We’ve heard the hype about Facebook making too many changes and loosing users, Snapchat dominating the younger scene, Pinterest plagiarism, and more. We’ve heard the rumours, the best practices, the horror stories:
“Social media engagement is the ONLY way to build your business!”
“Social media is dying and is NOT a sustainable way to build your business.”
“You must be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, FourSquare, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn!”
“Learn the rules of engagement, grow your following!”
“Send people back to your website, grow your list!!!”
The list of opinions is endless. So how is an online business supposed to wade through the sea of information regarding social media engagement and make smart marketing decisions?
What does smart social media engagement look like?
While I’m not the biggest fan of social media, I totally understand and appreciate how it can be a powerful tool to build your audience. How you grow that audience is one thing, but what you do with that audience is something that I am much more interested in. I feel that if you follow these simple principles, all of your social media engagement efforts will pay off in ways that increase your bottom line. And that’s what we’re here for, right?
1. Know your audience
Who is your target market? Where do they hang out online? What kind of content inspires them to action? Get to know what social media sites your people are using and how they use them. Dig into the psychology of why they engage. For example, if your target market is a forty-something tech savvy business man, you’ll probably find him on twitter. If she’s a thirty-something mama looking for the best organizing solutions for her home, you’ll most likely find her on Pinterest. Bottom line: don’t waste your time on Facebook if your folks are on Instagram.
2. Respect the playground
Social media sites are not public property. They are owned by corporations who, like you, need to make a buck. The are constantly evolving in the online marketplace. What does that mean for your business? While social media can be a great tool to REACH more folks, make sure that you are driving that traffic back to your website so that you can grow YOUR list. Social media sites can change their terms of service, modify their reach algorithms, or even simply go out of style (remember MySpace, anyone??). Your email list will never do any of those things – without your input. While using social media as a tool to engage folks, make sure you collect their email addresses and send them back to your money maker: your website.
3. Always give value
In everything you do online, try to provide as much value for your people. Make sure that the content you publish is helpful, engaging, and full of value. This idea focuses more on being useful to a potential client, building a trust-based relationship, and positioning yourself as a generous expert, rather than focusing on your sales (which always ends up looking slimy, right?). How does this translate to smart social media engagement?
Think intentionally about everything you post.
I recently read about a very simple rule for posting content on social media sites: the 70/20/10 ratio. It’s a formula that you can follow when posting content to social media. Make sure that 70% of what you post is helpful content that gives value to your followers while positioning your brand as an expert. 20% of your posts should then be shared content from other sources outside of your business. Finally, the reamining 10% of what you inject into your follower’s feeds can be the content that promotes your business.
Bonus PDF tutorial: add a MailChimp opt-in form to your Facebook page!
So now I’d like to hear from you. What social media sites do you find your people on most? How are you going to tweak your strategy so that it reflects smart social media engagement? Leave me a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!