#1: Mine Twitter to Grow Your Audience
Here are three easy but overlooked tactics you can use to build an audience on Twitter, which is arguably the best platform for this.While “if you build it they will come” is a great line from a movie, it’s a terrible marketing plan. To succeed on the Internet today, you have to create content that ignites and engages an audience. However, if you are a new blogger, you should probably spend more time developing an audience than creating your content.
Once you’ve been on Twitter for a while, you’ll notice people will place you on public Twitter lists. Lists are generally categorized by a special interest or geographic location. For example, I might be on lists for “marketing experts,” “bloggers” or “business educators.”Find a relevant person to follow, and then dig into his or her lists. You’ll likely find a goldmine of interesting people to follow who will hopefully follow you back.
There are many apps to help you find new followers, but one of my favorite places to find targeted followers is Twellow. This useful and free site is like the yellow pages for Twitter, and you can find and follow targeted users for every category, industry and interest imaginable.
Use specialized Twitter search prompts. Unlock the basic search functionality right on the Twitter screen by learning a few of the specialized prompts. This is one of the most powerful market research tools available. Follow this link if you want a complete tutorial on Twitter search.
With these tactics, you can expand your audience to reach people who are seeking your products and services.
Mark Schaefer is a college educator, blogger, speaker and consultant who specializes in corporate social media marketing workshops.
#2: Analyze Past Content to Improve Posts
Here’s how to use BuzzSumo to leverage the data of what has already been successful in terms of social sharing.
First, enter a keyword that is part of your social media content strategy. BuzzSumo will provide you with a list of the top-performing content in terms of social shares according to your keyword.
Next, because some content performs better on some networks than others, you cancurate content by social network. Armed with this data, you can increase the effectiveness of your content curation by publishing content that has a greater chance of success on a specific network.
You can also filter content by type (which is ideal if you’re looking for videos or infographics to curate) or filter by time period. The latter lets you find content that’s been most popular in the last 24 hours or evergreen content that’s been popular over the last year. The choice is yours!
#3: Optimize Visual Content with Links
For example, in this SlideShare deck Constant Contact included a link back to a resource page listing multiple blog posts with related content.Visual content can act as a “gateway” to more valuable content. When planning visual content to post on social platforms, think in terms of how it can drive traffic back to your website, products and services.
Link a short video back to your website from your YouTube Account or from your Instagram profile link and make sure you provide expanded content around the video. For example, Final Cut King drives his fans on Instagram back to longer content on his YouTube channel by asking them to click the link in the description of his Instagram account.
What are you waiting for? Think in terms of creating gateways to more valuable content when you plan your visuals!
#4: Maximize Twitter Real Estate With Images
Creating the best possible tweet has never been more important. Adding visual appeal to your tweet is a very smart way to get your most important content noticed.
You can add up to four images per tweet or one fantastic image if you want. The choice is yours! To add multiple images, use regular Twitter. This isn’t available on any of the third-party sites. Here’s an example of a tweet with multiple images on Twitter.
— Guy Kawasaki (@GuyKawasaki) October 22, 2014
#5: Switch Up Content Formats
For example, by turning one of my List25 articles into video every week, I’ve grown the YouTube channel to 1.3 million subscribers and amassed over 200 million video views. A similar tactic with WPBeginner articles has grown subscribers to over 8,000, and the channel has increased sales for my WordPress plugins.
Changing content formats doesn’t have to involve just videos. You can also convert snippets from your existing articles into images—which tend to have better reach on Facebook. These images allow you to leverage the power of social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram.
Here’s how I shared a Tip of the Week image on the WPBeginner Facebook page.
Have you written a lot about one specific topic on your blog? Why not combine those articles into an ebook and use it to build your email list?
If you’re not changing content format to improve your overall reach, then you aren’t maximizing the full potential of your content.
#6: Create a Social Media Channel Plan
Most likely, your goals are different on each social platform. Since that’s the case, the content you develop for that platform needs to be different as well. Here are the components for your channel plan.So many organizations feel overwhelmed by the need to create content for every social media channel on the planet. Or worse yet, many brands create one type of content and then blast that content onto every social platform. If that’s you, you need a social media channel plan.
- The Channel (For example, Facebook.)
- The Persona (Who are you specifically targeting? Please choose one.)
- The Goal (Is it a sales goal, cost-savings goal or are you trying to create a bettercustomer experience?)
- Primary Content Type (Textual, video, infographics?)
