Want to look good (and be effective) on a social media channel? Double down on it.
Those who board the online marketing train quickly learn a hard lesson: There are no real shortcuts in inbound marketing. A robust online presence doesn’t just happen: It’s always the result of someone’s hard work, unflagging dedication, and grinding consistency.
That’s not always obvious, because social media on the whole is pretty easy to set up: Create an account, put up a profile picture, write a brief description, and follow some people.
Done!… That is, until you realize that almost no one is following you, no one cares about what you’re doing there, and your page is a shadow of the professional business pages you’ve come across since you joined. When you only pay bare lip service to social media, it’s sure to slowly and steadily achieve… mediocrity!
Instead, take a single digital property — your blog, maybe, or your Pinterest account — and obsess over it completely for a few weeks. Total immersion will help you find out what other users are doing and what apps they’re using to improve their own, and their followers’, experiences.
Immersion helps you determine what posts work best, and when they will get the most eyeballs. It’ll make you more comfortable with the medium and its unique quirks. And it’ll give you ideas for best practices, different ways to use it for your organization, and give you the practice you need to interact with your followers in order to get a business benefit.
Each blog, social media outlet, email platform and inbound marketing property has about a million moving parts. Each requires constant traffic and followers and engagement. Each requires content generation. Each operates differently. So you owe it to yourself to get each one working for you.
- Perfecting the visuals: the profile picture and the cover image. Branding your landing page properly is a no-brainer.
- Writing and rewriting the descriptors and other “about” information until you get it just right.
- Adding apps to the tabs at the top that add value to your page. For example, add your Twitter or Pinterest stream there, or links to your blog. Upload your videos. Make this area work for you — just research the possibilities!
- Posting a couple times a day, every day (yes, weekends!), and watch your analytics to learn what posts get the most views and interactions. Learn what quality content can be effectively curated. Spend time on creating your own to share.
- Learning tricks. For instance, creating landing pages for first-time visitors, adding your website link to your page, or making your cover image “clickable” to your website. Watch the brands that do Facebook well, and take a page from their playbook.
- Engaging your audience. Learn (by checking your analytics) what kinds of questions or content elicit responses, and do more of it. Talk to people about their needs and address (and solve) their concerns. Ask questions. Hold contests. Give them peaks “behind the curtain.”
- Getting people to “like” your page. Much of this happens as a result of engagement; some of it happens from getting your own Facebook friends to join, and asking them to advocate for your page. But honestly, a whole lot of it happens as a result of Facebook advertising. So learn the ins and outs of effective online advertising and invest a little money into attracting new followers.
- Adding followers. This has as much to do with the quality of your content and interactions as it does with what accounts you follow. Find Twitter accounts that match your target audience and follow them; don’t just follow celebrities (they won’t follow you back). Make it a point to do a good Twitter cleaning every month or so, so you can launch another “follow campaign.” And: Never buy followers.
- Learning the rules. For example, learn Twitter’s own rules for follower/following ratios and counts. Learn the etiquette and culture. Don’t spam.
- Determining what Twitter tools work for you. The native Twitter site is very basic; anybody who uses Twitter successfully uses tools and apps to enhance the experience. Our partners at Tribe Boost have a good rundown on some great tools, but there are literally hundreds more out there.
- Learning its quirks. RTs, hashtags, direct tweets, favorites, Klout scores, mentions, URL shortners: To the uninitiated, Twitter is a maze of incomprehensible craziness in 140-character bursts. Commit to educating yourself about how it all works, and you’ll be using Twitter like a pro in no time.
- Perfecting your content mix. You’ll need to tweet several times throughout the day, every day. Yes, you read that right: Studies have shown that the more you tweet, the more followers you’re likely to have (and I know this personally). But nobody likes to follow accounts that blindly retweet. Instead, tweet your own engaging content. Tweet your comments and takes on industry news. Tweet inspirational quotes or statistics. Retweet only the tweets and articles that are truly valuable to your audience. And: Don’t constantly self-promote.
- Polishing your Twitter page. Like Facebook, you have an opportunity here to brand yourself and make your Twitter presence look professional. Learn how to write a Twitter profile that will be found in hashtag searches. Discover resources that can help you create memorable backgrounds and make other customizations.
- Learning how to interact properly. It can be a challenge to figure out how to do this successfully using microblogging, but practice makes perfect! Comment on others’ content, join Twitter chats, and strike up conversations with those who follow you.
Laser-like focus on one particular platform over a period of a few weeks will help you learn faster how to make your online marketing more effective on each platform.
You can take turns doing this for your blog, other social media platforms, and even your website: Once you’ve got one really working for you, you can go into maintenance mode and get obsessive about the next one. It’ll help grow your online marketing presence — I guarantee it.
Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net