I am thoroughly enjoying teaching a private Marketing and Social Media strategy course at the moment. The best part is that while teaching I am able to verbalize all my strategies into all sorts of cool new mantras to explain basic principles of Marketing. In this post I will write about how I use Stop. Measure. Analyze. Strategize. as part of my "3 month cycle to guaranteed growth and lead generation using social media." How do you achieve this in 3 months?
Month 1 - MEASURE and ANALYZE
In order to get strategic you need to look at everything you have been doing historically, and how effective it was as a strategy. Set benchmarks for followers, engagement numbers, reach, type of content etc... Now look at what similar companies/people/brands in your space are doing. Who are their followers, how do they post, how do they engage, what seems to work? Make a note of it. During this month DO NOT STOP POSTING, what you actually need to do is post more, post often, change it up. This is the month to see what works and what doesn't. Not just for you, but for people similar to you. The insights you gain will help you with your strategy.
Month 2 - STEADY GROWTH
I call this the growth month. Focus now on applying the insights you have gained during your MEASURE month into actionable posts. By now you should be posting more often, in the right place, focusing on a particular type of follower/influencer. Your main goal this month is to get your follower and engagement numbers steadily growing. Why? because it means you are doing something right. Once you are getting it right applying it to a strategy will guarantee success.
Month 3 - STRATEGY, STRATEGY, STRATEGY
This is the month you can start to plan how to keep growing and turn your captive audience into a potential leads. By applying the lessons you learned in the first 2 months you should now know for sure:
Month 4 and Onwards - STOP. MEASURE. ANALYZE and continue STRATEGIZINGTo make sure you never lose sight of that not so elusive successful end-goal, never ever stop measuring, analyzing and strategizing. It is the only way to guarantee #MROI.
Back in the days of daily spam email, before spam filters got so much better at filtering out spam, I used to wonder who those idiots were that would click on a spam email and make it worthwhile for some other idiot somewhere in the world to waste so much time and energy producing spam mail.
The same can be said for auto messages on Twitter. Every time, and I mean every time I see one, I wonder who those idiots are in the world, who respond to them to make anyone think/believe it is worth the time and effort in having one.
It does not matter how “clever” you think your auto-message is. Be it “hey there let’s connect on LinkedIn [insert link to LinkedIn profile]” or “Hi, what’s your biggest challenge in [insert somewhat vague topic that relates to what you do]. Just NO!
Here are just some of the recent ones I received and my responses in the caption.
No thanks. You know what — I have a startup too, but I wouldn’t expect anyone to read a blog about my startup by spamming their twitter inbox, actually I wouldn’t expect anyone to read a blog about my startup. How about a blog piece that is relevant to me, my life, a change in the world that relates to your startup — hmmm maybe — don’t be so self-centred to think your blog and your startup are anything but important to you, unless you are willing to take the time to make it personal and relevant to every potential client
You may think I am being harsh, but ask yourself this, when last did you get a Twitter auto-message that really made you react in a positive way? I am almost willing to bet never, but if you did get a good one, please share it below so that other people can learn what constitutes a good auto-message.
One of my B2B clients has less than 2K followers on Twitter and amazingly we recently managed to reach nearly 1M impressions in one month for their posts. Even more impressive is the month-on-month growth across all their social chanels, resulting in 88% growth in engagements for 2015. How? Well it helps that they have great things to post about, but that is not enough. Successful social management will only come from following these basic guidelines:
Influencer Engagement Works:
If you have a policy in place of constantly following, commenting, retweeting and engaging influencers, ie: the most verbal and popular people in your industry, then you will get reciprocal treatment for your posts. Start by identifying who those people are. Check the main hashtag topics in your industry and check them daily to make sure that you are following and joining in the conversations in these topics. But the most important thing you can do is shoutout and highlight what is being said by other people. Don’t make the mistake of constantly posting your own boring stuff, you should be posting almost as much 3rd party content so that you are recognised as a leading source of information in your field. See below for my suggested social posting schedule.
It’s all about the Message:
Once you have people following you and paying attention to what you say. Make sure you say it in an interesting way. We are not talking about click-baiting, ie: those annoying posts where you write something unrelated to the article in order to get people to click through, we are talking about writing with emotion. Absolutely, use loads of adjectives. Praise where it praise is due. Use WOWs, Ouches, and Noooooooos! as a means to get emotion into what you are posting. Seriosuly, even a B2B company can have personality, so why not have posts with personality. And finally, PLEASE DON’T use excessive tagging and hashtagging, it really is #not #the #way #to #get #across #a #message it’s just annoying. Here is a simple rule to use, a #hashtag denotes a popular discussion topic, industry or event. So saying #didn’tmeanto or #mybad is not a topic it’s a weakly disguised emotion and a hashtag is not the place for it.
