19 11, 2015

How to Craft a Social Media Content Strategy

By | 2016-11-18T12:09:54+00:00 November 19th, 2015|Categories: Social Media|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

 

It is true that social media can be beneficial to a business, but it can also cause a migraine at the same time. If not implemented properly it can damage your business’ reputation or become a waste of time. Here are some important steps to keep in mind when developing a social media content strategy. This will help keep your content relevant and work to amplify your postings. Some steps to include are brainstorming, research, and determining which platforms to use.

Brainstorming 

First, let’s start off with brainstorming potential content ideas. These will help build shareable content. In this stage it is important to think broadly about your industry. It is necessary to think about how you can branch out to reach a wider audience. It is a good idea to not have a narrow view of your business when brainstorming content topics at first. Once you build out a variety of topics and ideas you can always go back and decide what fits your brand image. Try to think of all the components that work together to make up your business. For example, let’s say I own a skateboard shop. I might produce content about skateboard maintenance or the benefits of skateboarding. This tactic will help you build a diverse social media content strategy.

Here is a visual representation of my thought process when brainstorming content:

Content Map

 

Research 

Once you have spent time brainstorming, then it’s time to move on to the next phase, research. We want to learn what types of content are performing well in our industry.

In continuing on with our skateboarding example, let’s say I am done brainstorming. Now I have some topics I want to build out content around. It’s time to dive into some content research so I have a better idea of what performs well. This will vary by industry and whether you’re a B2B or B2C business.

When conducting my research, I use several tools to learn what is performing well. For this, I am going to start with a neat and free tool called Epicbeat, which I think is an appropriate name for a social media tool. Epicbeat will help you discover popular content, influencers, and industry insights.

First, I want to enter in the term I will be researching.

Social Media Content StrategyThen, I am directed to a dashboard that gives a quick view of several key factors. These factors will help me find content to re-share and give me greater insight into what I need to create.

Social Media Research Which Platforms? 

The few things I want to get insight into are which platforms are popular and what types of content perform best. Then, I want to know when I should be posting to my platforms.

Social Media Content ResearchRight away I see that Facebook is the most popular channel followed by Vine and Instagram. I also get some other metrics such as average shares per post and a few other engagement metrics which is great. This tells me the type of engagement I can expect from each social platform. I also want to look for what type of content is most popular within this industry.

Now from my research, I know I should focus on Facebook and maybe Instagram as well. This will help get my social media content strategy off to a great start. After reviewing the engagement metrics, I know where I need to be to have an impact. Keep in mind, it is important to start a social media campaign small and scale up. In most cases, it is better to have one or two social profiles than five that you rarely engage with users on.

Content ResearchEpicBeat is nice enough to give me the distribution by content type for skateboarding. This gives me a better idea of the types of content to either begin producing or re-sharing. Right away I see that ‘how’ articles are trending with Listicles, and Interviews trailing. If I skipped this step and ran giveaways and produced guides, I would have missed a lot of engagement. This is why research is so crucial so you are not fumbling around in the dark.

I’m at a great starting point now I have my topics I want to build content around. I also have a better idea of which social platforms my target audience are active on. Now I have a better understanding of the content types I will begin curating. I even have an idea of what I can re-share to my platforms to further encourage engagement too.

Tools make research easier, but you should still browse followers to gain more insight. Look for what they are sharing and engaging with, and news they consider important. This will help you plan your social media content strategy in an effective manner. As an added bonus, I like to use Klout to spot trending content pieces and re-share them with my followers. Only use this platform once you have taken the time to research your industry and build out topics. This can be a great way to find relevant news about your industry.

Klout Content ResearchKlout shows content to reflect the best trending pieces related to your industry. Klout also includes a search function as well so you can do further research. This allows me to take topics I built out earlier and search for trending articles. Another feature like EpicBeat is the ability to find influencers within your niche. You can even research influencers within your industry and see content they engage with.

Klout Content Research Once inside the platform, there is no need to go back and forth between Hootsuite to schedule a post. You can schedule all your content within the platform as well and save some time. Remember, research is the cornerstone of a successful social media content strategy. Taking the time to brainstorm will lead to unique ideas that may not have developed otherwise.

As a side note, you can have a great social media content strategy but without goals you can get off track. Setting goals that impact your business is important when starting a social media campaign.

By brainstorming, researching, and evaluating platforms, you can start an effective social media campaign.

Happy sharing!

21 10, 2015

How to Get Started with Social Media and Win Followers

By | 2018-09-14T15:19:46+00:00 October 21st, 2015|Categories: Social Media|Tags: |

How to Get Started with Social Media and Win Followers 

Social Media can be a valuable tool to connect with customers and develop brand awareness along with relationships. Unfortunately, it can at times be a difficult and daunting task that can very easily become overwhelming. Thanks to the ever-growing list of social media platforms, it can be hard to know where to begin your social media campaign. Fortunately, Beacon has you covered with some social media best practices to help you get the most out of your campaigns. To begin a campaign, it is important to start by investing the time to do research into your target market, consistently sharing content, leveraging technology to amplify your content, and setting specific and measurable goals. This way you can be sure to get your social campaign started off on the right foot.

Research is important for your social campaign for a number of reasons.

First, it’s important to know what types of content people are sharing and engaging with within your industry. A good start is to analyze your competitors’ social platforms and see what’s working for them along with what platforms they are active on.

