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Feb. 18, 2016

127: 10 Tips to Hack Your Social Media Growth

127: 10 Tips to Hack Your Social Media Growth

Today I'm talking about something that I haven't talked about before: growth hacking. Growth hacking is basically how to quickly create a robust social presence on a newly launched effort in a short amount of time. I have had a few companies reach out to me for advice on this subject, and was recently asked what my first steps to start building a big presence would be. The ten tips I'm talking about today are great not only for social media newbies, but also for folks who maybe need to take a step back and make sure they haven’t missed these important steps.

Key Highlights

[02:51] 10 Steps Approach Improve Your Social Media Growth

[03:13] Creating Social Media Strategy Based On Your Business Objectives

[04:06] Determine Your Target Audience

[05:36] Determine Your Primary Content

[08:34] Leveraging Hashtags

[11:00] Prepare An Editorial Calendar

[11:59] Create A Branded Voice And Image

[13:03] Prepare A Week's Worth Of Content

[13:33] Start to Engage!

[15:27] Curate Content From Your Targeted Users

[16:20] Create Social Media Workflow

[16:55] Do a sprint

[17:42] Do PDCA

[18:07] Tweet Your Content

[19:00] Summary

Notable Quotes

  • Not everybody uses social media equally.
  • So you really need to understand the unique demographics of these platforms. And you need to be able to understand which are the platforms where your target audiences. So as part of the social media strategy, you need to have a channel strategy and has to be determined by who your target audience is. 
  • But needless to say, you need to understand where your target audience is. And well why they use social media in the first place. Because if you can't answer that, no matter what you do, no matter what engagement you create, it could just go for waste, if it's the wrong target market.
  • It's gonna come down to your company, your products and services and the way that you think you can cut through the noise. And actually be heard, be seen, be engaged with.
  • Start to engage with other targeted users on the selected social networks through a combination of following follow back sharing their content and or commenting on their posts.
  • Obviously, you have this power of introductions, if you connect with them, and they can connect you with the decision maker. You can ask them for an introduction, but if they're not going to respond to your introduction request it really makes no difference.
  • There's a lot of different social media content out there, I try to find good content, from my followers first, from those that support me first.
  • Look at the data that you've been measuring to make sure whether or not you hit your objectives. And understand ascertain what effects your social media have on your business. 
Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

