November 19, 2014

How to Craft a Social Media Plan of Your Own

How to Craft a Social Media Plan of Your Own

As a small business owner, you’ve already got more than enough to contend with on your plate.  Now after you talk with your SEO professional, they’re telling you that you need to get social shares to rank well!

How the heck are you supposed to do that in addition to all your other responsibilities?

Well, if you don’t have the time to develop your own social media plan, then here’s a quick, cookie-cutter one you can use that gets more follows and shares.  It works on a limited time budget, and you can establish a reasonably strong presence on 4-5 social networks.

Figure Out Which Social Networks You’re Going to Use

I already wrote a post for you that discusses who is present on which social network.  Once you analyze who your target market is and which social networks you actually need to be present on, it’s time to develop a posting strategy.

Let’s evaluate even the most time-intensive scenario.  Say, for example, you decide it’s important to be on the 5 biggest social networks:

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Google+

Pinterest

So here’s what you do:

Follow the 80/20 rule of posting:  A big mistake many small businesses make is to post stuff that’s all about their business.  Marketing to people on the web doesn’t work by you broadcasting your message exclusively.  That type of social media plan will get you little engagement and few new followers.

Instead, 80% of your posts should share useful information not from your company (use sources like info from industry leaders, informational sources, or entertaining sources), while 20% of your shares should be about your company and its special offers.

But won’t that turn someone else into the expert?

That’s not how selling on the web works.  Instead, because you provide access to the best information available, people see you as having their best interests at heart.  If you share mostly your own stuff, they think you only have your own concerns in mind, which turns them off and causes them to leave.

When they’re ready to buy, they’ll buy from you (if you follow the 80/20 rule) because they believe you are truly concerned with them.

Be consistent:  There’s no precise number of posts to share on each social media site.  However, general rules do apply to each one.  Caroline Melberg shares some general guidelines on how to share at each network:

Facebook – A few times per week is good at Facebook.  4-6 posts should do, and you can even do 1-2 times per day if you’re ambitious.

Twitter – Users are comfortable with several posts per day.  You don’t have to post that much, however, if you don’t want to.

Google+ – Treat it about the same as you do Facebook – 1 post per day or so works.

LinkedIn – LinkedIn works better for group discussions and one-on-one interactions.  If you post a couple status updates per week or so, that’s all you need.

Pinterest – Even though some dataheads have researched almost everything, I don’t see any conclusive research on Pinterest pinning frequency.  Just keep it safe and easy, and pin as often as you post on Facebook.

Use tools to automate tasks:  If you try to manage these social networks manually without any tools, I’ll 100% guarantee you that you will quickly run out of time and quit posting to your favorite social media sites.

You can post to all networks with free apps like Hootsuite and Buffer.  They let you schedule posts far into the future too.  They’re starting to restrict features on the free versions, so I’m not sure how long the free versions will remain useful.  But for now, they do the job.  And if you do want to get much more serious and pay, Hootsuite costs $10 per month and buffer $50.

If you really like social media a ton, use Klout to track how influential you are on various social networks.  And if you like data on how each of your social media profiles performs, Social Report isn’t a half bad tool (you get 30 days free and it’s $9 per month thereafter).

Mix up the post type:  In general, plain-text posts get the least clicks, comments, and shares.  It’s okay to do them, but most of the time it works better to post a little media with each share as well.  Pictures, videos, quizzes, question & answers, funny stuff – do everything you can to interest without going over the top.

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