Social Media Platforms

*Courtesy of member clicks

In addition to understanding what social media platforms your competition are active on, it’s important to know what types of content perform well for your industry. A good tool for this is can be found at Buzz sumo.. This tool will allow you to search based on topics or by specific domains to see what types of content perform well and what is being shared. You can also easily share content from this platform directly to your social media accounts.

Social Media Content

Second, once you know which platforms your target audience are active on, it’s time to do some hashtag research so you can amplify your content and posts. No, I’m not talking #about #spamming #posts with #hashtags but using them cautiously to boost your reach on social media. Some social media best practices when it comes to hashtags is to keep it relevant and never spam them. Also, Hashtagify.me has a good tool that suggests relevant hashtags based on the topic you type in their search box. This is a great starting point if you are drawing a blank.

Once you identify potential #hashtags you are interested in using, now you need to understand what sort of reach and impact they will have when trying to amplify your content. You can take the #hashtags that hashtagify.me recommends and put them in Google Trends. Google trends will show you the interest of these topics over time and it should give you a rough estimate of the impact these hashtags can have on amplifying your content.

Google TrendsConsistency is key when stepping into the social media realm.

It is important when deciding to start a social media campaign to keep a consistent brand image across all platforms. Each social media platform you use for your business will have a different layout but make sure items such as your profile image and company bio are consistent. A good point of reference is to design your social media profiles to reflect your company’s website where appropriate. It can get confusing and disorient your audience if your social media profiles are a mashup of random conflicting social bios with pixelated distorted profile images.

The next step in being consistent is regularly developing content and a content schedule. This way your business or company’s social media profile will not fall into the abyss and be forgotten. Mapping out a content schedule has several social media benefits:

Mapping out Time Sensitive Content– Your social media content schedule will anticipate company events, holidays, birthdays, contests and will allow you to be creative with regards to how you develop and curate the content. This will also reduce stress while keeping your engagement rates up.

Involve Others– Scheduling content in advance allows other members of your team to become involved in the content curation as opposed to just one person.

Enforce the 80-10-10 rule– The majority of content you create should be informative (think 80%), interesting and relevant to your audience. 15-10% of your content should be re-tweets, or sharing content curated by other people, that your audience would find interesting. Roughly 10%-5% or so should be about promoting specific products or services your business offers. Remember that your social media platforms are not for actively making sales. The goal is to build relationships first and provide relevant engaging content. If you selfishly promote too much and neglect to share content from others, this can lead to potential customers unfollowing you on your social platforms. For some great tips on how to use social media for small business be sure to read “I Tweet, But No One Buys“.

A wonderful tool to help with consistency and take away some stress associated with social media is Hootsuite. Thankfully, it is free for the first few accounts and lets you schedule all your social media posts out for several weeks or months in advance. You can sync most of your social media accounts all under one roof. Hootsuite also allows you to monitor what others are saying about your brand and provides opportunities to engage with your audience.

HootsuiteFinally, it is important to create an overall objective, specific goals, and set key performance indicators.

This will help you track your success with your social media campaign and make adjustments as necessary along the way. Your overall objective should be qualitative, ambitious and certainly achievable through social media. An example can be “We strive to be the authority on social for *lawn care services*.” Moving forward, we need to set some goals to accomplish our objective. Some examples of strategic social goals to take into consideration are increasing reach, increasing website conversions, increasing retention, establishing credibility within our niche, and increasing web visibility.

These are good starting points, but it is important to dig a little deeper and discover what would positively impact your business and is it possible to accomplish through social media. Some sample goals can include:

Building and fostering a social community– Growing a strong social media following is essential to any successful social campaign, without a community you have nothing. This can be accomplished by sharing relevant and anticipated content with your followers and encouraging engagement across platforms.

Drive conversions with social media– A great reason for using social media marketing is to ultimately assist with conversion efforts. It is not so useful for engaging in selling, but it is best suited to assist customers through your sales funnel.

Build brand awareness– Possibly the most important goal of any social media campaign is to increase awareness of your brand and get consumers talking about your company. Fortunately, it is easy to track, measure and follow up with what people are saying about your brand while making adjustments as you go.

Then moving forward, establish certain key performance indicators or (KPI’s) that you can use to keep you on track with your overall objective. If you are not actively measuring your efforts on social media, it becomes hard to know what sort of impact it is having on your business. This may have your boss and managers wondering if social media is a waste of time. Some sample performance indicators you can use to measure the impact of your campaign can be:

Reach  

This can easily be measured by how many followers your accounts have accumulated. These are the people who are being exposed to your posts and brand. While it is great to gain a large following and have a large community throughout your social media platforms it is important to consider the demographics of your followers as well and if they are part of your target market. More followers doesn’t always = equal success in social media.

Engagement 

Sure, accumulating fans, followers, and a community is wonderful but if they are not actively engaging with your content then you have a problem. Here are some metrics to track and analyze when running a social campaign. For a more in depth look be sure to read a previous blog that goes more into more detail with measuring important social media metrics.

Likes & Favorite’s are the very first level of engagement when it comes to social media. While this is a positive engagement metric it is a very low metric and does not usually mean a person has read through your post or visited your site as a result. However, they are a good indication of a campaign slowly gaining traction.

Shares & Retweet’s allow your social posts to be amplified and reach a larger audience quickly. This is also an excellent indication of what types of content and posts your audience are interested in seeing. You can track shares and retweets and work with your team to curate more content that has a better opportunity of gaining greater traction within your audience.

Remember, when building social media campaigns, research your potential target market, leverage technology, then set ambitious and achievable goals that are measurable.