It is hard to know where to start, and what exactly you need to be sharing and with whom.
That is why I decided to consult an expert to help you get started on the right track.
Rebekah Radice will help us understand how simple a social media strategy can really be.
What are the most important things you need to think about as you plan your strategy?
The kinds of content to share. How often. With whom.
How to find your place in the social media world, and create a plan that you are comfortable committing to.
Rebekah will help you answer all these questions and more…
So what better person to talk to about social media strategy?
In this podcast we talk about how to easily get started with a simple social media strategy.
There was a wealth of tips and knowledge shared in this podcast, and I certainly recommend you listen to this one (or read the transcript).
If you prefer to read the transcript, you can
Or read it below…
Rebekah: Well, again, it’s like you said, understanding your company, so are you B to B, are you B to C? And then really starting to take a look at where are your potential consumers spending their time. Obviously, Facebook is still the biggest boy on the block as far as social networks are concerned, and the majority of consumers are definitely spending their time there. So it’s going to be a lot of trial and error, I think, is really starting to post some content, start that conversation, see what kind of interaction you’re getting, and then starting to do your reconnaissance work, getting out there, and looking at your competitors. Taking a look at what conversations are they having? What kind of content is really driving interaction, driving engagement, on, say, their Facebook page, or maybe it’s over on Twitter? I always recommend start in one place, so start where you’re comfortable. Where are you spending your time right now, and where do you really feel like you’re finding people to interact and engage with? Start there; work that strategy like I said as far as posting content, trying out different types of content. Obviously we’re all different. We receive our information differently, some people choose to read, some people really appreciate video, some people love podcasts. So repurposing your content and just sharing that in unique ways is also going to be important as you start to define where those people are spending their time, and then playing around with how you share that content to really get a feel for not only what kind of content do they want, but how do they want to receive that content? That’s – it’s always a challenge not only to understand where to spend your time but also what kind of content should you be spending your time on? Because you may find that, and maybe in your case, Ashley, this is definitely has become the case since you’ve got this podcast, is people are, they’re very auditory and maybe they would prefer to just simply listen to you talk as opposed to reading an article. So it’s figuring that out as well.
Ashley: Yeah, I mean it’s definitely something I’ve noticed a difference on as well and I think it certainly pays to vary everything you do at least a little bit. Of course, not everybody’s comfortable with doing a podcast or a video, but I think you certainly, as time goes on and you get comfortable with one medium, whether that’s writing or talking or whatever, you should try to move on to other verities. And how do you find that’s helped with your customers and their social media campaigns?
Rebekah: Well, I think its several different ways. First of all, doing something like this, where we’re just having a conversation on a podcast allows people to get to know you on a very different level. All of the sudden they can hear you; they can listen to your words as opposed to just reading your words, which we now how that goes. You know, reading, whether it’s an article or an e-mail, there’s always room for interpretation as well as misinterpretation where if you’re listening to somebody it’s pretty straight forward. So it definitely gives your audience the opportunity to get to know you on a very different level and I think with that there’s that opportunity to build trust, there’s always the ‘I know I can trust’ factor where you want your community to feel comfortable with you. You want them to feel as if you’ve just opened your arms and kind of drawn them into the fold of your company. So being able to give them just a little bit different insight into who you are, what makes you tick, what you do, why you do it, all of those things that are incredibly important to anybody looking to make an educated decision about your business. I think video is a great way, obviously, to engage a maybe otherwise unengaged audience and I do understand that not everybody feels comfortable. In fact, I would imagine that most people feel uncomfortable getting in front of the camera initially, but there are a lot of great ways to use video within your business without actually having to get on camera, so you can think about that too – how to use video within your business to connect people in a very different way but not necessarily have get on camera and feel that uncomfortable tug whenever you’re stepping into something that you haven’t done before. And then of course, as we’ve already talked about, there’s podcasting, where people can hear you but they don’t have to see you, so a lot of different ways to connect people to your business that are a little bit different maybe in methodology than you’ve done in the past which might just be traditional writing on your blog or posting to your social networks.
Ashley: Yep, for sure, it’s definitely something that I’ve listened to in the famous quote from Pat Flynn that everybody seems to use which is to be everywhere and I don’t think that’s necessarily the best choice. I mean, it sounds great to say that but I don’t know if everybody has the time to be everywhere, I think that’s a very, a very good aspiration but I’m not sure we all have that time. I think certainly mixing it up and I was just looking through your posts again this morning about this particular topic and that’s one of the things that you said in there was, “mixing it up,” now whether that is with content types and audio, video, info graphics, or whatever, I think it always pays to mix up even within one style the different kinds of content that you’re delivering and I’ve noticed also you’ve been doing that recently, and that piqued my attention because you do those kind of things really well and you’re now putting a lot more visuals in, more than you did before, and also some Slide Share, and what got you going on that particular topic… Slide Share’s become common in all of your posts I’ve seen.
