Do you ever get online and immediately feel like you’re hit with a giant wall of noise? Driving your social media strategy forward in an efficient way can be hard when there are so many distractions. How do you make the best of the time you’ve allotted to work on content you plan to publish? Here are three tips to make sure you stay on course instead of disappearing down the internet rabbit hole.
Create a Resource Bank
The internet is a wide, expansive world filled with lots of avenues to explore. That can be a good and bad thing. Trying to find something that catches your eye and feels worthy of sharing can be a long and fruitless task if you don’t know where to look. Don’t surf out to sea without a clear target. Instead, create a resource bank. Collect URLs of websites that you know offer the kind of great content you’re looking for. When you sit down to schedule your next batch of posts, you’ll have a head start.
Use Google News Alerts
What key terms or words generally come up when you talk about your business? Creating aGoogle Alert (or several of them) is the best way to stay on top of what’s going on in your industry, all without having to leave the comfort of your own e-mail inbox. Do you find yourself drawn to news from the same source over and over? You may have found a new link for your resource bank! If you feel overwhelmed with alerts, try refining your search terms. If you’re too general, you might be casting your net too wide and saturating yourself with information.
Business or Pleasure?
Avoid the temptation to check your personal channels while you’re working on social media for your business. This can be tough, but it’s a good way to make sure you don’t get drawn into answering e-mails or following up on Facebook messages from old acquaintances looking to reconnect. Staying away from your friends’ Twitter feed or timeline also removes the temptation of clicking on links that lead you down the path to distraction. We’re all one cute kitten video away from wasting a lot of precious company time, so enforce a moratorium on baby armadillos, hedgehogs and handholding otters as much as you can. Worried about missing out on viral content? Don’t worry, if it’s truly viral, you are bound to run into it somewhere else, especially on big pages like Reddit or Buzzfeed.
How do you stay on task when you’re working on social media? Do you take on responsibilities yourself, or do you pass them on to a dedicated user? Whichever way you approach it, remember that finding good content and publishing it on time means organizing resources, dedicating attention and blocking out distractions.
Remember the old adage about children being “seen and not heard?” That saying may have held some weight for previous generations, but today's teens and tweens have become drivers of the way we communicate, building and participating in online cultures in ways that leave some folks in the dust.
Kids are practically born with a smartphone in their hands. Combine that with a formidable collective buying power and you have a demographic whose impact is impossible to ignore.
Young people can drive the success and failure of social media platforms, forcing them to adapt or die. Their recent mass exodus from Facebook to other places like Twitter and Instagram is one example of how shifting demographics have forced some companies to adapt (quickly) to the pace of young people's tastes and desires in an attempt to recapture them.
As a cornerstone of internet culture, teens and tweens build and contribute to massive online ecosystems, develop internet shorthand that spills over into real life and participate in social media in ways that small businesses could stand to learn from.
Getting Ahead of the Game
Teens and tweens are usually early adopters. They're one step ahead of the game when it comes to new technology and the latest social media platforms. Being an early adopter lets you stake out a space before others get there. It also makes you look like a leader who understands new trends and blazes ahead instead of lagging behind.
Connecting Real Life and Digital Networking
Young people are expert networkers. They actively seek out people to follow, stay engaged, ask questions and prioritize extending their influence online. More importantly, they realize that digital life and real life aren't separated by an iron curtain. Networks spill over, making real life connections become digital ones and vice versa.
The upcoming generation of millennials is often accused of being the “Me” generation, but that doesn't mean that their efforts at self promotion aren't worth emulating. Teens and tweens aren't afraid to toot their own horn and you shouldn't be either. Put your accomplishments on display so the world knows just how great you are at what you do.
The internet is a place to let loose! Let your voice shine through by being honest. Writing for the internet doesn't require the formality that other media demands, so take the opportunity to be creative and put your sense of humor on display. People will see your brand as more personable and relatable that way.
A teen's life online may seem like fun and games, but young people are masters at learning new tools of the trade. Take a cue from teens and tweens so you can stay adaptable, curious and open to taking on new challenges. You'll be one step ahead of the competition and spearheading your way to a more creative approach to social media.
It's our goal to make sure everyone who signs up with Social Sonar is happy with our services. Part of this includes finding people who feel the same way we do.
You will be happiest with our services if you agree with any of the following statements:
- I haven't logged into Facebook or Twitter for a week; that's really bad for my business.
- I know customers are asking questions online, but I don't have time to answer. I'm too busy running my business.
- I have a basic understanding of social media, but I know I don't have the expertise to write content for these channels.
