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When you’ve created a great piece of content, you want to get it in front of as many eyeballs as you can. There are countless ways to create exposure online and creating a systematic approach is often the best way to ensure you don’t miss out on anything.
Take some time to map out all of the possible traffic sources and how they are connected. Do you feed your Twitter to Facebook? Does your Blog feed to LinkedIn? Consider what should be automatically fed and what should be done manually. Once you look at how it’s all connected, you’ll have a better idea if there are holes in your strategy and you’ll know what steps you need to take every time you want to promote some new content.
I’ve been asked so many times how to get started on the social networks, so that there is an audience that is primed and ready to consume your content.
This is designed to be an overview and not an in-depth training. I’m going to cover Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Blogging in this article. Stay tuned for other traffic sources in the future.
Blogging: The key here is to be creative and be consistent. Typically there are some core “themes” that you need to cover via Blogging and social media and within those core themes; you can come up with a zillion different topics to write about. Make sure your post is engaging, interesting, accurate and don’t forget to include a compelling call to action at the end. Make sure you use at least one nice image, so you can pin it. Get creative when coming up with topics to cover.
Notes: Pinterest is primarily women and they spend a lot of time each month. If you do it right, Pinterest can work really well for you, since you have a captive audience ready and waiting to consume what you pin.
Goal: The goal is to create “pins” that will get shared and liked and that will ultimately drive traffic back to the site for more information or to make a purchase etc.
Strategy Outline: The vibe on Pinterest is definitely not sales oriented, it is about sharing information, tips and pictures. You have to come up with a spin that grabs people’s attention and makes them want to share the pictures. The idea is that when the pics get shared enough, people will also click through to the site for more info. You will need to use your site and Blog as part of your Pinterest strategy. There are 3 steps involved and I’m going to outline details on each step:
Step one: Brainstorm what “Boards” you want to create. Remember, your target audience when you come up with your list of Boards. You can add new Boards at any time, so you don’t need to come up with all of them at once but it helps to have some in place. **Don’t forget to categorize them for easier searchability. Also note that naming a Board with a “long tail” search phrase and then using that phrase in some the pin descriptions can help get your Boards to come up higher in the engines, giving you more exposure. The idea is with longer more specific phrases, rather than the generic, there is less competition in Google and your Boards/Pins have a better chance of coming up and then they can drive traffic back to your site.
Step two: Build “followers”.
- Create a list of people you think are likely to be interested in your product. Once you have your list in place, go to Pinterest and search for phrases that people would likely be using to talk about the areas you outlined above. This will be a process that is always flowing and you have to do a search and see where it leads you. Once the results of that search come up, you’ll see a bunch of “pins” – click a pin and go to that person’s profile. Follow them. The idea is you hope they will follow you back. If you want to make it even more likely, jump down to step 3 and repin their pins. This is where you’ll need to go back and possibly create new Boards – ones to accommodate repinning other people’s content. When you create a Board and repin their stuff, that shows them you are looking to connect and interact and they are more likely to look at your pins and try to discover what you are about.
Step three: Post compelling “pins”
- This is crucial because it will be what determines that your pins get repinned. My suggestion is that you start with images that are already on your site and repin those just to get a foundation of pins. That is quick and easy. In the comments section, always include details about the organization and a link back to the site. If you are Blogging, you would write a Blog post that has helpful information or tips and then put a graphic on the post that you can pin. That way you are driving them back to a solid piece of informative content and are more likely to get a response. The Blog post should always include a call to action and link back to a specific page on the site.
Step four: Repin other people’s “pins” (law of reciprocity, if you repin, those people are likely to check you out and repin your stuff)
Metrics: You need to allow some time to build things up and get a following. The best way to determine if Pinterest is benefiting you is to look at your web stats and look for Pinterest as a referring source of traffic. Then you look at how much traffic it’s driving versus how much time you are spending and determine if it’s worth the effort.
Notes: Your Pinterest may automatically feed to your Twitter but you also need other Tweets and you need to build followers.
Goal: There are 3 goals here: get new followers, get your tweets retweeted and drive traffic to the site.
Strategy Outline: You can be a little more salesy on Twitter but you need balance. Send a combination of helpful tips, sales messages and interesting facts. The steps for your Twitter strategy are:
Step one: Build “followers”.
