You just published an impressive epic post, and now you’re waiting for the big surge of traffic.
Your work is done.
Or is it? Instead of the expected rush of visitors, your site looks more like a ghost town. No splash. No surge.
Nothing at all. Absolutely nothing is happening.
Time to Get Out Your Social Media Megaphone
I’m here to tell you that you can transform your ghost town to a thriving popular destination, because social media works.
And if you produce content—doesn’t matter what kind or what for—thinking strategically about social will amplify results.
Technically, we’re talking about social media marketing and its significant role in your digital marketing mix. In my case, I’d even call the impact pivotal.
But First Let’s Get Sidetracked
Here’s what doesn’t work: Turning up the megaphone to high volume without thinking through your position on things.
That being the case, I’m going to share:
- my viewpoints based on what I’ve experienced
- some food for thought
- highlights of key points to help impact how you approach social to amplify your work
The goal? To help you be seen and noticed so your website gets a measurable boost in traffic.
Let’s begin with the obvious. Creating quality content is not enough, although that’s where the debate most probably begins.
Here’s what you need to remember: Content for the sake of content is NOT enough.
Prerequisites like quality, relevance, ease of reading, correct grammar/punctuation, information and education, entertainment, etc., are simply expected.
So, what I’m saying is the expectation of quality is standard and therefore not enough in and of itself. You need more to stand out. Quality is now the minimal standard.
In this red-hot competitive marketing world, content is not enough. The focus needs to shift from writing to igniting.
Click to tweet
Quality work is just a starting point for you to excel; that’s the bottom line. The good news: the more you hone your content creation skills and expand your toolbox, the easier this part will become. Hint: Keep striving to up the level of your work.
The 80/20 Rule debate is, well, up for debate!
Like me, maybe you’ve heard about a hundred versions of this rule (aka Pareto’s Principle) and how to use it in your content marketing plan. I bring it up because when it comes to distribution and amplification, you may want to think about how you apply it.
This works differently for everyone. And it applies in various ways to various situations, so assess and test to find your perfect formula.
If anything, I’m on the opposite side of the 80/20 rule as recommended in the realm of social media , which goes this way:
20% to quality work and 80% to distribution (social push and scheduled distribution.)
There are two basic reasons why I oppose mainstream advice on this:
- First, I am building content assets at this point and creating those assets is a top priority. That’s, in many ways, the most valuable use of time (for me). Also, my observation is that quality content is NEW and exciting content and some of those distribution-machine-type marketers/writers/bloggers, while appearing to be quite successful, are feeding me a lot of stuff I have already read, seen before, or know.
- Since I want to get new, fresh, topical and highly relative information, I also want to be the guy who brings new and exciting content to readers to delight them and offer a fresh look, I guess. You know what I mean?
So again, to me, this means working hard, researching, reading and learning, and producing new work as a priority.
Calm down, I know about evergreen content (cornerstone, too), so you don’t have to remind me. Let’s go there next. Hint: You do have to distribute your content and share things more than once to widen your audience, but time spent and saturation point are factors to consider. (More on this to come.)
Evergreen content and “dating” your work has a purpose.
This topic wasn’t on the initial outline, but I want to touch on it anyway. That is, if your audience is important to you.
Where social is concerned, think of it this way: we are each other’s audience—me and you, you and me—so respect yourself!
I say this because I feel like a social connection who shares, for example, out-of-date information, that is, dated materials that are no longer accurate or useful or relevant are disrespecting me as a reader and audience member.
Hey, I may be a prospect for business or services, and now, I either don’t trust/respect that social connection because they are feeding me old, stale, useless stuff. Or at best, I think they are lazy (or don’t care) about their social sharing, and I hate their pattern of never bringing me something new.
Sharing something followers can learn from, use, or will be interesting or enlightening, I think, is of utmost importance. This is about fighting the Me-too epidemic. Curate, not out-of-date, will even do it.
