Sometimes, a slump is just what you need to kick things into high gear.
How’s your social media presence? If words such as ‘static’ or ‘lethargic’ come to mind, it may be time to take it to the next level. The problem with this, however, is that there is no next level in sight. You’ve followed all of the expert advice you were given and maintained vigilance throughout, yet your social media strategy, which seemed great for a while, deflated like an untied balloon.
Upon experiencing a lull in engagement, many would panic and branch out to even more social media channels. While it sounds like a good idea in theory to expand your reach, this would actually be a very bad idea: if you are already working with the top five or six social channels, you probably have too much on your plate as it is. The better move here is to focus your efforts in the markets you’re already involved in. Your social media presence should typically spread over these main sites:
- Google +
If you deal in Business-to-Business sales and these five are too much for you, consider dropping Pinterest. If none of your business comes from B2B sales, consider dropping LinkedIn (unless you sell a product from which professionals benefit in particular). Even if you plan to hire someone to help you manage your social media accounts, it’s more than advisable to refrain from managing accounts on all six sites. Hiring someone to help is fine, but only if you plan to double your work, not lessen the load.
You may have followed all the rules, yet your traffic is not increasing, your sales and conversions are at a standstill, and people are not responding with likes and shares on social media, read on to learn 5 applicable ways of shaking things up.
The 5 most Important Ways to Boost a Social Media Strategy
A comprehensive social strategy ought to include the following five aspects in order to succeed: conveniently arranged in the acronym STEP B. The trick to pulling out of a devastating nosedive is to take each of these five aspects to a new and creative level. Try to think of it as the ‘next step’ you were searching for, after implementing STEP A of your master plan:
More likely than not, the goal of your original strategy was to become more active with social media and manage your social campaigns while staying on top of trends. You meticulously designed your pages to be consistent with your site and other creative assets, you made sure to post on each account at the recommended frequency, participated in groups and discussions, initiated conversations with customers/users, and increased the number of and placement of social share buttons on your site. Lo and behold, no one is participating, sharing, liking, or posting… it is not working.
Part of the problem may be that it is no longer enough to just make yourself and your brand available. Depending on your niche, a more aggressive, in-your-face campaign may be in order. It is time to start building alliances: align your position with other, popular position holders or organizations in your community and run with the strengths of those partnerships in your hands. If a competitor is getting lots of attention for a good cause, don’t just jump on the bandwagon… take the reins and steer. Make sure the conversation is centered on you.
The two best tools for increasing your involvement in social media are Mention and Swayy. These two rise above the rest when it comes to usability and the ability to find the most relevant topics of the day, week, and even month, so that you can get your opinion and your brand right into the thick of things people are talking about anyway.
Did I Mention…
This powerful, user friendly and affordable tool captures more likes and mentions than most other tools we’ve used (with exception of Radian6, which is 5-6 times more expensive). Mention tells you where the action hot spots are by highlighting what is being said about every important topic on social media.
Setting up your account:
- Set up alerts for your business name, competitors, and keywords. Include words or terms you specifically want to exclude (note: they give the option of viewing through the platform or via email alerts, whichever you prefer).
- Keep track of these mentions and likes across all your social sharing sites. Also provided is all the information necessary for evaluating the source behind mentions including, bios, websites, and social profiles. It’s definitely a time saver and nice not having to hunt around for these important details.
- Monitor and share alerts with other accounts or team members.
- Prioritize certain websites to respond to and set up your account to dismiss mentions from sites you are less concerned with.
Swayy Popular Opinion
The Swayy application takes another approach, running on the assumption that if you want likes and shares… you have to give them. That is why Swayy looks for the most relevant topics and brings the most interesting articles and posts about these right to your desktop. This serves two purposes, both of which you are in sore need of: first, it gives you something dynamic and relevant to share with your followers. Second, and most importantly, it puts vital research in front of you that allows you to write your own posts based on first hand, popular information.
It is obviously no longer enough only to inform people about your existence through social media. It is time to let them know why they should purchase, use, and promote your brand and products. Since the introduction of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, a mix of new and old algorithm parts combined to achieve a higher plane of artificial semantic intelligence, it has been obvious that teaching is better than telling. “How To” became the two most powerful words in the marketer’s vocabulary.
