Is it time to Chuck Your Social Media Strategy?
If you're spending more time out and about on Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter than on your own real estate, then it's time you came home and checked your foundations.
In this post, I show you 3 areas of your social media strategy that you need to turn your attention to.
These are 3 things that you already own. They form strong foundations for the rest of the social platforms.
Get these right and you don't need to chuck anything when it comes to social media strategy – instead, you will enjoy not just likes but more importantly, engaged fans, clients and raving brand advocates.Here's the thing.
We don't own social media. We don't own the platforms.
We don't own our Facebook Page.
Or our Twitter Account.
Or our LinkedIn Profile. Our Instagram profile. Our Pins on Pinterest.
None of it we own. In fact, at any given moment, it could disappear…
Stranger things have happened.
Of course that is unlikely, but what is more likely to happen.. is change! All of our social platforms are subject to constant change, and we see that week after week with the new changes to the Facebook platform and seemingly more and more changes to other social platforms too.
So what can you do about it?
You can't change the platforms – you can build a community on them…of course, I highly recommend it. Just don't rely on it. Anyone who only relies on social platforms like Facebook is skating on thin social media ice.
This is why some businesses are upset about declining reach on Facebook and others don't mind so much.
The ones that don't mind have essential strategies in place (that involve more than just Facebook). They diversify their online marketing.
So, if you are mainly focusing on Facebook, then, yes, you may need to rethink things a little!
If your foundations are right – your website, email and content – are sound, you don't have to worry about what Facebook is doing tomorrow, next week or next month.
If you look after what you OWN first, then your social media platforms will have a solid foundation on which to grow.
And Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest…all those other platforms that you don't own, can be viewed as tools – tools that you can use to build your reach, referrals and results … by working WITH what you own – your website, email and content.
So let's take a look at these 3 highly important pieces of real estate that you need to focus on, and how to give them the time and attention they deserve:
#1 Optimize Your Website
Your website is your home base. Your mothership. It is, ideally, where all traffic should be directed. Some simple things you should have in place are as follows:
- clear calls to action on your content on social platforms, indicating how people can find out more – directing them back to your website.
- Great quality content on your website (we will get to that in a moment)
- Clear ways for visitors to sign up for more information/content/email list (we will also get to that in a moment).
- Great navigation so that people can easily find you out more about you and your business, how to work with you, your content and what you offer, and a way of contacting you
- Portals to other places they can find you and your content on the web (the same places they like to hang out). For instance, someone might be a huge lover of Pinterest. They might prefer to find your blog posts from your “Latest Blog Post” board on Pinterest than your blog itself. Or they might love to watch your videos on YouTube vs reading content. Or they may be a twitter user and prefer to catch your tweets rather than visit your site. All of the above might mean that they come to your site at some stage, even if just initially….but you need to let people find your content where they like to hang out. Giving them options on your website is important. (this may seem like a contradiction of “make your website your home base” but see the next point >).
- You should base as much of your content as possible on your website. You own it. Nobody can take away content that you own. Once you settle it nicely on to your blog, then share it out to social media platforms that you want to focus on. Like I said in the previous point, people will find you where they like to hang out. Don't think you can tell them where to do that. Sure, direct them to your website as much as possible, but at the end of the day they will have a preference for how they like to consume your content – and it might be somewhere you least expect it.
When thinking about traffic, there are really 3 ways we can look at it. Traditionally we have all been very focused on driving traffic to your website. And for the most part that is correct. It's your home base – you should be driving traffic to your website. But with the advent of sites like Pinterest, things have changed:
Apu Gupta said it well. We need to think differently about how content is shared. Consumers drive how content is shared, and this has also means that no longer is traffic to your website the only traffic that is important. In fact there are three types:
#1 Traffic to your website
This is where you focus on people finding you, signing up to your emails/list and buying your products and services. It is also where they find your content in most cases after they click through from another social site. They might click through from a blog post on another site, a tweet, a pin, a Facebook or LInkedIn post or your YouTube Channel. This traffic comes from somewhere else to your site.
#2 Traffic on your website
what is it that will keep them on your website? Great content, clear navigation, enticing headings, offers for more information… all contribute to them staying “on site” and moving from post to post, from your about page to your work with me page. What is it that makes your website “sticky” and keeps them there?
