Gangar’s Guide To Social Media Success – Part I
This is the first in a 5-part series of weekly articles that will tell you everything you need to know about how to run a successful social media campaign.
Part One: In The Beginning
In part one we will examine a few easy techniques that anyone can use to kick-start their social media campaign. Whether you’re a company or an individual, these tips will help you use your time on social media more efficiently.
Trying to establish yourself or your brand on social media can often seem like a thankless task or constant uphill struggle; the constant attempts at boosting your followers or likes can grow wearisome if you’re not seeing immediate results. This fatigue can often lead to people giving up on their social media campaigns and undoing all the hard work that they’ve put in.
This guide is aimed at helping people in this position to maximise the effectiveness of their social media endeavours without having to increase their efforts tenfold. There are several things that, once taken into account, will help your brand gain popularity and recognition. As a general rule, it is better to do a few things effectively than do many things ineffectively.
If you’re here reading this guide, then it seems fairly safe to assume that you have already decided to use social media as a means of promotion. However, if this isn’t the case and you’re still wondering if social media will benefit your brand, then we also have a guide on what you can expect to gain from a social media campaign (click here). Go and give it a read and meet us back here in a bit, once you’re convinced.
In this guide we’re going to start by considering techniques and strategies that can be applied to any social media campaign, regardless of which platform you are active on.
Here are 5 things to consider when you start using social media:
How often do you post?
This is one of the most important ingredients to achieving online success. There is no exact answer to how often you should be posting, this will vary depending on what industry you are involved in and what your audience base is like. Having said that, there are some ground rules that you should try and stick to in order to maximise the effectiveness of your efforts.
It is important for any social media account to appear to be active and continuously updated. If somebody who is unfamiliar with your brand clicks onto your profile and sees that the last post was a week ago, it is unlikely that they’re going to come back for more. You need to give people a reason to believe that they might be missing out by not checking the page frequently. If you’re just starting up, then two posts a day on Facebook would be a good target to set yourself.
This doesn’t mean that you have to prepare two posts per day! Try stockpiling a few posts at the beginning of each week and allocate a time for when you want to them to go live. This means that even though you may only spend an hour each Sunday preparing posts, you’re audience will see fresh content being delivered throughout the week. By doing this you will increase the likelihood that your followers will check back of their own accord to see what’s new. It also increases the likelihood of your posts being seen because they will be sprinkled throughout your customers’ newsfeeds.
Tip: Try posting at regular intervals and not all at once. This will make your account seem less spammy and also increases the amount of times at which your audience may see you on their newsfeed.
Tip: Research shows that social media users are most active and most likely to share posts towards the end of the week. Save your best posts for Thursdays and Fridays as they will gain the most exposure.
Don’t limit your posts to self-promotion
This is possibly one of the main concepts that brands seem to miss out on when conducting themselves on social media. It may be true that the people who follow you are interested in you and your brand but it is definitely true that their interests don’t stop there. Spend some time thinking about what reasons your audience has for following you, try to identify what related topics they may also be interested in.
By posting about things that are indirectly related to you and the type of audience you have, you will make your profile a much more interesting and diverse place to visit. Whilst marketing is important, there are more ways to do it than by simply posting continuous adverts for your brand. Users may get bored quickly if it you aren’t covering more than one topic and this will decrease their motivation to come back to your page.
For example if you are an aspiring musician, consider posting links to other artists or upcoming gigs that you think your audience will be interested in. If you are a budding photographer, then you might want to think about posting links to exhibitions that you enjoyed or the work of other artists that you admire. Not only will your audience appreciate the variety of the content that you are offering, it also lessens your creative burden because you don’t have to constantly strain your mind for things that you can post about yourself.
Tip: The first thing a new visitor to your page will do is scroll through your past posts. Bear this in mind and try to be aware of how your page looks to somebody who is seeing it for the first time.
Don’t forget to “cross-promote”
If you are present on more than one social media platform, then you should consider whether or not you are giving your audience a reason to follow you on more than one of them. Do your Facebook “likers” know that you’re on Twitter? Do your Twitter followers know that you’re on Facebook? If this isn’t the case, then you might want to think about ways that you can let them know. Try and vary the content of each profile slightly, by doing this your customers will feel like they could miss out by not following you in more than one place.
“Know the strengths of each platform”
It is important to try and give each one of your social media profiles a USP (unique selling point). This means that you won’t just be regurgitating the same content across all of your accounts. Whilst some crossover is understandable and can often be beneficial – if you’ve just launched an EP you’re going to want it to get as much publicity as possible, it’s an idea to have some variation across platforms. Diversity is key when it comes to social media and knowing the strengths of each platform and the expectations of your audience members on each can be a great way of exploiting various profiles.