Welcome to maximize your social actionable advice on how your business can maximize your social media presence. Now, the host of maximize your social, social media author, speaker, and saltan, founder of maximize social business, his social media center of excellence, and the social tool Summit, Neal Schaffer. Hey, everybody, this is Neal Schaffer, welcome to maximize your social, I really hate to rub it in. Because I know a lot of you on the east coast of the United States are facing a snowstorm as we speak. I even had a conference called canceled this morning because of that. But we are heating up here in Southern California. It is in the 80s. Today in early February, which it's normally not this hot here, believe me, I know, it sounds like it's hot all year round. But hey, I am in a short sleeve shirt in early February for the first time in a long time. So it's feeling good. And I'm feeling productive, because today, I want to talk to you. And I haven't really blogged yet about growth hacking and how to launch a robust social presence from zero. There's actually a few companies recently that reached out to me, and I'll probably be helping them with, how do you reach brand recognition on social media from zero in a very, very quick time, that helps you achieve specific business objectives. We'll call this social media growth hacking for lack of a better term. But it was actually a tool vendor that reached out to me, you know, these, these blog posts of, hey, here's 10 experts and what they say so I don't respond to all of them, I first look at Do I have a relationship with this person or company? Do I want to make a relationship with this person or company, or create some sort of rapport, for whatever reason, and that's advice, if you're trying to reach out to influencers, obviously, build rapport before you reach out if you want to increase your probability of success with them. But I was actually very much challenged by the question. So it's focused on helping newbies, whether you are a new social media marketing professional, or a company that's relatively new to social, or you want to do a reset on what you're doing, or you're a company that wants to launch a new brand or new product in social and therefore you're sort of starting from scratch. So the question was, imagine that you own a small business, and you're thinking about promoting it through social media channels, having in mind my experience, what would be your first steps to build your brand presence? Great question, right. And I think the advice will speak to not only newbies, but also to reaffirm whether you've done these things, or maybe you need to spend more time doing them, just to try to get to the next step in your social media. So I actually, you know, I don't know if you've been on any of my webinars that I've done with experts connection, or read any of my eBooks like maximizing LinkedIn for business, but I prefer sort of a 10 step approach to everything. Can we cut down the process into 10 steps? It's probably why I use like 10 different tools to schedule and post to social media. But that's another story. What are the 10 steps here? So let's start with step number one. Creating this is a no brainer. Come on, you know, the name of my podcast is maximize your social named after the book, which is all about my experience with social media strategy consulting, but create a social media strategy that defines what specific business objectives you want to use social media for? Right? It starts with your business objectives when Come on, you're not using social media for the sake of using it, and you're not doing it because everyone else is doing it. I hope not. You're doing it because you want it to help complement. Whatever you're doing to help you reach that business objective. And I wrote, maximize your social, to help everybody do that on their own without needing to hire a consultant. Yeah, it's a bad business model, I get it, but I did it moving on a new level. So that is the first thing you should be doing if you haven't done that, because without the objective, driven strategy, you're just wasting your time and social. So let's move on to step number two, that's the easiest one, determine who your target audience is for your social media presence, and what platforms they use. This is also a no brainer. Not everybody uses social media. Well, most people do. But not everybody uses social media equally. There's certain demographics that they have a profile on Facebook, but they really spend their time on LinkedIn. There are others that are all over Twitter, but you rarely see them on Instagram. There are others that are only on Instagram, and yet there are others that are only on Snapchat. So you really need to understand the unique demographics of these platforms. And you need to be able to understand which are the platforms where your target audiences. So obviously, as part of the social media strategy, you need to have a channel strategy and has to be determined by who your target audience is. You should know this right? Whether it's a range of you know, male, between 31 To 30, for college educated, whatever it is, you can plug those variables into Facebook ads in the LinkedIn ads in the Twitter ads, not as easy to do in Pinterest. And unfortunately, with Instagram, we cannot do that, although we can push our ad to Instagram in those demographics. But needless to say, you need to understand where your target audience is. And well why they use social media in the first place. Because if you can't answer that, no matter what you do, no matter what engagement you create, it could just go for waste, if it's the wrong target market, right? That's number two. Number three, determine what your primary content you will be creating a share is including the hashtags you want to own, and the primary content mediums you will own. Let's separate that into three different subtopics. Here, what's going to be the content that you're going to create to share? Now, social media comes down to content and communication. Right, as a brand, it's really, really hard to communicate with others, because social media was made for people. That's why brands leverage content, sometimes they leverage the content of their fans. Sometimes they leverage the content of influencers, but they leverage content. And for most companies, that content is primarily created by themselves. Whether it is a blog, whether it's YouTube videos, Slideshare presentations, well, it used to be Flickr photos, but maybe Instagram photos, whatever is as part of a social media strategy. And I cover this and maximize your social, in addition to a channel strategy, you need to have a content strategy, this is different than content marketing, this is going to be the content that feeds your social media program, very, very distinctly different from content marketing. Now, once you understand what that is, because you understand your target audience, and what needs they have, what solutions are looking for, they may not even know they're looking for right is what are going to be the mediums and I'm skipping the hashtags. I go back to that, at the end, what are going to be the mediums that you're going to use. And I say this, because now it's pretty clear, there are some networks that focus on the video, some on the audio, some on live stream, some on