So what are your social media goals today? Do you have any?
Goal #1: Write social media goals!
Now, do you have the right social media goals?
When I first started blogging, I found it almost overwhelming to share properly on social media channels. To be clear, I understand social media — I work in the field and have since 1996, back when it was a very different animal, but one rearing it’s head and showing it was going to be a force to be reckoned with. (Smart people took it seriously back then, aware it was going to be worth the time spent.) I just didn’t know how I was going to do it all, and do it right.
Since then, it’s a question I’m commonly asked: how do I do it all and get my name out there without killing myself?
The answer is that you don’t necessarily have to do it all. In a nutshell: it’s best to do what you can manage to do on a regular basis, properly and effectively.
What’s the right way?
There isn’t one, other than to say that the right way is what works for you.
Getting your brand in the public eye is what you want to aim for. And you want it to be seen in a positive light. Some think all PR is good PR, as in “I can write a scandalous piece and get tons of pageviews, so that’s good, right?” It all depends. I personally don’t go that route, but I know it works for some. Everyone finds their magic formula, for what that’s worth, so you too will find your own, but until then, let’s start with a few basic suggestions.
If you’re unable to devote the time to everything, then don’t even try. Pick a channel or two and start there. Master Twitter or Facebook, and once you feel you’ve gained ground and can take on another one, give it a shot. It took me quite some time to get my Google+ profile going, and even today, it’s not what it could/should be, but that’s okay. I’ll get there. You don’t need to do it all at once. Some effective social media marketers don’t use Stumble or Reddit or even G+. Others find that Facebook pages are a waste of their time. Others manage to do them all and stay on the cutting edge of new tools.
Not enough content to put out on the channels that you do have? Rotating old content from time to time works, especially if it’s still relevant. (For this, I use a WordPress plug-in called Tweetily. I have control over what it shares and how often, so things like giveaways or time-sensitive topics can be excluded. Take the time to review it and play with it — it’s really helped my old content get some new play.) If you don’t want to use a plug-in, or just want to manually share stuff — which I really suggest as well, as you can do this in addition to using an auto-sharing tool, because then you can choose things that fit the time or trend more efficiently — you then have the best option to change-up your teaser or promo line. (Need some ideas to craft headlines that attract? This article from Copyblogger.com is very helpful.)
Still not enough content? Be careful to not over-saturate what you do have by putting it on all your channels at the same time. I sometimes will share a photo on Instagram and Twitter at the same time. Currently, the two groups don’t necessarily overlap so I am not forcing my stuff in duplicate to the same people and photos are fairly easy to scroll past in a feed. But, I strongly avoid taking a piece of content and putting it blanket-style on everything at once. Parse it out. Did you write a new blog piece? Put it on Facebook with one carefully-chosen sentence and share it on Twitter with a different phrase. Regurgitating the same info onto all your social media channels at once is far worse than omitting one channel entirely. Or two. Or more.
Maybe your issue is that you don’t have enough time. I get that, truly. My favorite thing to help with this is a time budget. Assign 30 minutes to your schedule. Too much? Assign 10. (I know a couple of people who say they can do it in five, but I’m going to go with 10 — I think your brand deserves it and unless you are a rockstar, you’ll find plenty to fill it up.) Use that time to do a bunch of mini-goals. For example: send out one new, original tweet, RT three other relevant tweets, respond to five others’ tweets. Put a post on Facebook, share two other Facebook posts and comment on three others. There’s 10 minutes! Got more time? Attack your “to do” list, like “Add 10 more to my G+ circles. Share two blog entries on my G+ page. Put two new photos on Instagram. Comment on photos for three other users. Pin 10 images. Like five images.” And so forth. Detailing what you need to do, and what you’d like to do, can really help you get it done by having it right in front of you..taunting you.
Your business and/or brand will drive what your very specific goals are, but your main one is to be out and about in social media circles on a regular basis, interacting, sharing your information and that of other writers. (Notice, I said writer: yes, you.) Keep the social in social media by reciprocating and entertaining, not just spamming with your product or service. Interact, engage, but you can’t do it without getting your brand out there consistently. Don’t believe me? Take a break for a couple of weeks and check your numbers. If you’re not uber-popular, you’ll see a dip somewhere. But don’t really do that…just visualize it and plan to not do that.
Keeping social media goals in mind will help your day go smoothly instead of an exercise in jumping all over each channel doing a little of this and a little of that. You’ll feel like you got a lot more done and you’ll look organized and professional, two key things to being successful in the role. Now get out there and be social! (And show me by responding and sharing your ideas on social media goals!)