How to Develop a Social Media Strategy

      6 Comments on How to Develop a Social Media Strategy

A social media strategy may seem like a term used only in large corporate businesses, but the reality is that social media strategies are now needed for almost anybody trying to influence the market and attract buyers.

image social media

(Image – “Social Media Means Forum Internet And Online” by Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos,net)

This can include small businesses but it also impacts on content writers, authors, publishers and bloggers.

In fact many publishers now require that you already have developed your own book promotion strategy before they will consider you.

So which social media groups do you work with and which are best for your business?

The short answer is really it depends on the nature of your business and the type of media that you use and can share.

Social Media Strategy for Content Writers

So what exactly is a social media strategy and how does it relate to content writers?

The infographic below illustrates how influential social media has become amongst the ordinary everyday population. Even our language is evolving to include terms such as to tweet, to google or take a selfie.

In this article I will describe a five point plan to developing a social media strategy which can be used by independent bloggers and authors, or content writers working for digital marketing companies. The five points of the plan are as follows;

  1. Social Media Goals
  2. Social Media Sites
  3. Media Strategy
  4. Responses and Follow Up
  5. Updating internal article links to newer content and vice versa

Social Media Goals

In order to develop goals for a social media strategy you first need to know a little bit about social media, including what it is and what it can achieve. The following infographic outlines some of the key statistics about social media use at the moment.

Latest Social Media Statistics #infographic

You can also find more infographics at Visualistan

Promoting Your Work Through Social Media

If you look on sites such as Twitter you will see hundreds of small scale businesses including publishers and independent authors all competing to get their work noticed. There appears to be a definite market for  content writers to promote their work on the internet, the questions are then – which site, when and how?

image different social media companies

Which one to choose? (image found on quick alliance.com)

The short answer to which site, is probably all of them. You can never have too many social media profiles, or can you?

This article will take you through the various social media  sites and explain how each one can be used to promote your work, build connections or expand your on line presence as a writer.

I have also used my own experiences for the different sites and the content planning as an example.

For the first part of this post I want to walk you through six of the main social media sites and discuss the different media approach that each one supports.

  1. Twitter
  2. Facebook
  3. Google +
  4. Pinterest
  5. LinkedIn
  6. Tsu

1 – Twitter

Twitter is one of the biggest social media sites and has a current membership of approximately 304 million people. Their tweets or messages are restricted in size to 140 characters, and so you will need to have the url of your article shortened, otherwise it will take up too much space. Many social media experts say that tweets do better if an image is attached to the post as well.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 21.54.11

Image sourced from theitsgirl.com

The main disadvantage with Twitter is that the information flow is very quick, so people will not see your tweet for very long. Multiple posts are often needed over several days in order to reach an audience.

Advantages – can easily build up a large following of potential readers

Disadvantages – tweets move rapidly and are soon lost, need to manually add an image to boost the interest of the tweet.

2 – Facebook

Facebook has both personal accounts and business / organisation pages.

There are two main differences between the two, personal accounts follow friends and receive news feeds of their main friend’s activities, whereas Facebook Pages collect likes and disseminate information, they don’t receive a newsfeed.

Both followers or friends can comment on posts and pages.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 22.26.05

Facebook prefers businesses to establish Pages rather than use personal accounts and these are perhaps easier to manage. Most share buttons on individual web sites will develop a preview for Facebook of your article and unlike Twitter they will automatically select an image from your article to go along with it.

Advantages – easy to use and most readers will tend to have a Facebook account, you can write a longer description to go with the article.

Disadvantages – Facebook is still predominately a personal use site and would depend on the interests and personal connections that the reader had.

3 – Google +

Google +

This is Googles own social media site and its influence can be quite large. It can be harder to set up because most people are already using Facebook and Twitter, whereas Google Plus will probably need to be set up from scratch.

You can also have separate business or interest pages, and switching between the two is relatively easy as well.