long form content, some on short form content. So what is it going to be that you're going to share, and obviously, this often comes down to your product. This is why a lot of, you know, fashion companies, ecommerce, will be using photos, they may not use live stream video unless they're doing fashion shows, which is actually a great idea. But they're going to choose that others might choose Live stream as their primary or, you know, celebrities, I can see choosing live stream as their primary medium for content. For others. It might be long form blog posts, I mean, who knows, but it's gonna come down to your company, your products and services and the way that you think you can cut through the noise. And actually be heard, be seen, be engaged with. So think about that. Because obviously, it's going to go together with whatever social network you're on. But you want to be thinking about different mediums. I told you, if you listen to my podcast last week, that I wasn't doing enough to maximize your social with the different mediums, I started a podcast in 2015. And I'm really happy about the results of that. But I've done very little with video. And it's just another essential component I think I need especially because I'm a social media speaker, right, it is a natural medium to have more content. And so I'll be doing a lot more video in 2016. I'm excited to share those plans with you as I roll them out. And then we have the hashtags, okay. So whatever social network you're on, LinkedIn is an exception, you can't really search by hashtags, Pinterest, not as important. Sometimes you can search by hashtags. Other times, you can't it's sort of wishy washy, Facebook, I don't think hashtags are that important. I don't think people do a lot of searches, or posting a lot of hashtags. But Twitter, and Instagram are the places where I think the hashtags make the difference. Instagram is a no brainer, it is the default way of searching. So unless you have a hashtag, no one's gonna find your content. And I believe on Twitter, more and more people are searching my hashtag. And more and more tools are leveraging hashtag to help discover people. And therefore obviously, the inbound side of social is important if you want to get found Twitter is critical. And I'm going to talk more about this and Social Media Marketing World in April in San Diego. And I hope you'll be joining me there. But regardless, I want you to think of hashtags as what is the hashtag I want to own. It's a TV channel, it's a radio station, when people tune in and out hashtag. Are you going to be featured? Are you going to be seen? Are you going to be on top? Or are you going to be invisible? That's sort of the way I want you to think about it. And I want you to look at your competitors, your role models, right? And determine what those hashtags are going to be primarily for Twitter and Instagram. But it's going to help you sort of define your content focus to help you to categorize your content, and to help you become more efficient at both managing your content in blog format, as well as on social media. So let's move on to number four. And when I talked about hashtags, and I sort of mixed this idea of have content buckets that I wrote about and maximize your social as a way of organizing your blog categories? Well, the other way of organizing was obviously, through hashtags. Maybe there is a type of content that actually has multiple hashtags for it. That might mean two different things. For instance, one of the hashtags I want to own Well, that's the two of them. Okay. And this is part of my own 2016 focus is SMM, which is for social media marketing. And then there's a general one for social media. And they're two different things. Because social media encompasses news about social media, SMM is specific to social media marketing. That's just one example of how you could have two different hashtags. For a similar category of content or an overlapping two categories of content. Social media marketing, obviously, is all part of social media. But it's not necessarily social media is not necessarily restricted to social media market, I'm getting very technical here, let me let me take a step back here. Okay, number four, prepare an editorial calendar and have enough original content to last you at least a month. I'm guilty of this as well, of always having to get podcast get blog posts ready the week before even the week of when I want to publish them. And there have been times when I've been able to get ahead by a few weeks. But I sometimes fall behind. Now, for me, I enjoy more spur the moment, at this point in time, these are the hot things I want to write about, I want to record audio about. So it is a little bit different for you, it might be a little bit different, especially if you're in a larger organization, we have a more systematic approach, you have larger infrastructure, more resources to work with, there's no reason why you can't have a month's worth of this original content ready to publish. Because without original content, I don't think you're going to be able to make as much splash in social media as you would like to. But this once again, depends on your business objective. So it's possible to do without it. But this would be for any given average situation, this would be my recommendation. Number five, this is a no brainer, create a branded, both in terms of visual and text presence on the selected social networks. So this means you have to have a visual voice, you have to have a voice created and read maximize your social for more details on how to do that. But you need to be able to translate that brand into visuals for your background of your Twitter profile, your LinkedIn company page, your Facebook page, your Instagram account. And also what text are you going to use to describe your company in the limited bio that you have. It sounds really easy, it doesn't necessarily require a lot of work, but you should be very, very strategic in what you have there. And this is all part of building out that infrastructure. Now we move on to number six. And there's one thing that I forgot to mention, but you know, I, I figured you figure it out by now, when I talked about understanding what hashtag you want to own. That's part of listening, right? You don't just jump in without listening, that goes without saying but just want to make sure I covered that checkbox off here. So now we're on to number six, publish a week's worth of content for you go out engaging with others have a well branded profile, and a week's worth of content. And I say content in a very broad sense of the definition. On your profile, you're not going to go out there with zero tweets and all of a sudden start engaging with others write them, you're no one show that you are participating in the community. And that if someone was to find you, they would be able to understand what you are and your company is about number seven. Finally, the engagement, start to engage with other targeted users on the selected social networks through a combination of following follow back sharing their content and or commenting on their posts. Okay, let's break this out. Again, following follow back, if you're a, you know, famous celebrity, you don't need to follow a lot of people on social but if you're just getting started, or you're creating a new brand, or