The key to saving time, being more efficient and using social media to its full potential is all about having a strategy. We’re breaking down the 4 steps for creating a powerful social media strategy for your blog.
Ahh social media, you magnificent beast. You’re simultaneously a blogger’s best friend and biggest headache. You’re the reason our words, our recipes, our content can spread through the interwebs like fire as well as the source of our never ending procrastination and comparison traps. I guess it comes down to this: like so many things, social media is an excellent servant and horrible master.
So what’s a blogger to do? How are we supposed to harness the power of social without having it take over our lives and yes, our sanity.
I’ll give you 3 words. Create a strategy.
A strategy is a plan. It’s a roadmap, a guideline, a structure, a decision making tool. When it comes to social media it’s crucial. You need a strategy. Because here’s the thing (that you already know) you just can’t do it all. Your strategy is the roadmap that will tell you what to focus on and what’s not important. Your time is precious and just shouldn’t be spent where it’s not important.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about what you CAN do and the choices you should make when it comes to building your tribe on social media.
1. Identify where your people are
First things first, where’s the party at? And by party I mean where is your ideal audience spending their time and paying attention?
Pick and Prioritize 3 Platforms
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Youtube, Instagram, Medium, Google +, Tumblr, Periscope and probably some other cool new platform that the kids are using. Yup. It’s a lot of places to be at once. Which is why you can forget about being all those places at once.
No really, it’s ok. If you want to build a valuable brand on social media as a solo blogger you don’t need to be everywhere, instead focus on adding value where you are. I believe three is the magic number of platforms that bloggers can actually focus on while juggling everything else.
So how do you pick where to spend your time?
Think about 2 big things: who’s your audience and what kind of content are you giving them?Look back at where your audience is. If you’re trying to talk to healthy foodies most likely Instagram and Pinterest are going to float to the top of your list. Next look at your content. Are you focusing on video? Then Facebook and Youtube will be a big deal for you.
I’ll warn you, it’s not easy focusing on just 3 platforms. With so many options it feels like you’re missing out on something, but at the end of the day you can only spend so many hours dedicated to social media and as cliche as it sounds it really is more important to focus on the quality over the quantity of social platforms you’re on.
Create a Plan for Each Platform
Now that you’ve chosen where you want to spend your efforts, it’s time to decide how you’ll utilize these tools. For each platform you choose you should decide:
- What will I post on this platform?
- How often will I post on this platform?
- How much of the content will I create?
- How much of the content will I curate (share from others)?
- How much time (and when) will I spend to create and curate content for this platform?
- What tools do I need to do this?
- What is my growth/outreach plan?
- How much time will I spend engaging with my community and growing it?
It sounds like a lot of questions, but if you’re not sure of the answers, then chances are you’re not using the platforms to their full potential. Posting on Instagram randomly 3 times a week won’t help your blog grow and thrive. Not only that, but you’ll be frustrated by the time you wasted. However, taking the time to devise a plan for how to post consistent, quality content daily, will not only save you time and stress in the long run, but more importantly it will actually grow your blog.
2. Give, Give, Give… then Give some more
Have you ever been to a party where everyone is having a nice conversation, but this one guy finds a way to make everything you say about him? Yeah, that guy sucks. Don’t be that guy on social media. So often I see well meaning bloggers post only about themselves rather than trying to serve their community.
Even though it’s “the internet” rules of normal human behavior and relationships still (very much) apply. In order to have a tribe of loyal followers who will want to read and support what you create, you need to build trust first. Find ways to help them whether it’s answer their questions, interact with their posts first and I mean in a genuine way aka not just saying “cool” “nice” or my favorite, “yummy”, go out of your way to be interested in them. Not only are you actually learning what your audience wants this way, you’re building that rapport that will make them eager to want to help you back, you know, just like real life.
For bloggers this isn’t just about your audience, but your blogging peers. Rather than think of this whole shabang as a competition, remember that we’re really in this together. When a blogger wins, blogging wins, which means you win too. The better relationships you have with other bloggers, the more fun and ultimately successful you’ll be.
Share other bloggers recipes on Facebook. Do a shoutout on your Instagram. Give people kudos, high fives and genuine compliments. Not only are you strengthening your bonds with them, but it honestly helps alleviate completion and jealously when you’re genuinely are excited to see someone you like succeed.
3. Carve out Time to Experiment
The danger of being so laser focused is that you forget to push yourself outside your comfort zone and try new things. This is major in social media because everything moves so damn fast. In less than 6 months we’ve seen SnapChat hit a huge inflection point from something that was “just for fun” to a major player when it comes to publishers, bloggers and brands. Yes, it’s definitely some uncharted waters in the sea of SnapChat, however it would be a huge mistake not to take the time to learn and experiment. That way when you evaluate your strategy every 6 months you have the knowledge to decide whether you want to go all in on Snapchat or whatever platform is up and coming.
By carving out time to experiment, you’re allowing yourself space to make mistakes. It’s time that you know you might not get back. Maybe you experiment with a new style and it just doesn’t work. That’s ok! Learning what not to do is important too. But if you don’t test and experiment you could miss out on some huge gains because you’re style and strategy is getting stagnant.
4. Stay the course
I think there’s a huge misconception among a lot of people when it comes to social media. So many believe that due to social media’s real-time and rapidness in nature that it produces huge real time results after only a couple tries. If you’ve been blogging for a while or in the social media space trying to build a brand, you know that’s just not true. “Overnight Success” even on social media takes a lot of time and effort and while yes, you can catch a couple good breaks, it still takes tons of planning and preparation to be ready for luck.
So when it comes to building and executing on your social media strategy, make sure your plans include being patient. I’ll use Instagram as an example: it took me 10 months to get my first 10,000 followers and that was by posting consistently 1-2x every single day, interacting with my community, spending a ton of time and effort on this platform. When I grew from 15,000 – 25,000 followers it only took 5 weeks. That’s the power of momentum.
If I had thrown in the towel after 9 months, I wouldn’t be able to reap the rewards that momentum brings. So if you decide to dedicate time and effort to a platform, don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to start seeing results. Social media is so much like fitness in this aspect. No one post will make or break your success, it’s about putting the work in consistently over time. That kind of dedication is what makes someone an “overnight success.”
What Do You Think?
- Do you have a social media strategy?
- What platforms are you focusing on?