I have had this idea at the back of my mind for several months already. And now is the time to share it with you.
Whether I facilitate workshops or advise clients, I often find myself having to explain what the phrase “social media strategy” stands for. Usually, people realize that they have been implementing a strategy all along. And, lo and behold! The door to a world of opportunities — and great ideas — suddenly opens for them.
Every industry is different. What works in a specific field may not work in another. However, some tips and rules are universal. And as such, they should be shared.
So here is the idea! I want to create the best collection of must-follow advice for successful social media strategies around. And I want to include you in it!
Whether you are a social media expert, musician, author, or small business owner, I am sure that I and others can learn a lot from you.
So, add your best tips to the Listly list below or in the comment section under the article for a chance to be featured!
- “Add value” – Julio Viskovich (Twitter: @juliovisko)
- “Add your personality to the mix” – Dino Hukic (Twitter: @dino_hukic)
- “Aim for quality” – Laurie Lockhart (Twitter: @getthemessagepr)
- “Always pay attention to your audience” – Tom George (Twitter: @netbillboards)
- “Be an example online” – George Williams (Twitter:@George_Williams)
- Be consistently engaged – Jennifer Quinn (Twitter:@youbeingsocial)
- “Behave online as you would offline” – Sian Phillips (Twitter: @_Sians)
- “Be human” – Mika Douglas (Twitter: @studentinlife)
- Be passionate and caring – Karla Campos (Twitter:@SocialMediaSass)
- “Be persistent” – Andrew Macarthy (Twitter: @500socialmedia)
- “Beware TMI” – Deanna Dahlsad (Twitter: @DPopTart)
- “Be yourself and be flexible” – Bryan P Hollis (Twitter: @brphollis)
- “Build a community” – Carol Woodliff (Twitter: @scaredtosacred)
- “Build relationships” – Jerry Doby (Twitter: @jdobypr)
- “Build your story” – Roz Morris (Twitter: @dirtywhitecandy)
- “Create and maintain a blog” – Emmanuel Gonot
- “Create excitement around your brand” – John Thomas (Twitter: @blogliterati)
- “Define your purpose before jumping on the social networking bandwagon” – Liz Wilson (Twitter: @lizwilson2)
- Don’t Be Afraid – Joe Cheray
- “Engage” – Louis
- “Enjoy doing social media” – Julia Angelen Zunich (Twitter: @JuliaAngelenPR)
- “Focus on the needs of your audience” – Michael McDonald (Twitter: @vtwinfitness)
- “Foster a social organization” – Lauren Licata (Twitter:@LaurenLicata)
- “Keep your message consistent” – Kevin
- “Learn the specificities of each social network” – Adam Houlahan (Twitter: @adamhoulahan)
- “Listen” – Mary Helen Ferris (Twitter: @greatpoetrymhf)
- “Never stop learning” – Ching Ya (Twitter: @chingya)
- “Remember that audiences are like you” – Natalie Brown (Twitter: @natalie_brown)
- “Remember the purpose of social media” – Lynn O’Connell (Twitter: @omdirect)
- “Respect your audience” – Matthew Shepherd (Twitter:@MatShepSEO)
- “Solicit your audience’s feedback” – Nigel Lamb (Twitter:@xposure)
- “Start with a plan” – Martin Lindeskog (Twitter: @Lyceum)
- “Start with a plan, test and measure” – Michele Smorgon (Twitter: @maxOz)
- “Tailor your messages” – Doug Wolfgram (Twitter:@dougwolfgram)
- “Tell a story and optimize” – Pattie Simone (Twitter:@WomenCentric)
- “Use Facebook contests to engage and reward fans” – Donna Hamer
- “Walk the talk” – Dave Kragenbrink (Twitter: @dkragen)
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“Add value” – Julio Viskovich (Twitter: @juliovisko)
“This most important tip I can give that is universal is to add value to other people. You can’t sell yourself or your product until people trust you. The cycle is know-like-trust-buy. In order to build the trust needed, you need to be genuine and add value to you audience and market.”
