Exciting! You’ve been given the task to grow your company’s social media. Or you’ve been working on your personal social media strategy. But what you’re doing doesn’t seem to work. A few followers, likes or views… And that’s it! You’re frustrated but helpless.
In fact, most companies complain about only getting 2 percent reach with their Facebook pages. To make it worse, overall Facebook page reach has gone down the drain – a 42% decline since last year!
Here’s the real problem with most people:
- They treat social media as an afterthought
- They take it day by day with no clear strategy
- They try to hire somebody who’s not an expert, or try to do everything themselves
But is that going to get you the growth you’re looking for? No!
Given that social media is becoming a significant driver for traffic and sales to businesses, this can be a huge problem. According to a 2015 report that analyzed 400 million visitors of 300,000+ websites, social media drove 31.24% of overall site traffic. How does this relate to sales? 72.6% of salespeople who use social media sell better than their conventional counterparts.
So, what do you need to do differently?
To understand the secret behind social media growth, here’s a successful case study on University of Southern California’s medical enterprise, Keck Medicine of USC.
Leonard Kim is managing partner of InfluenceTree. He built his personal brand to over 250,000 social media followers. He has also helped his clients achieve similar milestones on multiple platforms, such as getting hundreds of thousands of views on a specific article, getting into media outlets, and growing their social media followings.
When Leonard Kim took on the role of social media specialist at Keck Medicine, he achieved the following results in just one year (October 2015 to the end of 2016):
- Facebook: 181% growth in followers (4,202 to 11,816), 1024% growth in total monthly organic impressions (52,655 to 601,555)
- Twitter: 2350% growth in followers (4,787 to 117,300), 1506% growth in total monthly organic impressions (72,200 to 1,160,000)
- Instagram: 0 followers to 1,331 followers
- Quora: 0 followers to 5,501 followers, 1 million views and syndicated in 46 media publications (9 in Forbes, 15 in Medical Daily, 8 in Huff Post, 2 in Newsweek, 3 in Sporting News, 2 in Apple News, 1 in Raw Story, 1 in Metro, 1 MSN Lifestyle, 1 TIME, 1 Quartz).
Leonard only started implementing a social media strategy in January 2016, after taking three months to assess the situation with his boss’s help. He also admitted, “I knew absolutely nothing about health, medicine or science. Otolaryngology (treatment of ear, nose and throat disorders) is one of our primary service lines that we promote, and it took me at least four or five months just to learn how to say it!”
But how do you get to this point?
Leonard created a 50 point checklist.
If you adhere to these social media best practices, you can get the same type of results in any industry:
Creating And Scheduling Content
1. Review your existing social media content to analyze what worked for your brand and what didn’t
Have you ever looked at your Facebook Page Insights or Twitter Analytics? While you might get overwhelmed by the idea of looking at data there, Leonard points out the importance of taking the time to go through and analyze the data even for a week. Once you do that, you will be able to see exactly what type of content is and isn’t working with your current brand.
Given that most of Keck Medicine’s content was dense scientific research that the layman audience couldn’t understand, Leonard dug into the data and found out that the best performing content were patient stories, articles that humanized their doctors, and articles about overall wellness.
So, he made a plan to increase publishing and promoting such types of content.
2. Study your competitors to understand tested-and-proven best practices
According to Leonard, “Never do a full SWOT analysis without looking at what other companies are doing – don’t reinvent the wheel when you can find what has already worked!” So he took a look at what other medical enterprises were doing and compared it to what they were doing.
He found some key indicators of why their content stuck out and what actually worked. To analyze the competitors in your industry, Leonard suggests an easy, low-tech way: just go on their Facebook page and observe their social media posts, then take note of what worked and what didn’t.
3. Study different industries and market segments to find ‘hidden gem’ strategies
To truly find the best strategies that haven’t been over-exploited, Leonard advises to look beyond direct competitors: learn from high-performing companies in different industries or market segments that are ideally targeting the same audience.
Leonard gives an example: “In medicine, WebMD is probably the most popular site on the Internet. They aren’t a hospital. They don’t take away from Keck Medicine’s business. But they cater to the same audience.”
