Social media is one of the most popular ways to promote your content and reach influencers. Since a great content promotion plan brings potential customers to your website and influencing the influencer can generate thousands of new leads, social media is invaluable to startups. Of course, there are a few tricks to get the most out of it.
1. Choosing the Right Social Media Networks
Startups tend to choose the social media networks they engage on without much strategy. The two most common mistakes are trying to master every network and trying to master certain networks just because the competition is doing it. If all of your competitors are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you should be too, right? Maybe, but maybe not.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Reddit, Pinterest and now Instagram, are some of the most popular social networks today. All of them can be great content promotion and community building tools, but they all have unique characteristics. Facebook, for example, is typically powered by your existing customers who enjoy visual posts like pictures and video. Twitter, on the other hand, is often powered by potential customers who respond well to links (e.g. blog links).
Each social network ‘works’ differently, as in, how the community takes, interprets and digests your sharing and content varies. Reddit is often referred to as a very guarded network and detests spammers. Unlike twitter, here you can’t just schedule various messages every day. The content you share in Reddit has to be specific and unique to the categories you choose. Reddit, like other networks, requires a slower approach. You can’t just jump on, run some ads and expect people to upvote all your content. Be mindful of the network and community you are trying to reach, it may not be in the social space you first thought.
Tip: Consider the demographic of the social network itself. Take Tumblr, for example. Tumblr caters to a young, laid-back audience that loves sharing inspiring quotes and funny pictures. If you’re targeting this audience, don’t spend your time on LinkedIn.
2. Defining the Best Times to Post
The idea that there is a perfect time to post a tweet or Facebook update is a myth. If you’re targeting teenagers, mornings and nights might be the best times to post during the school year. During the summer? That’s a whole other story. There simply is no universal “perfect time to post”. There are, however, some best practices.
- Saturdays are best.
- 12 p.m. EST is the best time to share.
- 0.5 posts per day is the best frequency.
- 5 p.m. EST is the best time to get a retweet.
- 1 to 4 link tweets per hour is the best frequency.
- Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays are best.
- 6 a.m. EST, 12 p.m. EST and 6 p.m. EST are the best times to tweet in terms of clicks.
3. Using a Keyword List
Now it’s time to put that keyword list you created earlier to good use. When it comes to social media, you’ll use your keyword list to maximize your engagement efforts. If you’re marketing an online shopping club for families like MarilynJean, you’ll want to ensure you’re having family and shopping focused discussions on social media.
The easiest way to do this is to use a social networking management tool like HootSuite. That way you can setup search streams of your core keywords. Using MarilynJean as an example, one of their streams might be for the keyword “online shopping club”. They’ll be able to monitor all of the conversations happening around that keyword and join in. More importantly, MarilynJean will solidify a reputation in the space.
Tip: Use your keyword list to help target any online ads you may be running.
4. Creating and Using an Influencer List
As mentioned above, one of the best marketing techniques online is to influence the influencer. It will take a long time for your startup to develop a highly influential relationship with thousands of people. Instead, focus on connecting with the people who already have that influence.
“78% of social media users said posts by brands influenced their purchase behavior moderately or highly.”
For example, MarilynJean might look to connect with a famous celebrity mother via Twitter. If that mom loves what they’re doing for families and tweets about them to thousands (if not millions) of loyal followers, MarilynJean will see a huge surge in both followers and traffic.
Tip: Journalists and community leaders are great influencers as well. Don’t limit yourself to celebrities, who can be very tricky to connect with.
Build your influencer list with a bit of market research. Start by finding popular blogs in the space. Who writes for those blogs? Who owns them? Search for your core keywords on Twitter. Who appears in the results? Who are they following?
Remember that a high follower count is not always a good indication of influence. Look for how engaged their followers are and their follower to following ratio.
5. Setting Up a Blog
Setting up a blog can be quite simple. It’s a matter of downloading the software, uploading it to your server and following the setup instructions. WordPress, for example, is free and offers many amazing plugins. One for example, is Yoast SEO. Start by installing Yoast, a SEO plugin that will help Google and other search engines locate and rank your content. (Other great plugins include Akismet, Calendar, and featured posts) Then, setup the basics like blog categories and tags.
Once the back-end of your blog is ready to go, think about the curb appeal. How does your design look? Ask a professional designer to help you design your blog or give it a small revamp. Then invite ten friends to check out the design and offer feedback. You’ll get a feel for the aesthetic appeal. Remember, design is important as it relates to user experience, but it shouldn’t be all consuming. Your blog is about publishing really great content, at the right time to the right people. Your design should simply enhance that experience.
Be sure your design is also functional. Ask yourself these questions:
- If I stand back and squint my eyes, does my call to action still pop?
- Do I have search functionality?
- Do I have social media information and sharing functions (e.g. Twitter feed, Facebook plugin)?
- Do I have a blog subscription and RSS feed option?
- Do I have featured images on my blog’s homepage?
- Do I have social sharing buttons on each blog post?
Note: While WordPress is not the only blogging platform, it is one of the most widely used.