“Add your personality to the mix” – Dino Hukic (Twitter: @dino_hukic)
“Show some personality. It is important to add personality to social media. Every product, service, company and person should show their personality online. It is a way of standing out from the crowd and allowing people to connect with you. The way that this is conveyed through social media is important and it is still a hard task to keep it real and natural online, but if this is done properly, it can benefit you endlessly.
“Aim for quality” – Laurie Lockhart (Twitter: @getthemessagepr)
“Know your message and your audience: Direct and create your posts for your audience, and follow and seek followers who are relevant – quality over quantity.”
“Always pay attention to your audience” – Tom George (Twitter: @netbillboards)
“In sales you hear catch phrases like “God gave you two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you speak” It is also a fact that 80% percent of sales are made by 20% percent of the sales force. I think this concept can and should be applied to an effective social media strategy. You should comment and interact with your fans, followers and friends pages and posts often. Find the right ratio that works. This is how you build trust and get a dialogue going. The first thing you must realize is to avoid self delusion, to understand it is not simply all about “You” all of the time.”
“Be an example online” – George Williams (Twitter:@George_Williams)
“Always give first, without expectation of return. Never forget to say thank you. And if you are sharing content prepared by someone else, always make sure to review it for quality before sharing. Never say anything online, privately or publicly, that you wouldn’t want on the front page of The New York Times. Always take the high road and know that The Golden Rule and The Laws of Compensation are alive and well on social media.”
“When implementing one’s strategy, remember to be consistently engaged. For example, on a Facebook fan/business page, posting 1 time per day, M-F, is not the same as posting 5 times a week. Your fans begin to look forward to regular content if it is delivered in a dependable timeline. Alternatively, if you post 5 times in one day, only once per week, it is probable you will lose fans.”
“Behave online as you would offline” – Sian Phillips (Twitter: @_Sians)
“Engage with people, never ignore comments unless they really aren’t worth acknowledging.
Chat to people and make them realise you are real – you may be a front for your business so humanise it to make it more accessible.
Don’t be rude, confrontational or a bully. Be careful expressing an opinion as sometimes it can come across as arguing. Ensure you make it known it’s just your opinion and of course people can agree to disagree.
Have respect for other people on Social Media – remember they aren’t just an avatar, they are a person, and you wouldn’t go up to someone in the street in front of a crowd and shout abuse or be disrespectful.
Share great posts or connections when you can – this may then be reciprocated but more importantly you are helping other people and spreading some good info.
Help people where you can – if you have an expertise then have a search column for it on Twitter and answer those you can help with.
Most of all – be yourself.”
“Be human” – Mika Douglas (Twitter: @studentinlife)
“Be authentic, real and compassionate. Remove yourself from the technology and be human.”
“I’ve been observing a lot of people who are unhappy with their jobs and how they behave at these jobs, let me just say that those who lack the passion and do not love what they do will reflect that in their work. What does this have to do with social media? You can tell when someone isn’t really happy to talk to you, you can tell when someone is genuinely interested in you and when they are not. In life and in social media it is the little things that count, something as small as saying good morning or hello to someone can make a big difference and if you mean it is that much more powerful. That is my big secret: I give a crap and I have passion for what I do : )”
“Despite the myths, getting a million social media followers and building strong, long-lasting relationships with loyal customers won’t happen overnight. Focus on posting great content regularly, position yourself for the long haul, and slowly but surely, progress will occur.”
“Beware TMI” – Deanna Dahlsad (Twitter: @DPopTart)
“There’s a fine line between ‘personable’ and ‘personal’. While personality is encouraged, know you customer and observe respectful limits. In most cases, discussing or mentioning or religion and/or politics can be more alienating than engaging to your audience. Those topics are even more risky than risque comments.”
