10 ways to create a successful content strategy in social media

1.Know what the goal is?
Before you decide that social media is not working for you the way you had hoped it would, be specific. Have you decided on the goal posts? Are you wanting to generate more traffic, create a following, generate engagement with your fans or generate revenue. Your metrics will depend on your end goal so if you want to generate more revenue, work out the exact dollar value every lead a social media post generates. If you want a larger following, make sure you are on all the platforms. If you want more comments, mentions and engagement make sure your content is of high quality that promotes engagement.
2.Ask Questions
This is your chance to really interact with fans and generate engagement to gain leads. You are able to get inside their heads and find out what their interests and lifestyles are. It’s an instant focus group, which allows you to explore what your customers or fans like and where you can expand.
3.Monitor your competitors
Keep an eye on what others in your industry are doing. It’s interesting to note which social media platforms they are using, which are working for them and which are not necessarily. Are you posting or tweeting as much as them, do they have more engagement? Maintain an active presence on the sites that are working for you so that you don’t get left behind, but keep evolving and try new platforms that seem to be successful for your competitors too.
4.Customer is King
Spending a little time on where your customers are is key too. Find out what channels they use – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram seem to be the most commonly used in Zimbabwe at the moment but chances are different customers will be on different sites so find them and follow them too. Create content that they want to engage with or talk about and then listen to what they are saying.
5.Post more
Increasing the posts and updates will generate more traffic. It is not uncommon for business to tweet 5-10 times a day and Facebook averages between 1-4 posts a day. Business hours usually have the highest traffic but anything between 8am and 8pm is usually safe, depending on your brand.
6.Bring your posts to life
Using infographics and hashtags is a great way to add a little something to your posts. Infographics are appealing as they present a lot of otherwise boring to read information in a visually attractive way that is easy to comprehend and remember. Using hashtags can track promo activity across platforms and people who use them are likely to engage in social conversations more.
7.Linking in-person events and social media
A great way to get more exposure for your brand on the social sites is to integrate it with your in-person events. Create an event on your page, pick a hashtag for the event to get engagement or stream a live video of your event. Post blogs, pictures, videos, press releases and even attendees names to excite other potential attendees.
8.Be generous with tips
A search on the keyword ‘tips’ yields incredible results and as this is the information age and everyone is looking online for something to make their life easier, why not be the one giving it to them. Tip related articles always go down well so if there is something you an share, you will be pleasantly surprised.
9.Don’t rely on auto-posting
Auto-posting is fine, but being available for real conversation back and forth is important. It’s called social media for that reason, real time social conversation. This is where you may get your best insider tips from, early morning or late night conversations with people who are keen to tell you what they are thinking about your brand.
10.Outsource where necessary
Research has shown that companies that have the most effective social media presence have a combination of both internal and eternal people. Internal administrators can deliver messages and updates as the news breaks so to speak and can help keep the content fresh. Whilst the expertise and knowledge of a social media consultant, who understand social media across all platforms, can also add great value to your campaigns. Try covering all bases and have both internal and external resources to rely on.

If you have any comments or further suggestions on creating an effective social media content strategy then I would love to hear them.

Facebook paid advertising…are you doing it?

Advertisers everywhere are making use of social media to enhance their business. The majority of these are using the free tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, but a lot more marketers are realising the need to increase their social media budgets for the year. In order to reach the right audience, at the right time and direct more traffic to your website and gain new customers, it’s becoming essential to also pay for advertising in the social media space.

However unlike other marketing campaigns, this can even be done on a small budget. There are various paid media channels to choose from on Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook so right now we are only going to concentrate on what Facebook has to offer, since is this where most people’s social media campaigns start.

Currently Facebook only shows 10-16% of your fans your posts. Facebook’s algorithm ranks your posts according to how people have previously interacted with content type, the weight of a post, ie photos get seen by more people, the time decay on a post or how old it is and the connection/affinity you have with the fans. So unless each of your fans go and check out your page EVERY day, chance are they are missing a lot of your posts. And I’m sure you are all familiar with those certain fans who always seem to comment and like your stuff. You might think they are your biggest fans, and in a way they are, but it’s more likely because of their previous interactions that are part of the 10-16% usually selected to see your recent posts.

FACEBOOK ADS

To start a new paid advertising campaign on Facebook, go to your page.  On the right hand side, near the top of the page you will notice an Ads Manager button.  Once you click into this, the option will then be to Create An Ad.

Choose what you are advertising – Your page, Another URL for your website, a Place, an App that you have designed or a link to iTunes for example, or an Event.

In this instance we are going to choose to advertise your page to get more likes.  After you have selected the page you want, you need to choose the goal:

Now you want to create your ad with the following:

Capture - step 1

Insert headline (25 characters) and some text about your product or service (90 characters) and which page – Timeline or Photos, you want people to land on when they click your ad, also known as landing view.

