5 Priorities Every Social Media Program Should Have

I want to start this post with a little bit of clarity by defining the term “Priority”. Webster’s say’s it is something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives. One thing I have learned in life is that no matter what comes out of your mouth, your actions will always follow your true priorities. You can say this or that are a priority, but if your actions show something else, you have a problem.

social media prioritiesOne reason that many newcomers to social media marketing lack priorities is not because of laziness or lack of desire, it is simply lack of knowledge – the understanding of what tasks actually need to have priority in their day.

Often times businesses struggle with not only understanding all the in’s and out’s of social media marketing, but more importantly where they should prioritize their time and efforts. This often results in new social media marketers over pitching what they do, or worse, giving up and abandoning their social media efforts. Let’s avoid both by listing the top five priorities your social media marketing efforts should focus on each day.

These are in no particular order of importance, however all of them should be given priority and attention daily.

1) Value – Provide value to your target audience.

Your daily focus should be to deliver selfless value to your target market. How can your social media marketing provide value to your audience? Answer that question without regard to what you do, what you sell, or the industry you are in. Answer and execute that question correctly and you will see huge results!

2) Content – Have enough content and the RIGHT content.

Think of social media as a freeway. All of the cars on the freeway are content, posts and articles. You have to have enough content on the road everyday that is relevant, valuable and interesting to your target audience. You need to make sure that whenever one of your fans, friends or followers step up to the side of the freeway throughout the day, they see one of your cars go by.

3) Be Human – People build relationships with other People.

A big mistake a lot of new social media marketers make is trying to mimic the big brands. For the most part, big brands SUCK at social media. They do not do it right and for many, they don’t have to. They have spent billions on branding and marketing well ahead of the social media boom, therefore it is just another channel. Everyone else needs to do it right if they want results!

You have to humanize your social media accounts. Most people connect and build relationships with other people. Can you really have a relationship with a logo of a company you don’t even know? Of course not. Be human and approachable.

4) Respond/Engage - Social media marketing is social.

You must make it a priority to respond to mentions, shares and comments immediately. When someone shares a post or mentions you in social media, they are available and active at that moment. You need to respond quickly in order to foster a conversation that leads to relationship. Waiting for once a day or an hour later is just too late. They have moved on, logged out or even lost interest. If you aren’t utilizing mobile apps to ensure you can consistently do this, it is not a priority to you.

You also need to have a priority of commenting, sharing and mentioning your target audience frequently. Relationships are two ways. Seek opportunity to benefit your prospects by sharing their content, engaging them in conversation or simply commenting on something they post.

5) Community – Build one.

Your social media marketing must have a priority focused on building a loyal community. That community must be large enough to be effective. Find your target audience and follow/friend them. Build it and they will come does not work in social media.

As you can see, social media is highly involved. Understanding the priorities you need to have on a daily basis is the difference between being IN social media and having an effective social media marketing program for your business.

What is your biggest priority in social media? Please leave a comment below!

Say No to Shortcuts

Whenever we got into the car with my dad for a trip that was not part of our normal routine, we got ready for adventure. Why? It wasn’t so much that our destination was that adventurous. It was the trip itself. My dad loved to devise shortcuts. The problem? They never shortened travel time. They either increased the time we spent in the car, or increased time spent in the car AND got us lost.

ShortcutsI often see the same thing happening with newer social business journeys. The driver gets excited by apps, tools and other shortcuts “guaranteed” to grow their fan/follower/connection base in a lightning quick fashion. Unfortunately, many of these shortcuts lead that social business driver on a merry chase full of wrong turns, detours and one way only avenues that end up with the driver lost and unsure where they are or how to get home.

“With record speed” and “get it fast” are phrases bandied about by many an app/online tool developer ready to promise you a shortened journey. The problem is that successful social endeavors require that you take active part in the journey. Shortcuts, while seemingly faster, often take you in divergent directions that detract from the real reasons your engaging in social business.

  1. Relationships can’t be rushed. They build in their own unique time. Relationships that result in business are built on trust. Trust can’t be rushed.
  2. Social business relies on stories rather than sales tactics, telling rather than selling. What happens when you speed through a story? Key points get missed. The listener finds themselves unsure of the plot, the message. Sharing stories takes time.
  3. While sharing is an integral part of social business, you can’t just share anything. It’s vital that you read and assess each item you think you might want to share. Rapid fire shares and retweets without reading often create bad business buzz. You might share a dead link, spam or worse – information that is completely outdated or off base.

Yes, it’s important to build a following – you want someone to see and appreciate that great information you’re creating and sharing. But you can’t rush. All likes are not created equal. Same goes for followers on Twitter and circles on Google+.