- Use the same list you created for your “audience” on Pinterest and either manually search Twitter or use a program like TweetAdder to find followers. You can also look at competitors of yours and see who is following them and then follow those people to get them to follow you back.
Step two: Write compelling tweets. I find it easier to sit down and write a months’ worth of tweets at once time. You can always add spontaneous ones in but at least you have a foundation. I like to use HootSuite to schedule the tweets.
Step three: Retweet other peoples tweets (again, the law of reciprocity)
Ideas: Keep in mind the same things I said above about shocking, moving, inspirational funny etc. being the things that will go viral.
- Ask questions to engage your followers.
- Ask open ended questions to get them thinking (what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail, things like that).
- Share personal tidbits from your career and life to build a connection.
- Find jokes related to your work and share those.
Metrics: Same as Pinterest, you need to allow time and look at web stats. You can also use a URL shortener that tracks clicks so you can see which tweets get the most clicks and you can use those to model future tweets after.
Notes: While you can feed your Twitter directly to Facebook, I strongly suggest you do it manually. Some people will follow you on both and you will have more impact if the messages are unique. Also, you have more room on Facebook, so you can say more.
Goal: There are 3 goals here: get new followers, get Likes/Shares and drive traffic to the site.
Strategy Outline: Much like Twitter, you need a balance of tips, questions to encourage interaction and sales messages:
Step one: Build “fans”.
- There are two ways to build fans, pay for ads or do it manually. I suggest you start by searching for groups AND pages that are related to your business. Then you can either comment and participate and build a connection. Find a group that you think would have the same audience you are looking to target and like their page. Once you’ve liked it, post on their Wall introducing yourself and saying why you think your two pages/issues are a good match and invite people to visit your page. So this method takes longer and requires you to see what you can get away with based on the vibe on the page. Another thing to do is look at who is active on the page and send them private messages asking them to like your page and give them a reason why. You don’t want to do more than 20 of these per day or again you can get in trouble with Facebook. This is all a grey area and while Facebook encourages networking, they also don’t want people to be spammed so you have to be careful. The more polite and personal the email is, the less likely it is that someone will get annoyed. Building followers (fans) on Facebook is harder than any of the other networks but it’s the best for building. There are other things you can do like contests and friend the owners of pages and ask them to promote you. You should encourage Twitter and Pinterest followers to also follow you on Facebook. You should put a link to Facebook on the site and you should put it in the signature line of your emails and encourage people to like it.
Step two: Write compelling posts. You can post them manually or on HootSuite.
Step three: Like and share other’s people’s posts (again, the law of reciprocity) – do it as “your page” and not as a person.
Ideas: Keep in mind the same things I said above about shocking, moving, funny etc. being the things that will go viral.
- Ask questions to engage your followers. There is actually a feature to create a little poll/quiz as your status update.
- Use photos a lot – they “trend” better than text based updates.
- You want to give people a reason to visit the page often, so you can also post newsworthy or interesting things not related to your product. Ex: if you google special days of the year, you’ll find ice cream day, pancake day, chocolate cake day. So you can generate a list of these fun special days and on that day, post about it. While most people don’t see the value of posting about a topic not related to your product, it’s been proven with Facebook studies to engage people. The more they like the content, the more credibility to have with them. Injecting some unexpected fun into the page always goes a long way. You could create a joke of the day, a recipe of the day, a de-stress tip of the day, a featured photo of the day (or of the week if doing this daily is too much). The idea is to really capture who YOU are and share it with people. The clients that love you and your work love it because of YOU and what you bring to it. So that needs to be captured and shared with the public. I know what you do is so important but you have to resist the temptation to always be business focused. Social media is designed to be personal and not corporate. You need to have fun with it. If there is a long weekend coming up, do a post asking people what their long weekend plans are etc.
Metrics: Same as Pinterest or Twitter, you need to allow time and look at web stats. Facebook also offers “Insights” on the page so you can see which posts are the most popular and you can get demographic info and learn what days you get the best reach etc. Studying this data at least once a month to learn and create the topics for the next month is always helpful.
These social media tips should get you started. Don’t forget to comment and add any suggestions you have!