• Are you telling your brand story in social media?

#PlanYourBusiness – Building Your 2019 Content Calendar

As we say goodbye to one year and wave hello to a shiny, fresh new one, it’s a great time to set about taming our wild and wooly world of social media. The best way to do that is by spending some quality time putting together our content calendar. If you are dreading this task, don’t!

Spending time now to create a comprehensive editorial content calendar will save you hours throughout the year and help you avoid those awkward moments spent staring at a blank screen looking for inspiration.

To get started on creating a comprehensive content calendar, take a few minutes to map out your strategy (yes, you are creating a plan to create a plan). Here five essential elements you should consider:

Your Audience

As a social media marketer, you know that it is critical that your content be consistent and authentic. To ensure that, you need to know who you are writing for. If you don’t know your audience take the time to find out more about them right now.

Your Goals and Objectives

Here’s that word “consistent” again. Your social media content should carry the same message that the rest of your content does and be consistent with your overall goals and objectives.

Your Timing

Should you post on a daily, weekly, monthly basis? That depends on what you want to achieve and how much time you can afford to spend, but it is something you should determine with a strategy in mind. Otherwise, you risk ending up with a haphazard approach.

Your Resources

Most of us have limitations on money, staff, and time. Balance your social media needs with the rest of the needs of your business and determine what your priorities are.

Your Platforms

Whether you use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other platforms is something you need to determine. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses and is better suited to various populations and purposes. You may not need to be using all of these. Consider your audience and your resources and determine which is best for you.

Social media is a useful and powerful marketing tool but, left untamed, it presents an unpredictable set of challenges. You can (and should) control how you manage it. Dedicating a bit of time up front can save you a great deal of time down the road and ensure that you are not wasting your time.

Be sure to Follow us and Let’s Engage!

Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+YouTubePinterestInstagram, and the tools to manage them.

Click here for Social Media TrainingSpeaking and Strategy Consultations.

#LearnSocialMedia – Learn How to Build Your Social Presence

As a business owner building an online presence, you have access to a lot of tools. The trouble is, sometimes there seems to be so many that you don’t know what to use or where to even begin. If you aren’t using social media to market your work then you are missing out. It can be the most cost-effective way to connect with and understand your customers, promote awareness of you and your products, and grow your customer base.

The beauty of social media is that it gives you a direct line to your customers in a way that no other type of marketing can. To use social media effectively, you need to follow some best practices so that your efforts will prove beneficial.

  • Have goals: You probably already have a social media presence but do you have goals? If you are out there simply because you feel like you have to be then chances are you’re not using social media effectively. What do you want to achieve with your social media marketing?
  • Have a plan: Use a haphazard approach, and you’ll get haphazard You need a purpose for what you post and a strategy for why you’re posting. Social media strategy is the difference between just showing up and actually achieving results.
  • Be consistent: If you think about what makes advertising effective, then it will make sense to you that you need to create content and post regularly to become a channel that your customers and target audience can rely on.
  • Be human: Social media users are pretty savvy, and they can spot a fake a mile away. You behave like a robot you’ll get the kind of loyalty that robots deserve. Think about your most recent experience seeking quality customer service in your own life. Now contemplate how you interact with your customers. What lessons can you take from that to improve your online presence? Social media is meant to be social. Businesses that miss that truth will often be frustrated with the return on their effort, time, energy and money.
  • Focus on relationship building: The beauty of social media is that it can enable you to develop relationships with your customers. Post it and forget it? Not if you want to be successful online. People do business with people.
  • Tell a great story: Social media affords you the opportunity to weave a great tale about you and what you are passionate about. Social media storytelling is the difference between simply posting and creating a loyal brand following.

Using social media is easy. Using social media effectively is not. Fortunately, you have access to the Social Power Program. This online training resource puts expert advice and practical tutorials at your fingertips so that you can learn how to make the most of what social media has to offer. It’s the perfect resource no matter what your level of expertise. If you are just getting started, we recommend the Storytelling track. For companies with a consistent social media presence, it’s time to up your game with the Strategy option.

