April 20, 2016
Are you in charge of your company’s social media marketing program? Where do you start? Where will I find content to post and when should I post It? How will I find time to research and share useful content? How will I measure my success? I’m already in charge of several other programs, how will I manage the pressure? If you’re asking yourself any of these questions, you’re setting yourself up for social media marketing burnout! In this week’s blog, I will cover how to be efficient and effective as a social media manager. I will tell you how to quickly and easily find and post what works, how to measure what’s working and how to minimize the time social media marketing takes out of your life.
The Four Elements
The hardest part of any new endeavor is just getting started. In this article, our journey will begin by organizing and adjusting our thoughts, resources, methodologies and attitudes. Once these four elements are organized, the stress of doing the daily, weekly and monthly work will transition into a habit that fits your schedule and lifestyle. In essence your stress will turn into a habit and routine that works for you.
The Starting Point
For me, my life revolves around my calendar. This affects all aspects of my life, including – personal, professional and work load. If it’s on my calendar it will probably get done. Managing social media is not all that different than managing other work related items. I start from the premise that most of the work has to be scheduled and some should be spontaneous. It’s about an 80/20 split. Eighty percent is scheduled and twenty percent is done spontaneously. Secondly, I use automation to help. There are lots of social media management tools on the market. Many are free or low cost and some can scale from personal use all the way up to enterprise capacity. Trying to do everything manually just isn’t going to cut it. Automation should also be used to proof and spell check your post. Automation can be used to maintain a high level of professionalism as well.
Before scheduling any post, you have to know what kind of content you’re looking for. You also need to know where to find useful content to post. What we post varies greatly from client to client. Our criterion depends on the client’s tastes, their industry and most importantly, what their target audience likes, wants, desires and is interested in. It also depends on the client’s skill set and expertise. We also like to post the clients own authored articles and blogs to showcase their expertise. Another thing we look for is evergreen content. This is information that is not seasonal, is based on principles which do not change often, and is considered useful and current for a long period of time. This includes evergreen articles written by our clients as well.
If I were posting content for a chiropractic office, for example, I would be searching for and posting articles that provides the latest useful information related to wellness. I would include the clients own blog post as well, along with other useful information from other prominent people making the news in the client’s industry.
Client Focus is Key
Please note, the impetus and focus of my post is to make the target audience happy by providing them what they want. This rarely includes commercials, direct sales ads, specials, or coupons. This does not mean I never post such items, it’s just that these types of items will only be posted if the target audience has shown an interest in them.
To find the useful content your audience wants, look for articles in your industry online magazines as a start. Also searching the internet for specific keywords always yields lots of content. Keywords like “The latest articles/blogs on XYZ” produces a list of articles on the subject matter you’re looking for. Google also provides a great application to automate this function called Google Alerts. Google alerts allows you to define automated keyword search’s where the results are emailed to you. You can select to receive these lists as they happen, once daily or even on a weekly basis. The hardest part for you is to select the most relevant, useful, timely and positive content from the alert list that google sends you. You can also subscribe to industry leader blogs and e-zines which will automatically send you daily or weekly links to their current articles.
Test and Measure
To stay on track, you need to measure how your posts are performing. All of the top social nets provide some form of on-board analytic tracking system. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,Google+ and Blogger all have useful measuring tools built in. Additional measuring tools can be added if you need to measure more than they provide. Additionally, aggregation applications like Hootsuite, Buffer, Social Oomph and other social media management tools also have analytic tools for measuring your results. In social media, you can measure two main types of transactions. Ad performance and social engagement. Ad performance is usually tied to a pay per click platform of some kind or a contest/coupon program. These promo tools measure interactions based on the ads or the criteria of the contest/coupon program. Social engagement analytics measure transactions, including (but not limited to) views, likes, shares, comments and ratings.
The social engagement part of social media is a little harder to understand and gauge its value, whereas measuring banner ad for clicks, page views, form fills, video views, calls or purchases is usually cut and dry. Social engagement measurements are more closely tied to branding, social responsiveness and social equity creation (aka loyalty) than it is in direct sales. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use social media for direct sales, it’s just that most of your direct sales efforts will be tied to pay per click, contest and coupon ads, then it is in your trust building curated social post.
Here’s an example: When I run an ad, I may want to measure ad views, click through rate, video views, phone calls and purchases. On the other hand, when I look at my Facebook engagement analytics, I track and measure, shares, comments, likes, video views and clicks just like I do with my ads except I am not expecting to directly sell anything. I am generally trying to build a loyal audience.
What to Look For
Curated social posts that are showing better than average performance for all posts, get most of my attention. I then look to increase the number of this type of post. I have a client who sells windows and doors. When I noticed that an increase in social engagement for Bob Villa’s blog post, I looked to see if his posts were outperforming most other curated post. I found they his articles post were outperforming others by two to one. So, I started providing more of Bob Villa’s information on a weekly basis. By the same token, I also noticed that some of my experiments yield unexpected results. I found that occasionally post articles about social media also got almost as many share, likes and comments as Bob Villa’s articles. The moral of my story here is; absolutely pay attention to the build in analytics for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Blogger and the like but also don’t be afraid to experiment a little as well. Your audience will always tell you what they like and social media is all about the audience getting what they want.
I mention four elements and two tools that take the stress out of social media management at the beginning of this article. We started with organizing and adjusting our thoughts, setting up a schedule, finding resources and adjusting our attitudes. We then implemented our work by following and using a calendar to schedule our posts and by using automation to speed up your efforts (with aggregation software).
My calendar, for example, would read: Part of my Friday and Sunday is dedicated to writing. This is when I do most of my blogging (unless a muse hits me with an idea, that’s the spontaneous part I mentioned earlier). The first week of each month I do all my research and post all my curated content for the whole month. This includes client’s curated social posts as well. I make sure I post at least 37 days’ worth of content just in case I get sick at the beginning of the month or get distracted with some unexpected project. The second week of each month I double check the people I am managing are doing the same. I use Hootsuite for the bulk of our social post and I can check to make sure our team is doing their job. During the week I keep my eyes open for useful content that I can spontaneously post to help my audience get their fix for daily useful content.
A Little Fun Goes a Long Way
Part of the spontaneous part of managing social media is a little experimentation and having some fun. Your attitude should always be focused on how you can make your audience happy. To this end, have fun trying to make your target audience happy by posting new and different content from time to time (experiment, test and measure). Notice I did not say to make yourself happy by posting what you want to see. That happiness you and your company will receive will come from building a big audience that is loyal and buys your products. This type of loyalty comes from first having a good product or service and second from giving your target audience what they want in their news feed (i.e. useful, timely, relevant, authoritative, and entertaining content that they like). Having a fun attitude will also make the stress level go way down. Having a bad attitude will just make you miserable.
In summary: Start by adjusting your attitude to have some fun. Make sure you start by organizing your thoughts, resources, and methodologies. As I mentioned earlier, using a calendar and automation are a big help. And lastly, don’t discount starting with a positive attitude and a commitment to having a little fun through experimentation and spontaneity. Organizing and scheduling your social media management tasks will go a long way towards getting rid of the stress that time sensitive tasks produce. Following the steps in this article will help you reduce stress and achieve a “stress-less” social media management life.
Hector Cisneros is the president and COO for W Squared Media Group LLC. A digital Marketing Agency in the N.E. Florida Area. He is also the co-host of the BlogTalkRadio Show Working The Web To Win. W Squared Media also does Business as Working The Web To Win online and in Florida.