4. Deeply understand your target market to create the most relevant and compelling content just for them
To understand your target audience and narrow down who exactly they are, Leonard recommends the following questions (customize them depending on what business you are in):
- Does your target market like going to this grocery store?
- Do they read these magazines?
- Do they like these workout routines?
- Do they like these clothing brands?
- Do they live in these neighborhoods?
Once you have good answers for the questions above, Leonard recommends creating audience personas so you can better target with your brand and message.
5. Develop themes of content to create a content creation machine
In Leonard’s Google Drive, he has a calendar of national health/medicine events that happen annually on the exact day or month. For example, Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is in March and National Immunization Awareness Month is in August.
Using the event calendar, he creates the primary themes for each month. Once he has the primary themes, Leonard creates weekly and daily themes for specific content. That way, he keeps on track with what type of content he needs to produce.
Leonard did this by holding a meeting with the entire content department and sourcing out feedback and ideas for topics from them, while presenting a few he had thought of as well.
6. Plan your social media content strategy one year out to achieve your yearly, monthly and daily goals
In December 2015, Leonard put together a social media calendar. This calendar outlined all the themes, then sectioned them off week by week and day by day, with the exact type of content that would be created for each theme.
By working ahead of schedule, he could stay on track for hitting his daily and weekly goals. To be realistic, Leonard recommends planning half a year in advance, or at the bare minimum one month ahead, if you don’t have time to plan your entire year.
7. Research using Buzzsumo to create content that has a higher chance of going viral
To create high-performing content, Leonard uses a general theme he created, like cancer awareness for example. He then types cancer into Buzzsumo to get data for the most shared posts in a calendar year. This helps him find what posts related to the theme went viral, and he could do some analyzing to see if it was due to the headliner, the content or both.
Based on his analysis, Leonard would then tweak the article’s headlines and content, so Keck Medicine could create their own stories that mimicked the traits of what went viral before. Leonard used Buzzsumo to help him make enough headlines to fill up 60 percent of his content calendar, since he still needed to leave room for the other 40 percent that would be required by the service lines they manage.
8. Buy your social media posting tool for systematic scheduling of content
Keck Medicine was using the $10 a month version of Hootsuite. As Leonard was far more familiar with Buffer, he discontinued their Hootsuite account and paid $10 a month for Buffer. Leonard says, “Buffer is a lot easier to use. While it glitches every now and then, 90% of the time the tool works fine.”
Leonard also bought Post Planner, which they use to source content for their community hospital. They are also looking into an Instagram tool in the near future, as Buffer’s solution is not comprehensive enough.
9. Schedule your content weekly to ensure consistent production based on your monthly/annual timeline
If you try to schedule your content day by day, then you could encounter a lot of problems. With unexpected events (notably meetings) happening every day, you are pulled away from being able to consistently produce content.
The solution to that is scheduling a time slot each week to write content and schedule social media publishing for the next week, so you never fall behind.
For Leonard, he often ends up in last-minute meetings with doctors or management, talking to patients on the phone, and even lunch outings with colleagues to catch Pokemon. If Leonard didn’t have his content planned out a week ahead, it would be rushed and would look like it’s done by a fourth grader.
With consistent weekly scheduling, his work is closer to a sixth grade level: professional, but readable enough.
10. Create the best content by systematic trial-and-error
To create the best content for the audience, Leonard uses the following trial-and-error method:
- Start writing out your best content and share it on your networks.
- Fit them within your themes.
- Analyze which pieces stand out and which ones fall apart based on data.
- Discontinue the themes that don’t work (unless you’re mandated by your employer to continue to work on these pieces) and stick with the ones that do.
Up to this point, Leonard has personally written around 80 percent of the content they share on social media to ensure they hit their objectives, but he has recently passed this off to more specialized writers.
11. Put another set of eyes on your content to ensure high-quality content
To make sure your content is of the highest quality, Leonard recommends getting someone else to edit and review your writing, ideally a professional. A trained editor will remove errors as well as suggest better alternatives, bringing your content quality to a new level.
Never wait for the reader to pounce on writing errors and diminish your brand’s reputation. Leonard says candidly, “I’m not the best writer. I got C’s in English… I don’t believe any business content should ever go out without another pair of eyes that looks over it first. Personal content is fine. People are more forgiving of people.”