- My time is better spent running my business than writing Facebook posts and tweets.
- I want to be seen as an industry expert. I would rather talk about things my customers want to hear rather than my specific business.
- I thought about (or used to have) someone at my business managing my social media, but I would rather use someone who is properly trained.
- Social media is an investment.
It might feel like there are far too many social media platforms in the virtual world. Here's a list of the top websites and why they might benefit you.
Facebook is approaching 1 billion users (although that number was recently challenged due to the number of fake and/or inactive profiles). Those with a Facebook profile generally leave their browser open for many hours a day, but most are there to connect with friends and socialize. With so many users, this platform can be helpful in both B2B and B2C marketing. Make sure you understand the difference between profiles, fan pages and groups.
Twitter receives approximately 144 million unique visitors each month. Reportedly, Twitter users are multi-taskers who are easily distracted. This platform is more open, which can be overwhelming but useful when searching keywords. Hashtags can help you be part of a larger conversation about topics.
Google+ will reportedly have 400 million users by the end of 2012. Sixty percent of their users are web developers or software engineers. Seventy-five to 85% are men, and the most popular age range is 25-34. Google+ is definitely rising in the ranks and may certainly take over the top spot someday if Facebook continues to frustrate users with format changes.
LinkedIn has over 100 million users, the majority of which are there for professional reasons. Over one million are high-ranking executives with decision making authority. LinkedIn is best used for B2B marketing.
Reddit receives millions of visitors. It is a social site that allows users to submit links, and then allows other users to vote those submissions "up" or "down," so that popular posts are more easily found. The site can be useful to help create viral ad campaigns and cause awareness.
StumbleUpon calls itself a "discovery engine" that finds web content for its users. It recently surpassed Facebook as the highest traffic referrer of any website. To catch the StumbleUpon user's attention, use flashy photos and catchy headlines.
YouTube reportedly has a brand value of $18.099 billion. As the internet replaces the yellow pages, television and radio in the advertising department, YouTube can provide you with a format for releasing visual content.
Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. It relies heavily upon photos and videos, which are the most popular posts for business fan pages on Facebook. Women between the ages of 25 and 44 make up 59% of its membership.
Tumblr is a very simple blog site and, like Pinterest, is photo/image-based (well over half of the content uploaded are images). Tumblr offers seven options for posting content: Text, Photo, Quote, Link, Chat, Audio, Video. Users can then "like" your post or "re-blog" it. Tumblr had over 15 billion page views in January 2012.
The top two social networking sites remain Facebook and Twitter. However, there are many other sites out there. Ask your customers where they spend their time and consider spending some time there yourself. Which sites do you use to promote your business?
Search Engine Optimization. SEO. You may have heard those "buzz letters," but what do they mean? SEO "is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's "natural," or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic"), search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users." (Via Wikipedia.)
Basically, SEO is what helps people find you faster. How do you raise your SEO and help your customers find you in a sea of competitors? Some of it is simple -- things you may already doing:
- Add a blog to your website
- Add Google Analytics to every page of your website
- Don't use excessive code
- Make every single page unique
- Use meta tags
- Don't use repetitive wording
- Include footer links on every page
- Create separate pages for each keyword
- Use keyword rich title tags on each page of your website.
However, recently it was revealed that Google's new algorithms also include social media in the SEO-raising criteria. Updates can also determine when websites are trying to trick the algorithms into raising their ranking. Therefore, you not only need a great website, you need to be a social media conversationalist.
What else should you be doing to stay relevant in the online world? We hate to sound like a broken record, but...
Maintain your Facebook page: Post interesting content (photos, links, etc.) and respond to questions or comments. It is truly important to have a conversation on Facebook.
Share tweets about your industry, not just your brand. And share interesting links and information so that others will be compelled to re-tweet and respond to your posts.
Upload videos to YouTube (which is owned by Google). Include a link to your website somewhere in the description. An interesting video can go viral and give your brand a boost. The goal is to create content that others want to share.
If you are on Pinterest, pin or re-pin interesting visuals. Don't just pin photos with links back to your website.
On LinkedIn, you should join groups and participate in conversations: answer questions and post your company updates. Although it doesn't necessarily raise your SEO, it contributes to brand recognition.
Since Google obviously owns Google+, it is certainly a place that you may want to consider spending time if you are looking to raise SEO. It may not weigh heavily now, but as Google+ gains momentum, it may matter more in the future for those trying to raise awareness of their brand online.
As you work to build your brand, your ranking in any search engine should organically rise as well. Which sites are you using to build your brand and optimize your search engine ranking?