Feeding the Social Media Monster – Part One
Whether you are a company or an individual professional, your social media presence or absence drives your visibility and branding. In addition, just planting your stake in the social media landscape is no longer adequate to enhance your brand. Once your digital locations are established, the next important step is to feed the “social media content monster.” That monster thrives on Posts, Tweets, Shares and Likes, similar to how we need oxygen to live. The content you post needs to be fresh so that it is relevant to interests of the audience at that moment. In addition, it needs to be timely, brief and relevant to your brand.
At NPPGov/FireRescue GPO, we work to publish content to our subscribers on a regular basis to increase their awareness of our new agreements, market trends and relevant information to help them save time and money through the use of cooperative purchase agreements. We have also used social media (YouTube videos) to help educate our vendors on the benefits of incorporating cooperative purchasing tools in their territory. Our social media platforms of choice are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. To help improve our ROI at trade shows, we also publicize our show attendance and invite our members to join us for Facebook LIVE for interviews with our vendors new equipment. Our efforts have not only increased our member engagement at the shows, but we have also been noticed by the trade show organizers who are asking to be included in our efforts to help them bring value to their exhibitors.
Content: With the hunger of this social media content monster being so continuous, you need to find a steady stream of content to package and make it yours. This task could be a full-time job, which is usually not the option, especially if you are doing this as an individual professional. One of the tools I have used very effectively is Google Alerts. This tool allows you set keywords to continually search web site, open discussion groups, tweets and posts. Your notification about new content can be customized, based on when you would like to see the notifications for processing. Those notifications can range from when the new content is published to one notification a week. The best part is Google Alerts is it’s free.
Posting: Now that you have created enough Google Alerts to give you a steady stream of relevant content to start selecting the most timely, relevant and important information to enhance your brand, that information needs to be prepared in a way that social media wants to digest it. Based on the social media creature you are feeding, there are limitations on the number of characters in the post, the size of graphics and whether videos can be attached. It is also a proven fact that when (day of the week and time of that day) affect the impact your post will have on your desired audience. The optimal day and time to post are also different based on the social media platform (Stay tuned for “When Do You Feed the Social Media Monster – Part 2”).
When it comes to posting your content, you have two primary avenues:
Manually going into each social media platform to create and publish your content.This process can be very time-consuming and it typically leads to a reduction in posts across social media due to the hassle of this process. It also means that you must manually go into each platform at the desired time to publish your posts.
Automate the posting and publishing process.This option is very simple and includes various services options to consolidate your social media platforms into one tool to create, schedule and publish your posts. This option allows you to create one message and have it published on multiple social media platforms at one time. They also help you stay within the character and graphic limitations for the various social media platforms.
Using social media automation tools also allow you to be on a website and create a post from that website, schedule the post when you would like to publish it and be done.
The social media automation tool that most professionals have gravitated to is Hootsuite. This tool is easy to learn, very inexpensive and it integrates directly with Chrome and other web browsers to help you develop content very easily. In addition, it allows you to track results of your posts and for an extra fee, you can boost your messages to reach a greater audience.
Establishing a plan to feed the social media monster does not have to be hard or difficult. It takes time to set up the process (Social Media Sites, Google Alerts, Hootsuite), but social media can be an inexpensive and manageable marketing venue for you or your company.