you want to do a reset of what you've been doing on those networks that allow you to follow others, okay, LinkedIn company pages, Facebook fan pages cannot follow other people, Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts can. And that's really what makes them extremely powerful. You'll want to make sure that you use that to your advantage. And it's going to help you cut through the noise, because people are going to see that they have a follow up request from you. They might ignore you. They might go to your profile in order to find out more about you, or they might accept it right off. But it is a way of engaging so long as obviously you're engaging with your targeted users. You're not just following anybody. And you're not going to follow back anyone either. But as you get started with more content, you have people following you. You know, it's the same thing with LinkedIn, should I accept that connection request? Well, it comes down to are they in your targeted user market? Do they have potential value for you? If not, you don't need to except right now with LinkedIn. Obviously, you have this power of introductions, if you connect with them, and they can connect you with the decision maker. You can ask them for an introduction, but if they're not going to respond to your introduction request it really makes no difference, Twitter, some other platforms not as important because we don't have that aspect of leverage in for introduction requests. But if they're in your target market, obviously, it increases the chances that they're gonna engage with your content if they're following you. So I would definitely consider following back sharing their content. Okay, so you're publishing content, if you're just talking about yourself, no one wants to listen, if you want to own a hashtag, you're gonna have to tweet, post an Instagram, whatever at a decent frequency. And inevitably, you're going to have to curate content, if you're going to curate content, why not curate content from your targeted users, whether they're following you or not, if you have enough following you like I do, and I try to share, you know, there's a lot of different social media content out there, I try to find good content, from my followers first, from those that support me first, and I think you should have the same approach, I think you're going to go really far with it, and comment on their posts, right. If they're in your target market, you can follow them, you can also comment on Instagram, or on their LinkedIn profile. If you're doing it from an individual basis, or find them in a LinkedIn group or, you know, respond back in Twitter, share their posts and add some insight to it, whatever it might be, there's different things you can do. But that is something that you'll want to consider doing, especially with your target user base to really help you. Like I said, cut through the noise and be heard. Number eight, do this on a daily basis. And also be sure to engage back when people begin to engage with your own posts. This is a no brainer. So you now you get into this rhythm of creating. It's what I call the social media workflow that most of us that are very active in social media do this without even thinking, this workflow of creating content to finding content to curate and share. So you're publishing but you're also being reactive in your engagement as people begin to engage with your content. And this is critical to help you build those relationships. Number nine, and this is what a lot of companies miss at the end of doing this for 30 days, I talked last podcast, and I'm not a scrum master. I honestly don't even know what that means. But anyway, is about Sprint's do a sprint focus, get data, analyze, tweak, do it for seven days, 14 days, I'm going to recommend 30 days, review how things have been going, look at the data that you've been measuring to make sure whether or not you hit your objectives. And understand ascertain what effects your social media have on your business. As well as the amount of time needed for this exercise. The amount of time needed on the curation side doesn't have to be a lot on the engagement side doesn't have to be a lot. But invariably, the content creation side and maybe the analysis side is where you're going to be spending a lot of your time. But you need you know, in the spirit of Professor Edwards Deming you need to be PDCA plan, do check action, you need to be analyzing this and make sure you're on the right path. If you're not on the right path, would do it for 30 more days would you improve or not is something to consider before doing a reset or radically changing things, then you have some past data or benchmark data to compare with the see how you're doing at this point. And this gets the number 10 I would recommend obviously, you should tweak your content. Some of those hashtags, content categories are going to be more successful than others. Or why don't you put a little bit more weight on those places where you're successful and a little less weight on the other categories or hashtags where you're not as successful, you're going to look at your engagement your time spent. And this is where you want to consider only after doing this for a month of slowly adding a paid social component to help you accelerate your goals. So if your goal was easy to understand what is website traffic, and you're not hitting your KPIs, you know, paid social spigot, turn it on for a little bit $20 $50 $100 $500 $1,000 Your time is money. And that can through paid help foster and accelerate organic engagement. And that's really what the way I want you to think about paid social. So that's it. This is obviously targeted towards beginners or doing a reset on what you're doing, hopefully, even if you already have a robust presence. This served you some reminders. I mean, I've had a Twitter account since 2008. And I'm doing things this year that I've never done before and re tweaking and doing these Sprint's on very very specific things to understand if they have value and what value that might be in helping me to reach my business objectives. So this ends another episode of maximizes your social. I hope you enjoyed this one. If you have any follow up questions, something you want me to talk about in this podcast. Please reach out to me you can find me anywhere on social. And I also want to thank those of you that have posted reviews of this podcast in iTunes reviews are the golden currency of the online world. So I'd appreciate if you found this value that you can add a review as well and help share this podcast with your friends, your network with your company peers. All right, everybody. That's it for another week of maximize your social. We'll be at you next week again from boy it's going to be hopefully it's hot next week as it is today. But we'll be back at you next week from sunny Southern California for another episode of maximizing social. Until then, wherever we are in the world, make it a great social Day. Bye Bye, everybody. Thanks for listening to maximize your social. We appreciate all of your iTunes subscriptions ratings and comments. Please also make sure to check out Neil's new community, the Social Media Center of Excellence at social media c o e.com. As well as Neil's social media conference, this social tools Summit, coming to Boston on April 12.