12. Utilize video, the most powerful form of content in 2016
Having observed that 80 percent of his Facebook newsfeed were videos and feeling concerned about his content being obsolete, Leonard natively posted four videos total on Keck Medicine’s Facebook page. The videos outperformed all the other content they put up on the page. Leonard says, “Facebook is a huge fan of video and will help promote your videos in any way they can.” He is currently in the process of beta testing Sniply’s new video tool to create social media videos.
13. Film live video to leverage video content without worrying about quality
Why is live video great? Your audience understands that it is recorded on the spot, so they will be a lot more forgiving of the video quality. At work, Leonard and his colleague Mary Dacuma did a two-hour long live video of their cancer moonshot summit.
He was blown away when the post hit an organic reach of 175,000 while the video was still live, assuming it would only reach 20,000 to 30,000 – and this was on a page with only 6,000 followers at the time. Leonard says, “If I knew this many people were going to see the video, I would’ve spent more time on crafting the headliner and making it perfect.”
To make sure that this wasn’t an anomaly, Leonard did another live video from his own Facebook page that had 4,000 likes. He filmed a super rocky 30-second clip (he couldn’t hold his phone straight) at Tai Lopez’s social media influencer party at his house. The clip hit an organic reach of 43,285 people – 10 times how many fans he has on the page!
In short, live videos are incredibly powerful when done right. Make sure you have good recording quality and the right headline to capture your viewers’ attention. Leonard stresses, “You don’t need professional equipment, even though that would help. A camera phone works.”
P.S. If you do this properly, you can Facebook Live and Periscope from the same device, so you get both your Twitter and Facebook audiences joining in live. Then, you can reupload the video to Youtube for your SEO. If you have a phone, you can simultaneously record to Instagram stories. This allows you to leverage the same video content for multiple platforms.
14. Caption your videos to make sure your audience actually gets what you are trying to say
After looking at the analytics for video, Leonard found that 85 percent of people who watch any video on their Facebook page do so without sound. That means that they can’t watch the video and understand what you are doing or saying without aid, hence the need for captions.
15. Take 5 minutes using Canva to create quote cards for cheap, effective engagement
Images do well on social media, being the second most shared type of content for top publishers after videos. On Leonard’s personal accounts, he shares a quote card attached to an image every day, and it performs the second best after promoted posts. For Keck Medicine, he does something similar by putting together fact cards and quote cards to be shared every day, as well as to be put into the weekly theme section.
One example would be “Did you know that x percent of people have these problems?” Leonard shares, “You don’t need to know how to use Photoshop or do anything design related. I use a free version of Canva for my images. As you can tell, the image is pretty simple. It’s just a blank background, a sentence and a logo.”
16. Consistency is key for top quality content and a loyal audience
Leonard emphasizes that none of these content creation tips will work unless you’re consistent: “Once you start sharing your message, people will expect it. That means you will have to continue delivering top-tiered content, or you lose your audience. And when you lose your audience, that means they are leaving for your competitors.” To ensure that doesn’t happen, Leonard advises staying on top of your game and continuing towards the direction of your objectives.
Manage Your Brand Reputation
17. Rewrite your social bios to boost your brand’s credibility
The short bio on the Twitter page for Keck Medicine used to say: “The official page of Keck Medicine of USC. Formerly known as @USCHealthNews.” Leonard says, “Linking to a non-existing page just seemed redundant to me, because the name of the page was already listed above it.”
So with the help of the web writer Andrea Aldana and senior editor Louise Cobb, they updated the profile to say: “500+ internationally renowned doctors at a leading academic medical center keeping you healthy, on track and doing the things you love.”
18. Find and design a compelling cover image to best represent your brand
The cover image for Keck Medicine used to be a picture of the hospital. Leonard says, “As it was from 2013, it wasn’t really up to date, and it definitely could have been more inviting.” So he perused through hundreds of pictures until he found a really nice picture of two of their nurses, and then he found an award they won and asked Mitch Medina, the web developer, if he could turn it into a social banner for them. They also stuck the definition of their brand theme, The Keck Effect, onto the cover image.
Then at the beginning of the new fiscal year, they updated the cover image again and put on a new badge. Leonard explains, “If I saw the earlier bio or the old cover image, I’d probably pass up on following the enterprise, so I needed to make it look prettier and give it a bit more credibility for others to want to follow too.”