When writing about your brand and products, the first words to come out of your word processor should always be “How To” or a derivative thereof, at least for the foreseeable future. It is time to start making people understand why they need your products. Use social media to help your blog teach the world newer and better ways to use what you have. Focus on your unique selling proposition and repeat it in new, creative ways.
We actually created a whole new section on our blog for how-to posts. The added value in every post (and in this one as well) is the actionable content that helps readers solve a problem. That, my friends, is worth sharing.
To put it delicately, ‘engagement’ gets tossed around… a lot. While this was probably in your social media strategy from the get-go, the word itself has been over used to the point where it really doesn’t carry the weight it once did. Now is the time to put the true meaning of the word “engage” to good use and if you are not up to the task (i.e. knowledgeable, intuitive, creative and verbal), it may be time to hire someone who is.
The word “engage” means to experience an emotion that elicits an otherwise unexpected response. To engage someone is to capture their full attention and make them want to take action. If you can do this even to a small degree, you’ll see positive results. Engaging a person through your posts and articles means that your writing must captivate them and motivate them into taking action. The words they read on your blog, timeline or feed must trigger an emotion of some sort, to ensure it doesn’t get lost among the countless other stories, products and brands they’re exposed to on a daily basis.
Engaging doesn’t just mean answering questions and responding to existing followers. A good way to stimulate engagement is by asking your followers (and their friends, or a target population) for their opinion. Consider running a contest with a brand-relevant reward, posting controversial content (with caution), using humor, and of course, maintaining your USP at the center all of the above. Constantly think of the ways your followers can participate or show you they’re listening – it’ll put your mind at ease regarding whether it’s working or not, and most importantly, their participation will aid in boosting the buzz you’re after.
In your original strategy, you likely set aside a budget for occasional promotions or contests that were intended at drawing attention to your brand. If you didn’t, you should have. Quite simply, freebies and rewards have become something that is expected in exchange for followers’ social media attention and loyalty. This is always a sound marketing strategy; however, this is not what we mean by “promote”. In our elevated view of social marketing, the next phase of your social media strategy is paid advertising.
An innovative as strategy that used the latest tools and incorporates important areas of your site such as your blog and optimized landing pages, can quickly become where you do most of your selling. Social media ads, with their near-organic appearance in users’ newsfeeds, can be the perfect place from which to engage the public and let them know what you have and why they want it. Social media ad tools give you the potential to reach millions upon millions of people on an emotional level, without the frustration of getting inaccurate or useless leads. People who are at the precise age group, phase in life and financial status you’re looking for. Use your social media presence to pull them in by showing them exactly what they’ve been looking for.
- Use Facebook’s custom audience or Twitter’s tailored audience tools to reach your existing client database, or a leads list, using their e-mail or telephone number.
- Make your blog a must-read for clients and competitors, and spread the word with ads targeting people according to interest.
- Constantly add content to your blog and let it trickle to social media (Not the other way around).
- Remember: ultimately, the goal is to use social media to pull people to your website… not the other way around.
Your brand is the single most powerful tool in your arsenal when it comes to long term success. When you are asleep and your blog is silent, your brand is on the job. When there are no news being posted on your social media sites and no one is thinking about buying anything from anyone, your brand is alive and kicking in someone’s mind. Your brand is always on, always present… That is, if you’re lucky enough to have built a memorable and recognizable brand.
A lot goes in to curating a brand’s values and assets, but if your social media is fizzling it may be necessary to tend to your brand first and foremost. When people see the Nike swoosh, they’re reminded of a company that emphasizes accomplishments, as well as an active lifestyle. The power of this symbol alone is enough to drive some to put on their sneakers and go for a run. What does your target audience feel when shown your brand logo? Don’t assume you know the answer: conduct a survey and map out what you’re doing right, and what you’re doing wrong. The feedback you obtain may surprise you, but it should nevertheless drive you to make important decisions.
Step-B = Saturate – Teach – Engage – Promote – Brand
If you followed a strict, doctor-recommended social media strategy and your sales are still lagging, your conversion rate is low, and your engagement is a joke, assess where you are in terms of STEP B. Roll up your sleeves and saturate social media with your presence, teach people why they will enjoy themselves more with your products in their lives, really engage with people on an emotional level, promote your site, which is where you want them to spend the majority of their time, and by all means: invest in your brand with a powerful logo and a memorable, emotion-based tagline. STEP-B will only work if you do.