“How do I get more people to…
…”like” my Facebook page?
…join my Constant Contact email list?
…follow me on Twitter?
…subscribe to my WordPress blog?”
This is a question I get in nearly every workshop, webinar and consultation on social media. I was reminded of this common marketing concern yesterday, when I saw an emphatic post in my Facebook feed demanding that I like a friend’s fan page. My first thought was:
What’s in it for ME?
So you set up your fan page and your family and close friends are happy to join in your little social media experiment, so you have your first 25 fans – enough to get your own custom Facebook username! After a time of networking, posting a few things, maybe even creating an event or two, other business friends and acquaintances become fans and you break the 100 mark. At some point you reach the plateau of people willing to join the cause just because they know you, and this is where it gets challenging. You see, at this point you actually have to show your value! That page, post and tweet have to start earning their keep and providing your audience with something they need. If it doesn’t, there is nothing in it for them and they will not join or will quickly leave.
I recently saw a list of the top 10 reasons people like a business fan page. Potential discounts, brand loyalty and new product information were among the top reasons in the study. Here are some ways we guide small businesses to add value for their audience:
Use a 30/30/30 Content Mix
If your goal is to just repeat your advertising copy into your Facebook business posts, don’t expect a huge return on the time invested! My recommendation to most clients is that less than 30% of social media posts be straight advertising promotion. Another 30% should be industry news, product tips, research and other information that establishes your company as credible experts. The third 30% should be less business focused and can consist of community news, promoting charity events or entertainment. For all those keeping score at home, use that last 10% however you like!
Make it Shareable
You know those posts that you can’t wait to comment on and share with your friends? Try to be the person who makes that post! Think through your media calendar and post schedule from your audience’s point of view. Are the things you post something they will want to see and share with their friends? When you are not only valuable, but also shareable, your fan base will grow quickly.
My Facebook friend base combined with the business pages I like totals about 300. Not a large number, pretty average in fact. But, for me to see one day’s worth of posts I have to scroll back through about 8 screens – and I hide Farmville posts! That means if you are a business posting once or twice a week in the morning, it’s likely I won’t even see your posts for months at a time. Social Media is more tolerant of short, valuable posts multiple times a day than email. In fact, if you are on Twitter and only tweeting a couple times a day, most people who follow over 500 people (not uncommon) will forget they are following you.
Social Media Calendar
It’s tough to sit down and in the moment you have to post, think of something creative and valuable to say. Create a social media calendar to help organize, schedule and mix your post content. My social medial calendar includes Facebook, Twitter, WordPress blog posts and Constant Contact email marketing. This provides an integrated, consistent approach to my online marketing (when I have the time to implement!)
Having trouble with your social media or email marketing? Sigma College of Small Business has business classes, webinars and services to help you get started and be more effective.
Would you like a Social Media Planning Calendar? We developed an Excel spreadsheet that we use at Sigma College. Use the comments below to let me know if you are interested.
I attended a great seminar Wednesday presented by Gina Watkins of Constant Contact and hosted by the Greater Warrenton Chamber. (Sigma College co-sponsored with CC) The topic was social media and Gina mentioned that a business owner could be effective at social media spending about 15 minutes a day! There are a lot of us spending more time than that, so I thought I would walk through where the time goes when you make social a part of your marketing mix.
The first slide of my social media classes is this picture of a calendar as a way of telling my students that, although social media is cash cheap, it can be time expensive. One of the first decisions in determining the role social media plays in your marketing plan is how much time should be spent building your network.
Once you are all set up with your accounts and have a goal of 5 or 10 posts per week on a couple of social media sites, then 15 minutes a day is likely enough time. But don’t get your expectations up! You will likely get fans and followers from your current network, but it will be slow going building that network over months. Mixing in some time to monitor and comment on some blogs, share some posts with your network and start some discussions will be time well spent.
Set-up and Design
Setting up and designing social media pages can seem like an unending task. Every time I turn around there is a new tool, or a new app that I just have to try. And even though they are all “one-click” installation, they typically take me a bit more time. Most of the sample sites we see have had some work done. An extra tab here, a customized page there – it all adds up to extra time or paying someone. Make sure you schedule some time to keep up with the latest apps and keep your sites up to date. It’s part of being relevant and it will take a couple hours a month.
I recommend to most of my students and clients to do some blogging. It’s a great way to show your expertise in the industry and adds great content. When you decide that blogging is a part of your social media mix, make sure you plan the required time. Depending on how often, your writing skills, the amount of research required and the pictures and links you add, you may need to schedule a couple hours per post as you get started and 30 minutes to an hour if you really get efficient. But the payoff, if you are good, is that you are putting up good content that will draw readers that will subscribe, share, etc… and build a better network, quicker.
I have yet to read a book, article or blog on social media that didn’t stress how critical it is that to be successful in social media you need to read and comment on other people’s posts. In fact, here’s one from Techipedia | Tamar Weinberg that I read yesterday. It’s part of establishing your online presence and building credibility – really it’s being part of the community, part of the network. Plan to spend at least an hour a week just interacting with the online community. Read, comment and share the content of others.
Now, to be more efficient and add the most value with the time you have will require a plan. I give my students and clients a media calendar to pre-plan their posts. We work through a plan for their posts over the next month or so, determine the topics they should post on and even write out the posts ahead of time if possible. Spending a couple hours planning every month will make you more efficient and improve the quality of your posts.
So the answer to the question of how much time do I need for social media is a pretty wide range. Someone who uses social media for a high percentage of their marketing mix may spend a couple hours a day, whereas, a beginner may only spend about 15 minutes a day. The important thing is that you pull out that calendar and schedule the time it will take to meet your social marketing objectives so you aren’t suprised.