“Be yourself and be flexible” – Bryan P Hollis (Twitter: @brphollis)
“I have found that using social media as a hard-sell tool / tactic is not wise. Not through experience, but observation. Many would say that I am not the easiest person to “mesh” with. Social media networking should be genuine. Much like friendships, you find that you can count your network closely. This is genuine and a lot more gets accomplished than trying to cater to everyone.”
“Build a community” – Carol Woodliff (Twitter: @scaredtosacred)
“I find one of the best strategies I use is to be interested in what others are doing and help them get the word out. I look at social media much like I do in-person networking. If it is all about me and I’m only selling or pushing myself it is a big turnoff. But if I can notice what others are doing that my groups on Facebook or Twitter would relate to and share it, then I’m sharing good information and helping others at the same time.
I am friends with many other authors and we all cross-promote each others’ work. It was so helpful when I launched my book because I had a team helping me promote.
And I think the more authentic I am, sharing both ups and selective downs, my weird sense of humor and my other interests outside of my healing practice, the more people feel comfortable with me. (And those that don’t aren’t “my people” anyway!) For example one of the things I do on Facebook is to share nature photos that I take. I’ve become known as the “tree lady” because of my interesting tree photos. Who would have thought that would be something that clients would say, “I saw your photos and knew I had to work with you!”?”
“Build relationships” – Jerry Doby (Twitter: @jdobypr)
“Maximize the brief moments you have with your audience/customers and let them feel they are dealing with a flesh and blood human being and not some “bot” on a mission to clean out their pockets. GIVE them something they can hold onto, a good morning, hope all is well, anything interesting with you today? Those types of things build trust, comfort and the willingness to in return, hear what you have to say”
“Build your story” – Roz Morris (Twitter: @dirtywhitecandy)
“Social media marketing seems to work by a gentlemanly process of relationships – people get to know you, enjoy your company in an interview or a blog post. It’s the way books have always sold on in traditional publishing – by generating curiosity so that one day the reader stops and picks up the book.
It’s a fantastic tool for creating our identity as writers. We can show people who we are under the books, where we go exploring for ideas, where we get help. We can ask for advice when we need it. And it’s surprising how many are listening!”
“Create and maintain a blog” – Emmanuel Gonot
“There are many proven strategies out there and the only way to find one that really works for you is to just do it, get your feet wet, experiment, learn from the best minds in the industry. Having said that, I think that one of the best strategies is blogging. Create a blog (could be a new domain or a subdomain or a subfolder to an existing site) from which you can share content, centralize all your contact information, promote something, and interact with your community. Some people are not on Twitter and some are averse to FB or G+ or YouTube, but everyone can visit your blog and react to and share your posts. In my opinion, you haven’t really started to get serious about social media engagement until you’ve started your very own content sharing platform.”
“Create excitement around your brand” – John Thomas (Twitter: @blogliterati)
“Customer was king, is and always will be. How do you turn fans into loyal customers of your brand and how to ensure people who already use your products/services continue using them? By enhancing brand experiences and building meaningful relationships. And now more than ever, social media has made it so easy to engage on a personal and personable level with the customers.
Don’t ever enter social media because you need to be there or because it’s an in-thing. Humanize your selling strategies and efforts. Though you are engaging virtually, you are dealing with humans – real people with feelings and emotions, not just prospects to whom you need to sell products.
Start the day with a nice quote or an inspiring message before talking about your products or services. People love to kick-start their day with some inspiration. Create some excitement about your product/brand or service. Don’t directly sell, talk about real life issues and experiences and how your products or services could add value to people’s lives.”
“Treat strategy as strategy. One of the first questions I hear a lot is “Should we be on Facebook or Google+?”. Often people are anxious to start using or expanding social networks before they have defined their purpose. So I would say:
- Be clear what you want to achieve via social media
- Consider who you are speaking to
- Think about what you want to say to them to engage them, and what they can say to you
- Only then begin to think about the right networks and how you will use them.
This is pretty simplified of course. But the essence is strategy first, tactics after.”
