You can’t ignore it. Social media has become a huge part of our culture over the past few years. You can no longer pretend that it isn’t relevant to you. Because it is.
Over 50% of Americans and 30% of the world population are on social media. It’s where people are.
You go there to see what your friends are doing, and to stay in touch. They go there to share things they’ve made and silly cat memes. We go there to meet new people.
You go there. They go there, we all go there.
So why not be there?
An old advertising rule states that a person needs to see or hear your message at least 7 times before they take action to buy from you. Smart phone users in America check social media 17 times a day, and in other countries it’s as high as 40 times. I don’t think I need to connect the dots.
Social media is a powerhouse tool for marketing. And the best part is you don’t need to be an expert to get results.
The beginning of every marketing strategy is straightforward: you need to solve a problem. What value are you giving to your audience? Why should they follow you? That’s the first thing to figure out.
You can’t solve everybody’s problem. So it’s important to be specific. Turn humor into video game humor. Instead of motivation, think motivation for athletes. Take photography and narrow it down to landscape photography.
What’s your worldview? What are you passionate about? Connect with your followers on a deeper level by taking a stance that they can be excited about too.
Social media is most successful when you build authentic relationships. You need to know who you want to reach.
Define your target audience. Who would you enjoy connecting with the most? Start with demographics, things like age, gender and location. Then get into more emotional stuff like beliefs and interests.
Write it all down, don’t just make a mental note.
Now that you’ve narrowed your niche and know who your audience is, it’s time to figure out what you want to communicate.
What’s your mission?
Some examples for a food blogger might be:
- Eating healthy is easier than you think
- Cooking can save you money
- Having meals with friends is good for the soul
- Food should taste good
Chose 3 or so different ideas you’d like to share.
You feel pressured to use certain social media accounts. I get it. But just let it go. Don’t worry about it in the beginning. You can jump over to other platforms when the time is right.
Focus your time and energy on one account, maybe two. Social media is a big world. You don’t have to learn everything all at once. Start by learning how to use one platform successfully.
You can choose one that you like personally, but it might be better to find out which social channel your audience prefers.
After you’ve decided what social media account your going to start with, go follow users in your niche with big audiences and lots of engagement. This is where your target audience already is. Instead of waiting for them to come to you, go to where they are.
This will give you an idea for what your audience likes. Plus it will show you what successful marketers in your niche are doing. You may even get a few follows out of it.
Start re-posting and sharing things that your audience would like. Don’t worry about getting links back to your own stuff. It’s important to build community and trust. You want to support others in your niche. Plus you want to give value to your followers. That’s the biggest thing—the reason why you’re on in the first place.
Making and sharing original content is essential to social media marketing. It should be in the core of your strategy. It’s what you have to offer. Like your gift to the world.
Make it about your audience, not you. Tell stories often. Use real life experiences, but always tie it back to your followers. Visual content like images, infographics and video will increase engagement. Use power words and be empathetic. Stir up people’s emotions. Use call to actions. Let your audience know what they should do after interacting with your post.
It’s ok if your stuff isn’t the highest quality to start. Just do the best you can. It’ll improve over time. It’s better not to wait. Get going and start perfecting your craft right away.
Yes there are good and bad times to post. You probably won’t get very much engagement if you post at 3 am. After school and work is generally a good time. But every niche and platform is different.
Find out when your audience is on most. Then post regularly at that time. Start with just once a day. You want to be steady, but you don’t want to overwhelm yourself. You can increase the amount of content you post whenever you’re ready.
Reply when it gives value and builds relationships. Don’t waste time scrolling and watching your likes like a hawk.
You want your audience to feel that your actually there, not just an empty face on the internet. This is important for building community and appreciating your followers.
You don’t have to if you don’t want to. It’s ok if it’s too much for you to handle. But it’s an opportunity to connect with people.
Give yourself a time limit. Decide how much time you want to spend commenting and responding to posts a day. Don’t exceed your limit, and don’t feel guilty about it. It’s ok if you can’t reach everyone.
Social media is all about building authentic relationships. Its greatest value is its ability to help you foster community.
Take advantage of that. You can accomplish far more when you connect with other people, especially when they are likeminded and have similar goals.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to other accounts in your niche. Just try to be as authentic and transparent as possible. And always give value, don’t ask for favors.
Quick Tips and Best Practices
- Show up. It’s the first step.
- Be human, don’t be fake.
- Create a clear brand.
- Post visual content.
- The more you give the more you get.
- Be helpful by giving tips and tricks.
- Not every conversation has to stem from your content. Go respond to other posts.
- Ask your audience for help. It’s ok, that’s what community is for.
- Cross-promote to different platforms.
- Monitor and listen. Keep an eye on what’s going on and what your audience is interested in.
- People like to be rewarded. Add fun and achievement to your strategy with things like competitions and giveaways.
- Give credit when credit is due.
- Don’t exclude anyone.
- Be aware of and sensitive to current events.
- It’s ok to be off topic every once and a while.
- Add value, wherever you go.
- Keep it simple. Don’t over analyze your strategy.
- Practice etiquette and be respectful.
- Don’t stress out, relax—treat it like an experiment.
Social media marketing can be tough. The first step is to get started. It’s especially hard if you’re building a community from the ground up. But it can also be rewarding, and even fun. It takes time to grow and learn. Focus on a few key areas at a time.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Give as much value as you can. Concentrate on building relationships.
You might not get results right away. But don’t give up. Stay consistent. It will pay of in the end.
What social media strategies have you used? What has been successful? What challenges have you faced? Do you have any tips to share? Let me know in the comments below.