For example, Twitter is a great place to provide your followers with up-to-date, real time information on what’s going on with your brand and can be a great venue for showing your more human side by tweeting about more everyday things. Facebook is a good place to put your more momentous achievements and is also a great place to share links to other pages that may interest your audience. Instagram is based around photos but don’t forget the room for text underneath, this can be a good place to mention your presence on other social media sites.
“Link to your website or blog”
A great way to generate interest in yourself and your brand is by placing links to your website or your blog into your social media posts. This will generate traffic to your site and gives interested audience members a way to really see what you’re all about. If you don’t have a website, then Tumblr is a brilliant place to link to. It gives you a forum to share anything you can think of and is especially beneficial to photographers and artists. It even has a feature that allows you to change the web address to a personal domain name, essentially giving you your own basic website.
Tip: You will undoubtedly post similar content across your various social media, there is nothing wrong with this. The important thing to consider is how each platform is different and what type of posts will be more appropriate for certain sites.
Decide on a name that explains what you’re about
Your name is the first thing that visitors will see when they come to your page. It is also the first thing they will see when you come up as a “recommended page” on Facebook. This means that, along with your profile picture, it is the first chance you have to attract someone’s attention. If you are thinking of starting a social media campaign for your business, then it is quite likely that you will choose the name of your company. However if you are in an industry where your brand title is also your name, then you may want to think about whether or not the title of your profile tells audiences enough about you.
“Don’t confuse your friends”
For example, if you are run a photography blog and you want to create a Facebook page for it, your initial source of new likes will be from your current friends on Facebook. This means that they will already be accustomed to seeing posts from “Jane Smith” (you) and they will probably be used to seeing you post photos. What you need to consider is how you differentiate between your personal posts and your photography page. If you use your own name for photography page and plan on sharing images from it, then your friends will see something along the lines of “Jane Smith shared Jane Smith’s photo”. Whilst your friends will often be aware of what’s going on, some of them won’t be and may still be unaware that you have a separate page for your photographic exploits.
One way to combat this would be to change your page name to “Jane Smith Photography”. By doing this you will ensure that people can differentiate between your personal page and your official one. The benefits of this go beyond merely what your friends will see on Facebook. It also means that as your brand grows and people started seeing you as a suggested page, they will know that you run a photography blog. This means that people who are interested in those kinds of areas will be more likely to click-through to your page.
Tip: As your social media campaign gains momentum, your page will start to appear to people who may not be familiar with your name. This means that they won’t know what area of interest your page is focused on – including this in the name of your profile will make them aware of this instantly.
E.g. “Jane Smith Photography” instead of “Jane Smith”
Use data effectively
One of the most valuable things that a social media page can offer you is insight into who your audience is and what their online activity is like. While you may be able to guess at certain aspects of your followers’ behaviour, there is no need to leave it to chance when you have so much information at your fingertips. Understanding your audience is the most important part of any successful marketing campaign.
“Insight is a wonderful thing”
Facebook offer an “insights” section on every brand related page. This section will allow you to see everything from how many new likes you have received, to what type of demographics you are attracting attention from. It allows you to see what types of post have done well on your page and which ones have gained less traction. As with any set of data, it is only as helpful as you make it so it’s really in your hands when it comes to taking advantage of this information. Twitter also offer services like this that allow you to see how much people are engaging with your tweets.
Another tool that can be useful to use is Google Trends. This is a free tool offered by Google that allows you to see how often a particular search term is entered into their engine. If you run a website then this can be an extremely helpful tool in allowing you to see if there are any days in a week that a new blog post may be most successful with the search engines. Google also offer a free analytics tool that allows you to measure the amount of traffic that you are receiving to your webpage and also how it is finding you i.e. through Facebook, Twitter etc.
Knowing when your topic is most searched for can shed some real light on what to angle your online marketing towards. Some topics follow clear trends such as “New Music” which consistently peaks on weekends:
Other topics such as “Photography Blog” are much more sporadic:
Tips: If you are someone who feels comfortable analysing data, then use this to your advantage when it comes to your social media campaign. It may be slightly time consuming but could help make your social media efforts much more effective.
Coming Up Next Tuesday…
The next article in this series will cover Facebook campaigns in much more detail. Here are some of the topics we will examine:
- How to get more organic reach for your posts
- When is the best time to promote a post?
- How often you should be posting and when
- Are you reaching the right audience?
What are your thoughts on what we’ve discussed today? Have you discovered any other techniques that have helped with your social media campaign? If you have any questions or comments please let us know below.