Don’t Be Afraid – Joe Cheray
“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. People want to know they are dealing with a human not a robot. It’s ok to show your aggravation with something. As long as it is done in as much of a diplomatic manner as possible especially if your dealing with a brand.
Don’t be afraid to admit your having an off day to your audience. There might be someone out there in your audience who is also having a bad day.
Don’t be afraid to share your success either. When you do something that you are proud of OWN it.”
“Engage” – Louis
“Engage with your customers, let them know that an actual human being is managing your social media account, not a bot.
Start a conversation, ask a question and encourage replies.
Be omni present – have the links to your social media pages visible on your page, in your email signature, on your business card.”
“My best tip is to only engage in social media if you enjoy it. Forcing yourself to do it makes it miserable (and boring for us.) Find someone in your organization that loves it and let them be the champion.”
“Focus on the needs of your audience” – Michael McDonald (Twitter: @vtwinfitness)
“The first thing that comes to mind is make it about them not about myself. Find out what my customers/clients/friends want or need. A good communicator is a good listener. What value can I be for someone else?”
“If a social strategy is going to work, you need to transform your organization into a social one. This means, you need buy-in from management who understands the objectives of the social media marketing program. You also need to identify SME (subject matter experts) in each of your company’s functional area who are willing to actively contribute to your blog. For example, I work at a branding and design firm and we’re setting metrics to encourage all departments; 2D design, industrial design, accounts, etc. to contribute relevant content to our blog on a regular basis. The marketing team should drive these efforts, but a marketer is not an expert at say, prototyping. It takes everyone in an organization to produce and distribute valuable content on a regular basis!”
“Keep your message consistent” – Kevin
“Make sure that you keep your message the same in all forms of social media as well as the rest of your company, to keep people from getting confused as to what your trying to get across. Also make sure to get your message out and be genuine and to the point, no need for smoke and mirrors.”
- “Learn, teach and connect” – Ileane Smith (Twitter: @Ileane)
“I’m here to learn, to teach, and to connect. I think if we can use social media to do those three things, we’ll have a great strategy in place.”
“Don’t try to be a master of all Social Media platforms at once, how you strategize for Twitter will be vastly different to Pinterest or Facebook etc. Whilst this lives under the comment “have a plan” your plan has to have sub categories for each platform you intend to use. Not all platforms suit all business types, so research your competitors & see what they are doing well and what may not be working for your industry as a whole. Starting small also allows you do hide some initial mistakes without being out there on every platform.”
“Listen” – Mary Helen Ferris (Twitter: @greatpoetrymhf)
“Treating your prospects, clients, contacts, and aquaintances with the valued part they play in your life….they are the reason you are you. Be yourself with them. It is a fair exchange. They could do business with anyone. They have chosen you because you are authentic. Be consistently authentic. Listen. The word listen has the key to all relationships. It really means list ten…..list ten things your speaker is saying. They will tell you what they want. Your job is to give them permission to have it by investing in themselves through your products. You can help them acquire and achieve. You are the achiever they have chosen. List ten things they want from you.”
“Never stop learning” – Ching Ya (Twitter: @chingya)
“Social networking is an on-going learning process. Be humble and never stop offering quality content and engage with like-minded people.”
“Remember that audiences are like you” – Natalie Brown (Twitter: @natalie_brown)
“When you market yourself, product or service, remember that you are targeting people just like you. Think about your interests, needs and desires and market to those same people and meet their need with what you do, make or sell!”
“Don’t view social media as another channel for distributing your press releases. It’s not. Instead, speak person to person. Respect your readers and strive to provide value with every tweet or post. That could come from news updates, commentary with a strong point of view, or from providing links to articles you know will interest them. There are many effective strategies, but no one — no one — wants a constant stream of self-serving marketing messages.
Let’s say you’re promoting a conference. DON’T spam your readers with constant reminders of early bird deadlines. DO link to interesting content by speakers or, even better, get guest posts from speakers and promote those. Use social media to give your audience a taste of what your conference will be about instead of hard selling registration with every post.”