Rebekah: Yeah, you know, it’s funny as I talk to companies on a daily basis about how to really make the most of all the content that they’ve got, so how can we get the most mileage out of that content, get that back in front of a whole new audience. I had a bit of a ‘duh’ moment for myself where we were using Slide Share and I wasn’t even using it for myself, I speak quite often, probably have hundreds of PowerPoint presentations I put together over the years, yet wasn’t actually taking the time to upload them to Slide Share on my own so just started to do that and follow my own advice of repurposing some of my content into Slide Shares and they’ve been very well received so it’s a great point that you bring up, Ashley, that it can be as simple as, one of them, there is a fabulous tool out there, if I can share a little tool tip, called Haiku Deck, which I’m not sure if you’re familiar with that but, just a very easy way to drop any of your content into a Slide Deck, they’re basically pre-created templates – you can either use your own images, you can use some from their gallery, as well, and within 30 minutes it’s really that simple, you can put together a very beautiful presentation that you can download and then upload directly into Slide Share, so very simple way to take your content, repurpose it, repackage it, and like I said, just get it out there all over again, but in front of a whole new audience because SlideShare obviously is catering to a very different audience then say, Facebook. The people that are spending their time over there are looking for something different, probably speakers or looking to become a speaker, and looking and doing some research, maybe, on the speakers within their industry or niche, so it’s a great way to get your content out there in front of yes, consumers, but from a B-to-B point of view, boy, to me it’s just a no-brainer.
Ashley: Yeah, I did it a while back and didn’t actually get as much traction as I’d hope, but I think maybe I gave up on it too easily because what I saw with how you had done it, which was really good and actually something in which I think one of the speakers was talking about in the content marketing conference and I can bring that into the conversation here as well, which was that when you create something, especially something reasonably big, whether it’s a big post or a small e-book which is also relatively big, thousands of words, you can either approach it from the finished product and then break it up, which is what I saw you doing, you break it out into a summarized SlideShare which you can then turn into multiple tweets or multiple sub-posts in social media, you can break that down into your blog posts into multiple sections or into multiple blog posts, so you can actually attack your content strategy with social media in mind as well as the multiple channels in mind. Whether that’s video, audio, SlideShare, images, Instagram, everything. So you can really attack this with the end in mind, which is getting most of your channels filled with content with just one particular thing that you create and I think that’s really an end that everyone should be trying to achieve and it actually saves you so much time… you create one thing and you get ten things out of it. It’s actually an amazing thing.
Rebekah: There you go, and that is, that’s the goal at the end of the day, it’s all about doing, being able to create a whole lot more content at the fraction of the time or the cost. Yeah, so it’s just maximizing all that you’ve got available and I think that’s where anybody from an entrepreneur to a start-up to a large corporation tends to over think how to create content, when in reality you just broke it down. You could take one post and for companies set up in a business for quite some time, look at your offline collateral. Think about that marketing you’ve put together over the years. You’ve got newsletters, you’ve got e-mails, you’ve got drip-marketing campaigns, you probably have just a wealth of information at your fingertips that could be repurposed into the content that you’re talking about where instead of constantly reinventing the wheel, you’re just going back through, just cull through all of that content you’ve created in the past… update it. Just freshen it up, give it a new life, and turn it into a SlideShare, turn it into maybe ten different posts for social media. It could be a tips post, so maybe you did a list of the Top Ten Tips, and you can take every single one of those and break it out into its own blog posts. You could take every single one of those and then turn those, as you said, into a hundred and forty character tweets, into a post for Facebook or Google+, so there’s just unlimited possibilities with what you can do with your content.
Ashley: Yeah, it’s once you get the ideas, basically, you get sort of the gist of how it all works and the different channels that you’re using. So if we bring it back to our original topic which was, which – how you would do your social media strategy so you start to get to know your audience, where they’re hanging out, what kind of content they’re consuming, how you’re making that content and repurposing all of your content. What would be the next step, you would say, in trying to get your customers somehow as leads to actually embrace your business or potentially buy something? How would you go about doing something like that?
