secretThe idea of starting a social media campaign can be intimidating. When in reality you may already have the skills you need to be successful on social media, you just don’t know how to apply them. Try a new mind set: instead of thinking “I’m going to start a social media campaign”, think, “I’m going to make new friends.” Making friends is far less scary than social media. You know how to have conversations, give compliments and shake hands. And if you don’t, doing business must be just plain awkward. Here are my 5 secrets to social media success in “friendly” terms:

1. Everybody makes friends

First and foremost ask, if you don’t ask people to be your friend they may not ever think of it themselves. Just like you ask your new neighbors to dinner ask customers, “do you like us on Facebook?” or, “can I take your picture with your new widget for our social media?”

Integrate social media with your company culture, marketing and office. Successful campaigns aren’t about one person doing it all, it’s a group effort.

Encourage employee involvement, social media is about people, relationships, FRIENDS. Create a common vocabulary and a do’s and don’ts of posting for your staff then encourage them to share. Tell your story about who you are, what you do and who you support through staff involvement.

Integrate awareness into your existing marketing.  Post a sign next to your receptionist or in sidewalk chalk outside your door, put it on your hold message, invoices, email footer and anywhere else your customers or target market may see it.

2. Make friends with the in crowd

Become part of the “in crowd” for your business. Look for companies you admire, identify strategic alliances and those with an active social media presence reaching your target audience. Then be their best friends. Follow those companies and reshare their content, tell them that you’re sharing it by tagging or @ referencing and compliment them on their quality contributions. Treat them the way you want to be treated, like a friend. Many companies follow a rule of thirds when posting content:

  • 1/3 brand awareness and personality

    In the moment, fun and brand related content. Highlight employee birthdays, share photos of happy customers, tell a story about the bird that just flew into the office. Storytelling content sharing who you are.

  • 1/3 promotional posts

    Specials, coupons, events, blog posts highlights and newsletter promotion all fall in this category.

  • 1/3 industry related news and “in crowd” content

    Share blog posts, news and other content interesting to your followers. The compliments, shares and retweets you give the in crowd’s content counts towards this third.

3. Be original

Pink hair is pretty striking. OK scratch the hair idea but neon pink shoes wouldn’t hurt. Unless everyone else is wearing neon pink shoes…then you better go with purple. Then take a picture! Social media algorithms love pictures and know when content is replicated. If you post the same photo twice it won’t be shown as well the second time. Make sure your words are original too.   Using similar words at the beginning of more than one message lowers post performance if published in a tight timeframe.

4. Share your expectations

Not everyone knows what it means to be a good friend. Share your expectations with your social media following, especially your regular friends who support you on social media. Ask them to share your content, sharing is the biggest compliment they can give you on social media. It tells the algorithm the content is important. When the algorithm is reviewing content to determine the level of importance it looks at the following to decide whether or not to share your posts:

  • Weight

    Video and picture content are highest, followed by links. Text only posts are lower. Weight is also earned through shares, comments and likes in that order.

  • Affinity

    The more often people engage with your content the more likely they are to see your posts. Interactions and their frequency, such as likes, comments and shares, show the algorithm the difference between your friends and acquaintances.

  • Time

    The older your post is, the less likely it is to be seen. Facebook depreciates the value of posts as they age and Twitter serves content in chronological order.

5. Do it for real or don’t do it at all

Be fully invested with your social media friends. Interact in a timely manner and post new content on a regular basis. If you don’t have time for social media you may not need to do it. If you never talk to your friends you lose touch and end up in a long distance relationship. It’s hard to maintain a good following on social media when you’re just occasionally talking.

Also, consider an ad budget. It can be hard to make friends at first so it’s good to join a networking group. Think of social media ads like a networking group. They can help show your content to new people who you may not have reached on your own.

With these 5 social media secrets you can transform your social media from wanna-be to freakishly cool. Now go forth and use your amazing friend making powers for good!

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