Using Social Media to Achieve Your Goals

Do you recall the old adage, “you only get out of life what you put into it?”  It’s sounds outdated, but it can be applied even to today’s trendy, digital landscape.  It’s fair to speculate that you’re brand is using a social media platform. If you’re struggling to get followers, you’re not giving your target audience a reason to follow you. In other words, you haven’t put enough effort into your social media to obtain the desired outcome.  

Below are a few basic steps that you can take to start building your social media presence.

1. Set SMART Goals

Start by understanding your goals.  Why is your brand on social media? What are  your expectations? Another old adage, “work smarter, not harder,” is applicable here.  The concept of SMART goals has been around the block a few times, but it is still useful.  A good example of a SMART goal would be, “Increase our Facebook response rate by 25% by the end of the first quarter.”  This goal is Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.  Get it!! Good!  Having concrete goals helps you to avoid the trap of posting aimlessly.

2. Identify Your Audience

Post content that speaks to a defined audience.  Is your target audience industry players and influencers or prospective customers? After you’ve determined your audience, think about the following points.

  • What social media sites are most worthwhile for your activity?
  • What is your posting schedule?
  • What type of content should you post?
  • What is your brand’s voice?
  • What information should be in your profiles?

Spend some time understanding your audience personas (check out our previous blog, “The Power of Personas”). What are their challenges and what brands do they already love?  With this sort of knowledge you can move your social media presence to a place where it stands out in the crowd.

3. Be Human, Build Relationships, and Engage

One of the most appealing things about social media is that you can form relationships in an instant with followers from almost anywhere. Don’t fall into the trap of looking at your follower count as a vanity metric.  One hundred followers that regularly engage with you are far more valuable that 1,000 that ignore you.

Don’t be a robot, don’t be afraid of humor, and don’t be afraid to talk to your followers as if they were friends. When someone follows your page, they expect your brand to engage with them. People want to get to know your brand on a personal level. Whenever someone posts about your brand or comments on one of your posts, respond to them.  You can also engage your followers with polls, quizzes, or contests that encourage your audience to participate.

4. Create A Content Calendar

The biggest brands on social media post on a consistent basis.  Taking the time to make

a schedule keeps your social media presence organized while maximizing your content’s reach. A content calendar can help with the following:

  • Help you to fine-tune posts for each platform without jumping between sites
  • Time posts to maximize engagement
  • Avoid repeating the same content

5. Focus on Helping Over Selling

As a marketers, we should be changing the mantra from always be closing to always be helping.”

             Jonathan Lister

Your social media presence should not be about the “hard sell” or pushing the deal.  By offering solutions rather than just promoting products, you’ll show your company’s credibility and create a potential lifelong customer.

6. Create Original Content

If you want to stand out on social media, you can’t just echo what everyone else is posting.  Maybe it’s your original blog posts, research or infographics; maybe it’s team photos or photos of customers, maybe it’s quote photos or behind-the-scenes photos or videos.  Whatever it is, it needs to make your followers stop in their tracks and break through the rest of the social media noise.

7. Optimize Your Content

Everything that you post on social media can be seen by search engines.  Check out these quick and easy ways to optimize your social media presence across various accounts.

  • Add relevant keywords when appropriate – don’t overdo it
  • Share content related to your industry
  • Connect with popular accounts in your industry for additional exposure (don’t be afraid to follow others)

8. Stay Active

Don’t let your social media accounts become stagnant.  Inactive social feeds are a not a good look for brands. You need to be there every day with fresh content. Here are some tips to help you stay active on social media.

  • Prioritize your social networks based on audience location
  • Find ways to repurpose content so that you’re not always reinventing the wheel
  • Try to post at the most opportune times based on research data
    • Facebook – Thursdays and Fridays between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
    • Twitter – Weekdays between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m.
    • Instagram – Weekdays between 11 p.m. and 1 p.m. & 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
    • LinkedIn – Tuesday and Thursday between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. & 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

9. Don’t Be Afraid to Spend

Whether you like it or not, social media isn’t the totally free channel it once was, and a paid strategy has its time and place based on your goals. There’s plenty that can be done organically, but Facebook’s updated algorithm and Instagram’s new business features signal the need for businesses to experiment with ads. Influencer marketing, developing paid relationships with the social movers and shakers, is also becoming more common.  On the upside, you can see astonishing ROI on both social ads and influencer marketing.

Keep in mind that growth on social media takes time, dedication, and effort.  You need to focus on building a dynamic presence with regular modification. Remember, Facebook has over 2 billion monthly active users and Instagram has 800 million.  Don’t ignore them!