In our final Marketing Superhero Bootcamp training session, social media expert Peg Fitzpatrick provided a plethora of tips, tricks and must do’s. In my mind, the common thread throughout the course was her focus on “quality”. Too often, we get focused on the quantity of posts or adding any old image we find or posting irrelevant content across multiple channels. Just as Ian Lurie proclaimed in his course that SEO is no longer a numbers game, so did Peg warn against only focusing on quantity. Based on that, here are my 6 “quality” social media lessons I learned from Peg.
Social Media Lesson #1: Quality Followers and Quality Channels
While everyone loves touting how many fans they have, the reality is reaching and engaging with the right people will do more for your social media efforts. Focus on building a valuable community, not just a group of social handles.
If you haven’t done so already, Peg advised to start by defining your audience. Answer key questions, such as: What type of people should follow you? Who will really learn or grow from your content and be engaged? Don’t rush this stage, because engaging with high quality people and companies on social media should take time.
Then, take quality time to figure out where your audience is. Just because everyone is telling you to jump on Pinterest, because it’s so cool, it may not be relevant to your target audience. Peg recommends focusing on TWO channels to complement your blog. I have often said that I advise marketers to do a great job with two channels than a mediocre job with four or five. Be realistic about your resources, and focus on the social media networks that will bring you the best return and quality engagement.
Social Media Lesson #2: Quality Social Profiles
So often, companies quickly set up social handles but don’t really pay attention to the quality of their profiles on those channels. Peg emphasized taking the time to both create a strong social profile that does a good job of communicating who you are and what you do, but also refreshing it time to time to keep it relevant and interesting. Think of your profile as a social SEO. Use keywords in your profile, with hashtags if relevant to that channel. Also, I would add to make sure you are optimizing for the full character count. For example, Twitter allows 150 characters for your bio. Use that space!!
Social Media Lesson #3: Quality Posts with Focused Themes
Every post should include content that you think your community will find valuable. Don’t just post, because you think you must do 5 or 10 posts each day. Focus on up to three key themes that are both relevant to your brand and valuable to your audience. This thematic focus will create consistency and a strong story line.
If you are posting about a million different topics, no one will understand what you are about or why they should engage with you. Make it easy for social media users to know who you are, what you stand for, and why they should care.
According to Peg, every post should be designed to educate, entertain or inform your audience. So, think before you tweet! And don’t just share your content. Share other people’s content that is relevant to your audience.
Social Media Lesson #4: Quality Images to Fit Each Channel
Peg is a strong believer in the power of images! I don’t know if I agree with her assertion that EVERY post should include an image, but I get the point. Images do engage and make a post much more interesting to the reader. However, just like all posts are not created equal, don’t waste your time on posting low-quality images. Take time to create a great image that really builds on your content. And make sure you images are the right size for the channel on which you are posting.
Also, make sure you NAME your images. If you just keep the default name from a stock photo site or a short random description, you are wasting potential high-rankings from Google, who loves images. Use your keywords in your images, especially in the Alternate Description (alt tag). In addition to Google search value, these words become your Pinterest description.
Social Media Lesson #5: Quality Conversations
“If you aren’t making the time to engage on social media, then you are not optimizing social media”, said Peg in her session.
Social media is too often treated as a one-way street, and we don’t take the time to really nurture conversations. Don’t just post your own content. Make comments on other people’s posts, interact with chats, compliment great content and share the love. To see how blogs are driving conversation beyond your visibility, use Google+ Ripples, which shows you how a post was shared, by whom and what was said about it.
This is important also when dealing with influencer relations. In perhaps my favorite analogy of Peg’s training session was to think of Influencer Marketing like dating. You need to give a lot before you start asking for favors in return. She said too many marketers reach out to influencers and make requests before doing anything to build a relationship. Want to work with an influencer, then share their content, get involved in their community, help THEM spread content, etc.
Social Media Lesson #6: Quality Time to Schedule and Respond
Everybody complains about not having enough time to do as many posts or to track all the personalities as they would like.
Peg’s advice is twofold:
1. Set a schedule and be consistent: Have time on your calendar each day when you create content, schedule and post content and respond to comments on your social media or blog. This is a discipline, and in order to be successful, you need to put aside time every day.
2. Use tools to help: Peg is a big fan of Sprout Social and Buffer, but she also mentioned Hootsuite – all tools that can help you save time and do a better job of consistently posting content on social media.
What Did You Learn?
If you were one of the some 400 people attending Peg’s training session, share key learnings you gained from her bootcamp, and we can keep the conversation going!
If you missed our other blogs from the Marketing Superhero Bootcamp, you can find them here:
Rand Fishkin, Why Content Marketing Fails
Margaret Dawson, Building an Integrated Marketing Plan