On the other hand, Kristi Hines recently pointed out something in a comment on one of her many blog posts. There is some information, she says, that you need to include and offer, at least on your site, even if it is easy to find elsewhere (like a competitor’s site) because:
- it is expected by your audience to be there (because it’s highly relevant to the subject matter of your site) or
- you don’t want NOT to cover a key topic in your expert/subject area and risk sending your readers/audience elsewhere
Bottom line here, you don’t need to share every single piece of your site. Share your best and/or newest work or clusters around topics, maybe. And, while “me-too” areas of interest may need to be part of your site, try to make them unique to you in some way, regardless of whether it is a “typical” industry topic.
Finally, how do you feel about landing on a website where nothing has a date?
How do you like following links to read a post, only to discover halfway through that the post is a dinosaur from the “Ice Age” and the data is meaningless as we near “The Jetsons” era?
Look, two things solve this and ease user frustration in my book.
First, consider dating your work, please.
And second, weed out what you share, because chucking up clicks and shares just doesn’t matter if you are deflecting people from the value you may truly offer.
By using current work and timeless (evergreen) content, paying attention to dates, (especially for research and stats) and taking irrelevant and outdated work from your social feeds, you’ll be viewed more favorably.
And everyone will be happier 🙂 Or at least, I will be.
Test, Test, Testing, 1, 2, 3: Your Media Megaphone
After giving you some things to think about while planning or updating your social content strategy, I hope above all else, relevance and quality emerge at the heart of this endeavor.
Using them as the criteria for both what you share and who you connect to is part of establishing the kind of results you’ll get from your social media campaigns.
What you’re looking for is interaction—creating meaningful connections with people you can learn from, do business with, exchange ideas, articles, shares with and more—which again, is a matter of quality.
And quantity (which often reflects how people look at social media), in many respects, is irrelevant.
Selecting the Setting
It’s okay to build your social bang one little pop at a time.
Do this by honing your social scope, at least initially. Carefully select only the social media platform(s) that closely align with your business and current social strategy.
Decide where to find your ideal customers through the social sites where they are most likely to hang out.
Inversely, consider the place that showcases your content or business offering in its best light. For example, if videos are your claim to fame, YouTube may be the frontrunner for you or, to sell handmade crafts, it may be Pinterest.
In any case, just pick one to start. Maybe two, as long as your focus is on your business needs and objectives. Doing one properly is better than haphazardly jumping into everything.It takes work to make anything successful. Your social media marketing is no different. It takes time and effort to cultivate. Doing it right will bring your business impact; just doing it will not.
Progressively add and build more channels, as you need, want or find you can easily incorporate into your social media marketing growth, but at the center of your plan is the simple goal of connecting and creating new business.
And this can easily happen when you optimize even one social channel with a thoughtful strategic social marketing blueprint.
Plan your profile with purpose
It should reflect you and your brand with clarity and conciseness.
Your profile picture on social platforms make your first impression, and you want to make a great one. A photo (or “headshot”) is the preference, and it should be of YOU. Your face that is. Not your logo. Or your dog. Or just your nose. (Big Brands break this rule, using a recognized face of the company, in this case, their logo, most often.)
Pictures of people are not only more likable, but people remember faces better than names. And besides, a nice photo of you proves you are human, and that’s what the guy on the other end of your feeds, etc., needs to know.
Trust me, I resisted. I’m more comfortable behind a keyboard than in front of a camera any day of the week but, from my research, this is clearly the most endorsed way to make your business profile memorable.
Now, my avatar is not very businesslike at all but, since finding one decent (or even one at all) pic of me from our millions was nearly impossible. It was slim pickings.
Finally, I decided, while I’m very meticulous and detail-oriented when it comes to the work I do, I’m a lot more casual and “windblown” to deal and work with, or even talk to—so my windy-head look seemed okay. It’s me.
Also, think about the background picture or design
You can customize it on your profile, carefully balancing colors, message, contrast with your avatar, etc.
It’s okay to show some personality or offer a peek at something personal about you (making you human) but weigh your objectives for social media marketing and keep it aligned. If business connections are central to you, keep it businesslike.
Here are a few examples from my Twitter friends to show you what I’m talking about:
I totally love this resource—although it talks about how to put together a strong and useful profile in your author box (or bio)—and I think you’ll find some good ideas in how to look at yourself in profile portrayals, too, after checking it out 🙂
In addition to the media (photos, graphics, etc.) in your profile itself, take a look at sources so you know what’s needed for each social channel before posting to it.
