When I started my business back in 2012, I included the “3 Core Strategies” as an explanation for successful social media marketing.
What’s crazy is that over 3 years later, they’re still the same!
Almost everyday, I’m asked to explain how to be successful with social media, but the answer is not a short one. That’s because there’s unlimited ways to build an audience, engage, develop relationships, and ultimately sell your product/service.
But there is one foundational recipe that stands true and has stood the test of time – a singular magical way to find social media success that can be stretched and pulled to fit your industry, business goals, or ideals.
Before we get started, there’s a few ground rules you need to be aware of.
- Social media requires a REAL commitment. And I don’t mean a “yea, let’s try this today” commitment, I mean a “til death do we part” commitment. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but almost. If you want results and you want to do well, then you’d better get comfortable because it’s going to be a long ride.
- Social media requires consistency. I harp on this bad boy alllllll the time and that’s because no matter what industry you’re in or what social network you’re managing – if you aren’t consistent, you won’t be successful. And that consistency plays out differently for businesses. Some need to consistently produce good products, but don’t have to put as much time into social, like Apple or Coke. But most of us earth beings not only have to be consistent with what we do, but also how we conduct ourselves online. That means, posting consistently, answering consistently, being available consistently. When we are consistent, it shows our audience we are reliable and trustworthy without having to say it. And as the old adage goes, actions speak louder than words.
- Social media requires ethical practices. While some believe they can lambast their way into social media stardom, I must warn you – there’s a process and procedure. No, there isn’t. But there is an ethical and unethical way to do many things. Ethics and social media is a HUGE subject that I don’t have the time or space to get into for this article, but it mostly comes down to: treat people the way you want to be treated. Do you like auto DM’s? Do you appreciate spam in your LinkedIn inbox? Do you dig it when some stranger you just followed sends you some automated message asking you do something without even saying hi?? Don’t do what you don’t want done to you.
- Social media requires time. Successful social media isn’t an overnight game nor is it one that can be cheated. We can’t jump to the middle and have anything other but momentary results. You must buckle in and be consistent for a long time. Don’t get frustrated or blame it on the social networks – they’re offering you free communities in which to meet and sell to your target customer – that rocks! Instead, learn about them, educate yourself, and be patient. It’s typically the time that someone is about to give up when a breakthrough occurs.
- Social media requires continual education. This isn’t an industry where you can start, read a few books, and be an expert – regardless of what you see others touting. This is an industry built for those of us who get bored easily and always need a change because there’s one almost everyday – literally. Someone said, Knowledge is power, and it’s important in social media, but experience reigns. More than anything, you want both, so don’t be afraid to read/test/try/read/test/try again and again, until you find what works. And guess what, when you do – you’ll need to change it up again. This is a topsy-turvy industry, so either you’re hip or you should hire someone who is.
Now that we’ve outlined a few rules, here’s the 3 different strategies you MUST use in conjunction for successful social media. I’ll outline and explain them.
If email marketing isn’t the bread and butter of your business – it should be. Had I listened to the pros and started building my email list when I first launched my business I’d be much farther along.
Email marketing gives you the opportunity to reach people on their most intimate level – the inbox. It gives you access to a place people fiercely protect these days, and you’ll have to earn their trust to keep it.
But the most important reason email marketing is so crucial is that it’s the ONLY channel YOU own. No matter what Facebook or Twitter or any of the social networks decide to do or update – your email list will alwayssssss be yours.
It can’t be bought (hopefully) and that makes it solid gold. Solid. Gold. Folks.
Make it actionable:
1. Sign up with an email provider. Mailchimp or Weber are my recommendations for newbies.
2. Create an opt-in that will entice others to sign up for your email newsletter – ebook, infographic, training videos, etc. It needs to add value, regardless of what it is.
3. Strategize how you will communicate with your audience – weekly, monthly? Whatever you decide, make it consistent.
4. Use Hello bar or a good pop-up box to promote your offering and get the attention of readers.
5. Start sending out newsletters!
Content creation can seem like a vague notion, but it’s simply: written or visual content, i.e. blogging, videos, graphics, etc.
Blogging has been around for a longgg time, but it’s still one of the most trusted ways for an audience to get to know you, trust you, and learn what you’re all about. People love to read, especially when you make it fun and educational.
Visual content is all the rage these days – photos, graphics, GIFs, and videos. People love it!! And they should – it’s much more personal than a blog and can tell a long story in a single snapshot or within a few minutes.
Bottom line – content creation is what makes your social media channels stand out. Native content is KING these days, hands down. You need it, gotta have it, and the brands who naturally produce a lot of content are rising quickly.
So your new task is going to be figuring out how you can produce a lot more of it.
Make it actionable:
1. Create a blogging schedule and stick to it!
2. Decide whether videos would be of use to your audience, if so, create a video publishing schedule.
3. Take regular photos of your workday, business, personal life – anything that aligns with work and/or could be used to correlate with your brand for online sharing
4. Create graphics with Canva (or another similar tool) that showcase powerful quotes in your blogs, motivational quotes, cue cards for events/Blabs/Periscopes/etc.
5. Live streaming – does it align with your business objectives? If so, jump in – the water is jussst fine.
6. Brainstorm about other ways to create content with your team, a smart friend or ask your audience for ideas.
Social media marketing
The deal is, when email marketing and content creation are happening regularly and consistently, your social media presence will automatically be amplified. They will not only infuse your feeds with excellent content, but offer new ways to share it.
There’s no short way to talk about good social media practices without launching into a whole new blog, but I will say there’s a few key things to keep in mind.
- Don’t try to be everywhere. Research which 2-3 social networks host your target audience and begin there. Once you’ve laid a solid (I mean, 3-6 month solid) foundation then you can branch out.
- Don’t start up a social network and manage it haphazardly. If you’re going to do it, do it right – commit and be consistent. And that means it’s okay if all you can handle are 1-2 social networks to start with. Social media marketing is not a race and quality ALWAYS beats out quantity.
- Don’t become an automator. The only reason automation was invented was to give marketers and biz owners more freedom to do what we should be doing – engaging and developing relationships. Social media is NOT auto replies on Twitter, spam on LinkedIn or trying to exchange Like for Like on Facebook. That’s CRAP marketing – don’t do it.
- Don’t be negative. Do your best to refrain from negative discussion/talk at all costs. Be the light in your world and share uplifting and valuable content.
- Post with purpose. This is another one of my universal social media truths. If you are purposeful with all your online decisions and content – everything will work out wonderfully. Don’t just post something because you’ve got nothing, plan ahead and know what steps to take if you run out of content. Plan every. thing.
- Social media networks are the pipelines to tell your story and share your content – you can’t solely rely on ANY social network for total success. And never forget, you don’t own any of the social networks, so they could change it all up on your any day.
The main takeaway from this blog is that you need ALL 3 core strategies to be successful with online marketing: email marketing, content creation, and social media marketing. Create content that displays the intelligence and ethics of your brand, send valuable and personal information via email newsletters, and spread the word via social media.