While Facebook like parties are going strong, as are ladder events, don’t rush to like hundreds of pages to get several hundred likes in return. You might get the numbers, but will you get:

  • People who will actively take part in discussions?
  • Content worthy of sharing?
  • People willing to share your good content?
A recent blog post on this very topic started a lively discussion about these like building events and the people who take part. You can read it here.

While the idea that you must follow to be followed on Twitter is basically sound, again – you don’t want to just click the “follow” button without real intent. Michael Hyatt states that “the higher your follower count, the more people assume you are an expert”, and therein lies the quandary for us. Do you want to be an “assumed” expert, that assumption based solely on one number? Or, would you rather be known as an expert based on the ideas, tips and tools shared? I’ll state openly that I prefer to work toward the latter.

Numbers for the sake of bigger numbers don’t have any real ROI. And yes, as much as social business is about the relationship over the sale, you have to consider and track ROI. There’s a purpose to the building of that relationship (see what Social Media Examiner has to say on the topic), one that your boss really wants to see well documented.

Shortcuts don’t build the types of numbers that help you put together the reports your boss, even if you’re the boss, wants to see. Careful planning, attention to detail and good old hard work build the relationships that build the numbers that net you positive ROI. Skip the shortcuts and get busy creating that plan of action!

How to convert Twitter followers into leads

When it comes to converting Twitter followers into leads, the secret to success is trial and error. The more you experiment with different social networks, the more you experiment with content, the more you experiment with timing, the better understanding you will get of what works and doesn’t work for YOUR company. You could try some of these tactics, and see if they work for you:

twitter followersTarget your Twitter followers

One really important thing that I have found helpful is to make sure that your followers are 100% targeted. If you’re a marketing company selling your services to small business owners, FOLLOW SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS. Don’t waste your time following big name industry leaders that won’t ever speak to you or acknowledge your presence online. Instead, connect with people that actually care about what you have to say.

  • Use Twellow.com to find people to follow. It works as a yellowpages for Twitter. Follow people that you think could be a potential customer. If you’re relevant to them, they’ll most likely follow back.
  • Use the #hashtag search tool on SocialBro.com. It will show you around 1,000 Twitter users that actively use the #hashtag. Explore users. Check how many people follow them, and how many people they follow back. Check their tweets as well. If you don’t see any ‘via @’ mentions, re-tweets, or any conversations actually taking place in their last 10-15 tweets, they’re not worthy of your follow. They only want to promote their own message, and won’t actually develop a business relationship with you.

Make sure your Twitter followers are online!

A tweet usually doesn’t last very long. And if your Twitter followers aren’t online to read your tweet, then your message will be lost.

  • You can listen to some studies, and try optimal times if you want, but large studies are generalized results. They may work for you, and they may not. However, using specific tools like Tweriod.com and SocialBro.com will show you when YOUR OWN FOLLOWERS are online. This is when you should be tweeting.
  • Take your optimized times, and schedule your content at those times using tools like Hootsuite or BufferApp. Scheduling your content ahead of time will make it easier for you to manage comments later on in the day. Scheduling content should only take about 30-60 minutes of your day, the rest of the time you should be conversing with your Twitter followers.

Ask the right questions

What I see too often are people that say Twitter is not generating any business for them. When you look at their Twitter accounts, they’re not asking any questions, or having any conversations of any sort. Quotes won’t generate business.

  • If someone mentions you on Twitter, or re-tweets your content, thank them and initiate a conversation – ask them how they’re doing. Most people will answer ‘Good’, but if they answer ‘So busy, I don’t even know what to do’, or ‘Good, but I think I need a vacation’, this is your key to jump in. Ask them why they’re so busy, and if you can help in any way. They might just be looking for your offering.
  • Listen to #hashtags that are related to your industry. Often people will ask questions that you can answer. They’ll appreciate the help. Your job is to keep the conversation going, and follow up on a regular basis. If something else comes up, you’ll be there to offer help again. This will build a relationship, and when this person needs your service, you’ll be someone they’ll think of.
  • Listen to your competitors, and what their clients are saying. If a client is complaining, swoop in and ask if there’s anything you can do instead to help. They’ll be impressed.

Make sure your content converts

A quote does not convert a reader into a lead, there’s no link. Your own advice in 140 characters does not convert, there’s no link. Make sure that some of the content you put out reaches back to your website.

  • Vary your content.  Make sure some of your content links back to your site, but also share other people’s content. Social media is not meant for advertising your own message all the time.
  • Make sure that the content you share from your website or blog is conversion friendly. Have a newsletter signup sheet, a contact form, a free download, a quote form, an email subscription to your blog, etc., right at the top of your page, so people can clearly see the conversion form. Don’t put it at the bottom, or people won’t see it. If there’s no conversion form on your blog or website, your traffic won’t convert to a potential lead.

Do you have any tips or tricks that you’ve used before to help convert twitter followers into leads? Do you have any tips or tricks to convert users of other social networks into leads (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.)? Please leave your comments below!