Social media offers fantastic opportunities for content promotion. Opportunities that didn't exist even just a few years ago. But unlike traditional advertising, social media is less of a promotional platform than it is an engagement platform. That means you can't just use your social media accounts to accost followers with your "commercials."
Effective use of social media requires planning and strategic implementation. While old school advertisement allows you to pay for reach on other people's networks, social media requires you to build up your own audience with which you can engage and advertise from.
January 14, 2015
This is no small hurdle, and many companies have failed at social media marketing due to improper use of their social networks.
Choose Your Social Networks
There are literally hundreds of social networks to choose from. We all know the big players: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Snapchat... oh, well, that list can go on for awhile, too. How can anyone actively engage in all of the social networks, even just sticking to the main players? The truth is, you can't.
Every business has to determine which social networks are most valuable to them. Where is your target audience engaging? Which network is most friendly to your type of business? Which offers you the best reach? Not all social networks are equal, and a network that does great for one business might be a bust for another.
I usually tell businesses that are just starting out in social media to choose one network at a time. Build that up sufficiently before jumping into another network. By focusing on one network initially, your efforts will be far more effective (we only have so many hours in the day!) and you'll more quickly be able to determine if your efforts there are producing fruit.
If they are, keep going and, as you have time, start building up your presence in another network of value. If not, jump ship and put your efforts somewhere else. Be careful to give yourself time to build up your network effectively before determining it has no value. Social presence building takes time.
Stay Focused on Your Promotion Efforts
There are certain tasks that frequently get thrown by the wayside when other, more "important" tasks cross our plate. Social media marketing often suffers such a fate. Inconsistency in social media often leads to stagnation. Sure, you may maintain most of your followers, but you'll notice that as you start posting again, you won't have the same engagement as before. It'll take time to ramp that back up again.
As much as other tasks tend to pull you in different directions, stay focused on your social media efforts. Set aside time each day to read, post, and engage on your streams to maintain an active presence.
Set goals that you can achieve on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, and don't give up until you achieve them.
Engage and Promote with Greatness
As with all things, do social media with greatness. That means it might require the whole ass (as opposed to just half-assing it)! Don't think of social media as a chore, but as a way to reach your audience and solve their problems. Whether you're solving them with your own content or with content from some other sources, use your social platform as a way to demonstrate your knowledge and willingness to provide your audience with valuable content they may not be able to find anywhere else.
Research top influencers in each of your channels and determine what it is they are doing that has brought them to where they are. Is it something you can duplicate? If not, are there any lessons you can learn and apply to your streams that might help you build up your own sphere of influence?
Don't copy what others are doing, but do learn and apply those principles to your own networks. Don't let social media be an after-thought. Instead, seek to dominate it by giving it all that you can. Take time to invest wisely, build relationships, and be helpful. Only then will socializing your own content get any traction.
Follow the 80/20 rule on socializing your own content. Self promotion should only be 20% of your network posts. The remaining 80% should be engagement, sharing other people's content and answering questions. While posting links to your blog posts is easy, proper network building and socialization is not. It's all about providing value, and knowing the limits of the value of your own content. It may be great, but that's not all your audience is interested in.
Go for the Big Win
A good blog is much more than the sum of its parts. As much as we think we simply need to write good content, being successful at blogging requires a lot more work than just the writing. Plan ahead and know what your goals are. Determine the best ways to reach your target audience and do so with strategic regularity.
There are many tools at your disposal. Find those that will help you most effectively and put them to use. While you don't want to be a slave to your blog, you do want to make a plan that you can work from regarding publishing schedule, topics, etc. Every post doesn't need to be a masterpiece, but you should always seek to produce epic content at least some of the time. Finally, make sure your content can be found and use social media to publish it into your active social networks.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.