As well as posting to your own collections you can add posts to communities. However keeping track of all of these, especially if you are using it for multiple websites, is still a bit tricky but they have a newer format that makes it easier to manage hopefully.

Advantages – this is connected to Google’s search engine so possibly better rankings from it

Disadvantages – Starting from scratch on yet another social media site can be off putting.

4 – Pinterest

Pin It Logo

Pinterest is an image social media site where you can also share article and information attachments along with the image.

A previous article describes how to set up an account at Pinterest. If you are looking to post an article on Pinterest you will need an image within that post or article that Pinterest can link to.

Advantages  – It is a great way to share content with members

Disadvantages – It relies on images to attract attention rather than the post or article you have written.

5 – LinkedIn

LinkedIn logo

I have been on LinkedIn for a while now but hadn’t used it to promote my own blog posts until recently. Depending on the nature of your writing it can be a useful way to engage with an audience.

It is like Facebook in that longer posts can be made and will stay for longer unlike on Twitter. I have started following relevant Twitter connections on LinkedIn so that there can be a greater level of engagement through my articles and blogs.

It recently added a newsfeed that you can link your posts to directly which seems to be in competition to Twitter but makes posting a lot easier now.

Advantages – Longer posts and discussions

Disadvantages – You need to be available to comment and respond to conversations on your published article.

6 – Tsu

Tsu logoThis is probably one of the newer social media sites and is slightly different in the way it operates. I have written a recent article on Tsu which explains now it works in more detail.

This site is seeking to expand rapidly and is encouraging new content to be shared on their site. It pays members to promote content and so it could be a useful tool to capture new readers, who are engaged with this site at the moment.

You can only join this site through an invitation from an existing member, which you can get from link – tsu membership invitation.

Advantages – new and actively seeking content and new readers, rewards members for sharing and promoting site so currently will have a lot of dedicated potential readers.

Disadvantages – new and yet to see which site it is targeting (probably Facebook)for competition.

Managing all that social media

Managing multiple social media accounts can be a daunting and time-consuming process. There are however a number of social media platforms that can help you to manage the posts and tweets without having to log into each individual account.

One of the platforms and probably the largest at the moment, that I use is Hootsuite – Social Media Management, which has a free version where you can manage up to three social media accounts, or there is a premium version for €10 a month where you can manage a larger amount of accounts.

The premium version also lets you view some of your groups and discussions on the sites which is another useful tool.

Hootsuite has a tool that allows you to shorten urls which saves time having to source this from another website tool. It also allows you to optimise the time when you send posts through its auto scheduler.

You can manually add images for Twitter with their easy to use attachment tool and you also get to change the image to be used in Facebook when it offers you a preview. I also use it to post to LinkedIn and Google Plus.

Buffer

Another social media platform is Buffer, similar to Hootsuite it also has a free plan and a paid premium one and enables you to add to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and G+ as well as other possible options.

Developing a Social Media Strategy

So now you are aware of the different social media groups, and you have written your blog or article. The next stage is to work out what information needs to be sent and where to.

Content Plan

The first stage is to develop, or at least think about, a plan for the content you want to share.

For example at the moment I am developing a series of articles designed to take readers through the different stages of developing their own writer’s platform for sharing content. This means that this post fits in with others I have written.

image content strategy

(Image – “Strategy Words Shows Planning Strategic And Tactics” by Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net)

In a content plan I link together the articles I have on a theme and decide to promote them over a period of time (one or two weeks or maybe a month if I have more content).

I also need to ensure that in each post I can provide links to the other articles, so that readers don’t have to trawl through my website to look for them.

As well as the content that I have created in my blogs I can also choose to share and link to other content on the web.

This can be achieved in two ways either through liking and sharing content on social media, or providing links to articles within your own blog. Once all the content has been compiled the next stage is to plan the social media sharing.

 

Social Media Planner

A social media planner enables you to keep track of the blogs and photos or other media that you have been sharing or are going to share.

The planner I have shown you here is the one I use for two blog sites, each has it’s own spreadsheet. It is a weekly planner and lists the main social media accounts along one side and the different days of the week along the other.

