Creating A Social Media System (that really works!)

Is there anything more important than Google when it comes to driving traffic to your website, sales pages, and free offers?

There is, and it’s a little thing we call social media.

With billions of faithful users, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are now responsible for more than 30% of all website traffic, according to a study by Shareaholic.

Obviously, social media is a marketing method we all need to pay attention to.

 The best social media plan offers a cohesive combination of timely content, events and offers, personal stories, other people’s content, and inspiration to tell a story that leads followers along a simple path, much like your sales funnel does.

Systems, FTW!

As with all things in business, the less work you have to put into it, the bigger your ROI. Most of the work of a social media posting plan can be done by a trusted virtual assistant, as we’ve already seen. Some of it, though, can be easily automated. There are several tools available to you to pre-schedule posts across a variety of social platforms, including:

  • HootSuite :: Still among the best options for managing Facebook, Twitter Instagram (poorly, in my opinion) and Google+, HootSuite allows you to post updates and monitor your feeds from one single interface.
  • Buffer :: With integrations for the most popular social media platforms including Pinterest, Buffer is a favorite choice, and has free and paid plans for just about any budget.
  • Post Planner :: Post Planner’s biggest draw (aside from scheduling) is that it will provide suggestions for what you should post. Post Planner will even help by suggesting questions you can ask to spark up a conversation with your fans and followers.
  • Meet Edgar :: Still kind of new in the social media scheduling field, Meet Edgar enables you to develop a content library you can schedule whenever you like. (Similar, but not as pretty, is Social Oomph)
  • Wisel.It :: You probably haven’t heard of this one yet, but Wisel.It is a straightforward and inexpensive tool that allows you to schedule Instragram posts with ease.

#HashtagsMatter

One way that content is organized on social media is with hashtags. Whether you’re posting to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other platforms, including hashtags will help new followers find your content. You can think of them as the index of social media.

Incorporating hashtags in your posts is easy. Find the hashtags you want to use and add them at the end of each post with the hashtag symbol, like this: #entrepreneur #socialmedia #virtualassistant.

Keep in mind that on most platforms, it’s a good idea to include no more than two or three hashtags. On Twitter especially, hashtags can quickly eat up your allotted 140 characters.

Aside from the most frequently used hashtags,  you might also consider creating your own unique hashtag. Business coach Carrie Wilkerson uses this technique to help brand herself with the hashtag #carrieon.

Take some time to research potential hashtags to use in your posts. Sites such as Hashtag Scout, Tagboard, and Hashtagify offer search engines to give you an idea of the reach of your potential hashtags. Keep an eye on the hashtags your competition uses. You want to be seen where they are, so using the same hashtags will help.

There is a free workbook at the end of this blog post that will help you with this.

Events & Promotions

Time-sensitive events and sales are the cornerstone of your social posting. Ideally, you’ll want to plan these posts well in advance, so you have time to create graphics, research hashtags, and plan out related content like blog posts, podcasts, etc.

If you can, create a monthly theme based on events and promotions, then tie all your social media posts into that single theme. This will help with branding, but more importantly, it will ensure you always know what to write about, what videos to record, and what content to share.

Use the calendar in the workbook to map out your themes for the next several months based on upcoming product releases or other events.

Let Your Followers Know What’s Happening Now

You’re blogging, podcasting, being featured on other sites, and creating how-to videos for your readers, but unless they’re super fans with loads of free time, they’re unlikely to see everything you create. You have to let them know, and social media updates are the fastest, easiest, and least expensive way to do that.

One thing that’s critical to remember: no one sees every post.

That means you need to share the same piece of content several times  across multiple networks to get the best results.

You already know images are important in today’s social media. Nothing catches the eye quite like a beautiful, “pinnable” image. Better still, pull a short quote from your article or post and use a tool such as Picmonkey or Canva to add the words to your image, and you’ll see even better engagement.

For every blog post you produce, and every video or podcast you record, fill out the worksheet I’ve provided below with information for your social posts. You can easily turn these over to your VA to post so you don’t have to.

If you’re using Meet Edgar, don’t forget to add it to your content library so it can be shared over and over again.

Tell New Fans About Your Best Stuff From The Past

Archived blog posts, previous podcast episodes, and last year’s YouTube videos are an essential part of your social media system. By sharing this less-than-fresh content, you can introduce your audience to more of the things they love about you, as well as get fresh eyes on useful posts from the past.

Don’t just let an automated system recycle your content, though. While that sounds like a great plan at first (hands-free!), it can have some unexpected results. You want to make sure you are sharing the content that’s going to bring you the most benefits, and you also need to be careful not to re-share things that are no longer relevant, such as time-sensitive posts.

Here’s what to look for when you’re searching through old content to post.

  • Check your Google analytics for posts that have the most traction.
  • Go through your older posts and videos and look for those that have a strong call to action (and improve others if you can).
  • Choose posts that promote your own products, or evergreen affiliate products. Review posts are perfect.

It’s Not All About You

The point of social sharing is to direct traffic back to your site. If all you ever do is shout “Me, me, me!” even your biggest fans will stop listening. Make sure you’re adding in a good selection of content from other providers as well.

Pro tip: curate content on blog post sharing days in Facebook groups. Load up your social media scheduler with content from your biz buddies that your audience will love.

By finding and sharing the best content in your industry, you will quickly become known as the go-to person in your market.

Consider sharing:

  • Infographics. Ideal for summarizing large amounts of data into a small space, infographics are popular on nearly all social media platforms.
  • How-to articles. Depending on your market, how-to articles can be one of the most important types of content you create or share.
  • Viral videos. Whether they’re funny, helpful, or just plain entertaining, videos are almost always a hit.

Ideally, you’ll share content from complementary businesses, but done right, you can even mix in articles and videos produced by your competition. Consider adding your own thoughts about the content, ask questions of your readers, and if you can, use an affiliate link.

Another option when sharing this type of curated content is to write a short post on your website, and then link to the original content from there. When you share on social media, share the post you created. It’s an extra click for your readers to get to the original, but it will improve your traffic.

Short of ideas on what to curate? Keep a list of go-to sites you can check weekly for new content.

Images, Quotes, Inspiration

We all need a little daily inspiration, and social media is a great place to find (and share) it in the form of stunning images, powerful quotes, and inspirational messages.

While this can (and should) be scheduled to fit with your theme, you can also share these “on the fly” as you see them. A good social media posting system incorporates both scheduled items as well as things that speak to you in the moment and deserve a share.

But don’t stop there! Just as you schedule time to write blog posts and other content, spend time each week creating your own quotes to share. Use my planning workbook to record your words of wisdom, then share it with your VA or graphic designer to create custom shareable images.

@aprilsullivan’s free social media workbook makes planning super easy. Grab it here: bit.ly/1VTh8CQ {Click to Tweet}

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