If you place visuals with written messages on them, for example, the words could be cut off because of the platform’s sizing specs.
Figure out how many customizations you need or want for the social apps you use and create your content, particularly media, to comply.
Test on Takeoff
If you’ve perfectly picked with purpose your platform, profile and preliminary preferences, then your pre-test steps are in order. Now it’s time for your social media launch.
No need for butterflies in your stomach. We’ll just slowly countdown: 3, 2…
Tips and Tweaks to Grow Your Reach
Here’s where I’m especially going to help you out.
This little bag of tricks took me 6 months or more to figure out.
Incrementally, however, these steps have taken my site from literally no page views to 1,377 in the last 30 days, with visits averaging 3 pages per, indicating not just traffic, but some engagement as well.
My gut feeling is that I can continue to build, not only an increased amount of website traffic using these tools but also get more subscribers to my site, which is a goal for most companies.
I’m going to focus on Twitter since it’s the basis of my social media marketing, the one platform I have selected to spend time on at this point. (Twitter represents 80% or more of the social referral traffic to my site.)
That said, this will apply to most social channels as well.
Hint: Use Google Analytics to help you decide where to spend your social marketing time by giving you an indication where most social traffic to your site is coming from.
- Social Share Buttons. This sounds like a no-brainer but I was so involved in writing quality, visuals and publishing on my site, I was caught off guard when Barry Feldman (of all people—color me embarrassed) asked: “Where are your share buttons?” Duh. I notice blogs and articles with no share buttons surprisingly often. My share buttons are free from Sumo and I love them. Hint: Make it easy for people to share your stuff!
- TweetDis or other tweetable text in your content makes sharing easy on readers while adding interesting “sound bites” to draw attention to your work. Remember to include your Twitter handle in quotable tweets to make it easier to keep track of shares from your tweet boxes. This plugin is inexpensive, easy-to-use and looks great. On top of that, Nick and Tim are great guys, always willing to help if you need it. Hint: See hint above, plus: People are busy so help them share!
- Pin something top notch that you produced and want people to check out at the top of your feed. Two great things happened when I did this: first, my SlideShare views and exposure jumped up quickly, giving me some traction there, and second, I showcased a little piece of work reflecting some of my thoughts on an important business topic.
- Use Tweet Cards to get a nice BIG picture of the main visual asset from your share when you tweet, rather than just a text tweet, which statistically gets fewer shares and traffic. Set this up in your WordPress admin panel > SEO by Yoast Plugin > Social. On the Twitter tab, check “show enlarged image” and save! It’s the hot ticket.
- Short URLs for Linking. Shorter URLs are easier to manage, which could lead to more clicks and downloads. I know my fellow marketers and site analysts are going to hate me for admitting I love chopping tracking codes off of URL addresses. Sorry!
- Social Share Counts do count. I know many consider these counts “vanity metrics,” but in truth, that’s part of why they’re important. “Vanity” to one man is “social proof” to another. More importantly, you can use this information to gauge interest in your content, like what kinds of content are most popular and what topics your audience likes. If you’re like me, you possibly had a heart attack when Twitter said their share counts were done and over. I know I was disappointed.
Okay, I admit it, I possibly had tweet share counts in mind when I started Twitter. Fortunately, NewShareCounts gives you your tweet counts back. Try it. It’s mega easy and free, and it works with WordPress and SumoMe share buttons, and other buttons, as well. It may just make your day— at least, make you smile—when you get your counts back!
Tweak to Peak
These tweaks help me make my social media marketing on Twitter successful because they lead to connecting and not just broadcasting.
And that’s truly the key. If it’s not two-way, it’s not a conversation, at all, is it?Click to tweet
First, I recommend you don’t tweet moods. Yep, you heard me. I’m pretty sure a lot of people tweet before they think and just like my brother told his kids about wanting a tattoo, “Think before you ink” is sort of my theory here.
You don’t have to look far to see or read embarrassing tweets. I’ve probably made some myself.
But make your business feed, business-like. Share relevant and helpful content talking about the things appropriate to your area of expertise and that your followers show an interest in.