Rebekah: I think there’s a few steps in there, I think obviously one is being very tactical, so very strategic in where you’re spending your time but also how you’re spending your time there. So when you’re on Facebook, are you just popping in? Are you just randomly hopping around from, you know, maybe one post to the next? Or do you find yourself in that rabbit hole and within an hour you suddenly you realize, you’ve wasted an hour of your time! And you haven’t gotten anything accomplished! So it’s really going in knowing how are you going to find those people and then how are you going to interact with them, so one thing that I’ve touched on is find your competition. Start spending some time on your competition’s social media and really start to get a feel for what they’re talking about, how those conversations are going, what are they doing well? And what are they not doing well? Where can you really capitalize on that conversation, and then how can you pull that conversation over to your website, your blog, and your social networks? So how can you leverage all that’s going on within your industry, a lot of times its topic topics, so it’s really keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s going on within your industry and the biggest piece is, as I mentioned, being strategic in how you’re spending your time. So let’s take Facebook for example, because you know, again, this is where people are spending quite a bit of time still, start to identify those places, as you said, Ashley, where your potential clients are spending their time. And then start commenting, start interacting on those pages, they’re – any industry that you’re in, you have people that are doing something very similar to what you’re doing. I never look at them necessarily as competitors; I look at them as opportunities for us to build a mutually beneficial relationship. My opinion? There’s always enough business to go around. So if you can start to begin to build those connections, you know it would be – let’s just use you and I as an example. Let’s say we were both offering the same product or service. And I could come to you and start to comment on your blog, start to interact with you on social media, start to really get to know you, because I’m willing to bet that you have a skill set that’s very unique to you, probably a little bit different from mine, and there’s a way that we can tap into that. There’s a way that we can start to build that reciprocity where I’m sharing your content, where we’re able to start maybe referring each other’s business. And if I were to start to get to know you, interact with you, say, on your Facebook page, allow your – those people interacting, fans of your page, to be able to get to know me just through my comments, through my interaction with you, you start to build a reputation. You start to allow people to get to know who you are. So there’s definitely ways to be strategic not only in your time that you’re spending identifying where your consumers are hanging out, but also getting to know that supposed competition. I see just enormous value in building those relationships within your own industry.
Ashley: Yeah, sure, and that’s what we’re doing here today. I mean, we’ve been – I’ve been on your show, you’re on my show, we get to know each other, we help each other, and it all goes around and I keep seeing that coming up again and again. I was just reading something about networking from someone the other day and they said, you know, the biggest thing that’s ever helped them in their business is their connections and when you’re not running your own business and you’re working for someone all those years before you start your business normally, you don’t realize that your connections are just your friends. But once you start running your own business you realize suddenly that having influential friends or connections is actually handy to have. And you don’t just rely on other people, of course you help people yourself, and yeah, and it goes back and forth in different ways and it’s – that’s one of the parts I think people forget. You’re looking for customers but you’re also looking for connections, and it’s not about meeting someone and straight away asking for something, people have done that to me recently on LinkedIn, and that leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. It’s kind of like, “Hi there! Connect with me, can you please help me do something?” … uh, no. But, really, it’s too fast. That’s something you need to remember, someone said that this morning to me in a podcast or something I was listening to, make those connections a year or two before you need them, not when you need them because when you need them you shouldn’t be asking, so, it’s the wrong way around but…
Rebekah: It really is, you know, I actually wrote a post a while ago about that exact issue. It was about your customers – are you wooing your customers, but it could – but the same is true for business relationships where you do, you want to be woo’d on a first date, and too often people are going, you know, trying to round second base on the first date and it does, it really leaves a bad taste in your mouth and instead of accomplishing what you’re trying to accomplish, which I think for some people it’s just awkward, they have a tough time explaining who they are and what they do and just kind of reaching out, and what it kind of ends up being is this ‘go for the jugular, let me tell you who I am, let me tell you what I’m all about,’ and ask for the sale, well, they never earned the right to even ask for the sales, so I think that’s a great point that as you’re out there, as you are building out this strategy, as you’re thinking through how you can tactically start to connect with those people who maybe are influential within your industry and also with those consumers, understand that you really do have to earn the right to ask for their business. You’ve got to take the time to get to know people, and Ashley, I’ll go back to you and I – I think our relationship is a great example where we met us bloggers, we got to know each other, mutual respect over our content, and then that slowly started to move into social networking, and we connected on Google+ and we connected on Twitter, we’ve just connected all over the web and I can see that what you’re doing is consistent everywhere and that really starts to build that rapport when we’re connecting, we’re engaging, we’re sharing each other’s content, and we’re truly taking an interest in that other person as opposed to me having just coming to you and saying, “Hey Ashley, I saw that you’re a blogger, hey, want to start sharing all my stuff?” I mean, really, come on, has that ever worked?