The Social Power Program is designed to help you learn how to discover your real audience and target your approach, make the most of storytelling, and get your message across. At the same time, you’ll learn the secrets to engagement and relationship building. The Social Power Program is not just affordable; it’s cost effective. After all, what’s the point of dedicating your valuable time and resources to social media if you aren’t certain how to make it work well? Join us at the Social Power Program.

Be sure to Follow us and Let’s Engage!

Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+YouTubePinterestInstagram, and the tools to manage them.

Click here for Social Media TrainingSpeaking and Strategy Consultations.

#BePrepared – Hashtags and Your Brand

Hashtags. You see them everywhere, and you may have a pretty good idea that they are important. But are you using them? If you are using them, have you built a hashtag strategy? In other words, have you thought about the hashtags you are including in your posts and making sure that they push your brand and your message strategically?

Hashtag Strategy

There are many good reasons to use hashtags. They are particularly important if you want to set your brand apart, reach more customers, and get your content found. If you rely on Twitter and Instagram, it is especially important that you pay attention to hashtags. Sure your followers may see your posts if you don’t use but hashtags make it easier.

One important thing to note before we continue is that each social media platform is its own search engine. Hashtags are used to locate the information we need with a simple search. Especially for platforms that reward hashtag usage – mainly Instagram and Twitter. The reason hashtags were created was to allow people to find and participate in specific online conversations. Today, they are used to attach content to a specific keyword so it can be found easily.

Hashtags are a powerful tool but you need a clear strategy. That means creating a plan, making a list, and then using the tags you choose consistently and strategically.

How To Pick Hashtags

Picking hashtags sounds simple, doesn’t it? The truth is it can be tricky. Think about how hard it is to find effective keywords for your content or an available domain name for your website. Pulling something out of the air (without a plan) just because it sounds good usually doesn’t work.

The more complicated or original the hashtag, the quicker your content will be found – but only by the people who already know to look for that tag. Common, frequently used, keywords have a better rate of return if the goal is to attract new traffic to your social media content. A unique hashtag is created for hosting and running events where you can announce the hashtag early and explain how to use it to attendees during the event. However, if you just want to attract healthcare professionals to your blog, for example, then #healthcare, #doctor, or #medical might be a better choice.

Where to start? First, your brand needs to create a strategy around why and how you want to use hashtags. Then you need to decide which hashtags to use. When it comes to Instagram, you need to find tags that focus on your brand, your community, or your content. Right now, the recommended number of hashtags per post on Instagram is between 20 and 30. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much engagement and how many new followers you’ll gain by using more tags on this platform. On Twitter, due to the character restriction, it really is better to limit it to 1-3 hashtags per posts. You’ll need to be much more strategic about the tags you use with your tweets since you are limited. These approaches are related, but they are also different. These social media channels are different since they are completely unrelated to one another so the strategy you use for one may not be successful with the other.

Twubs

Luckily, there are some tools out there that can help. One particularly intriguing tool is Twubs. Twubs is a platform that is designed to gather up all your tweets and create a branded page. The site can also help you find trending hashtags, register your hashtags so that you can stake your claim to them, and conduct conferences and live events. This type of tool can help you monitor and track the impact of your hashtag strategy.

If you don’t want to use another tool, you can the research and tracking on your own. Twitter and Instagram make it easy to find what’s trending. You can search to find out if a tag is already being used and what sort of traction it’s making. Pay attention to the volume of usage and engagement generated by those following and using that hashtag.

A well-researched and thought out a set of hashtags that are used strategically can help you expand your reach and strengthen your brand. While it may take a little work to make sure that you are making the most of your tags, it will be well worth it in the end. Hashtags should be a key part of your overall social marketing plan. We recommend that each of our clients sit down and come up with 50 hashtags they could potentially use and then start incorporating them into their content marketing strategy.

Be sure to Follow us and Let’s Engage!

Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+YouTubePinterestInstagram, and the tools to manage them.

Click here for Social Media TrainingSpeaking and Strategy Consultations.

#BePrepared – Should You Schedule Your Social Media Content?