19. Get your social accounts verified to let people know you’re the real deal
When you’re working for a renowned academic medical center like USC, it can attract companies to make fake accounts that look like you. To distinguish the brand as the real deal, Leonard talked to Facebook, Twitter and Quora to get their pages verified with a blue checkmark. For Facebook, that took a few months, but the other platforms happened almost instantaneously.
20. Pin your best tweet and Facebook post to create a memorable first impression
Leonard stresses, “Your best tweet isn’t what you think is the best. It’s what your audience thinks is the best.” Your pinned post can be something that relates to everyone; for example, Leonard has pinned a post on how it feels to deal with stress to the top of their Twitter page, and he pinned an announcement for an award on their Facebook page. Whatever it is, stick it to the top to give you that extra boost of credibility.
21. Set up your locations to create a map of where your brand is physically
If you’re a brick and mortar business with multiple locations, separate your brand page from your locations to avoid any customer confusion. You can do this by setting up a location feature with Facebook. This is a powerful way to have a tally of everyone who has checked into your business on social media, providing social proof for future customers. By inquiring with Facebook directly, you can get access to this feature. When you have this feature, Leonard advises ways to optimize the feature for your business:
- Set up a map that shows your consumers exactly where each location of your business is.
- By setting your locations to post the exact same newsfeed as on your brand page, you don’t have to post the same thing on multiple pages.
- If you have a franchising business or multiple locations for the same business, you can give specific locations free reign over the type of content they post.
22. Collect and merge duplicate locations to avoid a brand reputation disaster
According to Leonard, the worst thing that can happen on social media is when someone goes to a Facebook page that they think is yours but was made by some random Joe and has a slew of negative reviews. Leonard points out how it can be a nightmare for those in medical enterprises: “I’ve seen some of our competitors have pictures of people with bloody noses, broken bones, cursing at the hospital and so forth.”
Leonard makes a colorful analogy: “Say you’re a restaurateur. You want people to come into your business, but there’s a dead dog (a negative review) in front of your business. In order for me to get into your business, I’m going to have to walk over that. Do I really want to be near the carcass or would I rather go somewhere else?”
When Leonard first started at his position and started looking into this, he found hundreds upon hundreds of duplicate locations. That meant there were a lot of people going out there and seeing information about the business that should not have been public. Just cleaning all these up took him a month.
Leonard warns, “To manage your business brand’s reputation, collect and merge your duplicates NOW – don’t wait until a PR disaster happens.” He points out how being proactive on this front is especially important given that Facebook reviews now appear 24 hours after people check into business locations.
23. Clean up Google Maps
While Google Maps are a great way to help people find your business, Leonard cautions that you should make sure there are no location duplicates and that your pin and address are exact to your business. If customers can’t find where you are, complaints will come. Here are two steps he advises taking to avoid that scenario:
- Use Google Maps on your phone and GPS your way to your business.
- If you’re not being led into your parking lot or straight to your business, update your business address and/or consolidate the various locations into just one.
24. Make sure your Yelp listings are right
Like Facebook and Google Map location duplicates, the same logic applies to Yelp listings. Leonard emphasizes the importance of the right Yelp listing for customers: “Did you know that many of the new GPS systems in cars integrate with Yelp? Or that Apple Maps take their location data directly from Yelp?”
25. Don’t forget about Foursquare (Swarm)
While Foursquare is considered obsolete by many, Twitter still pulls a good portion of their location data from Foursquare.
Leonard explains, “I have over 100,000 followers on my personal Twitter page. Sometimes I want to check in so people know what restaurant I’m eating at. But I can’t most of the time, because many businesses feel that Foursquare isn’t going to have an impact on their business. Imagine losing the eyeballs of 100,000 potential customers. How would you feel about that? So, make that Foursquare listing now.”
26. Audit your locations monthly to prevent ‘whack-a-moling’ duplicates
Leonard points out the nagging credibility issue that all businesses face on social media: “Do you know what the problem is with social networks? Anyone and everyone can make a page about a business or a location.”
