? I suggest researching competitors and their presence on social media to see who they engage with.
Are you there to engage with existing customers - if yes then ask them, where are they present online, which platforms do they use and enjoy using the most.
Once you have these clear in your mind, you can move forward with creating a plan of action, a way to speak to your target audience and how best to not only get the most from them but how they can get the best from you.
2. Test The Best Content
Although gaining likes, comments and shares is fantastic, it is only valuable to you and your business if you know the reasoning behind it. The only way that you can do that is to ask the people who engage with you, find out what it was about the content that inspired them to comment, like or share.
Remember that social media is a conversation, a two way street, if you are unsure what content your followers and fans want from you then how will you be able to formulate a successful strategy and plan? There is no need to second guess, some of the most engaged users online regularly ask their audience what they can do to enhance the experience.
3. Understand The Best Time To Post
Once you have a grasp of the content your audience wants, you can then begin to post.
This truly is a case of trial and error to begin with, I suggest that to get a genuine idea of timings you use a scheduling tool, my favourite is Buffer, that way you can easily manage the times posts go live and clearly see the results by using the analytics and reports.
Schedule your content a week at a time, share it and make sure to record the results, then use these analytics to determine how the following week will pan out, continue for a month and by the end you will have a clear road map of the kinds of content you should be sharing to ensure you get the most out of your time on social media.
4. Know The Value Of Engagement
No two engagement methods are the same, and before you finalise your plan it is best to know the value of them, below are the basic engagement options on Facebook & Twitter;
- Like - they have seen your content, may potentially have scan read it and feel some connection to it.
- Share - they feel your content is not only valuable, but that it may also be valuable to others
- Comment - they want to let you know that not only have they read it, they connected with it and want you to know that.
- Favourite - there are two main reasons for this, firstly to bookmark the tweet for consumption later, which usually happens then the tweet includes a link or article
- Retweet - similar to share on Facebook, your follower has found this intriguing, entertaining or educational and wishes to pass it on to others who they hope will get the same from it
- Reply - as with commenting on Facebook, replying to tweets shows you have captured the followers attention and they want to praise, debate or share their thoughts with you on the matter.
Although all three have merits and they should most certainly be seen as a positive, I'm sure you can see the increased value of a share, comment or reply due to the higher level of effort the engager needs to put in.
It goes without saying that to get the most out of social media, you must be active, you must engage, relate and build a platform that not only you are proud of, but that others will continue to return to and engage with.
By having a clearly determined plan for the lifecycle of your social media presence, you can create a detailed schedule of time to spend actively on it, that way you can manage it efficiently without wasting hours without purpose.
I hope this helped, I would love to know your thoughts as always. If there are areas or elements of social media that you would like to know more about please let me know and I will add it to the list of upcoming posts.
If you feel you could do with a little more guidance or support by all means drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org