When it comes to social media marketing, there is an age-old debate. Should you schedule your content in advance or post it as you go? Honestly, there are valid points to both sides of this discussion that you should understand, as a small business owner, before making your decision on how to proceed with your social media content.

Posting As You Go

Just like in the writing world where there are plotters (those who create a plot before writing) and pantzers (those who just sit down and write without a plan), social media marketing is a world full of people who swear by either scheduling their content in advance or simply posting when they feel the need.

Those who fly by the seat of their pants make a good argument for being present. They are there for their audience. Their content is never stale. Since they just posted something, it’s more likely that they will be there to engage with the audience and continue organically boosting the post by responding to followers. They are more likely to actually use the platform and not just post and disappear.

Many business owners that prefer this method argue that their engagement is way higher when they don’t schedule content. Which makes sense if they are around giving their post traction as it goes live. Engagement really is the key to gaining ground on social media!

Scheduling Your Content

Does that mean you shouldn’t schedule your content? Actually, there are plenty of solid reasons for scheduling your social media posts in advance. This is why so many businesses prefer this method.

Consistency

Consistency is so important when it comes to your online presence. It’s hard to grab someone’s attention at all online but once you have it, you need to take steps necessary to keep it. Maintaining a consistent, reliable presence on social media is the path to nurturing and growing your audience. The path to consistency is to schedule posts in advance. Then it doesn’t matter how busy your day, week, month is – social media is working for you in the background. No more panics about forgetting to post something that day or last-minute brain drains trying to come up with good content on the fly.

Strategy

Do you have a social media strategy? To get the most ROI, or return, on your social media marketing it’s important to create a strategy. If you don’t have one of those, you are basically throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping that some of it sticks. You’ll struggle proving that the time you spend on social is valuable because you haven’t determined which metrics truly matter for your business. If you are just posting as you go, it will be way more difficult to participate in social media in a strategic way.

Timing

The experts will tell you to check your analytics. Why? Because the best way to be successful is to track when social media success actually happens. What type of content is getting engagement? What time of day is your audience online?

Ideally, you would post your content at just the right time of day. The time that analytics has shown works well for your audience. It can be tough to do this well without scheduling your content in advance. If your audience is most active at 6:30 PM every night – then it’s likely you’ll be eating dinner at the most important time of day for your social media marketing. Wouldn’t it be nice to just schedule the content for 6:30 and then go and enjoy a meal with your family?

Productivity

Also, when it comes to productivity – the ability to batch tasks all at once has long proven to be effective. Being able to sit down and create and post all your content at once and then move on to other initiatives for the month is amazing. You can schedule the time each month to work on your social media without feeling overwhelmed by the task. Many business owners start questioning the value of this marketing approach when they feel like they are spending an exorbitant amount of time working on their own social media marketing. Who could blame them? Efficiency is more appealing.

Our Best Practice Recommendation

Now you understand why there is a debate over scheduling your business content. Social media is supposed to be social so scheduling in advance and walking away from your content is a bad idea.

You can probably also see the popularity of being able to use a scheduler, like Hootsuite or Buffer, to batch your social media content in advance and feel confident about maintaining a consistent, online presence.

As a social media expert, our recommendation for best practices when it comes to posting your content online is… do both! Set aside a few hours each month to schedule strategic content on all of the platforms where you maintain a presence. We recommend at least 3 posts per week but don’t overdo it. The more posts you create, the less likely people will see them (blame the algorithm and the billions of people using social media every day).

However, don’t just stop there. Make it a point to pop in every day and engage with folks on social media and post something timely. Whether it’s a picture of you at a conference or networking event, that blog you just published, or a live video – let your audience know that you are around.

This method of combining the two strategies ensures that you are consistent with your online presence but also reminds you that this experience is an exchange with your audience – not a one-way street. Social media is not a publishing platform where you post it, they come to read it and then they go away. It’s an experience and a connection with you, the business owner. The best way to #BePrepared for social media success is to understand the value of both methods and then build a social media strategy that actually works.

Be sure to Follow us and Let’s Engage!

Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+YouTubePinterestInstagram, and the tools to manage them.

Click here for Social Media TrainingSpeaking and Strategy Consultations.

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