Post post post post and then post again:
You must establish a regular posting schedule. If your account is not active, you may as well not bother having it. Also don’t discount any one chanel because of misconceived biases. What do I mean? Well… when I started managing this B2B account, they were not so keen on posting on Facebook, they didn’t see the value in it, basically they just didn’t understand how it works. Once I beefed up their posts and made them more “FB friendly,” it soon became aparent that it was one of their more active chanels for customers and potential customers to engage with them. In fact even though most of their social engagements were ocurring on LinkedIn (the go-to social platform for most B2B platforms), they were receiving more sales leads through Facebook. The problem is that Facebook requires alot more effort (organic) or money (paid promotions) to get people seeing and engaging with the content you post there. But when done right, can be a goldmine.
So what should a social timeline look like for a B2B company:
Posting: You should post up to 15 times a day on Twitter but never the same message more than 3 times and try and mix them up.
Remember: It is a feed, some people have thousands of ppl they follow, so there is no guarantee that they will see your posts, that is why you repeat them. Don’t overuse #hashtags — they should be reserved for events and topics so that all people attending can find the event tweetseasily or for trending topics like #Cloud #CX #Edtech.
Try to: Thank people for mentioning, favouriting popular or good content put out on Twitter, welcoming new members etc… Use it as a communication and engagement tool.
Growth: By engaging users and following back the ones that have significant reach or have industry relevance, you will naturally grow our twitter following.
Remember: You will be engaging influencers just by posting Industry trending reports and 3rd party content. You must be careful not to follow and unfollow too many users in a short amount of time, Twitter will block you! If you follow too many users (I think the threshold is 250 a day) in a short amount of time, Twitter will block you. If you have too many people you follow compared to the ratio of people that follow you back, Twitter will block you and you will only be allowed to follow people again when the ratio gap closes! I suggest you all read the Twitter User license.
Posting: Facebook is a beast! A company page is the worst way to represent yourself on FB. The FB Algorithm works against the brand, only showing posts to a minimal number of followers of the page. The more people who read, like, comment or share content put on FB, the harder the algorithm works and the more FB will show that post to followers and their followers. So basically don’t rely on it unless a) you have amazingly engageable content and b) have regular people who can engage with it, or c) have a budget for boosting all your content to get better reach.
Try to ensure at least 6 friends/family or staff are encouraged to like or engage with important posts so that the reach is automatically higher for each post.
Growth: The most effective way is to pay for likes or promote and boost posts. It is arbitrary in terms of cost, because it will be depend on 3 things, the success of your message (getting it right is hard), the success of your targeting (targeting the right audience is hard) and your available budget. For organic growth, keep engaging with other relevant pages, like “as your page”, tag other pages and groups etc…
Posting: There are no hard and fast rules for posting to your own page/group… just keep repetition to a minimal or mix it up. Posts on Linkedin tend to be less lighthearted than those on FB, for example you wouldn’t post a funny video of a bungled classroom scenario or bad customer service call or something like that, whereas you may post that to Twitter or FB.
Growth: If there is no budget for paid advertising for followers, the best way to grow in LinkedIN is through connections. Try to get people invited and then incentivise them to invite their connections. You can do this through identifying influencers or partners (like agencies, charities, organisations etc… relevant to your field) and establishing a relationship with them. Once they are onboard as a member or brand ambassador, encourage them to post to their connections about your brand.
Try to: Encourage all your close colleagues and business partners to follow or become members and then have them invite all their connections to the page.
I don’t have much to say other than constantly posting to Google+ does help with SEO and your visibility when people search Google for common terms and phrases in your industry. I do not think you need to place any emphasis on growth in this channel, just post relevant content regularly.
Posting: You should make sure you properly tag and label all our videos, failing to do that will hurt your SEO. Register your channel and link it to your website so that you can add interactive cards and messages to any videos. Promote your YouTube content on all social channels, regularly.
Try to: Make sure there is at least one clear “call-to-action” for every video you place. For example if it is a webinar recording, link to a list of other available webinars… etc…
Growth: Just keep posting and promoting your videos on all your social channels — the followers will come, but the views are much more important.
EMAILS: Our first line of marketing should always be our current customers/fan base. You should take advantage of this with regular email newsletters (at least one per month) reminding them why they are following you, new features etc…
Make sure: You have one clear call-to-action in each correspondence.
Try to: Encourage your existing user-base to introduce new people to our posts, platforms etc…
SIGNATURES: Make sure all members of your teams have a uniform signature that clearly identifies who you are, what you do and how to follow you. Use the signature to get across important call-to-actions (for example “nominations now open…”)
Finally, your employees are your best brand ambassadorsThe people who work for you are your best brand ambassadors, if they don’t love your brand and want to help you grow, then you are doing something very wrong. You can’t expect them to flood their personal social networks with all your content, but you can use them as an extension to your social team. Have them on a rota of sharing your content, or helping grow, answer, shoutout on your social channels. If they are engaged — they will care. See note above about how to grow content on FB organically using friends and family (this includes the people who work for you).
Good luck! and if you are interested in using my consulting services for your B2B or B2C business, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me Zoe Bermant