Choose a social media strategy – 4-1-1

I find social media a mine field and if you need help with this area specifically then I highly recommend getting help from a social media specialist or at least requesting an audit of your different profiles. From my experience Navigate Social Media, Sociable Suzy,  and Debbie Watson Social Media Marketing are all excellent and worth getting in touch with.

However, my focus (as you would expect) is on creating content for social media posts and trying to help clients come up with ideas for the chitinous and large number of posts you need to be producing on a regular basis.

I read a lot about social media posts and the ‘rules’ and advice is ever-changing. It seems that three posts a week for a small business is an absolute minimum and actually 10 posts (2 a day across 5 days) seems to be the most recently advocated ‘optimum’. That is a lot…so I am going to throw my own advice in and say I’d six posts a week as a starting point. The reason for this is because of the 4-1-1 content marketing approach which I have used and adapted and found a useful guide. Importantly, it seems to take the pressure off coming up with what to produce.

By having a specific strategy and knowing what you are am aiming to produce and schedule each week, makes life a lot easier.

Let me explain more…

4 shares

Four of your weekly posts simply have to be sharing content from other people. Ideally, this will be articles you have read, found interesting and saved. Then, when appropriate, you can create a post, linking to the original post or to the article.

Don’t just share every interesting article or post you see immediately. This means when you come to schedule your weekly posts you need to find even more content. So my top tip: save don’t share!

Facebook and Linkedin have ‘bookmarking’ facilities. When you are then creating posts and scheduling, you can look through all of your saved items and create posts from them. Post them at a time which works best for your target audience.

Please ensure that you read any articles you share. Make sure you find them of interest and relevance. Check it is a reputable source and does not contain anything illegal or libellous. Remember you are effectively directing your followers to an external site or another social media page, so make sure you are 100% happy about doing so.

Write your own content about why you think your followers should read the article or why you think it is of interest…or perhaps even what you disagree with. Invite followers to engage too. Ask for their opinions.

The posts or articles can be from any where – something you might have seen on Facebook you might wish to share on Linkedin. You might have come across a video on You Tube that you want to share on Facebook.

Ideally, they should be from people that you think are ‘influencers’ in your field; it’s even better if sharing their content and tagging their pages will be mutually beneficial to your businesses.

1 sales post

Social media is a wonderful platform for posting about your products and your services. We all know that social media algorithms seem to ensure that not all posts are seen, that reach can vary widely and, therefore, that ‘drip feeding’ your audience is the only way to hope that your business remains present in your followers’ newsfeeds. Therefore, at least once a week, do create a post which reminds everyone of the products and services you have on offer.

You can choose one particular item or you can create a more general post about everything you do.

Ensure you use good imagery to go with the written content – at least a photograph, but better still something branded. This could be a little ‘ad’ or a short promo video. Free design software, such as Canva,  is brilliant for creating imagery which is the correct and optimum size for social media platforms.

1 Personal post

For your 6th post of the week (obviously the order of your 4-1-1 posts can be whatever you choose), create something a bit more fun or light-hearted. Perhaps a story about something that has happened to you that week or a funny photograph you captured…even if it is not 100% business related, as long as it fits your brand, simply use the post’s written content to explain the photo and why you are sharing it.

You may have a particular ‘day’ post, inviting engagement, and offering something regular.

If you are really struggling, share a recent blog posts, invite newsletter sign ups, share a promo video or talk about what you are working on…or even talk about the weather!

Although I focus on written content, the absolute ideal ‘personal post’ (or a supplementary 7th one) for Facebook and LinkedIn is a video – live or pre-recorded – just a 2-5 minute chat with your followers. Video posts do seem to get much more reach and engagement at the moment, so it is worth dipping your toe in the water if you haven’t done so yet. It is certainly one of my goals.

Post regularly and consistently

If you have social media pages, you can’t just let them sit there or post sporadically. Don’t let posting on social media take over your life and precious time either. So whether it is 3, 6 or 9 posts a week – make a choice and stick to it. I schedule my posts for the coming week every Monday morning and then try to only ‘check in’ twice a day, but I don’t post anything further unless I feel it is absolutely essential or necessary. I only respond to comments and perhaps engage with other people’s post, when appropriate and I know I have the time. Scheduling posts all at the same time has definitely made the process quicker. It helps me to maintain my brand and write consistent content as I write in batches. The 4-1-1 method can give you clear strategy and despite battling the algorithms seems to make reach more consistent.

My final thought is about analysis – adopting a strategy makes it much easier to evaluate social media practice and work out which posts work better and when. This is really useful!

Give it a try and let me know how you get on.

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