Are you struggling to make social media work for you?
Do you have the right social media strategy for your business?
The challenge of social media is that it's constantly changing.
In this article I'll share five ways to adapt social media for your business.
#1: Do a Social Media Audit
To determine what is and isn't working in your social media strategy, go over the analytics for your posts.
Review your posts over the last three months, six months or year. See which posts got the most traffic, as well as the most shares and other engagement. Adjust your strategy accordingly.
In his article Social Media Audit: How to Use Tools to Audit Social Media, Ian Cleary of RazorSocial goes into detail about which free tools make it nearly effortless to analyze your social media traffic.
For Google Analytics, Ian recommends starting with a comparison report, which you can do for any period of time.
A few tools Ian recommends: the AgoraPulse Facebook Page Barometer, Simply Measured Free Twitter Follower Report, Tailwind’s Pinterest Tools, Iconosquare Instagram Statistics and Google Plus Steady Demand Brand Page Audit Tool.
Once you determine which types of content got the most traffic and engagement, you can reassess and reinvigorate your strategy moving forward.
#2: Use a “Shotgun Approach” for Reliable Reach
It doesn't matter how large your following is, your message sometimes can fall through the cracks. With increasing numbers of brands utilizing social channels, you have to find better ways to get your message to stand out from the noise.
Jay Baer of Convince and Convert shares Why It Might Be Time to Completely Change Your Social Media Strategy.
The gist is this. Unless you call, email or otherwise send your content to your audience, you have no idea if it's going to reach them. Even if you have a huge fan base on your social networks, you never know if your people will see your message.
Jay's solution is to have a shotgun approach for your social media strategy, as opposed to a rifle approach, which is how most people distribute their content.
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Jay went into detail on this at the Social Fresh conference.
Jay Baer explained the shotgun approach to social media strategy.
According to Jay, the rifle approach represents best practices for social media: create quality content, approach each channel in a unique way and build a large following.
The shotgun approach, Jay says, is based on the mathematical realities of this wave of social media. Increase the amount of content and post in more places to increase the chances it will be seen.
When you post more content in more places, the possibility of connecting with your fans increases substantially.
#3: Analyze Competitors
Perhaps the most important research for your social strategy is an analysis of your competition. Discover what works for your competitors and then determine how to use that information to improve your social media strategy.
On Jeff Bullas‘ blog, Vibhu Satpaul shares The Simple 6 Step Checklist for Analyzing Your Competition on the Web.
To effectively analyze your competitors, Vibhu says to look at their keyword prioritization patterns, break down their rankings and monitor their online visibility, especially on search engines.
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Vibhu took six steps from Avinash Kaushik’s 10 best practices on the Occam’s Razor blog to compile his competitor analysis checklist.
1. Start with a visit to your competitors' websites, and make notes about the good and bad features.
2. Then break down their customer acquisition strategy—analyze their direct, organic, referral and other traffic sources.
3. Next, see what's broken and what's fixable.
4. Also, review their content marketing and see if it's producing results.
5. Look at where they're advertising and guesstimate whether their marketing budget is effective.
6. Finally, check for unknown variables and determine if they're working in tandem or against business goals.
Even if you do just part of this evaluation to analyze your competition, you'll gain useful insights to incorporate into your strategy.
#4: Create an Audience Strategy
Produce content with your (whole) audience in mind (who your customers are and what they have in common), and you're more likely to inspire consistent, shareworthy content.
So said Brand Savant's Tom Webster, when he spoke about Why You Don’t Need a Content Strategy at the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit. His recommendation: create an audience strategy instead.
The days of “gaming the system to win at content” will soon be over, Tom says. The solution is an audience strategy.
Tom cites Kristina Halvorsen‘s definition of content strategy, which is “planning for the creation, delivery and governance of useful, usable content.” Audience strategy, he says, is “figuring out which people could be your customers—based on what they believe, value, think and feel—and why they would be.”
If your customer segments (buyer personas) are based solely on your data, as is typically done with content strategy, you make assumptions and in turn miss out on a lot of people.
Figure out the overlap between why you think your product's important and why your customer thinks your product's important.
#5: Analyze Mobile Options
If mobile isn't part of your social media strategy, what are you waiting for? Readers consume a ton of content on mobile devices, so analyze and optimize mobile as part of your social media strategy.
On the BufferSocial blog, Kevan Lee offers an Ultimate Guide to Mobile Social Media, which includes the why and how of looking at strategies for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ with mobile in mind.
He shows how the experience is different for desktop vs. mobile and offers solutions to incorporate into your mobile strategy.
For all mobile channels, make your header image count. “On every social media app, the header image on your profile is huge—in size and importance,” Kevan says. “It's the first thing people see, and it's your first (and best) opportunity to make an amazing impression.”
Additionally, for Twitter, Kevan recommends you focus on visual content and keep track of what you retweet, since your tweets will also appear in lists.
For Facebook, share updates as images (include links too) and pin posts. Kevan also notes the company's address will supersede your bio and description on mobile, so only use it if necessary.
For LinkedIn, share images and video and write an amazing bio. Content is more structured in the mobile app, so make sure it grabs readers' attention.
For Google+, “Support your community by engaging in comments.” It'll get you noticed.
There are many little things you can do to enhance your mobile reach.
Social media strategies fail for a variety of reasons—lack of brand consistency, no value within the content, not sharing original material. They succeed when you've done the appropriate legwork.
Social media strategy is different for every brand, company and product. If you do your research and create appropriate focused content that will get to your readers, you're already headed in the right direction.
What do you think? How often do you change your social media strategy? What tools do you use to review and revise it? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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