Any sportsman will tell you that short but regular training is much more effective than one huge effort every two weeks. The same applies to social media – devoting half an hour to it every day will benefit you more than three hours once a week.
We’ve come up with a fast, 30-minute social media workout that would help any marketer grow and engage their audience, and gain influence in their relevant niche. But don’t worry, we’ve prepared some gear for you—we’ve made sure you are fully equipped with the best (and preferably free) tools!
WARMING UP – Study your audience and define social platforms you should have a presence on
Define your audience before starting any social media activity, and ask yourself these very basic questions: What audience do I want to target? Where do they hang out? How can I reach them?
Here are some tips that might help you to find answers:
- Study your audience
Make sure your audience on social media matches the audience that visits your site and converts. The best tool to check this is Google Analytics. Go to the Audience report and filter by demographics, gender and location. These three parameters are enough to start; however, if you feel that you need more data, dig deeper and filter by specific cities, pages your target audience likes most, and more.
- Define the best social platforms for your brand
In Google Analytics, select Acquisition -> Channels -> Social, and check which social networks bring you the most traffic. Most likely, your top three networks are the ones you should look at more closely.
A note about Instagram: it might be not one of the most traffic-generating platforms, as you can only place links on your profile. But if you feel that Instagram is one of your primary channels, don’t neglect it!
BuzzSumo is another tool that can help you find the best social platforms for your particular niche. Pick one of your most popular keywords and click “Search.” You’ll see a list of the most popular articles and social signals from these top five social networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Take a look at the number of social shares on each of the five platforms. If the posts have tenfold more shares on Facebook, than on Twitter (that’s a likely case if, for example, you market to Japan) the solution is obvious – create a Facebook profile and start growing your presence there!
One more tip for international social media: if you market to Germany, head over directly to Xing without even looking at the acquisition reports!
Now that we’re finished warming up, let’s turn to the workout part.
- Research – 10 min
Begin your daily social media workout by finding out what’s going on in your industry. You can divide this whole process into three tasks:
- Follow industry updates
Social media is a very dynamic industry, so you need to stay current if you don’t want to be left behind! That’s why it is absolutely essential to monitor news and trends daily in your niche. To make sure that you didn’t miss anything important, search by relevant hashtags and keywords.
An indispensable tool for discovering industry-specific content is Feedly. It allows you to add relevant blogs and news portals to your account, keeping them all in one place and making it easy to follow industry trends. Feedly is also a great tool for content curation, you can share any post right away and integrate it with Buffer, Hootsuite and other tools.
- Keep an eye on the competition
Apart from tracking general industry news, it is essential to keep abreast of what your competitors are doing. Check their updates and study what they are saying, how they are saying it and how it resonates with their audience. Note which types of content drive the highest engagement. Then you can figure out what’s a hit with your target audience.
To find out how your competitors implement their social media management and to compare your strategy with theirs, you can use the SEMrush Social Media Tool. It allows you to compare your social media accounts with competitors’ by these key metrics: Audience, Activity, Engagement and Engagement Rate. What’s more, with this tool you can get a detailed list of all of your competitors’ social media activities.
SEMrush Social Media tool Overview report
For a quick analysis of multiple social networks, try the free reports by Simply Measured.
- Monitor brand mentions
This is a great way to discover what your audience actually says about you, to start on-brand conversations and respond to critics in a timely manner, turning the conversation around. Sometimes those who discuss your company will tag you in their post, and these mentions are very easy to track.
Use Mention to reveal more brand mentions on Twitter and Facebook. Moreover, you can set the language in which you want to track mentions, which is very handy for local brands operating in non-English-speaking markets. To find brand mentions in Twitter, take the advantage of the Advanced Search feature.
- Publish – 10 min
- Devote some time to content curation. You might not always have time to create content yourself, but there are others who share content that is valuable and interesting for your audience. Mix original and curated content. Content curation can help both you discover incredible pieces that you can immediately share with your audience and use to generate new ideas for original posts. With tools like Klout, ContentGems and Curata, this process becomes very simple. Use Evernote to write down ideas for your future posts.
- Schedule your posts in advance. How often should you post on social media? Every business has its optimal posting frequency, which depends on many factors, but start with the following advice. Post at least five times a day on Twitter. If you have more content to post and time to schedule it, increase your tweeting to once every 30 minutes. The lifespan of a tweet is very short and it moves down in the newsfeed quickly. The best frequency for Facebook and Google+ is up to three to four posts per day. When it comes to LinkedIn, one post per day during the work week will be enough.
Tools to use: Buffer or Hootsuite. These are the two most popular tools for scheduling your social media updates, both have free versions with limited functionality. Once you register, make sure to check their Chrome extensions, which will help you share a post from any website right away.
What to include in a social media post:
- Brainstorm catchy headlines. A good headline can boost your post, while a poor one can drive your audience away. So pay special attention to your headlines. The ideal length for a headline is 60-70 characters – it will be easy to read and perfect for search engines. Including numbers in your headline is proven to drive higher engagement, so do not hesitate to use them – “5 common mistakes”, “10 expert tips.” Also, use popular search queries as well – “How to…,” “Where to…,” etc. Here are some amazing tools to help you generate click worthy titles.
- Amplify your posts with images to make them more engaging and visually appealing. Even if you’re not a designer, you can create nice infographics or a catchy featured image with tools like Canva or SnappaIO, which will also help you adjust image size for different social platforms.
- Tag authors whose content you share and brands that you mention. This is a good tactic to show them respect and initiate communication. A tip for Twitter: if you want a mention to be visible not only to the person you’ve mentioned, but to all your audience, put a period before their username: e.g., “.@shoutmeloud.”
- Communicate – 10 min
- Grow your audience. Connect with 50-100 new people in your industry daily. Find and follow new people, identify and reach out to influencers in your niche. One of the best free tools I know is Crowdfire, which helps marketers grow their community on Twitter and Instagram.
- Communicate with your audience directly. Social media is not only about broadcasting, it’s also about listening and responding. Take some time each day to have conversations with your followers. Check your notifications and reply to their comments and messages, share their posts and engage in discussions. Some of these small interactions may result in strong and mutually beneficial cooperation.
COOLING DOWN – Analyze your results
To understand whether you’re on the right track with your main goals, you need to constantly review and analyze your results. So after accomplishing your daily social media workout, finish out your day by checking out the key metrics for each of your updates –likes and shares, link clicks, audience demographics and whatever else you find useful. Use SumAll to track your progress; this free tool includes an awesome daily email that provides extensive information – and you don’t even have to leave your mailbox to get it.
By measuring and analyzing your results, you will gain a deeper understanding of which topics better resonate with your audience, which type of content drives more engagement. Analyzing statistics will help you determine your ideal posting frequency and the best time to make updates.
Have you developed your own social media workout program? Share your favorite tips in the comments!
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Images created by the author in Canva.com and Snappa.io