Still want to run your own social media?

OK. It may be that you’ve read a few of the articles here and still think that you’d like to run your own social media campaign. This is what you’ll need to do. You may prefer to do this yourself or hire someone to do it for you.

  • Your first step will be to set up your blog. Make sure that it’s attractive and that it’s fully optimized for search engines. Ensure that it has social sharing button and a call to action. A search facility is essential and you may also wish to have a related links feature to increase your page views. Remember to be professional – avoid features such as blogrolls or tag clouds
  • Now you have to decide on your social media tools. You’ll need some for your computer and various apps for your phone. Get the apps from the media themselves and also additional third-party ones to make life easier – don’t forget a few camera apps
  • It’s a good idea at this stage to create a document outlining your social media goals and how you are going to evaluate these

Once this these are in place, you’ll need to create social media accounts. And in order to do so, you’ll need to create the following graphics:

  • An icon. If you are a personality-driven business a head-shot of you is great. You’ll be keeping your icon for a long time (it’s a bad idea to switch icons later) so make sure it’s perfect. Other companies will need to create a special icon. Many logos won’t do – remember that it will be tiny – so stylize your logo. It’s better done professionally because it needs to accurately reflect your company and be easily identifiable. Think how small your icon will appear on a phone
  • A background for Twitter. Again, this is best done professionally because it must be correctly branded
  • A background for your online paper – using your brand effectively
  • A header image for Google +
  • A cover image for Facebook.

Ensure that all your graphics harmonize to reflect your brand and your business. Get together the bios and ‘abouts’ that you’ll need. Remember that Twitter gives you a very small space for your bio, others are unlimited. Make full use of them all and be sure that they all contain your most important keywords. Also, decide what boards you are going to have at Pinterest. I suggest that you start with five. Now you are ready! Open your accounts. I would suggest the following:

  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Google +
  • Facebook
  • Online paper – set up the RSS feeds and other sources
  • At least one curation service – ditto
  • Rebelmouse – ditto
  • Instagram
  • Buffer
  • Twylah
  • You will also, if you haven’t already, claim your business at Yelp, Foursquare and other geo-location service and get those into great shape too
Once these are created, I suggest that you’ll also need to set up accounts at:
  • A digest service
  • A newsletter service for your weekly roundup
  • There may be other social media appropriate to your industry too
As you do so, set up the sources, RSS feeds, social media accounts and so on. As you set up your accounts, be sure to download any bookmarklets that service may offer. Do not be tempted to follow anyone, or tweet or pin or do anything with your accounts at this stage. Now, you’ll need to plan your social media activities for the next two weeks. Prepare:
  • About a dozen blog posts. Your content must be original otherwise search engines won’t index it. Be sure to use your marketing skills when you’re writing your blog but remember that social media is soft-selling. Be aware of keywords as you write. Your blogs posts will be permanently in search engines
  • Take photographs for each. Remember that with visual media these are highly important
Upload your blog posts and ensure that everything looks great. Now you can start tweeting your blog posts, pinning and so on. Be sure that you have wonderful images for your Pinterest board covers. Do not start to follow anyone at this stage. You want your accounts to look fantastic before anyone sees them. Cliché time – you only have one chance to make a first impression so be sure that all your platforms are ready. Remember that the most shared items are photographs. Then articles. And bear in mind that no-one really wants to share status updates – social media is about creating value. Do not tweet, share or pin anything that doesn’t have a link to your blog – with the following exceptions:
  • Photography is the content that is shared the most. If you have superb photography, you may share that. Make sure that it is superb though, and relevant to your overall social media campaign. Avoid sharing flyers for events or promotions – that’s just lazy. Write a blog post about it and include a wonderful photograph.
  • Pinterest – to start with. When someone looks at your Pinterest boards, they will see five images per board – remember that you have set your best one as the cover image – four thumbnails will appear below. If you haven’t already uploaded five images, the thumbnails will be blank. So at first you may upload photographs only – if you must. Replace them as soon as possible though with real posts
Now you should check your accounts. Are they looking gorgeous? Are your bios and about pages perfect? Then you are ready to go public! Now all you need are followers. That was said very casually, wasn’t it? You need to ensure that you get quality followers – people who are going to share your content and who are your potential customers. This could be the subject of a 300-page book, let alone a long article but here are a few simple tips:
  • No-one is going to follow you unless they know you are there
  • Never follow more people than are following you. It makes you look desperate
  • Interact with influencers
  • Share their content – ensuring that it fits in with your brand and your campaign
  • Be interesting – add value
  • Remember that social media isn’t a numbers game – you are aiming for genuine, interested followers
  • Never ever ever ever ever ever succumb to ‘services’ that sell followers. These followers are fake accounts. It’s estimated that 67% of the average account’s followers on Twitter are fake or inactive accounts. Do not fall for these scams
  • Work on your followers every day – weed out inactive accounts, interact, share
Now you have beautiful pages, followers and active accounts. You should now plan an editorial calendar for your daily blog posts. Mine is usually planned for the next three months with some blogs already written waiting to be uploaded  and some which are just at the ideas stage. You may not want to go as far ahead as that, but it should be at least two weeks. Remember to be flexible, should new information or news arrive. Plan well in advance for holidays and special days. Plan any discounts or special offers that your are going to give exclusively for followers.
Set up folders on your computer with sub-folders – all pertaining to your social media.  I have sub-folders for each month of the year. Then I can easily see what has been used and what hasn’t and drag and drop accordingly.
You should now have a good idea of your daily schedule but you may wish to write it down until you are fully experienced and perform some tasks on auto-pilot! Here’s what you’ll do every day:
Write at least one blog, well illustrated with original images. You will then add this to:
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Google +
  • Twitter
  • Online paper
  • Rebelmouse
  • Curation service
  • Clip to newsletter service
  • Clip to digest service
  • Remember at all times that your aim is to be a trusted source of information
Be sure to use every medium, every day. You can’t say that most of your blog visits come from Twitter if you post there three times a day and to Pinterest just once a week. Be consistent. In addition:
  • Edit and curate your online paper. Send notifications via email to subscribers and tweet the URL to your Twitter account
  • Check your real-time stats often – make a note of what’s going on and what activity you are seeing
  • Check to see how long it takes for your blog posts to be indexed in Google. We are now down to single-digit minutes – two or three – this is what you’re aiming for
  • Check your Rebelmouse dashboard regularly and adjust if necessary
  • Check your Twylah and adjust if necessary
  • Check Buffer and adjust if needed
  • Monitor your posts on all media and react
  • Work on your followers. Weed out inactives or fakes and follow influencers and potential customers
  • Check your curation dashboard and react as necessary
  • Take screenshots of conversations and interactions – store in this week’s sub-folder on your computer
  • Study your Facebook stats – are your stats improving? How is your reach? (Don’t just look at them online -the downloaded stats give you more information and provide a permanent history of the success of your campaign)
 That is a precis of what you’ll be doing actually on your social media platforms and on your computer or phone. Away from those:
  • Work on your editorial calendar
  • Take photographs for upcoming blog posts
  • Write or make notes for blog posts
  • Consult others in your business for news and blog ideas
  • Work on your newsletter service and on your digest
  • Add yesterday’s activity to your weekly report
  • Promote local events and non-competing local businesses
  • Very regularly check your social media platforms – don’t let any comment go unanswered ever
  • Firefight – it’s unlikely that every comment will be 100% positive
  • If you have reviews on Google, Trip Advisor, Yelp etc., check these and respond. If you don’t have positive review decide on a campaign to encourage these
Now you’re up and running, here are a few don’ts:
  • Don’t automatically cross post from one medium to another. For example. never use Facebook’s ‘send to Twitter’ feature. This is lazy and foolish. The audience on Google + is very different to your Facebook audience, for instance. The same with ‘I liked a video on You Tube and similar nonsense
  • Never post links without explaining what they are
  • Don’t post your Foursquare check ins – no-one cares if you are at the bus station or at Starbucks
  • Never post meaningless motivational quotes. If people want these, they follow those who specialize in motivational quotes
  • Never ever ever show a political or religious bias – ever
  • Don’t think that you can make a typo or a serious error in a message then delete it and start again. Someone has seen it. Someone has maybe even taken a screenshot and a deleted message won’t be deleted from several tools anyway. There are sites out there that specialize in collected deleted messages
  • Don’t forget that the aim is to have others share your message. For instance, a Twitter message of over 125 characters is not going to be retweeted without some serious editing and do you know what’s the first thing to be edited? The link. Yes, the link to your carefully crafted blog post
  • Don’t contravene the terms of service of any social media platforms. These can be very complex so make sure that you study them and understand them fully
  • Don’t pay for Facebook ads or promoted tweets on Twitter unless you fully understand what you are doing. Grow your following and your reach organically
Although I say that a blog a day is good, two are better. Three are better still. Some you will want to publish and share right away. Others can be added to your editorial calendar.  Now you’re into your daily routine, it’s time to think about your weekly routine. Every week:
  • Curate and prepare your digest. Get the embed code and create your digest page on your blog
  • Curate, prepare and send your newsletter
  • Check your site on Webmaster Tools
  • Prepare your weekly report – even if you don’t have a boss who demands this, it’s still essential so that you can see which direction your campaign is going and allow you to look at its history. Tweak as necessary – you might find, for example, that your editorial calendar needs adjustment
  • Evaluate the week’s successes. How is your follower count on all your media? Have interactions increased or decreased? How has this been reflected in your website hits? Have there been interactions in your bricks and mortar business that are directly attributable to your social media campaign? Add this information to your weekly report
  • Now evaluate that data. Look at your successes and see why they worked and how you are going to ensure that they continue to do so. If other actions have been less successful, why? And what do you intend to do about it?
  • Using this information, create your to-do list for next week
If your weekly report is for your boss, schedule time with him or her to go over it and discuss the future of your campaign and any tweaks that should be made.
OK. This is a long page isn’t it? And I’m sure that you realize that I’ve just covered the basics here. :) And of course, it has been my intention to show you just how complex a social media campaign can be. Some of the things I’ve described in just a few words can actually take hours (‘write a few blogs’), some will take days (‘start your accounts, create and add graphics and bios’), some will take weeks (attract relevant followers), some will take years (‘become a trusted source for information’). And don’t give up; you’ll have to do this day in, day out in order to see results.
You know what I’m going to say, of course. Don’t bother with all the above. Certainly don’t employ anyone to do it. Get in touch :)

 

Posted by Team Las Olas in : Rants,

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