- Structure (What does a general post look like?)
- Tone (Playful, sarcastic?)
- Channel Integration (How will this channel work with your other channels for maximum impact?)
- Desired Action (What user behavior do you want to achieve?)
- Editorial Plan (Every channel needs its own editorial calendar.)
And this is exactly why content marketing isn’t easy. But if you leverage a social media channel plan correctly, you’ll be able to double down on the channels that work for you and be realistic with your resources on the other channels.
#7: Deliver Content Consistently
Enter Edgar. I found out about Edgar a couple of months ago and love the platform.One of the best ways to grow your following and increase engagement on social media is to be there consistently. The first step is to put the right systems in place to keep your posts relevant, interesting and valuable for your audience.
Edgar allows you to create your own content categories so you can keep track of the specific types of posts you’re releasing; this ensures you don’t overwhelm your followers with the same types of posts over and over.
You can also schedule repeat posts indefinitely, so your content schedule never runs dry. Plus Edgar allows you to upload custom images for your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn posts.
As you build your content library, update your schedule with the categories you want to release and when. Then let Edgar take care of the rest.
Leveraging a social media scheduler like Edgar has saved me time, helped me grasp the big picture when it comes to my social media marketing strategy and allowed me to stay on top of my game when it comes to delivering valuable content to Fire Nation.
#8: Host Private Hangout On Air Events
Social media success is so often about having a conversation with the right people. If you already think in terms of building segmented lists, then you may appreciate knowing that you can effectively list-build on Google+ in many ways.
Use a private community alongside regular Google+ Hangouts On Air (HOA) events, so you can host a dedicated, private experience while having conversations with the right people.
In doing this for our Academy, we’ve noticed two trends:
- Around a third of community members watch the event within a day.
- About 8 to 10 community members also join the event as participants.
Unlike with public communities, when you initiate your event within a private one, the members receive an event invite/notification. This is a perfect way to break through the noise and reach the right audience.
In both scenarios, the event will be listed under the Event tab, as well as on the right-hand side of the community.
Selling is increasingly personal, so face-to-face time with your community makes a huge difference. Also, the ability to quickly give them access to links/resources results in a great customer service experience.
#9: Use Hashtags Strategically
Use a hashtag that is easy to spell and easy to remember. To make sure your hashtag isn’t already being used for something else, check for it on all channels prior to using it for your campaign. Once you create your hashtag, follow and join the conversation!If you want to be successful with your social media plan, stop random acts of hashtagging and use a good hashtag to tie all of the pieces of your campaign together.
#10: Test Pinterest for Your Brand
An organization that provides software as a service to a very narrow audience tested pinning their blog posts to Pinterest. In some cases, the images from the blog posts were original—infographics, their product in use or PowerPoint decks—and in others, they used a paid Shutterstock account. They built boards based on their brand personas, representing five different segments, and got to work.I’d always believed Pinterest is best for organizations that have somethingvisual to show: fashion, food, sports. But a client recently proved me wrong.
After just one month, Pinterest became their number-one social network referral source.
And has remained there since the test began in June.
The company’s real goal was to drive people to take their free trial. In the past 4 months, 35 people have come directly from Pinterest and taken the free trial
And, of those 35 people, 10 have become customers. So a four-month test of pinning blog posts to Pinterest has driven approximately $50,000 in new revenue. Not too shabby!
#11: Use Social Updates to Write Blog Posts
Seth Godin is one of the most successful bloggers in the marketing world, and he writes in two- to three-sentence paragraphs. He’s a master at expressing ideas that are thought-provoking and easy to read. People are pressed for time these days and content can be overwhelming, so make it valuable and easy to read.Take your most popular tweets and Facebook posts, or the ones you feel most passionately about, and use them to develop blog posts. You don’t have to write three pages; you don’t even have to write four paragraphs.
Another way to get ideas is to comment on the things you read, such as other people’s blogs and newsletters, media publications and anything else relevant to your business. You’re already absorbing the content and you probably have opinions when you’re reading it, so go ahead and comment on those blogs.
One benefit of commenting is that people will start recognizing your name; another is it gives you material for a blog post.
For example, I save the comments I write in my email drafts folder and I use the subject line as a label for the topic. After I’ve saved the drafts, I can come back and turn these comments into blog posts. I can even make the comment itself the blog post. After all, it’s still my writing. (Check out Meddle, which makes this whole process easy and allows you to share/syndicate your comments to your social platforms with a few easy clicks.)