A great place to start on your social media journey lies in studying those who have already successfully completed this journey (though they, themselves, would be the first to tell you that the journey is always evolving and definitely ongoing!) While there are actually many different “groups” of people you may follow, there are definitely some people you SHOULD follow. You’ll learn solid tactics, tips and all the latest news if you follow the sources suggested. When it comes to learning materials, subscribe to the “official” blog for each social platform you plan to specialize in. These may include:
· Facebook News
· Facebook For Business
Also subscribe to at least three authority blogs, news magazines or tabloids that cover social platforms heavily or completely – ones such as Social Media Examiner or Website Magazine’s Social Media Mavens.
Every journey starts from what you know – not from what you wish you could be. To what you already know, you must add more specialized knowledge and an ability to quickly identify what your target audience needs from you. Following and developing relationships with “key influencers” in your niche is a sound strategy for helping you quickly accomplish growth and reach for yourself. People to follow, both through website RSS subscription and on social media platforms, are those passionate about social media. This includes Mari Smith, Amy Porterfield, Jeff Bullas, and Kim Garst. Actually, according to StatSocial, there are fifty social media experts at the “top”. You can’t follow them all effectively – but do follow at least three to five, selecting them based on your key social media platform interests.
But before you go chasing after key influencers, there is one other group of people you need to cultivate and study… Your Audience. This should be the group you know most completely. Get to know these four things. Which social media platforms they frequent the most. What time of day they are active on these platforms the most. What type of questions they ask; what most concerns them. Which types of posts they respond to most enthusiastically. And make sure you are also present on their favored platforms when they are most active and present. In fact, this leads us to one of the most basic strategies – and one which is most often ignored, believe it or not – is to be there, live and active on the social network of your audience’s choice at the right time of day or night. And don’t just lurk and follow – participate and share, comment on posts, answer questions, share information, thank people for their information, answers or comments and help your followers and fans.
Make sure you identify yourself visually in each social network with a professional-quality, recent head shot for your social media Profile Photos – you want your target audience to be instantly able to put a face to your name. Don’t be afraid to brand yourself by using little tricks such as always including a particular element such as a specific color in your Profile or Cover photos; as Mari Smith did when starting out by always wearing turquoise-aqua as her “signature” color; or Sandi Krakowski did with her trademark magenta hair streak.
One final key to social media success is track and monitor your results. And not just results from your own posts and efforts but the competition’s results too. Knowing what your competition is doing at all times can alert you to new trends and social platform changes, as well as show up gaps in their marketing that you can promptly fill. Read comments from their fans and followers for ideas and questions you can answer. Use the native tracking provided with most social platforms (e.g. Facebook Insights); or use free or paid third-party apps and services that provide tracking also (e.g. HootSuite, TwitterDeck, Buffer).
Once you have developed your network, are following and adapting to social network changes, monitoring your progress and – above all – listening to your fans and followers, you are on your way towards social media success.