Screenshot of a social media planner

Social Media Planner

Not all the same blogs are shared on the same day, this helps to ensure that the same readers that I have on different accounts (e.g. Twitter and LinkedIn) will not be receiving the same article on each site on the one day.

In addition to promoting my own material I also need to ensure that I am engaging in other reader’s content and retweeting, liking or sharing content that I find interesting and relevant to my niche area.

Retweeting on Twitter is also a good way to store interesting articles because then they go into your own profile stream, so you can go back to and read them in your own time.

Finally – Don’t Forget To Respond To Comments

Once your material has been shared you also have a responsibility to follow up on any comments or questions that readers may have.

This is another way in which to build up followers and share your expertise. You will be seen as more of an authority in your area if you reply and follow up.

The other useful point about comments is that they can also give you new ideas for content. This is especially true for the questions that people ask, either on your own site or on other blogs and information that you are sharing. Questions will give you an idea of current problems in your niche area, and that you as an expert can offer a solution to.

In summary the social media strategy consists of the following five pillars on promoting content.

  1. Describe your goals for the strategy – what do you want to achieve / promote
  2. Choose the social media sites that match your needs
  3. Develop a strategy of writing, promoting and re-promoting / follow up and engagement
  4. Make sure that new content links back to earlier posts and that you add links to the new content into earlier posts.
  5. Respond to comments and feedback and create new content

I hope that you found this article helpful and if so please share it (and practice your social marketing engagement skills!). If you need any further information or have any comments or questions please leave them below. Thanks

 

 

(*Note Hootsuite is an affiliate product on this site)

 

6 thoughts on “How to Develop a Social Media Strategy

  1. Krissy

    Hi MHainsworth!
    I love your post! I’m so glad I didn’t diss my twitter account! I almost did because I wasn’t getting many followers, that’s because I wasn’t active so I gave it another shot and I love it!! I use facebook for personal not really into promoting on there, however, I’ll put a post about my inline skating for my inline skate buddies! Pinterest is good as well like you said you need images for those. Google+ I have but don’t use as much as the others. I’m just getting my sites out into social media and it really is fun!! The disadvantage is spending more time on social media and less on my websites sometimes,lol! Great post!
    Kind Regards,
    Krissy

    Reply
    1. Marie

      Hi Krissy social media can be fun but you’re right it can also be very time consuming. I think the trick is to master one type until it becomes quick and easy to manage before moving onto learning another type.

  2. Viljoen

    The social media strategy that I use is the following. I like to hit 3 flies with one shot when it comes to social media.

    After my content is written and ready to be published then I will share it on social media. Now here is where the 3 flies comes into play. First of you will get traffic and that traffic can buy from you or leave comments on your website.

    The second fly is when people re-share and like your content, then it will act like social signals which is important for SEO.

    The third fly is when other website owners found your content so interesting that they would like to link to it from their websites.

    If you have a large social following, then you should use it to your advantage.

    Reply
    1. Marie

      HI thanks for sharing your strategy and you make an excellent point it is about integrating everything together. even with a smaller social following the same approach works.

      The other important point is to remember to ask readers on your website to share the article on their social media networks and encourage them to read other articles on your site (and then ask them to share those).

      So finally if you liked this article and the discussion please do remember to share it with others, thanks again.

  3. Edy

    Developing a social media strategy requires a lot more work than I thought it would be. Maybe this is one of the reasons why they segment Social Media as one of the best traffic generation techniques.

    I personally haven’t put much thoughts on either Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Doing SEO has taken most of my time. Anyway, thanks for the information here. I would definitely diversify my strategy in the future. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hi Edy, thanks for adding to the topic. It does take work but like everything in this business little and often is good as well.

      I agree with an SEO focus but I would also see social media needing to become more and more a part of your overall SEO strategy, since Google is becoming more aware of social media presence and adding into their ranking algorithms. Thanks again.

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