#3 Traffic away from your website
This is the one that we often neglect. People are sharing your content (especially your visual content) from your websites to sites like Pinterest. While you sleep they are sharing your content, and you don't have to do anything to make it happen. Well, maybe one little thing. Let's take a look at what you can do to encourage this:
- Make sure you have one engaging, highly shareable image on every page of your site.
- Try to have at least one image in a “Pinterest-ready” size – images of 2:3 aspect ratio (ie 400 x 600) stand out more on the Pinterest newsfeed.
- Encourage your community to share your content – don't wait for them to read your mind. Ask them to share!
- Include a hover “pin it” image button over your image.
Do you see where I am going with this?
Images that your community pins from your website to Pinterest are more valuable than images you pin yourself. Tweet This.
Not only does having an optimized website with pinnable images allow your community to take over and market your content for you – but it allows you to see what they love about your business. How powerful is that for market research?
All you need to do is go to www.pinterest.com/source/yourwebsite and find out what they are pinning.
Use this information to drive what you write about, what visual content and images you include and any special pages about your products or services.
#2 Optimize Your Email
Amy Porterfield once said this very well so it bears repeating:
It's true. You own your email list. Optimize it – make it a priority for your business. There are a number of ways you can do this:
- make it easy for people to sign up to your list – both on your website and your social media sites
- offer something awesome in return for signing up and deliver on it – it could be a free cheatsheet pdf, or a free video series or awesome free content on your newsletter. But whatever you do – deliver on what you promise.
- Provide great quality content for your list. And provide relevant content. Don't ask them to sign up for a free cheat sheet about a particular topic and then send them spam about your products and services. Send them information about the topic they signed up for (and be very clear about what they are signing up for on your opt in form).
- Segment your lists. It doesn't make sense to send everyone everything, so have some different versions – have a list for your newsletter and a list for people that are interested in X topic. When you make product X that is about X topic, then be sure to let them know, but most of the emails you send should be filled with information that helps them. Be helpful.
- Never ever neglect your list while playing with the shiny objects over on social media. Instead, bring social media into your list. Make it social. Why not ask them to reply to your email if they agree with something, or add “Click to Tweets” to the email for them to get social with you on Twitter – or embed a Facebook post. Get creative and get social!.
- and for heaven's sake – give your list the best content of anyone – more than your blog, your social media followers and fans.
Your “list” is a group of people that liked your content enough to give you their valuable email address. Value them back.
Note: I don't like the term “list” – I prefer the term “community”. Just sayin. But use whatever works for you.
#3 Optimize Your Content
Content is Valuable. But great content (which you own) housed on your blog (which you own) sent out to your email list (which you own) is priceless. I talked about this here where I said that “Real Estate is the Castle where Content Resides”. You own your website, so own your content too and publish it first (where possible) on your blog.
Try some of these things:
- Blog regularly. Whether it is monthly, fortnightly, weekly or daily – try to be regular. Full disclosure I am not perfect at this but it is a goal of mine to move beyond weekly posts to bi-weekly I need to write shorter posts! :o)
- Share your blog post out to social media. But be mindful of the nuances of each particular social site. For example:
- on Facebook share it as a link
- on Pinterest, you will need a great image on your post to pin it to Pinterest.
- On instagram, take a photo about writing the post, or an image of your desk in a mess (or neat) and talk about what you are doing behind the scenes! Instagram is about the people behind your business, so rather than posting links, it is about posting what you are doing!
In short, just start focusing on your blog or website.
Come back away from being obsessed with Facebook and blog MORE.
My blog has been the single most important social media site for me. I say “social” because it is. People engage with me in the comments and they share my content. It is social..and I “own” it.
I will always spend more time here (at home) than out on Social Media. Joe Pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute said it recently at SMMW and as he says, this quote originally came from the work of Sonia Simone (from Copyblogger) who has published a lot of great content around how to build great content – Sonia's 10 Step Content Marketing Checklist is one to keep handy – and remind you of what is important and where to spend your time.
The key is making sure that people can flow freely between your blog and your social sites via links, articles, plug ins, icons and sharing buttons – and that they can not only find you on your blog but take your content away with them to share!
Every social platform has potential to make a big impact on your business. But I guarantee, if you don't implement look after what you “own” first, before you race off to play on social platforms, at best your results will be ad hoc.
What about you. Are you treating your blog like a homebase?
Are you pimping out your website to welcome visitors, entice them to stay and send them away with your content to share with the world?
Are you embracing email and using it to woo your community and give them massive value?
If so, let me know in the comments below. I want to know what works for you!
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