Ashley: Luckily I don’t get too much of that, but occasionally I get some e-mails and I’m just like, really, I mean I feel really bad for the people… I had one this morning, someone asked me – I mean it was actually reasonably well done, the e-mail for a change, which is quite rare but still – I’m kind of like, okay, just… it’s your first e-mail to me, maybe you should get to know me first, but anyway.
Rebekah: Take a little time!
Ashley: So getting back to our original topic again, and so we’re out there engaging with people, we’re getting involved in conversations, and this is something that I’ve been trying to do on LinkedIn because it’s good for me to be just chit-chatting, offering information, and I think this comes back to this presentation I saw from Jay Baer about being useful, and this is something that he signed into my book when I was at the conference, he’s just says, “be useful,” and I just thought that’s really, really handy to keep in your mind, even if you’re meeting people as we’re talking about, sort of peers, or whether you’re talking about meeting your customers, if all you’re ever doing to create business is finding the places where people are and helping them, I think that’s one of the best ways you can interact with your potential connections or customers.
Rebekah: Oh, I couldn’t agree more. And, be useful, my goodness, just think about that. If you simply went into your day, getting ready to post to Google+, to Facebook, to Twitter, wherever it might be, and thought about, ‘How can I solve somebody’s problem today? How could I make their life better, easier, what could I offer to them, what do I know?’ Because of course no matter what you do on a daily basis, you have a whole lot of information that somebody is dying to gain access to. So, you know, think about it in those terms. What can I do to be of value to somebody else? And I always think about it from that kind of servant point of view because as business owners, as entrepreneurs, no matter what line of work you’re in, if you’re running your own company, you are a servant to those people and if you come at it from that perspective, there is so much value in that as opposed to that feeling of that all you’re ever doing is take-take-take, you’re asking, you’re asking for that sale, you’re asking for that business, you’re asking for help, which certainly there’s nothing wrong with that, we’re all in business to make money, there’s no secret. But again, I’m going to go back to you, you’ve really got to earn that right and the only way that I know that you can do that is to be valuable to people and that means creating consistency in all that you’re sharing and that’s where it goes back to having a plan in place, understanding what kind of content you’re going to share on a daily basis. That’s going to be helpful. That’s really going to be useful to people that you’re going to want to take and either read over and over again, they’re going to want to share it, they’re going to want to pass it along, so it, you know, it all really does play hand-in-hand together in understanding what their needs are and then consistently sharing that just over and over and over again.
Ashley: That’s a, a great point, and that’s really, it’s all about sharing stuff which helps people, and they remember you for that, and that was something Jay was saying in his presentation. Who are you going to remember? The guy who had the big billboard on the highway or the guy who helped you solve a problem when he didn’t even ask you for anything in return, and of course that comes back that to having an app which helps you find a location or whatever. Oh, that’s something from a company I’ve never bought anything off of, that’s amazing. And you know, you really remember that, that really hits home and in this day and age, it’s the way we have to do business.
So if you’re sharing content on a daily basis, and I was just reading through your points on your post again, you’re saying here the rule of 70/30, and I think this is just something that most people tend to follow, and I’ve seen some people really get wrong with the 100/0 rule which is the exact opposite which is almost like shouting again – which is, of course, sharing yours and other people’s stuff.
Rebekah: Yeah, well, exactly, so the 70/30 rule, which – not a hard and fast rule by any means, this is going to be a little bit different for everybody, but it just basically means that you’re sharing 70% of other people’s content, 30% of your own, and again, it’s finding that happy medium for yourself. But I always like in this, too, in a social networking event, because sharing content is definitely all about networking and think about it this way, if you were to walk into a networking event and just storm into the room, a bunch of people in the room, all talking, and you just started shouting about yourself, telling them all about your accolades, your skills, what you’ve done in the past, who you are, and oh by the way, here’s what I do, here’s how you can send me a client – what would those people do? They’d probably turn around, walk away. Nobody’s interested in somebody that just stands on a mountain and shouts with a bullhorn. So, you know, it’s very similar within social media. You want to create conversations, and a great way to do that is to share your content, but also share other people’s content. There are plenty of people, and this goes back to what I was saying about identifying who those people are within your industry, that are really doing a great job sharing content. So network with those people, network with them to get to know them and then start sharing their great content as well and a lot of businesses that I work with will say, “Oh my gosh, why in the world would I share somebody else’s content?” Oh my goodness, why wouldn’t you? There’s just so many different reasons to do that. 1. It’s creating that relationship, 2. It sets you apart, because now you look like you are creating just a wealth of information and you’re sharing all of this information on a daily basis and you become that go-to resource for, you know, whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, wherever it is you’re sharing, people are saying, “Well, pfft, I don’t even need to go anywhere else to get all the information I’m looking for because Ashley just shares it. He’s out there curating, he’s out there creating, he’s doing it all for me.” So it’s really positioning you as the thought leader, as that go-to professional, so there’s just tons of different reasons to want to share other people’s content .Again, back to the 70/30 rule, not a hard and fast rule, I think you really have to start to get out there, start to share other people’s content, know again how much you can commit to and how much creating of your own content. I post once a week. I know that’s my commitment to my blog, so you have to figure out how much can you commit to and then how much do you want to share on a daily basis? And then start to kind of weave other people’s content into that.