“Respect your audience” – Matthew Shepherd (Twitter:@MatShepSEO)
“You don’t have to be on every social media platform out there especially when this dilutes your ability to share unique and meaningful content and hold good conversation.
Understand how your community uses the social media space you are in. Respect that for many this is a recreational, social and learning activity. This is not just another opportunity for interruption marketing.
For goodness sake at least try to be interesting! For example, just because your business sells a specific type of insurance and that’s what you want to sell to your social media network doesn’t mean that is all you have at your disposal to share and discuss. Your social media community is unlikely to want to consume that kind of content all of the time. Talk about topics relevant to people who buy insurance such as small business advice, home and garden maintenance, auto tips, local events, simple how to financial and insurance guides etc.
This isn’t just a push medium. Read your communities updates, comment on them, be genuinely interested in the community, converse and don’t be afraid to share your views.
Follow people who interest you and follow those people who follow you (if they appear to be a genuine person or organization). If we all behaved in person like many businesses do in social media we would all be pretty lonely people. Your social media success should not be measured by follower numbers it should be guided by quality and frequent engagement.”
“Solicit your audience’s feedback” – Nigel Lamb (Twitter:@xposure)
“When sharing a blog post, news item, promotional item etc. always ask for feedback on it. Don’t just ask people to read it. Tell them what they can get out of it and how they can join in and help, by giving their feedback.”
“Start with a plan” – Martin Lindeskog (Twitter: @Lyceum)
“You have to start with answering the question “why” you are in business and why you should use social media at all.
Ask more questions: Where are you customers online? What are your objectives with your social media activities? Then comes the strategy along together with the tech. tools. These ideas are presented in the Groundswell book by Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff.
One rule could be to have a calendar, scheduling your social media activities during the week, months, with milestones places on a timeline.”
“Start with a plan, test and measure” – Michele Smorgon (Twitter: @maxOz)
“1) Clarify Your Marketing Goals and Specific Objectives.
2) Determine your target audience or ideal client. It’s important to identify exactly who you want to reach in order to develop a solid plan of action. Be as specific as possible.
3) Then consider your marketing platforms and where to reach your audience
4) Decide on Your Value Offering
5) Test and Measure”
“Tailor your messages” – Doug Wolfgram (Twitter:@dougwolfgram)
“Most people don’t stop to think about point-of-business. It is silly to think that one post applies to all social networks. Remember that each network has unique users with different mindsets when they visit. Tailor your message accordingly.”
“Tell a story and optimize” – Pattie Simone (Twitter:@WomenCentric)
“There are two things that can help you maximize your social media strategy. First, tell a story. People love stories, especially ones that reflect your unique personality and your “take” on any given subject. Stories humanize your brand; great stories also share timely info, smart tips and /or valuable resources. You can expertize yourself and direct great traffic to your site via interesting stories.
Number two – understand the value of optimized content! So wherever you are sharing tips, intel, news, advice, etc., think HOW your prospects are seeking your kind of products, services or information and include those search engine optimized phrases and hashtags in your posts. This will help boost the number of eyeballs on your content, and the number of warmer leads that connect with you!”
“Use Facebook contests to engage and reward fans” – Donna Hamer
“Here are three simple steps to get started:
Step 1 – Use a third party app (this is a little piece of software that you add to your Facebook Page). It manages the entries, is very simple to use and complies with the Promotional Guidelines.
Step 2 – Understand and implement the seven Guidelines. For example, don’t ask people to use any of Facebook’s functions such as liking a post, commenting on a post, sharing a post, tagging and so on – to run your competition or promotion.
Step 3 – Educate yourself and your team on Facebook’s Promotional Guidelines so that your business grows its digital footprint.”
“Walk the talk” – Dave Kragenbrink (Twitter: @dkragen)
“You have great ideas and content, that’s wonderful. But you have to practice what you preach. If you ask your readers to believe you, they have to know you believe yourself.”