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Step up your social media game with these five steps

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Social media is an essential component of your personal brand or your business strategy. Lots of people can “do” social media, but doing it right can reap huge benefits. Here is my 5-step process to improve your social media game.

Know your audience

Of course you’re excited to create social media posts, but first you need to actually know who you want to reach. In general, who are they, where are they and what channels are they on? Do they have any preconceived notions of you? What about your competitors? Are there any issues you must overcome to reach them? What other things do they like? How can you add value?

Research your target demographic so you know how to focus your posts, hashtags and ad spend to get maximum results.

Have a plan

If you are starting from scratch with brand awareness, then getting as many eyeballs as possible on your content can be a good strategy. This is called reach. However, focusing your efforts on viewers that fall into your target audience will result in higher engagement, which will be rewarded by most social media channels. Think of engagement as interactions with your posts.

Ideally, you want to grow both reach and engagement. But I love to focus on engagement. The deeper the connection you can make with a viewer, the better. For example, if someone sees your post, that’s good. If they click on it to read more or watch a video, that’s great. If they watch the whole video and comment or share it, that’s awesome. Finally, if they purchase the product/service and become a brand advocate by freely telling others how great the purchase was, that’s the holy grail.

Your goal is to get a percentage of viewers to take the journey with you to deeper levels of engagement to build your following. Think of types of posts that get this done. You’ll need to create a content calendar to help you schedule across all the social channels.

Develop and test content

Creating great content is not always easy. Even the best in the business are constantly monitoring the analytics and changing up the post type or mix accordingly. However, you’ll find success if you’re not afraid to fail and you make data-driven decisions.

Your first step is to create posts and test how they do. Besides thinking of different types of messaging, also be thinking about mixing up videos, graphics, polls, etc. Not only will you have to look at the data to see which messages resonate and which type of collateral resonates, but you’ll also have to see what post mix works best for each social channel that you’re on.

When you add up all the different types of posts to create and monitor, you begin to see that this is a science. If you put the time in to do it right, your data will begin to paint a picture of what you should be doing. Adjust and measure. Repeat.

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I do not recommend posting the same exact content on different channels. The audience is slightly different and the reason they’re there may be slightly different. Related posts or campaigns are fine, but try to find the angle that works best on each channel.

Challenge yourself. There are numerous ways to get your message across. Sometimes simply changing a word in your post headline or moving the link elsewhere can give vastly better results on one social channel versus another.

Round out your content

Always remember that your goal is to engage your audience, provide value, and entice them to take you up on your call to action. Just like giving a presentation, it’s not really about you, it’s about them and what they get out of it.

Now it’s time to kick engagement up another notch. Start sharing more personal stories and blogs. People will respond to these personal connections. Ask questions to your audience. Not only will this add engagement, but you’ll learn things about your audience. You are moving your viewers to participating with more meaningful engagement, which is good for your brand.

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Daily maintenance

You’ll also want to spend time each day looking at the social media landscape. Are there any negative issues affecting you that need to be addressed? What hashtags are trending? Proper hashtag use can really boost your posts.

Also, see if there are any popular related posts that you can comment on in an attempt to increase reach. What is your approach on commenting on social issues? Is it a good time to try a live event?

Keep checking your analytics. This work is never done. Keep on A/B testing your headlines. Figure out how far in advance you want to promote an event and post reminders. Should our videos be shorter or longer? More graphics and text?

Create. Measure. Succeed.

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