For no further cost you can also choose to show sponsored stories about people liking your page.

Now you have to choose your audience.  You can enter some very specific criteria here to narrow down your search to the most relevant people on Facebook.  This is how you grown your fan base with people who are interested in your product or service.

Capture - Choose audience

Once you have selected the country / countries you wish to advertise in, you will see a figure of the number of people you could potentially reach.  However you can target your audience even more specifically and this will either cause the reach number to fall or rise, depending on the criteria selected.  As you can see below, I have narrowed my search down by selecting to only show the ad to women.

Capture- Advanced targeting options

Capture- Audience Autos

Now I want to choose even more Advanced Targeting Options to select people that have an interest in Autos as well.  You will notice the reach potential then increases again.

Capture - Small business ownersOn top of people who have an Auto interest I also want to target Small Business Owners in Zimbabwe too, so I selected that option too.

Campaign, Pricing and Schedule

SO how much is this all going to cost?  Well the beauty of it is that you decide.  When you run an ad you are only charged for the number of clicks (impressions) it receives and this never exceeds your daily / lifetime budget.  The bigger your budget, the more people you will reach.  The distribution of your ad factors the following in: bid, marketplace competition, target audience and performance history.

If you choose a per day budget, Facebook will spread out the spending per day, however a lifetime budget will be paced over the lifetime of the campaign.  Ads will stop showing once your daily budget has been met.  Once you have input the info, you will get a chance to review your ad and then you will either Place Order or go back and Edit.  Once you click the Place Order button you will then need to add your funding source.

Capture - Campaign costs etc

Capture - Funding source

If you, like many others are sceptical  about the return on investment with social media and are unsure of how to measure your  efforts, you may want to initially just try simple yet interesting paid campaigns.  Another way to find more funding for Facebook ads is by cutting back on resources in other areas of marketing that just are not performing as planned.

Like they always say…don’t knock it until you tried it.  Have you tried it or are thinking about it?  Please feel free to share your thoughts on this.

From mundane to memorable!

Sometimes it just feels like you are plodding along, ticking by on social media, slowly gaining likes, fans and followers as you go along. Then one day you post something really quite random and the next day you wake up and your post has gone viral. How?

Basically what I can tell it all boils down to is creating memories. If you can create content that is nostalgic and makes people remember something significant – good, bad, funny, dangerous, you are probably going to get some good engagement. Pick something simple, that lots of people have a common grounding with and ask them to share something with you about it.

The page I posted a popular picture onto is for a large house great for group accommodation or large families, based in a popular holiday town in Zimbabwe. The picture was simply a photo of a popular fuel service station that virtually every traveller has stopped at to either refuel their vehicles or stomachs. The call to action was just to tell what you remembered most about this place? Chances are if you have been to Zimbabwe, you have been to Kariba and therefore have also visited this pit stop.

The result? The page reach was usually around 150-200 people for a post, but this post’s reach shot up overnight to over 20,000. I was shocked to see the reach hanging around the 3,000 mark when I went to bed that evening, but the shock of nearly 20,000 people seeing my post the next morning was even greater. Aside from the reach, there were 348 likes on the picture, 26 shares and 306 comments. Plus we gained about 40 new page likes that night. Want to know what people were commenting on – ice-creams, pies, the hot tarmac road, accidents and wild animals, not to mention the shopkeepers colourful personalities. Everyone just remembering back to the good old days and wanting to share their piece of it.

I think that is what is special about social media though, yes it’s cool to get likes and fans and great stats but it’s actually even better that you just get to interact and hear what everyone has to say. Advertisers are not the only ones with a voice shouting out their messages, everyone has a voice and it’s certainly interesting hearing what they have to say.

Hope you can get your fans to share some great memories with you.

By the way – here is the picture that all the hype was about. Hard to believe hey?

IMG_4945

10 ways to make your picture posts more appealing

We all know that pictures speak a thousand words so using them in social media is essential, but you can get bogged down with the usual posts and style of pictures so here are a couple of suggestions to spice things up a bit.  Photos get as many as 7 times more likes than just written updates and they get shared about 10 times more than links.

css unhealthy food1. don’t just say it, show it.  By adding text to your photo, you can get your point across quickly, or you can make your message a little more appealing.

2. Show readers step by step guides with pictures that link together to form a useful map of how to’s.  For something that is quite complex this is the simple solution.css logo 1

3. Use quotes.  Find the best ones online and put them onto your pictures.  Or use clever apps that do it for you.

4. Create infographics.  These are becoming huge, especially on sites like Scoop-it and Pinterest, so start with simple ideas and try it out.  By utilizing graphics to relay a large amount of information, you can enhance the ability to see patterns and trends on the things you really want to show.

anne frank quote5. Encourage people to share photos with your business.  Find creative ways to get users to submit photos to you, and do the hard work for you by generating content.

