This is the third part of a four-part series on improving results with social media. If you haven’t seen the first two articles, or if you want a refresher, please see:
Last week we looked at the process of developing a blog post for the purpose of targeting specific social media audiences. This week we’ll look at a few steps that will help to determine how successful we were and to build on that.
1. Continue to Use Your Targeted Social Media Sites Everyday
This is the same as the first step from week two, so there’s not a whole lot I need to go into here. Basically, in order to have a strong presence on your targeted social media sites, you need to be consistently active. Set aside a little bit of time each day to vote, comment, submit, and add friends.
2. Analyze Last Week’s Post
The steps from last week included publishing and promoting a post. Now it’s time to take a look at the stats and see how successful we were. Of course, there are some obvious stats you can look at, such as overall unique visitors, total pageviews, number of visitors from social media sites, etc. But don’t forget to also look at some other numbers, such as growth in subscribers and inbound links (you can track your blog’s Technorati rank over time to see an increase in in-bound links).
Remember the stats can only tell part of the story. In the first week of this series, our very first step was to decide what you wanted from social media. When you’re analyzing your results it’s easy to get distracted by numbers, but you must not lose focus of what is most important to you. For example, say that your priority is to increase exposure and branding, not so much about the number of visitors you receive. In this case you may want to gauge your success based on factors like links and mentions from other blogs, mentions on Twitter, and comments on your own blog as well as on social media sites.
Remember that it takes time to get results with social media. Simply creating one post that targets this audience is not enough to get serious results. An effecive social media campaign needs to involve an ongoing plan to help you reach your goals.
3. Learn Something New
During the first two weeks, we spent some time on the targeted social media sites with the intent of learning more about the site’s audience, what they like and what causes them to respond. This information was used along with your brainstorming to develop the content that was published last week. Now it’s time to learn something from your first hand experience.
Did the social media audience respond to your post in the way that you thought they would? You can evaluate the number of votes you got, the comments that were left by users, and the amount of visitors you received. On your first attempt you can’t expect everything to go exactly as planned, so take the opportunity to learn something from your experience that you can use for your future efforts.
If things didn’t go the way you had hoped, try to identify where the post came up short. Was it the content of the post itself? The formatting? The title? The title and description used on the social media sites? The profile of the submitter? A lack of a network to get votes? Once you can identify some weak points, you now have an area to focus on for the next attempt.
4. Continue to Network
From my experience, the two most important factors in social media success are 1) the content itself, and 2) the network of the blogger or the submitter (or both). Your network can consist of friends and contacts that you requeest votes from, your regular readers that are interested in voting for your content, and your friends on social media sites.
Keep making efforts to get to know other bloggers in your niche and keep working on building contacts with other users of your targeted social media sites. Well-connected bloggers are successful bloggers.
5. Think About Scheduling
As I said earlier, a social media campaign requires on-going work. Because these posts take time to develop, it’s important to think about your post schedule, how often you want to publish new content, and how often you want to make a push with social media. There’s no right or wrong approach to posting frequency, but for building results with social media you should be posting at least somewhat frequently. I would recommend at least a few times per week, with maybe one post per week, or one post every two weeks, for targeting social media.
When you’re working on your own posting plan be realistic about how much time you have available and how long it will take to develop quality content. It’s important not to rush so much so that the quality of posts drops below what is likely to get results from social media users.
6. Continue to Brainstorm and Refine Your Ideas
In the first week we took some time to brainstorm ideas for potential posts. As you continue to learn more by being involved at your targeted social media sites, and from your own experience with your posts, you will continue to get a better idea of what is likely to draw results.
Set aside some time to continue brainstorming for post ideas. If you’re going to be publishing content consistently, you’ll need to have a steady flow of ideas. Also, go through the ideas on your list from previous weeks and analyze them based on what you are currently learning about your targeted social media sites. You may find that some of these ideas are not perfect, but you may be able to tweak or refine them in some way that will make them more useful
Next week will be the final edition to the series, so we’ll take a deeper look at setting yourself up for long-term results.