This is a guest post from Nisha Pandey, who is a blogger and a digital marketer and also the winner of the Aha!NOW guest post giveaway by virtue of topping the ABC Leaderboard in the month of September 2014. Her tips are spot on and will help you in your social media plans for creating successful campaigns.
If you’ve been wondering on how some of the bloggers make it big, while you’re still struggling to get past the fledgling stage, don’t worry, I’ve been in the same boat too and know the feeling quite well.
But I managed to come out of the rut I was in and get this far. So, I can confidently give you some tips and insights on what makes your blog get noticed and yield big bucks.
The one clear thing that has emerged in blogging 2014 is that you just can’t do with the mundane and routine blogging steps.
With social media now being the main core the way businesses are influenced and dependent on, you certainly need to give it more attention.
An Overview of Contents
Wielding the Social Media Wand
When you consider social media the bare facts can surprise you.
While you may possess presence in social media, it does not necessarily mean you are wielding social media influence.
In other words, in the realm of social media, you should know the stark difference that exists between irrelevance and relevance and anonymity and visibility.
What I mean by influence is you may have great content to share, but when you don’t have influence, there will be no one to listen to it.
So without influence, you are doing an exercise in futility.
When you understand the ways to get the influence by building up your own unique identity, the path to success in blogging will be clear and you can cruise through easily without any hitches.
1. Decide on the Social Media Objectives for Your Blog
While social media can be used for accomplishing several objectives of your blog, I’d suggest that you focus on a minimum set of goals that are primarily needed for your blog’s success.
What things do you prioritize as far as your blog is concerned? Is it building awareness, sales or getting more retention and loyalty?
You need to choose what you need the most and build the strategy based on it.
To form a solid social media strategy, you should set higher level objectives.
From increasing sales and customer retention to reducing costs, making marketing efficient and streamlining customer support, there are several things which you have to concentrate on and give importance to, while you develop the social media plan.
Okay, this may sound too ambitious for you, when you are at ground zero, but when you set realistic timeframes and goal, it’ll be easier to scale than setting unrealistic goals and getting disappointed at the end.
2. Study various Social Media Platforms
While you may think that having an account on the various social platforms will suffice, you’re grossly mistaken. Plunging in recklessly without a plan is not a good way to reach your goals.
To capitalize on the immense resources and benefits that social media has, you need to have more than just a blog with just a few posts in the past six months, a Facebook page with a couple of followers and a Linked in account with a handful connections.
This clearly shows that your social media presence is sorely lacking in relevance. If you don’t have the right connections and influence, and lack the proper user engagement, you cannot go anywhere.
Though all social media may look the same to you, the difference between Twitter and Google+ is like comparing apples to oranges. Each and every platform has its own uniqueness, style, practice, and mainly its own audience.
You can however pick the social platform that suits your needs the best. This way you need not have a presence in all of them but a few targeted ones, which can deliver what you aim at.
Some of the factors you can consider while researching the social networks are the time you can devote per day on the social network, the resources you need and whether the network is the place where your target customers hang around.
These factors will help you pick the social networks you need to try and also how many you can handle.
3. Analyze Your Target Audience
Knowing who you’re interacting with in the social media is important.
I don’t think you’d want to dive in without any planning on the product you promote or the logistics present in the service being of help to the public, when in reality it does not even produce a single ripple.
With a proper analysis of your target audience, you can be assured of all your efforts bearing fruits. Find out what the psychographic and demographic properties of your potential and existing customers are.
Get to know how you can influence them and get them interested in the product through social media.
If you don’t want to waste your precious time and resources, the best thing I’d suggest is performing a proper analysis of your target market. This will guarantee that you’ve got the details and information you need on your target audience.
The analysis will ensure that you’ve chose the right demographic or if not, you can start targeting on a more effective section of the population.
This will make your work more focused and you also get to decide on the marketing techniques for the product or services you want to concentrate on more, even before you start providing them.
4. Determine the Posting Strategy
So you’ve made all the preparations you need for your social media marketing. What next?
Choose the amount, frequency, and time when you post in the various social media. The type of content should also be decided upon.
All these, however, depend on your specific audience and their niche. What may bring me exposure may not do so for you. But here are some pointers that may help.
- Images make a perfect option. If you look at the social media pages, you’ll see images covering most of the space.
Why is that?
With images, you get more likes, clicks, views etc., than any other post category.
- Photos, videos, and images get the maximum response in all the major social media platforms.
- Make sure you pick out a staple update from the images, quotes, text updates, reshares and links which will take up a major portion of your shares and for every four of the staple updates publish a post of another variety. This will help your audience know beforehand what they can expect. This also paves way for better sharing of a particular post and helps you experiment on your approach.
- There are several effective tools that aid in showing you the right time of the day when your posts will be viewed by your target audience. The tools assess this by studying your followers and post history, and determine the best sharing time.
5. Put together the Ideal Team
From what I’ve seen collaborative work can bring about a better output than working at it single-handedly.
Since social media impacts all aspects of the blog, you need to form a cross functional team, so you create and manage the strategy optimally.
Share your results and do a brainstorming session to re-evaluate and tweak the strategy, so you improve the overall plan completely.
Leverage the other fields involved in your business like sales and customer service teams, so the best ideas are known and put to the right use.