6. Make sure all your blogs have at least one pinnable image for Pinterest.  The Pin It button is clicked a lot so if you want your content to be seen, make sure enough of it exists.

7. Create an interesting cover picture on your Facebook profile.  The rules have changed now so you can have more writing and promo stuff on your cover picture, still not more than 20% I think, so this means you can get a bit more creative.

8. Get up close to the subject.  Extreme close up shots add a lot of depth and feeling. Give a new perspective to your shots, not all of them, but some really well thought out ones will work wonders.

9. Spend some time brainstorming on photo content ideas and create and build a library of photos that you can use over the next few weeks or months.

10.  Just do silly sometimes.  We just made a silly sign for our kids to hold and it got more likes and was seen by more people than any of the other more standard posts we had put up.  IMG_4449

 

 

 

 

 

The new Timeline on Facebook

The other day I posted a comment on Facebook about how I like the new timeline on Facebook, only to rouse the interest of others who are still apparently on the waiting list to view it. Don’t know why I get to trial it already but here are my thoughts on it so far.

IMG_4587 As someone who juggles a few different things, and has more than one job title, I approve of the new and improved way this information is now displayed. Previously I had three or four jobs listed in my profile information, all of which I currently work at so to speak, however only one could be displayed on the profile.

Along with the one job, it also listed about three other pieces of profile info, like who you are in a relationship with, where you are from and education. This used to be below the profile picture and next to that on the right hand side, you would also see some tabs like Photos, Friends, Likes, etc which would display a small picture of the most recent like or photo added. If you had more than one line of tabs, a small drop down arrow would appear which would allow you to click into and view the other tabs like Followers or other apps like Trip Advisor or Pinterest.

On the new timeline there are two coloums and above these there are still small links that can take you directly to Timeline, About, Friends, Photos and More, but they don’t have a picture on display. In the two coloums below the left lists your About info and the right holds your recent pictures, posts and status updates. The About info on the left is listed out in one long box, that’s quick and easy to read and you will instantly see where I work – 3 jobs are displeyed currently, what school I went to, where I live, where I am from, who I am married to and how many people follow me.

Below that you will find my Photos and Friends boxes which both take up the width of the coloum on the left, instead of a small tab at the top of the page, which would only show the most recent photo on my profile. Photo’s and Friends boxes now display 9 seperate pictures for each, so you can view more without having to click into photos to view the last few posted pictures.

IMG_4588Below the friends box there is a Place box, and I currently only have one place displayed – Kariba. Why this is displayed I am not sure, as I have certainly travelled worldwide and if its anything to do with where I have been, its certainly not accurate. So after a little digging I realised that this is the correct place to say where you have been, but somehow Kariba has come up a lot in the last few years and been tagged as such in my photo albums. There are options to input the other places I have been, but it seems to be a seriously time consuming job to do this, because you don’t just add the place, you add the dates you were there, whether you lived or travelled there, who you were with and of course you can upload photos to prove it. You can even list out specific places you have been within that place i.e Empire State building on Central Park in New York. And there is even a box to add your story into.

Now obviously this is all for the purposes of Graph search, which if you haven’t heard of it, is basically Facebook’s SEO. Yes we will literally be able to search for our friends that have eaten at a certain restaurant in another continent and maybe read their little story or review on it, or search for people who enjoy bike riding in your home town for example, so that you can link up to do an activity together.

IMG_4589Therefore the more you put into these sections, which also happen to include favourite movies, TV shows, books, likes, notes, Instagram and Pinterest, the more people can search on you. Or should I say, the more you will show up in people’s searches for specific info that you have put onto your profile.

So after scrolling down the left hand coloum to see what I like and watch and read and listen to, you will then find the last box displayed is my Recent Activity and it displays the last three things I did, with the option of another drop down box to see more recent activity. However you can edit these sections and choose the order they are displayed in, in case you want your likes to feature before the books you’ve read, or come before your apps like Instagram, Pinterest etc.

Adding to your interests has never been easier because its simply a case of clicking a + sign to add suggestions already made to you. However you can also add your story to these too. So if you were addicted to a certain TV show, you can tell us more about it in your own notes / story section.

So overall I like the new way all the info is displayed, its easy to see and access and add and edit. I definitely think its an improvement and sometimes that is not always the case on Facebook. Sometimes the changes are not so good. However saying that can you even remember any of them, I can’t even remember what the original facebook screens looked like. Although I do remember there was much complaining and moaning from a number of people when Facebook introduced the Timeline. Sometimes change can be overwhelming but in this case it is not and I am guessing it should be easy to transition and embrace.

If you are also using the new Timeline already, please feel free to make any comments on what you think of it, or if I have missed any great new features out.