To mix things up and stay human, go ahead and throw in something that’s funny or off-topic, or just interesting.
For example, Kathryn uses beautiful photos, paintings, pictures and prints that are striking and noticeable to break up her on-topic business feed and show a little about her personality and tastes. Like this one:
Be you. But be a nice you. A positive attitude is always much better received than negativity, so you’ll be better off.
Another thing that’s nice to do is to reply to any Direct Messages and notifications. Even if it’s annoying that many people hit you up with an automated sales message right off the bat, and you don’t particularly like that style. Say “thanks” or “I’ll check it out” or answer their burning question or whatever communicates that you are present and interacting.
I always thank any Likes or Retweets (RT) for stopping by or noticing my work, or taking the time or whatever. Acknowledge those who are helping you out. Again, it’s more human and helps you make real connections.
Pay attention to your feed for awesome new sources and information. I can’t tell you how many fabulous writers, research data and quality, relevant business resources I have discovered.
Also, I make it a policy NOT to share or RT or even like anything I haven’t read. You can’t possibly be offering helpful content to your followers if you have no idea if it IS helpful, or just plain good quality, in general. Worse, sharing garbage makes YOU look bad.
Part of this curating mode policy goes hand-in-hand with my next and possibly most important tweak.
Thoughtfully select who you follow or follow back. Again, here’s where the numbers don’t count! If you have followers and follow accounts that haven’t tweeted in the last six months, you have missed the possibility to connect. So what’s the point?
Having follower/following metrics by millions doesn’t matter if none of them will ever become a customer or any type of partner for you or your business. At the same time, many suggest you start by following back those who follow you and I do try to go that way.
That said, sometimes the follows are bots or sales hype, offering you to buy followers, for example. Nope, I don’t think so. Buying a friend never works!
Connecting with the “right” people gets easier
At least for Twitter— they offer ideas as you go. Look for social buttons on your favorite websites or in the signature of newsletters or emails.
And if you’re interested in someone, especially an “influencer” in your industry, follow them without worrying about whether they follow you back. Simply observe and learn.
You will get something from their content and may find yourself connecting, sometimes accidentally, with some of the people you admire. And well, sometimes I find those times rather exciting.
I’ve had some funny, colorful, interesting and nice interactions with people I respect. That makes social media worth the effort right there. Who knows what may happen next?
Here are some of the benefits so far from my Twitter SMM (Social Media Marketing):
- Guest Blog Post Opportunities. After friendly tweet exchanges with experts (with no agenda other than connecting with them), I’ve been invited to write guest posts. Other times, someone had noticed my work and connected with me. This has been a serious boost for my writing work and site traffic, overall.
- Opportunities to Collaborate. Working with others on their projects and in webinars, blab offerings, and more, initiated through Twitter, adds another plus.
- Contacts and Connections Established. People have helped me in one form or another (providing info, a share, or advice, etc.) and continue to grow as key industry relationships.
- Awareness of opportunities for possible work in my field.
- Latest Updates and Trending Topics. Instead of searching all over for trends and the latest happenings in my industry and areas of interest, I just go to a list on the topic I’m interested in, or just review my feed each day.
- The camaraderie I find among writers (I love this). I’m starting to have a nice little group (thank you, thank you) of fellow writers who are all supportive of each other and visit and help out by participating in one another’s sites and supporting their work. This may be the “social” in social media for me, and I so enjoy this facet of the journey!
- Testing and Measuring. I love testing phrases I am using in my writing projects on Twitter. I figured this out by accident because I wanted to tweet something important to build my credibility. So, I pulled 140-word snippets from my writing and mixed them into my feed. WOW. Interestingly, my own words often get more engagement than anything I share or curate. Hmmm. Interesting. So I just started testing phrasing and refining my work depending on what resonates with people as I go.
Ready to Amplify and Take your Marketing Up a Notch?
Amplification and distribution through social media marketing has, in fact, brought many lively guests to my ghost town.
But even better than traffic to your website, the results leading to business is ten times more exciting! I just had an offer for a guest post last night, via a tweet. Yay.
I hope you will amplify results too using YOUR social media megaphone. Let us know what tips and tweaks work best for you by leaving a comment.