How to tell if you are doing social media correctly?
“…if you do these things every month we can guarantee that you will grow organically month after month.”
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Everyone does social media differently. Some people break all the rules and find great success. For the vast majority of us, social success takes a little longer. We’ve got some tried and true suggestions on how you can determine whether your business’ social media efforts are on the right path.
You’ve been told your company should be online. You’ve been told social media is essential for business in today’s marketplace. So you do it, but you can’t help but worry about whether you are doing it correctly. Business owners want to know what networks to be on, how many times a day to post, who to follow and so on. When the results you expected aren’t the ones you get, it’s easy to second-guess your ability to do the things you set out to do. Luckily, there are specific things you can monitor each month to improve your approach. If you do these things every month, you will grow organically over time. You won’t get the results that a paid campaign can offer; however, slow growth is surely something you can expect.
The more consistently you post, the more opportunity you are creating for users online to find you. Rather than viewing a post as satisfying a daily requirement from the seemingly real “Internet Gods”, see it as a chance to optimize the post to reach the greatest amount of people possible. If you have a small number of fans/followers, that’s OK because you can still be discovered. Many networks are set up in such a way that they are more likely to recommend an ACTIVE account than not. Also, hashtagging appropriately will help you to be discovered by new audiences.
Use relevant hashtags and analyze them
The hashtag debate is a big one. How many are too many and which ones should I be using? Each platform offers different ways to use hashtags. On some platforms, like Instagram, there’s an unspoken culture of overloading each post with H-Tags. While on sites like Twitter, where hashtags are highly effective, the character limit only allows you to use a couple after you’ve said what you had to say. At Fortified we say - when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Whatever social platform you’re on, do as the majority of the users are doing. Find a core group of hashtags for each network and use them on an ongoing basis. Change them up from time to time and compare which ones are working and which aren’t. There are loads of articles on the Web that can discuss which hashtags are successful for your business type/industry. Do a quick Google Search to find this out and start using them to maximize your likes, grow your followers, and drive traffic to your website.
(Gradually) find reasons to post more often
There’s a definite positive correlation between frequency and consistency of posting social media content and growing a following. The more you’re online the more success you’ll have, but who wants to spend all their spare time engaging and posting on social media? Our suggestion is to find a way to post more, but incrementally: Ease into posting more. For example, one week you can post 2 more posts than you typically on one network. Find efficient ways to create content, or have someone help you with this. If you’ve been posting once per day and feel like you’ve got the hang of it – graduate to two posts per day. Work to increase your frequency of posting and engagement with your social audience by using tools that have been made to free up your time, like Evernote, Buffer and Hootsuite. More importantly, measure the effectiveness of your increased posting frequency - which brings me to my next point:
Look at your social data in analytics
The first thing you want to do (if you haven’t already) is to link an Google Analytics code on your website to get an idea of where your audience is coming from when they land on your website/blog (among many other things). Assuming you've done that – make sure that you take a look at your social media Analytics data.
From month to month, measure where the majority of your traffic is coming from and continue to invest in the platforms that are yielding the best result. Also look at how long users are spending on your website. If you take a look at my blogs results down below – between the specified timeframe Pinterest only sent 7 users to my site – but they spent the longest time on the blog (9:11). I do not want to neglect Pinterest because it’s not providing the greatest number of conversions, the quality thereof is exceptional. I know that people coming from Pinterest are going to spend more time on my blog. This means that they are highly engaged.
Followers vs. Following
Most people believe that if your following is growing, you are succeeding in your social efforts. This is true, but also misleading. Creating consistently valuable content that causes people to follow along is an indication that you’re onto something great, but there’s also a "follow for follow" culture that exists on certain social platforms. This culture will grow your following in a way that misrepresents your online success because it is built on reciprocation. Having a large following may be impressive, but is not necessarily substantial. When our team at Fortified Marketing posts online, we check to see how many people clicked through and read the article or went to the place we directed them to. Whether you have 10 followers or 10,000 you should be looking for the same thing. The goal is to engage your following. We’ve found that when a person follows us, it's because they genuinely want to see more of what we are sharing. As such we’re more likely to get shares, retweets, and mentions.
Give and you shall receive
If your goal for the month is to gain more followers, then follow more people. If you are looking to have more meaningful interactions with others, then interact with them first. If you want customers, give value in the form of free stuff, informative content, and/or discounts - all in moderation, of course. Sometimes you have to be the very thing you are looking for in order to receive it. Are we still talking about social media or is this a life lesson? Take it, as needed 😉
We hope that after giving this a read you’re more confident in your ability to do social media correctly. You may not be where you want to be but by
- Posting consistently and frequently,
- Analyzing the hashtags you use and social referral data (and)
- Offering your audience valuable content
You can rest easy knowing you’re heading down the path to social media success.
Meet the author.
Social Media Specialist
She’s best described as a ‘latte sipper’ with a knack for social results. When she isn’t scheduling content for a client’s social feed, she can be found blogging from her kitchen table while somewhat listening to a TED Talk.
Be in the know
(without having to remember to be in the know).
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