Nobody ever said social media marketing would be easy. But it can be a lot less of a challenge if you develop good habits.
Developing a habit is like training yourself to complete tasks by doing them repeatedly on a set schedule (once a day, week, or month, usually).
After a while, you get used to doing them, and as you keep on doing them, they become increasingly effective.
These are habits that the most successful social media marketers use — make them second nature to your own social media campaigns, and you’ll see your social media presence grow.
#1 Relationship Build
Building strong relationships should go beyond simply checking your social media feeds periodically and liking, sharing, and commenting on posts. To build real relationships, you have to offer real attention.
One habit of highly successful social media marketers is to take time every week (an hour or so at a set time) to personally connect with your most valuable clients and social media peers.
This can be anything from a quick post to their Facebook page complimenting or congratulating them on something they’ve shared, a direct message on Twitter thanking them for being supportive of you, or even a small gift of one of your products or company swag with a handwritten note.
Who should get this treatment?
Clients and customers who refer others to you, who give you repeat business on a regular basis, blogs and publications that write positive things about your company and products, other businesses that sell and promote your product, and anyone who is on the level of these ideal clients and peers.
#2 Be Giving
Giving something back — to the community, the environment, or to the causes that mean the most to you — can not only keep you grounded and with a sense of purpose regarding your social media marketing, it gives people a reason to support your business beyond your product or service.
Large-scale campaigns that incorporate giving into a company’s brand (see all the pink products created for breast cancer awareness) may be beyond what you can do if you’re a small business, but you can give back by creating a habit of giving on social media.
One way to do this is to create a social media-based giving campaign that focuses on a different cause, whether it’s a large charity or a worthwhile gofundme, and donate a percentage of your profits on a specified day each month.
Or you can offer a monthly raffle, but instead of selling tickets, accept screencapped receipts to your cause of choice as entries.
Give Back Greetings makes giving an integral part of their brand, giving back 10% on all purchases.
The more you commit to giving, the more it will be associated with your business, and the more people will discover you through your charitable campaigns.
#3 Keep Profitable Activities in Sight
While being charitable is a satisfying part of your strategy, being profitable is important, too. Everything you do on social media is a kind of promotion, but you should never lose sight of the fact that promotion is what you’re there for.
Engage in one potentially money-making action every day.
That may include contacting several people and asking them directly if they are in need of your product or service, creating a video about a product and posting it (think along the lines of the L’Oreal tutorial featuring their products below), giving an online mini-seminar, creating a new offer (such as a free ebook) for lead generation, developing a new promotion, or contacting event organizers about having you as a speaker.
Remember that it’s all about balance. Don’t make all of your social media actions directly about making a profit, but never lost sight of the fact that you’re in business to make money.
Plan out your profitable activities at the beginning of every week to make it a habit.
#4 Consider Behavioral Triggers
It’s a scientific fact that the human brain responds to visual triggers — and that the way people respond to visual triggers can and should be used in marketing.
There are three main types of triggers:
- Emotional — Advertisers know that people instinctively connect with what they see — it’s why a 30-second coffee commercial can make people cry, even though they have no emotional attachment to the strangers on screen. Or why a chewing gum commercial from your childhood makes you smile. It’s the reason cat videos are so ubiquitous on the internet.Use imagery that gives people a positive emotional response, and they’ll associate a positive feeling with your company.
- Physical — Imagery can trigger a physical reaction as well as an emotional one. Your heart speeds up watching someone doing something physically extreme, you flinch if you see someone fall. These physical reactions — little bursts of adrenaline that can happen while sitting on the couch — are exciting.Work physical-response images and video, such as footage of extreme sports, into your social media marketing when you want your followers to get excited. This type of imagery pairs well with inspirational quotes that help connect to people emotionally.
- Facial — People are naturally obsessed with other people, and we most connect with the face (and, more specifically, the eyes). This is why commercials usually show people with happy expressions benefiting from a product instead of just showing the product itself.A lot of business owners and bloggers use their own face to connect with followers, and this can be very effective. If you’d rather not, photograph your product with a model, even if it’s not a wearable item (or even a physical item).Stock photos of people can work well, too.Facts and figures may be important in your business, but in social media, data falls flat. Grab your followers with visual triggers first, provide the not-so-social-media-friendly info later.Make it a habit by committing to never making a social media post without a dynamic image.
#5 Know Your Competitors
Social media is all about engaging with other people — including other people in your industry. But knowing your competitors is more than just reading their Facebook page periodically or occasionally retweeting them.
What are they doing that works? What is not working out well for them? How can you learn from their success and failures?
To really know your competitors, you have to research them. One great tool to measure your competitors’ social media activity is Buzzsumo.
Buzzsumo is basically a search engine, but instead of finding online content matching your keywords, it allows you to search by domain name or keyword to find the most-shared social media posts across the five most popular social media channels.
You can compare this data to your own and use it to improve your social media strategy. Are they getting more likes and shared for similar content?
Figure out why, and adjust. Are they doing well with a content form you haven’t used much like Youtube, Vine, or Periscope? It’s probably time you expanded your strategy to improve it.
At the same time, you can catch pitfalls. Do they have text-only tweets with no engagement at all or Facebook posts that flounder?
Compare them to similar posts of yours that have done better and identify why that is.
Research a couple of competitors from a list you create weekly. To make your list, search by industry keyword and hone in on those that have social media channels that make you envious.
You’ll learn more from a competitor who is doing things right than one who isn’t keeping up, even if the latter makes you feel better.
#6 Give Yourself a Checkup
The most successful social media marketers know that social media is ever-changing. What works well today might not work well tomorrow.
Don’t stick with an ironclad strategy. Instead, use a tool like Simply Measured to generate free reports on your channels.
Reports analyze your engagement in detail, from the number of likes (total and per-post average) to the times of day your posts see the most engagement.
You can see which keywords are most effective, and which users engage with you the most.
Make it a habit to do this kind of analysis monthly, and tweak your strategy as you see new patterns.
For example, if you’ve started posting quick tips along with inspirational quotes and see that the tips are doing great while the quotes are dropping in engagement, that may be a signal that your followers are more interested in the tips, and you should shift your focus on that — at least until you see a report that shows otherwise.
Success in social media entails setting up good habits for yourself, whether they occur monthly, weekly, or daily. Stick to these easy-to-implement habits, and your social media marketing success with come that much more easily.
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