According to Leonard, this will cause you a “whack a mole” problem of getting duplicates and having to merge or remove them month after month. To consistently monitor the issue of duplicate pages across the web, Leonard recommends Moz’s tool that lets you audit your locations on platforms aside from Facebook.
27. Duplicate your newsfeed for your locations to leverage the same content multiple times
As mentioned by Leonard earlier, when you have your locations feature set up, you can give specific locations to your different venues to manage, so they can post customized content for their location. He recommends an even more convenient hack: duplicating your newsfeed in all the locations’ feeds. By doing that, you no longer have to constantly update each and every single newsfeed you have.
28. Engage with people in your audience personas to get new, relevant fans
Remember the audience personas you created? Leonard says, “You found what people are interested in. They’re just waiting for you to start sharing your message with them!” Here’s how he advises that you do that:
- Find them online using your audience personas
- Update your audience personas if needed
- Start to engage with the people who have similar interests
- Connect with them and invite them over to follow your pages
29. Respond to comments to keep your fans engaged
Leonard quips, “Social media isn’t social media unless you’re social on the platform.” When someone leaves you a comment on your page, take one or more of the following steps:
- Answer their question
- Recommend a helpful resource
- Ask a question based on their response
- Express appreciation for their comment (positive or negative)
- Paraphrase what they said
“Let them know they are appreciated. Otherwise, they will stop commenting. And when the comments stop, so does the engagement. Then they will find bigger and better things to move on to,” Leonard explains.
30. Respond to messages before they become complaints
Leonard notes, “Some people are nice and they will tweet you or message you with a concern prior to making it public. Do whatever you can to get these resolved before they get out of hand.”
Most of the people Leonard sees who send these kinds of messages to their brand have huge followings and are pretty influential people, so he does his best to make sure that their concerns are forwarded to the proper departments to be handled before they have a reputation issue to deal with.
31. Ask people with positive feedback for testimonials or stories
Are you missing opportunities to elevate your brand? Leonard shows how you can tap into success stories or testimonials with two steps:
- Notice when someone is mentioning your brand positively on social media, for example your Facebook page.
- Approach the person who left a social media comment and inquire in a private message if he or she would be interested in creating a story or testimonial about your brand.
Leonard shares, “Sometimes people tell us how great their doctors are, or how they are so happy that they are back to doing the things that they love. Keck Medicine gets a few extra patient stories every month just due to contacting people who leave social media comments.”
Just like asking for business referrals, people are unlikely to give you positive testimonials unless you ask.
32. Create a review response strategy to actively prevent negative business reviews
How can you change a 1 star review to a 3 or even 5? Leonard says the key is preventing that from even happening. He lays out the sobering thought process of someone leaving a bad review:
“If someone leaves you a bad review for your business, you were already too late in getting their issue resolved. It takes a lot of time for someone to get angry enough to write a bad review. Something bad has to happen. It has to dwell in their mind. It has to be thought over multiple times and processed. Then something has to trigger them to get angry enough to let the world see how unhappy they are with your business.”
While this goes outside the realm of social media, Leonard advises that brands need a strategy to proactively resolve customer or fan concerns early on before they blow up. For example, make an offer of goodwill (such as a refund or a free gift) to pacify the offended party.
Maximize Content Impact
33. Set up your target audiences for effective targeting and conversions in Facebook ads
Remember how you created personas of your audiences before? Leonard recommends targeting them specifically in Facebook ads, by using keywords that represent your target audience’s interests. For example, if your audience enjoys reading business publication articles, you would want to have Inc. Magazine as a keyword in your ad targeting.
34. Split test your post headlines, intros and images to predict virality
If you want your posts to perform extremely well on social media – before you post them publicly – follow Leonard’s testing strategy that helps predict high performing posts:
- Run ads on the same ghost post (unpublished post) 9 times, with 3 different headlines, intros and images to see which performs better.
- Then unghost your post and use the highest performing one as your primary post.
“That way, you set your content up for optimal viewership,” Leonard says.
35. Create a retargeting pixel to target the best audience who will love your content
A retargeting pixel tracks everyone who visits your website and lets you create ads specific for those people. BannerSnack reports that retargeting campaigns have a 10x ROI on average. To get the best out of retargeting, Leonard recommends doing retargeting for Twitter, Facebook and Google. Facebook also allows you to create lookalike audiences, which are a targeted group of people who are similar to your site visitors.
