Social Media Mastery – can it be done?

Without a doubt social media is an integral part of running and growing an online (and offline) business these days.

But just how to do you decide what to use and when, or even how?

When it comes to social media mastery I like to keep in mind the 4Ps: Platform, Plans, Posts, Promotion.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘Content is fire. Social media is gasoline’ ~ Jay Baer” quote=”‘Content is fire. Social media is gasoline’ ~ Jay Baer”]

Social Media Mastery: Platforms

Choosing your platform is probably the hardest but most important decision you have to make at the outset. Will you be on all of them or just some of them?

You have a choice between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Google+ (closing in 2018) and many others …

Do you need to be ACTIVE on all of them? No.

Do I think you need to HAVE AN ACCOUNT ON all of them? Short answer is yes!

The longer answer is that I believe you should have a branded account on the BIG FIVE: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube & Linkedin. (At the very least so that nobody else can “steal” your username) I don’t believe you should necessarily put a lot of effort into maintaining a presence on ALL these channels ALL the time. See my guide to saving time on social media here for a few ideas on how to post with minimum effort. But if you’re not going to use a platform often then make sure you make a note for any followers in your profile that posts will be sporadic and provide a link to where they can find you more often.

It makes perfect marketing sense to put your maximum effort into the social media platform(s) that will provide the greatest return on in investment. So check the demographics for each and see if it that fits your target market.

SEE ALSO: An Overview of Social Media Platforms for Small Business

Whichever social media platform you decide to set up on there are a few things to note:

 

  • Branded & Recognisable

    Ensure you brand your channels and that the imagery used on each is consistent. If I looked at your FB and Twitter accounts would I know they belonged to your company? Use uniform brand colours, logos and typeface in profile and header images. Canva is great for designing these as they provide the exact dimensions needed for social media imagery.

  • Website Links

    Link your channels to your website. Ensure your website URL is shown in your social media platforms. Essential if you sell via your website or start your sales funnel there. Similarly have a link to your social media channels on your website so your fans can follow you and you can stay front and centre more often.

  • Follow the Rules

    Adhere to the rules of any social media platform you sign up to. Particulalry Facebook, whihc is notorious for closing down business pages for breaking rules, often without any warning. (Eg running “like and share” competitions) Did you know that it is against FB rules to use a personal profile to promote a business or that asking group members to pay for membership is also against their T&Cs?)

Social Media Mastery: Posts

So now you’ve decided WHERE to be active – how do you decide WHAT to post?

Social Media posts must always be one or more of the following:

  1. Educational (something your readers can use)
  2. Entertaining (who doesn’t like to laugh)
  3. Empathetic (show them that you understand the way they feel)

SEE ALSO: Daily Actions to take on Facebook to Increase Your Reach

Types of Social Media Post

What can you post on social media:

  • Plain text posts
  • Links to external sites (not good for reach on #FB)
  • Images
  • Videos (uploaded – loved by most all social media platforms)

The platform may dictate what type of post to use (ie Instagram=images, Youtube=videos) but when it comes to Facebook or Twitter how do you know what to post?

 

One word: experience.

 

[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘Experience and experimenting is integral to social media mastery'” quote=”Experience and experimenting is integral to social media mastery”]

Test what works for you. Look at your social media platform analytics/insights on the platform to work out which type (and time) works best for your fans.

Find out what works for others. Look at your competitors posts – what seems to work for them? Can you emulate (not copy) that?

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Images have always fared better on social media – particularly on Facebook – in terms of reach (how many people see them) and longer posts have been shown to do better than short text posts. ” quote=”Images have always fared better on social media – particularly on Facebook – in terms of reach (how many people see them) and longer posts have been shown to do better than short text posts.”]

Hashtags for Social Media Mastery?

One question I always get asked is whether or not to use #hashtags?

Here’s my answer (but as always investigate what works for your fans)

  • Twitter = Yes, three or four per post (if suitable)
  • Facebook = You can but you’ll see not many do. Used sporadically, often to denote sarcasm or to add non-essential info to a post
  • Instagram – Hell, yes! As many as you can think of 😉
  • LinkedIn – Jury’s out on this – but you can
  • YouTube – not so much

Hashtags on most platforms seem to be hyperlinked, which means you can click on them and find other posts containing that #hashtag so you can start a conversation with like-minded individuals/businesses.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘Social Media is a contact sport’ ~ Margaret Molloy” quote=”‘Social Media is a contact sport’ ~ Margaret Molloy”]

And remember you don’t have to create all the posts yourself. Curation – the act of collecting and sharing others’ posts and info – is a great time saver as is re-purposing content (eg recording a blog post as a video).

Scheduling tools should also be considered or outsourcing.

Social Media Mastery: Promotion

There are a number of ways to promote your social media posts and channels. Whilst most small business owners tend to pin their hopes on “going viral” this is not the best plan.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes that’s an ad!’ ~ Howard Gossage” quote=”‘Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes that’s an ad!’ ~ Howard Gossage”]

Paid promotions must be considered as part of your social media strategy, whether it’s boosting a Facebook post or creating a timeline or sidebar ad.

The great thing about social media ads is the ability to target who it is shown to. You don’t have to rely on hoping that whoever sees a posts is interested.

Things to consider when promoting social media posts:

  1. Target audience
  2. Budget
  3. Split testing
  4. Trial and error

Sprout Social have a great guide on social media ads here: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/topics/social-media-advertising/

Social Media Mastery: Plan

Just as social media is integral to business. A social media plan is essential to social media mastery!

Do you now why you’re using social media? What is your end goal?

  • Brand Awareness
  • Customer Service
  • Research & Development
  • Drive Sales

Whatever your goal you need a plan to be able to reach that goal. And above all your goal must be SMART:

  • Specific – what EXACTLY are you trying to achieve?
  • Measurable – how will you know when you’ve reached it?
  • Achievable – can it be done?
  • Relevant – is it necessary to achieve this goal?
  • Timely – WHEN will you achieve this?

Posting blindly and expecting to achieve massive amounts of new  followers or sales is like cooking without the right ingredients and yet still expecting perfection.

By setting goals before you begin, it’s easier to measure success or failure.

An example of a SMART social media goal would be something like:

Average 3% Click Through Rate (CTR) on Tweets by end of year. (sales driven goal)

OR

Gain 500 Twitter followers by the end of the month. (brand awareness goal)

Once you know your goal you can work backwards on a plan on how to achieve it. Having a social media strategy can help you achieve your goal. Things to consider include:

  • Strategy
  • Content Creation & Calendar
  • Use of each post (can you reuse?)
  • Scheduling tools
  • Analytics Tools

What, when, where and why will you post in order to reach your goal?

SEE ALSO: Content Creation Sorted – Ideas for your Social Media

One last thought to leave you on for social media mastery:

[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘Fans are vanity. Sales are sanity’ ~ Lori Taylor” quote=”‘Fans are vanity. Sales are sanity’ ~ Lori Taylor”]

 

Social Media Mastery: Platform, Posts, Plan, Promote