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Written by What's the Word, Inc.
on June 25, 2018

There was a time when simply being present on social media was enough to set you apart from the crowd. Today however, social media is the crowd, and you must rise above the digital clamor to get noticed.

These days it takes a strong strategy to build a social media following. But with the average American spending nearly two hours on social media networks daily, it pays to put effort into creating an engaging social media presence.

Here’s how to do it.

 

Set Goals

Your goals should be the guiding star of your social media efforts. By your goals you should be able to hold yourself acountable, measure your success, quantify your failures, and measure your gains. So you don’t want just any goals. You want set SMART goals.

Before you start setting goals, determine your purpose. If you’re on social media because “everyone else is,” then you’re wasting your time. Your reason for being present on social media should meet the needs of your audience.

 

Define and Segment Your Audience

There are millions of regular users on each social media platform, and they aren’t all right for you. One of the beneficial advantages of online social communities is the ability to target a specific audience.

So, who is your audience?

As with the rest of your digital marketing campaign, your social media strategy begins and ends with well developed buyer personas.

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Create a Style Sheet

You may only have one person managing and posting on your social media profiles. Or you may expect everyone to contribute to keeping your content fresh. Regardless, your current management style or personnel can change at any moment. You need to be ready.

Creating a style sheet helps create a consistency in your voice and messaging that promotes trust and familiarity in your audience. With a consistent style you can also avoid the problems bound to arise from relying solely on everyone’s best judgement when it comes to posting.  

As you create your style sheet, you’ll want to consider

-voice,

-the types of messages you want to respond to,

-negative response protocol,

- and escalation and customer service protocol.

This is far from an exhaustive list, so think about it and get some input.

 

Optimize and Coordinate

Your social media posts should be geared toward creating value for your audience—which means not talking about yourself all the time. Instead of constantly posting about your school, the best way to share information about who you are is to optimize your profile.

Each platform encourages users to thoroughly introduce themselves and connect with related users. Take advantage of these prompts by including keywords, linking to your website or blog, and choosing your friends wisely.

 

Create an Editorial Calendar

Once your social media accounts start to pick up steam, things will start to move very quickly. You can avoid getting behind by getting ahead.

Social media management is a pretty responsive sport. But there are some things you always know about beforehand.

Your editorial calendar should provide a visual outlay of the content you plan to publish, what platforms you are publishing on, and when you plan to update. For peak efficiency, color coordinate and keep everything on a single calendar.

 

Automate Intelligently

With all the developing technology, you may be tempted to push the limits of automation right out of the gate.

Don’t.

Even with the range of current advancements, it’s easy to get it wrong.

The greatest advantage of social media marketing is personalization. You can communicate and respond to your audience in real time. And if you want to be successful, you should be as responsive as possible.

Personally responsive.

As a rule, you’ll want to schedule content updates, news, and anything else on your calendar to publish automatically. But avoid automating anything that should elicit human interaction.

 

Stay Active

Once you’re all set up, you’ll want to keep your profiles fresh. Attract attention and encourage interaction by being present.

Don’t just focus on you. Monitor trends in your industry, talk about events in your area, host only community get-togethers, etc. There’s no limit to what you can do to keep your audience on their toes and excited for your next post.

With these seven tips guiding your activity, your social media following will grow in no time. But social media is only on part of a strong digital marketing strategy. Take a look at some of the other resources in your digital marketing toolbox.

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