Anyone who talks to me more than five minutes learns two things: 1. I’m passionate about writing. 2. I’m a full-blown Whovian. And while the written word is something I wrestle with on a daily basis, how I share that content online is an ever-changing process. Am I tweeting enough? Too little? Am I post on Facebook at the wrong times of day? What about Google Plus? What the hell am I supposed to do over there? These are questions many people venturing into the world of social media writing ask themselves. I continue to ask myself these questions.
Now, anyone who’s seen Doctor Who knows that the arch villain of the series are the Daleks, a trashcan-esque, plunger and whisk yielding alien race hellbent on the destruction of anything not pure Dalek. Their popular refrain is “Exterminate!” Many a meme online has seen Daleks in bathtubs with loofahs (Exfoliate!) and Daleks in love (Infatuate!). So, I’m jumping on the meme bandwagon today, shouting, “Emulate!” in my best Dalek voice. Why?
Because if you want to succeed in spreading your content on the web in the most effective way to yield the greatest amount of response and engagement, you need to follow in the footsteps of your social media mentors.
Who Are Your Social Media Mentors?
Obviously, the first thing you need to do is find your mentors. Get ready to prep your powers of observation! Presumably, you’re already active on the major social sites, so all you need to do now is observe what people say, how they say it, and when they say. Then, look at who does all of that the best. Who gets the best response? Who creates content and posts that resonate the most with you? Who do you view as a thought leader? An influencer? Ask yourself these questions as you scroll through your feeds and lists. Pick a handful of folks that speak to you and move onto the next step. Time to warm up your Dalek voice!
Yes, emulate. Or imitate. Basically, you need to evaluate what your social media mentors do that works and do those things yourself. Sounds pretty simple but it might take some time to put into place. Mostly, it will take time to thoroughly study your mentors to see how they work and what they do specifically that has proven so effective. Be thorough. Take notes. Perform your own little case study, if you will. It might seem weird to follow a mentor’s moves so closely but think of it as the ultimate in hands-on education. Here are a few ideas:
- Follow your mentor on Twitter and see what types of posts they make. Then, search for @mentornamehere to get a view of how many times people mention them. See what types of responses they receive. Then you can determine what types of posts foster the most engagement. You get me?
- Read your mentor’s blog and review what types of posts receive the most comments. Thoughtfulness counts here. Quality over quantity in blog comments always applies.
- Check out your mentor’s Facebook profile and/or Page. What do they do that elicits a response? Do photos build engagement? What about questions? Do they hold contests or curate content?
Now’s the time for you to put your thinking cap on. How can you take what your mentors have done to the next level? What can you offer to a social media strategy that hasn’t been done yet in your industry? How can you set yourself apart? Rather than reinventing the wheel, try to think of how you can take a tried and true strategy a bit further. Or, perhaps you can combine some different methods to create new, even more impressive results. Brainstorm and once you’re satisfied with what you’ve come up with, write out a detailed plan. I think HubSpot has an awesome social media planner that makes life super simple. So check that out when you have a chance.
With all of that thinking and planning, it’s time to get moving. The social media innovators aren’t afraid to act and take chances. So roll out your blog posts with a corresponding social media schedule. Engage with your followers and actively seek out new ones. Be funny. Be interesting. And above all else, don’t be boring!
After two weeks of social media activation, take some time to figure out how you’re doing. What worked? What didn’t? Are there particular reasons why you think something your mentors did worked for them but not for you? Examine how these strategies work across several different niches and social platforms. HootSuite has been invaluable for me in terms of evaluation and analytics. But remember: it’s not all about the click-throughs. Measure the responsiveness of your audience as well.
Pro-tip: Asking questions seems to work across all industries and social platforms. The quickest way to build engagement is to be engaging.
With what you’ve learned, edit your social plan. Keep what worked and ditch what didn’t. Repeat the process again including any tweaks to your strategy you’ve learned during your evaluation period. After another two weeks, evaluate again.
Putting it All Together
You might think once you hit on a strategy that works that you’ll be done forever but that’s not the case. The best social media strategies embodied by the most effective social media mentors out there are always in flux. The industry leaders are always analyzing, revising, and split testing to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and what’s worth shouting from the rooftops about.
Social media is dynamic and your strategy should be too. So, what are some of the things your social media mentors do that you think is worthy of being shouted by a Dalek? Let me know in the comments!
Image Source: GB eye