Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, SnapChat, WhatsApp, YouTube, algorithms, organic reach (or not!), rich pins, paid advertising, live content, stories — social media can be confusing and overwhelming!
As a business owner, it’s tough to know where you should be spending your time and money on social media for the biggest impact. Is everything “pay-to-play” now, or can you still be successful on social media without advertising? Do you have to be on all those different platforms?
I built my first two businesses to success by taking advantage of a social media network that was new at the time: Pinterest. There wasn’t much out there in the way of information or tutorials for how to use Pinterest for business, but I was determined and learned by doing.
Because social media changes so fast, any advice you hear today might very well be out of date by next week. But I have learned that there is one simple formula for social media success that works no matter what new platform comes along.
Before I tell you what it is, click here to download our free editorial calendar so that you can schedule your way to social media success.
One simple formula for social media success
Success on social media for your business really just boils down to one simple formula:
Let’s talk about what each of these elements really mean.
1. Great Content
How do we define great content for social media? The answer is going to be slightly different for each business, and it’s important to listen to your audience so you can learn what is important to them. This is called “social listening” and it involves a little detective work on your part.
We share content on social media that is important to us and reinforces how we want to be perceived. By seeing which of your own posts get the most likes and shares and watching what your best or ideal customers like and share and which hashtags they use and follow, you’ll be able to create content that sincerely speaks to your audience.
Remember that great content tends to be useful, inspirational, or entertaining. And if you can trigger an emotion, all the better.
For example, Kleenex produces videos that use emotion to — you guessed it — make us cry and reach for a tissue. But they work! This video about former students singing to their choir teacher has more than 5.5 million views!
Every channel is different when it comes to how often you should be posting content. Twitter, for example, moves so fast that any given tweet is there and gone in a matter of minutes, so it’s useful to post multiple times a day. Users on Instagram, on the other hand, will get sick of you if you’re posting 5 or 7 photos a day!
But regardless of which platform you choose, post consistently is key. That means creating a social media schedule and sticking to it. Remember to be realistic when you’re choosing your platforms and creating your schedule. Can you come up with content to post consistently on all of your chosen platforms?
Social media schedulers like Hootsuite, CoSchedule, Meet Edgar, Buffer, and others can help you stay consistent by allowing you to create content ahead of time and schedule it. But be aware that there’s some indication that platforms like Facebook are getting smart about schedulers and giving those posts less organic reach. So while you can automate some of your posts, there’s no replacement for engagement, which brings us to our third component…
Maybe the most important element of our equation is engagement, but it’s also the trickiest one to cultivate.
Engagement doesn’t just mean you showing up and engaging, but also getting your audience to engage with you. Almost all of the social media platforms use engagement as part of their algorithm, meaning that the more people who like, comment, and share your post, the more new people will see it.
How do you encourage engagement on your social media posts? Great content and consistency are the first two elements you need, but beyond that, try these strategies:
- Ask questions. People love to share their opinions. Try also asking easy questions so that people don’t worry about having time to craft a long answer.
- Post fun and funny content. If it makes you laugh or smile, it’s likely to make your audience smile, too.
- Get personal. People love to see behind the scenes! I like to share glimpses of my life and lifestyle on Instagram.
- Share inspiration. There’s a reason all those inspirational quotes are so popular; people love to share them.
- Post useful content. It’s a great idea to share your most useful, evergreen blog posts to your social media channels often. Solve someone’s problem, and they’ll love you!
- Share other relevant content. Social media isn’t just about you talking; it’s also about sharing content from other sources that your audience will enjoy. Be generous about sharing links to other articles you know your audience will love.
When you combine great content, consistency, and engagement on your social media platforms, what you end up with is real traction, which will lead to success.
Remember that social media success won’t happen overnight. That’s why you need a Social Media Editorial Calendar Template so that you can get organized and schedule your way to success! Click here to download our free template and get started now.