For bloggers shying away out of fear of being taken under by the social wave, it may be time reconsider. A whopping 33 percent of consumers use social networks as a way to discover new brands, products and services, according to Social Media Today. And unfortunately, if you don’t hop on board and engage consumers via social media, they will move on.
But before diving in head first, you’ll need to determine a list of key benefits you’re trying to derive before going social. Are you aiming to promote a specific offering or simply spread the word about your blog? The strategies employed will vary, depending on your desired end result.
Once you’ve done so, you’ll need to come up with a list of metrics to help you measure progress so you won’t get discouraged if things take a bit longer than expected.
Step 1: Familiarize Yourself
There are so many platforms to choose from—Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest—the list goes on. This can make going social even more intimidating, which is exactly why you have to focus on the social media outlets that will be most beneficial to your blog. To find out, Entrepreneur suggests polling the audience and starting out with the one that garners the most attention.
Step 2: Study the Competition
Once you’ve narrowed down your list and selected the social media outlets that will best suit the needs of your blog, it’s time to get a feel for what your competition is doing. It’s never wise to completely replicate their strategy, as you’ll always end up left behind each time they make a move. However, you want to study their strategies to determine which actions work best to engage others and what areas could use improvement. Unsure of who to follow to get a glimpse? Start with the companies and blogs suggested by the various platforms or follow reputable companies who are doing social media right, such as LifeLock, to get an idea of best practices.
Step 3: Develop a Strategy and Accompanying Themes
Based on your analysis of the competition, you should be able to brainstorm a list of ideas for themes that will capture the attention of your audience. At the forefront of your strategy should be how you plan to meet the needs of your current and potential readers by going social.
You may be tempted to inundate your followers with in-house content or infographics, but a healthy mix of your own content and that of others is the best way to ensure the success of your campaign. When others notice you are more than willing to share their content, they may be inclined to give your company public recognition or return the favor. Either way, that’s more recognition for the blog.
Step 4: Create an Editorial Calendar
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the platforms you’ll be using, captured an idea of best practices and developed a strategy, it’s time to go social. Before you proceed, remember the end goal is to peak the interest of your target audience, get them involved in the conversation and eventually convert them into serious prospects and buyers. Not only should the content be fresh and interesting, it should also be relevant, current, and applicable to your audience, according to Forbes. And to avoid posting inconsistently or not sticking with a theme, which can cause you to lose followers as quickly as you gain them, an editorial calendar should be developed and followed.
Regardless what approach you decide to take, aim to be consistent and your efforts will pay off in due time.