The advantage you get with a virtual team is the flexibility and power of highly talented professionals in all the related fields from creative designers to copywriters, developers, and strategists.
When you build a team of experts, it becomes easy to streamline and get the best out of them and see the results you’d aimed at.
6. Create the Perfect Content
To grasp the skill of posting the perfect content there are a few parts that should be taken care of.
If you want to grab the attention of readers, you’ve to make the first few lines interesting enough, so they get hooked and start reading the entire article. As the saying goes the first impression is the best impression.
The headline should appeal to the target audience and the images should connect as well. The sub-heading should entice readers with the promise of giving them the solution they’re searching for.
When you tweet quotes, it gets immediate attention and also increases the traffic in the social media sites.
Your content should promise guaranteed results and give users what they are searching for. Making an emotional connection with the reader is essential for your content to reach its objective.
To realize the loopholes that encircle your content, you can read this post by Mi Muba on “Do you know how you are dumping your each blog post?”
Visuals should be created in conformation to the sizes fit for social media posting. There are tools with pre-built readymade templates that I’ve found quite useful, which can resize the images as needed.
The text should be tailored for your audience with fresh language and a personal and appreciative approach.
7. Learn from Competitors
Though this can work both ways, I think it is the best way to beat the competition and stay in the race.
Learning from your competitors will help you focus on the right social media campaign and know about the ways you can go about for engaging your audience and sustaining them. This will help in strengthening the social media strategy you have in place.
Focus on the social media platforms that your competitors have dominant presence in. If you find that your competitor is not present in a particular platform, then it indicates that it is not the right platform for your business or that you can create a special audience with a very little competition to contend with.
The extent of the social media customers of your competitor will help you know how you can attract more customers and also show you ways to grow your business more.
Right from the profile and cover creation to the content and design, analyzing each and every aspect of your competitors’ blogs will give you all you need to know about how to create a successful blog. And you can also get an idea on how to design differently and what features to avoid.
8. Track Progress
I don’t think tracking is a much looked forward to task by anyone including me. It takes time and is also terribly tedious. But it is necessary. You need to spend only a couple of hours every month on it.
Allot a particular time in a month to go over the metrics, which are considered vital for your blog.
Pick out the most significant factors to concentrate on, like the posts, increase in the followers, page views, impressions, shares or likes, clicks to your product or site, etc.
When you look closely on each of the factors and how they compare with your competitors, you can know where you stand and how much you need to improve.
Another way you can achieve this task, if you’re pressed for time, is investing in software to track the data. There are free analytics tools like Hootsuite, Google Analytics etc., that do the job for you.
You get to re-focus on the right aspects that need more attention with these analytics. If you find some of your posts getting more attention, follow that pattern more diligently.
Titles that show advice with numbers for instance may be received well. If so, you can increase such posts more.
9. Choose Your Automation with Care
Though technology is here to make life easier, too much dependence on it can take out the humane touch or should I say originality that is necessary for the success of your social media plan.
But the fact is I’ve benefited more from the automation tools than I’d imagined. When you have very little time to oversee things, shuttling between your offline and online tasks, it helps to have support from such a quarter.
But don’t fall for the automation tools totally and risk your presence in the social media. Since social media is a highly interactive field, you need to show your readers that they’re interacting with a real person.
While it is allowed to schedule your posts, fill the social media content before you go on a vacation and find out the best time when your posts will reach their target audience. This is because there are some things that you should avoid from letting the automation to take over.
Even if you resort to the automation, remember to supervise the automated work like reading the articles and scheduled messages and give each message the treatment it needs instead of doing the same changes uniformly on all, which may backfire intolerably.
10. Engage the Audience
When you start implementing your social media plan, make sure you add in the updates regularly and engage your audience well. Many bloggers find it difficult to engage the audience with social media.
But it need not be a difficult task. Here are some of the affordable and dynamic ways I’ve used and found very effective.
- To build a powerful community consisting of loyal audience, you need to talk to your existing audience, build a rapport with the potential audience, and link them all.
- The huge traffic that social networks see can be used to gain information of your current and future services or products by the news, spending pattern, dialogue, and the feedback that is done on the social media.
- You can improve your customer service incredibly by using the social media platform, which is an ideal point of contact and also serves as a window for displaying the standards you offer.
- You can launch a forum, poll or any other service easily, without spending much with the social media.
- Transparency works better here than in any other format. Readers can voice their disapproval or complaints instantly and get an immediate response, making social media a great way to build credibility.
I’ve seen many blogs out there that fail at using social media the right way. They give all kinds of plausible excuses, like the tactics they employ aren’t working or not effective.
But what they lack in reality is not planning their social media presence the right way. When your objectives are clear and you plan the way to achieve them in a systematic way, the chances of your tactics failing are slim.
The goals you set should be the core of your strategy. Integrating the strategy with the overall marketing plan you have for your service or product will give it more credibility and effectiveness.
So what you need to do is try hard and persevere. Determination to continue with your efforts and learning from each and every experience will help you move ahead and taste victory.
Remember it need not always be a path full of thorns. Enjoy your journey!
Share Your Thoughts:
Do you have a social strategy or a social media plan? How do you go about leveraging the social media and create more influence in order to achieve the objectives of your blogging?
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos
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