Social media seems to be so damn easy that it seems we don’t even need to plan it out. Just create a page to Facebook, Twitter and maybe Google +, and post there a few times a day or whenever you remember that you have a page.
In reality, it’s not as easy as it looks. As with everything, it takes some time to learn it and finally to master it.
On a regular month, this website gets 30-35% of the traffic from social media. It makes sense because in early 2015, social media traffic made up 31% of overall traffic.
Another study done by Shareaholic gathered data from 200,000 websites over the course of four months. They found that Facebook was the number one social traffic source, who accounted for up to 17.41% of overall traffic. We shouldn’t forget that the other networks are less popular and more niche specific.
Social media traffic has this reputation that it’s hard to convert, but the reality is that this form of traffic is very engaged.
The question is, how much traffic are you missing out on just because you don’t have a solid plan? Social media traffic continues to grow over time, and it’s about time that you get started.
In this article you will learn:
- Why websites fail to achieve their goals with social media?
- What social media networks are best for your business?
- How to engage effectively with your audience?
- How often you need to post, and how to do it with a minimal amount of effort?
- How to drive more and more traffic to your website?
Shall we begin?
The number one thing you need to learn is that consistency is the key. The truth is that you don’t have to be a genius to create something unique and creative. You just have to put in the time.
If you have a great social media strategy, it will benefit your business in many ways.
- Improve SEO
- Gather intelligence about your customers
- Relationship building
- Build brand recognition
- Drive more traffic to your web
- Drive sales / leads
- Improve online commerce
When you do a good job, you won’t see any results in a day or in one week. You will start seeing some results in a month. You will see great results in half a year.
The reason why many businesses fail on social media is that they give up after a few weeks because they don’t see results. Consistency is the key.
Step 1: Who is your audience?
It’s a crucial part of the social media strategy, because without knowing who your key audience is, you will probably tell your story to the wrong audience. If you have a product that is mainly used by seniors, you don’t want to put all your social media efforts into Snapchat and Facebook. Yes, it’s a no-brainer, but that happens.
You can determine the demographics simply by using Google Adwords Display Planner. You need to have a free account to do that.
First, enter the keyword that describes your niche:
Try different keywords and you will get a basic idea of your market.
You can get similar data about location and language from “Geo” section in your “Audience” panel.
Now, you should start working with that data. Open an Excel or text file and record everything you have so far. You could write down that:
- Gender: Slightly more male than female
- Education: More than the internet average
- Location: Mostly in US and UK.
- Age: average is 22. Few seniors.
- Income: Low income, mainly because of the age
Now you should use psychographics to completely understand how to create content that will create value for the target audience. In order to completely understand the consumer, you will need to understand their general life outlook. You can use forums, subreddit search, and comments on popular blogs to understand that group.
Find answers to questions like:
- What common questions do they have about the niche?
- What is important to them?
- What do they mainly want to learn about?
- How much do they already know?
- Who are the experts in the field already?
You will know exactly what kind of content to produce if you put in some effort here.
Step 2: What social media platforms should you use?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of choosing too many social channels to start with. It’s very hard to do a good job on 5 social media networks. I usually recommend businesses to find one or two platforms to focus on and put their full effort there.
So, what networks should you use? First, narrow down the networks based on their age:
In 2015, younger generations are more active on Tumblr and Vine while LinkedIn and Facebook are more popular for an older demographic. As we know, Facebook is slowly losing the interest of younger generations, but still, 70% of the adults use it actively
Besides that you should look at what your competition is doing. Check your top 4-5 competitors and see what social channels they use most. You can use BuzzSumo to find what social channels you should focus on as well. For example, if my niche was self-development, I would enter the URL of my competitor.
Now I have a pretty good understanding of what social channels I should use. It’s clear from the chart that Facebook and Twitter produce the best results.
Step 3: What about the content?
In order to be successful on social media, you need to provide great content for your audience. The key is to create content that your target audience will love. The content has to be SO good that they WANT to share it with their friends.
Depending on the social network, the content could be any of the following:
- blog posts
- famous quotes
- tip of the day
- news related to your industry
It’s important to post the right kind of content to the specific network. In addition, you shouldn’t only promote your own content.
Besides that, another research study found that companies that have a balanced strategy of content creation and content curation generate higher conversions. They determined that it’s ideal to link to your own content between 25-50% of the time.
One example is Michael Hyatt, who posts 20 pieces of content created by others for every self-promotional post.
Still, there is no magic formula that would work with every company. Every business has to look into analytics and see what works best for them.
There are endless ways of finding the content to share with your audience.
3.1 When it comes to images, you can find great high-quality images on Morguefileor Pixabay. When you want to take images from Google, make sure that under “search tools” you click “labeled for reuse”.
3.2 You can find great articles, videos and infographics to share from Buzzsumo. Enter a keyword related to your niche and the website will show you the most shared content in your niche.
3.3 Once in a while it’s nice to post quotes. There are many different websites for that, but I personally like BrainyQuote the most.
It’s all personal preference depending on what kind of content you want to share. Now at least you have more than enough content to share with your audience.
Step 4: How you can get more followers?
It’s pretty devastating when you have awesome stuff to put out but there is nobody in the audience. Don’t ever buy fake followers from Fiverr or any other website, because then it’s impossible to track results later.
Usually with many social networks, the fastest way to get a targeted following is to follow as many people in your industry as possible, and a high percentage will follow you back. When it comes to Facebook, you have to spend some money to start off on Facebook Ads. Usually, you get a pretty good and targeted following to Facebook around $0.04 – $0.05 per like.
5. When and how often should you post?
Now you should have a decent following on some platforms. Every time you post something and someone clicks on it or shares it, it feels awesome, right?
When you repost your old content once in a while, you get more engagement. When you post the same link 20x times in the same day, you will probably lose many followers and the engagement will drop. That’s why you need to test and see what’s the smartest frequency to post content.
This chart below will cover the best practices for different networks.
Step 6: How to automate?
Maybe you found out that the best time to post your content is in the middle of the night your time. I’m not going to stay up for that, I’d rather sleep. Buffer helps you automate Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
You can create a free account to Buffer and use it manage all your social platforms. I personally create a queue in the morning with all the stuff I want to share during the day.
If you’re not a fan of Buffer, you can always use Hootsuite. I personally believe that they both do an excellent job.
Step 7: Should you analyze?
It’s so easy to get such better results when you do some testing. In Buffer, you can see all the stats of every post. You’ll understand what kind of content you need to post more of and what gets the most engagement.
You should always be driving traffic to your website and the easiest way is to look at the Google Analytics once in a while and see what social platforms drive the most traffic to your website.
There are so many points to take away, but one thing you should always remember when it comes to social media is that consistency is the key. It’s easy to give up on it after a few weeks or months, but the real results come slowly. Build a strategy and follow through.