Leonard says, “They will come in handy later after people visit your site – with retargeting, you now have an already engaged audience you can tap into. Think about it like this. If someone is looking for a service that costs $100,000 and falls onto your landing page, you want them to see ads about your service even after they leave your website.
Since they already know your service, the ad gives you a higher chance that they will choose you over another random competitor.” To get started, he recommends Blitzmetrics’ step-by-step guide to retargeting.
36. Start implementing your retargeting pixels
Leonard goes on to list how you can use your retargeting pixel and the audience it picked up on: send leads into your existing funnel, show them special deals, or re-promote your products to increase the opportunity for them to buy and become your customer.
He also comments, “I haven’t implemented this yet, but I’m considering making a lookalike audience in the interim to run ads to, since they are a similar audience to their existing retargeting pixel who already visited our site.”
37. Boost your posts with $1 a day for a low-cost, high-impact ad campaign
Do you see a piece of content that is performing well? Put a dollar a day behind it. When the Facebook algorithm picks up that you are spending money on quality content, it will boost the rest of your content as well and increase your organic reach.
Leonard has started doing this, thanks to a suggestion from Dennis Yu of BlitzMetrics, and his results are off the chart. Halfway into the month of July, they have already outperformed what they did the entire last month and only spent $100 of their ad budget so far.
38. Invite people who like your post to like your page to build your audience faster at NO cost
Did you know that if you click the Like (blue thumbs up) button on your Facebook post, a list of people who like the post come up? Leonard recommends inviting them all to like your page – talk about an easy solution get more followers! He explains, “They already like your content, so why wouldn’t they like your page too?” Facebook changes their systems all the time, but as of this post, you can invite a little less than 20 people each hour.
39. Be consistent with the times you post to get consistent audience engagement
When you post at a specific time, you will get a lot more engagement, as Leonard found out himself. When you post at random times, your audience will not know when to expect your updates and as a result will engage less. Once you get in the groove of when to post, Leonard recommends syndicating your posts around the same time on all social media platforms (nothing later than 30 minutes).
40. Use hashtags on Instagram to make your content more discoverable
To increase the visibility of your Instagram posts, Leonard advises not to put hashtags in the status update. Instead, put your hashtags (around 20 of them) as a comment on your post underneath your status update. By doing that, Leonard says you increase the visibility of your post, as people who search for these topics will be able to find the post too.
41. Set up an Instagram business profile to tap into Instagram analytics
Given that the Instagram business profile is a relatively new feature, Leonard noticed how most businesses haven’t taken advantage of it yet. Just like a Facebook page, an Instagram business profile will allow you to see analytics on your page, give directions to others on how to get to your business, and provide your number so people can call you.
To set up your Instagram business profile, Leonard suggests reading this article.
42. Install Twitter cards to make your Tweets more interesting
To let people see more of what your link is about on Twitter, install Twitter cards that allow your links to have snippets of your content, along with the main image on your blog post.
Leonard explains the multi-functionality of Twitter cards: “The benefit of Twitter cards is that you are no longer restricted to the 140 character limit. Instead, you can write an intro to an article while the title, image and metatag of the article are picked up on the Twitter feed. It also tracks how many people visit your website from Twitter.”
43. Add a call to action to your content to drive visitors to your site
A strategic call to action is a custom footer on every piece of content you create. Leonard adds a call to action at the bottom of blog posts requesting that people schedule an appointment with their primary care or specialty physician.
In the call to action, it states that the enterprise has some of the best doctors in the area, and provides a link and a phone number to schedule an appointment. Leonard says, “The whole point of creating content is to get people into the door, right? A call to action is a crucial step for that goal.”
44. Send your traffic back to your social media pages to create a virtuous traffic cycle
To share links on social media more effectively, Leonard recommends making it possible for people to follow you on social media when they you click on your link. To do that, use a tool called Sniply that sticks a logo with a “Like us on Facebook” link at the bottom left corner of each link they create.
45. Syndicate your content so it gets discovered, not buried
“Creating compelling content is pointless if the only people who are going to see it are your few hundred Facebook friends. No one is ever going to discover it,” Leonard bluntly says. He then points out the three ways most people find content:
- They go searching for it on Google.
