I’ve been reading a heck of a lot about how to succeed with social media. There are 65 thousand opinions out there as I type this and I’ve only scratched the surface of them. As I read, and read some more, a small number of points started to shine through.
So, to save you ploughing through some of the good, bad, and ugly posts I’ve read recently, here is my potted-digest of the key strands to social media success. Just 3 points – civil servants love saying things in threes.
1. Have a Social Media strategy
Don’t just fire off a burst of Facebook updates and Tweets and then think it’s done for a week. Social media success needs planning. You need to understand why you are doing it, who you are doing it for, what you are going to say, and where you are going to say it. Hey! . . . I think I’ve said this before! Doing social media well takes time, which means money, so approach it sensibly.
2. Remember it’s Social Media
If you are old enough to remember satellite TV starting in the UK, you may recall the fuss over the idea of a whole channel of adverts. Who is going to watch that?! we all cried. What did we know? QVC and the rest of them are massively successful, and people do watch them, for hours on end. Why? Because although they are nothing but advertising, they never, ever forget that people spend the money. No one would watch 8 hours of traditional advertisements for coloured paper and special scissors – but they will watch 8 hours of someone making greetings cards, whilst chatting and taking an interest in what other viewers have to say. That is exactly the same as quality content and engagement.
So, make sure your communication is more than just a stream of adverts. You have to actually be there to reply to comments, thank retweeters and sharers, do some sharing yourself, and show that you take an interest in the people beyond the screen.
3. There is no substitute for hard work. Sorry!
Hootsuite, Buffer and other tools for lining up messages to send to multiple sites make a social media manager’s life much easier. It doesn’t mean you can line up 365 tweets now and not look at Twitter again for a year. What you post has to be current – remember quality content is part of the SEO recipe – so you need to read a lot of other people’s sites to winkle out one or two gems that you can share or develop.
Social media interaction is a great sign to the search engines that you’re someone worth noting – but it has to be real interaction. Don’t buy yourself thousands of followers or automatic trackbacks. They won’t fool Google and they will probably do you more harm than good. Real followers, real links have to be worked for, and that work means writing things that people want to read.
I promised this in a nutshell – so where’s the nut?
In Howard’s End, E.M. Forster called for us to “only connect” to achieve a fulfilled and meaningful life. The same could be said for Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and the rest . . . only connect.
Joanna Brown is a copywriter and web content creator who specialises in SEO and social media, why not “only connect” with her on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest . . . or leave a comment below?