So you are looking to create a social marketing strategy and you are not sure where to start, right? Well keep reading then and we will see if we can’t get you started.
The great thing about devising a social marketing strategy is that you can use one that is completely free of charge. Or you can devise one that is very low cost and will not hurt your budget very much. How does that sound?
Establishing your Presence on Social Media
I am a big believe in getting your brand out there on all of the major social media platforms, regardless of whether you plan to use them very much in the short term. The big reason that I recommend doing this is simply to get your brand (and logo) on those accounts to serve as a placeholder.
That way, no one else can use them. Many times, people won’t create an Instagram account, for instance, because they don’t really like Instagram and they don’t intent to use it. However later, when their business grows and they hire someone to manage their social media accounts, that person might want to include Instagram as part of the overall social marketing strategy. And when this new social media manager goes to create the Instagram account, someone else has already claimed the business name and they have to use something with numbers or underscores.
Focus your Message
I am a huge believer and placing your focus on just a couple of social media channels to begin with. Personally, I recommend starting out with Facebook and a second social media account. For that second account, I would probably choose Twitter because you can build an audience fairly quickly and you can post more often without coming off as being spammy. My next choice would be either Instagram or Pinterest.
If creating videos is a big part of your online marketing message, then obviously YouTube should be your second choice.
As you create these social media accounts and start filling out their profiles, ensure that you do the following things: 1) Place a link back to your main website or blog, 2) Insert your logo as your main avatar, 3) Type in your mission and tagline, and 4) Place links to all your other social media accounts, where it is allowed. I do not recommend that you place the same post on all of your accounts at the same time because it looks very spammy. Many social media accounts are quite eager about encouraging your do this, it is not recommended at all.
Building your Audience on Social Media
When you begin using your social media accounts, you should be initially concerned with one thing. And that is building your audience. The easiest way to do this is simply using the law of reciprocity – which mean you start following and befriending other people in your niche and wait on them to return the favor. This approach is not as effective as it used to be, but it still works. About 5-6 years ago with Twitter, about 50% of those people would follow you back, but today that number is more like 25-30%. Instagram’s follow back is a little bit better.
Nonetheless, you must start building an audience – but you have to do it very gradually at first. Start by following perhaps 10-20 a day during your first week, and very slowly build up your follow rate. Twitter accounts that are over 5 years old can easily follow 500-600 people every day, but it takes time to reach that level.
When using Facebook, I recommend you create an account using a personal likeness (either you own or a persona) and then create a fanpage for your online marketing activities. I will warn you now that building fans is MUCH harder and slower than getting them on any other social media site. You need to become active on Facebook as your fanpage (and not your personal account) and start liking other fanpages in your niche. And then you need to start making comments on those huge pages in your niche – the ones who have several million fans. You must do this every single day – be consistent and do not give up. Your first 10,000 fans will be the hardest.
Another thing you should do on Facebook is to start joining groups in your market or niche. Keep in mind that you will have to join these groups as your persona and not your fanpage. However, you will be able to share your fanpage posts within that group – which can help you get a few new fans.
The key to building your social media audience is consistence – do it every single day.
Posting Messages on Social Media
So now we can start getting into the actual social media strategy and that is posting messages. The three big questions about posting messages on your social media accounts is how many to post each day, when to post them, and what to post.
As far as how many messages to post, that depends on the social media site itself. On Twitter, you could post 8-10 times every day and be fine. However on Facebook and Instagram, you should only post 3-4 times every day. And if you are making videos on YouTube, it depends on how long it takes you to make a new video – one video every few days would be okay if you make them that fast.
Regarding the times for posting your messages, there is a ton of opinions and articles posted online about this. But basically, you should thrive to space your posts across the day. There is a 7-9am slot that works well, and then a lunchtime slot of say 11am-1pm, and a late afternoon slot of 3-5pm, and then an evening slot of 7-9pm. Play around with these and see what works best – one person’s social media strategy might work a little better in a certain time slot than someone else’s.
Now let’s discuss what to post. The majority of your posts need to bring value to your audience. Find useful pieces of information pertaining to your niche and share those with your audience. Don’t post crap to them – give them value. You can also share fun things that are entertaining and humorous.
I recommend using Feedly’s RSS feed reading and loading it with feeds from all sorts of different niches – in addition to your own. Share information and interesting posts in addition to those about your market.
In regards to your personal marketing and sharing your own posts, experts recommend that you use a ratio of around 4 to 1. In other words, send out 4 posts of value and entertainment for every 1 marketing post about your services and products. This is a perfect mix for your social marketing strategy.
Start Adding Some Budget
If you have followed along, then you know how to go about creating a social media marketing plan without spending any cash at all. This really works, but it requires a lot of effort – and it’s not easy.
The big reason we recommended establishing your Facebook presence is because when you are ready to start spending a little on your marketing, Facebook is second to none. This platform will continue to an exact audience – you just have to realize who your audience is.
When you are ready to begin investing in your social marketing strategy, I recommend that you start with a very small budget of say $10 to $20 per month. You can use this for either building fans on your Facebook fanpage, or you can start “boosting” your most popular fanpage posts to new people.
I recommend you initially use your budget to build up new fans. After you reach 10,000 fans, then you should start boosting your most popular posts. As you budget increases, you could try a few small ads for some of your products and services.
After you follow the steps above, then you will have a very nice social marketing strategy in place.