Remember the old days, when being bloggers put us in high demand with large and small companies alike? Then, as time progressed, we were expected to be able to execute graphic designs, understand web analytics and, perhaps the most time consuming, to manage social media accounts. Now, don’t get me wrong, a lot of us have been active on social media for a long time, but managing social accounts for brands was a whole new world. As social users, we know what we like to see, just as we wrote what we would want to read when we were exclusively bloggers. That gave us an edge. But the learning curve is still steep, so we’re going to give you 3 easy steps to take you from blogger to social media guru! Add this post to the content marketing guide we continue to build in the Freelance School.
Ask Yourself – What Do You Already Know?
You’ve learned a lot as a blogger. You really have! You’ve learned about creating audience personas, targeting that audience and gauging response. You’ve learned to proofread carefully, create awesome, clickable titles and how visuals entice more readers. You’ve also learned how to write a killer call to action (CTA). Here is how each of those things relates to social media.
Creating audience personas
You did this as a blogger. You thought about who your audience was, who you wanted it to be, what they were looking for in terms of online information, where (other than your blog) they were finding it and how you could serve them. The same goes for social media managers, but unlike the old days, we have a lot more resources to perform this part of the job quickly.
How to create audience personas
Use a brand’s social media account to figure out buyer personas for social. Facebook Insights can tell you what you need to know about the Facebook fan base. You can see the geographical area, age, and other demographic data, plus you can even see what other pages a user likes in order to get a good idea of who is liking and commenting on your posts. Twitter Analytics can do the same thing, making it even easier than Facebook to see your audience member’s’ primary interests, which will help you tailor your messaging accordingly. Look at the other pages your users like for content creation examples you can follow. When providing social media marketing services, buyer personas are an important first step.
Your existing social audience, much like your blog audience from years ago, tells you a lot about the content you’re creating and how it is received. Monitoring responses on social is easier than monitoring blog response. Back in the day, you had to look at Google analytics, read comments (which meant comments had to be enabled – what a nightmare!) and poll your readers to see how they liked your content. Today, social content gets a “like” on Facebook, a “favorite” or “retweet” on Twitter or a heart on Instagram. All those reactions are tallied up and you’re able to see them in the different social platform’s analytics tool, and some social media management software can even aggregate that data for you. Knowing how your audience is responding to social content can help you create better content for them. All part of the content marketing best practices we’ve known for years.
Create awesome titles
When you blog, you have to think of an engaging title that entices people to click and read. Of course you haven’t stopped blogging (and if you have, start back right away!), so you still have to think of those awesome titles. Social is similar to not only your title work, but also the text of your social posts. For Twitter, you only get 140 characters. For Facebook, you get more but it has to be good. Ultimately, whether you’re sharing a link or introducing a visual post, your copy has to be snappy, readable, and enticing. But, that’s your strong suit already, right?
Entrance fans and followers with visuals
We say it all the time at PromoRepublic. Content creation for social media is deeply rooted in the things that keep users coming back for more. And, the number one thing people like to see on social is a great visual post. Back to our earlier point, many bloggers find themselves in a crazy position of needing to be a great copywriter, graphic designer and social media guru all at the same time. The good news is that you don’t actually have to be a graphic designer. Especially if you use PromoRepublic. Our social media calendar has pre-made, professionally designed templates that are ready for you to use. Easy!
What’s Your Content Creation Template?
When blogging, you may follow the 5 paragraph essay format, with an introduction, three subheads and a conclusion. If you write longer-form content (like we do), you might follow a different pattern altogether, but odds are you do follow some sort of pattern. When you’re marketing on social media platforms, you should have a number of templates for the content you’re pushing out. So, as you think about content creation for social media, think about the types of posts you want to create, as well as the content you’re going to share. It will be different for each social channel.
Facebook marketing templates
On Facebook, you can share several types of posts:
- Visual posts
- Text posts
- Link posts
A caveat. Check any Facebook marketing tips or Facebook marketing guides for 2017 to make sure you’re up to date on Facebook post sizes for 2017. They have change things a bit, and you want to make sure you’re in compliance for the best conversion rates.