- They get told about it by a friend.
- They get it stuck right in front of them on their newsfeed on a social media site.
If you don’t syndicate your business in the right places, according to Leonard, nobody’s going to talk about your content. Nor will they go looking for what you have on Google, and if they do, you have thousands of articles that rank above you. And unless your piece is a big hit, there won’t be word of mouth.
The better way to get your content discovered is by having it in front of readers when they are on social media.
To do this, Leonard recommends looking for networks like Quora and Medium that have pre-existing audiences that would be interested in what you have to say. You slightly customize your content to match each audience and you syndicate your content into these networks. An added bonus here is that content can sometimes be mailed out to a portion of their mailing list and also be syndicated into major media outlets. For example, Leonard’s Quora answer on Pokemon Go got picked up by Newsweek, The Huffington Post, Medical Daily and Forbes in a week.
46. Test and experiment with content and tools to stay ahead of the curve
When you are starting out creating content themes, you’re working in a world of theory. To have a real-world understanding of what works, Leonard recommends taking the following steps:
- Do a lot of research on what themes work.
- Publish content according to the selected themes.
- Evaluate content performance after a certain period, e.g., one month.
- Discontinue themes that didn’t work.
- Keep running themes that work.
- Experiment with new types of content to see what might work.
- Experiment with new content tools and platforms. Leonard says, “There may be a niche you can fill by becoming an early adopter. If that network or tool becomes big, you’ll be one of the first on it and will potentially get special treatment.”
47. Review your analytics every 3 months to check how your themes perform
We all know that things change quickly in the world of the Internet; what people are interested in one day is forgotten the next. Leonard says this is the same for social media: “What people can’t stand becomes what they love the most, and vice versa.”
Since the Internet is ever-changing, Leonard advises reviewing your analytics every three months to make sure that what you are doing is performing on the right track. If it isn’t, then recalibrate your strategy and start again. Just remember that analytics are now a necessary part of business so you need to start embracing the fact.
48. Create a funnel to build long term growth beyond social media
If you have an existing funnel, integrate your social media into it. Leonard explains why this is so important: “People delete social media profiles every day, but they will always keep their email addresses. Make sure you are playing for the long term win by getting your followers onto your own platforms.” If you don’t have an existing funnel, Leonard recommends getting someone to make one to capture your social media following into your own list and communicate to them on your own terms.
49. Promote social media in other departments to synergize brand-building efforts
If you work for an enterprise like Leonard does, run through the following checklist to make social media a prominent feature of your organization:
- Do you print out flyers, brochures or other types of collateral material like a newsletter? Make sure the social media logos are on them.
- Do you have wait staff inside your company tending to guests (for example, waitresses or receptionists)? Make sure they ask your customers to follow your social media pages.
- Is everyone on board to become brand advocates to your customers? Make sure all of your colleagues or staff represent your brand in the best light possible.
50. Integrate other departments into social media to get buy-in from everyone in your organization
There are a lot of different ways you can use social media to increase employee engagement, streamline existing processes and so forth. From his experience, Leonard points out a few ways to incorporate social media into other departments:
- Can you use it to boost morale by putting a team photo together and sharing it?
- Can you highlight specific people who work in your company and put them on social media as an insider view into the company?
- Can you use social media to help important bottom lines of your company, e.g., hiring initiatives?
To find which of the 50 tips work best for you, Leonard lists the questions that you should use to evaluate your situation:
- Do you know why your social media strategy isn’t working?
- What is causing the lack of engagement?
- Why can’t you get more likes or another desired metric on your pages?
- What do you need to do differently?
When you have the right answers to those questions, go through the 50 tips again.
Ultimately, Leonard emphasizes that it’s not about just applying a few tips to see results:
“With all the moving parts in social media, who you need is a digital strategist who deeply understands not only the Internet, but also people’s behavior, to take your social media and your brand overall to the next level.
Is who you hire really going to be able to do all of the 50 tips? Or are they just going to be doing a portion of all this while the company continues to have reputation issues, lack of growth and a 2 percent reach to the full audience?”
Want more social media results? You can also sign up for Leonard’s email newsletter.
This article originally appeared in Socialnomics. Republished here with updates for 2017.
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