Visual posts are especially good when you want to engage your audience quickly with a post they will like and share. You can put text inside the image to create any TYPE of post you want – a question, special offer, poll or something else, but these visual posts with no substantial text above them and no link are low-stakes, high-yield posts on Facebook that are key to success. Check any Facebook marketing guide for 2017 and it will tell you that with the super-saturated Facebook world, stunning visual posts are a must.
Posts that are straight text with no image and no link tend not to perform well, but they are part of the mix. Make sure, for these posts, that your content is well-written and you include a nice call to action urging people to comment on the post.
You’ll want to share links sometimes. That’s expected. But the “template” you use for these posts must have several elements. One, make sure an image populates from the link you’re sharing. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to use another image. Two, make sure you write a compelling call to action, otherwise nobody will click through. Finally, don’t share too many link posts. Save them for really great blog posts and landing page promotions, with a tiny bit of curated content you know your audience will love.
Twitter marketing templates
Twitter is similar to Facebook, but the each share is limited to 140 characters. The most popular types of tweets are:
- Visual tweets
- Link tweets
Image-based tweets that don’t require a user to click through will get 150% more retweets than any other types of posts on Twitter. Also, users don’t have to leave their normal feed to see your images, so they are likely to just retweet and keep going.
Link tweets are important, but we recommend you put the shortened link at the end of the tweet and make sure you limit your tweet word count to accommodate the space the url takes up. You can either quote part of the article you’re sharing, or you can write a compelling CTA.
Don’t underestimate the power of the retweet. This is one of the easiest forms of content creation for social media, because you don’t have to create at all. You provide value by retweeting things you know will interest your audience. You build thought leadership and trust by only retweeting links and tweets that are relevant and interesting.
There are other social channels out there, but as you’re starting out, master Facebook and Twitter first, and then explore channels like LinkedIn and Instagram when you’re ready to take the next step in your content marketing learning. If you want to jump in now, I strongly suggest you try PromoRepublic’s social media content generator, because you’ll be able to post directly from the tool to the different social platforms.
How Will You Scale Your Social Media Marketing Business?
Just like when you were blogging full time, you need to figure out your course of action, business plan, the tools you will use and the sources that will be your go-tos when you start social media marketing for real. We suggest you start out marketing yourself, to learn the basics, then you can start applying what you’ve learned and provide social media services for small businesses in your area. When starting up your social media marketing business, you need to think about standardizing certain things to make it easy for you to perform your SMM duties for multiple clients at a time. Mainly, you need an editorial calendar, per client, to capture your social media posting schedule, a posting tool for social media marketing automation and a robust content creation tool to make your life easier.
An editorial calendar is the only way to go when setting up a social plan and getting it approved by stakeholders. Even when you develop a social media calendar for small businesses, it is difficult to gain approval any other way. Short of copying all your post ideas into a document and circulating it for approval, or giving people access to your calendar itself, an editorial calendar that you can populate and download is your best bet for efficiency and avoiding redundancies during the approval process.
It is very time consuming to log into each social account and post from it. Even if you use, for instance, Facebook’s publishing tool and schedule posts, you run into a time crunch logging into each individual account and scheduling the posts. Surely there is one tool to rule them all! More on that in a minute, but you know there is. It’s PromoRepublic, of course.
Content creation tool
Any social media marketing guide will tell you that you have to create original, fresh, interesting and engaging content to build likes and followers, as well as sales and conversions, on social media. You will want to be well-versed in finding good content ideas, but it’s very important that a lot of your content be original, that all of it is branded, and all of it is interesting. PromoRepublic has tons of ready made templates that are customizable and ready for you to use. Plus, the drag and drop editor lets you create your own posts from scratch in mere minutes.
As you can see, social media marketing may be different from blogging and other types of content marketing, but there are also a lot of similarities. Just stick with what you know, have a firm plan of action, and educate yourself. You will go a long way!