Ashley: Yeah, and I think that’s a problem that many people have in thinking that they have to keep up with the Joneses, if that’s a good enough expression for that, but –
Rebekah: It is.
Ashley: – you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Because once the people connect with you they’ll get used to what you’re doing, and they’ll expect that so I think the key is, and we’ve, I think, already mentioned this already but the key is consistency as opposed to volume. And if you’re on it once a day is probably not enough, there’s certain amount of times per day, especially on something like Twitter, maybe on Facebook it’s only a couple of times per day, and on Instagram maybe the same and Pinterest, again, you know, four or five times per day, whatever, but certainly if you’re doing it once a month people are going to forget you. So you need to find out kind of what the minimum standards are for each channel but certainly doing exactly the same as the big boys are doing or whatever, is not even your competition is doing, maybe they’re annoying the people who are following them, because they’re spitting out too much content, could be.
Rebekah: Yeah, well, and I think that’s a great point. I, you know, I talked about taking a look at your competition, and that by no means does that mean,mirror or mimic what they’re doing, I love what you said, we should all strive to do our own thing, be unique, get out there and set the tone for your business, your brand across your social networks, on your blog. To me, sustainable gets done and if you do not create a sustainable plan, one that you actually feel you can commit to, you’re going to get stressed out, you’re going to feel overwhelmed, and you’re going to start to let it slide, and that’s where the problems definitely do begin to crop up. Because then all of the sudden consumers are landing on your Google+ page and you haven’t posted in a month. Well, to me that looks far worse than not having a Google+ page altogether. So, you know, put a plan in place that feels comfortable to you, that you really feel like you can commit to and it maybe you work up to it. You start to share a little bit of content on a daily basis, and then you start to test the waters and see, ‘can I share a little bit more? Can I post a second time per day on my Google+ page?’ Whatever that might look like, just start to test it out, see how it’s received from your community and then move on. Then maybe bite off a little more. To me, it’s always baby steps. Don’t dive into the deep end of the pool and think that right out of the gate you’re going to have this enormous social media business plan or strategy that you’re going to be able to keep up with, especially if it’s just you and you don’t have a team. So, if I can give one big piece of advice, it’s really focus on maybe a couple of things. Focus on what you can commit to on your own blog, if you’re a writer, and you’ve got content on your blog, think about is it once a week, twice a week, what can you actually do, and then how much do you really have to curetting content – meaning going out there, finding other people’s content to share. Think about those two pieces, how many hours within a day or your week you have to do those two tasks and then chunk it down to, what does that mean? How many articles can you actually write, and how many articles can you actually curate?
Ashley: Mhm. Yeah I think that’s almost a perfect place to end, I was actually looking at the time and we’ve almost reached fifty minutes already, I can’t believe it. And yeah, actually, I think that’s almost a perfect place to end, I’m not sure, is there anything else you think we should touch on?
Rebekah: No, I think you’re right! I think that really does bring it full circle. I think the misconception that a strategy has to be lengthy, it has to be 20 pages, it has to be all encompassing, can feel very daunting to a lot of people, and so I would say, start small. Start small, and really know your limitations. Know what you can take on because understanding that, really knowing that from the get-go is going to allow you to put a sustainable plan in place.
Ashley: Yeah, I think that’s perfect because we’ve probably completely daunted or, I’m not even sure if that’s a word, but anyway that’s the problem of living in a German-speaking country, but anyway, ‘daunted,’ yes, I think that’s a word… but anyway, it’s daunting for people to hear all of this stuff. Multiple channels, multiple content types, video, podcast, Twitter, and you’ve just said, basically don’t do that; don’t bite it all off at once. These are all opportunities and options, they’re not musts and you don’t have to do 90% of them, you just need to do what you can, where you can, and where you’re comfortable, where your customers are, piece by piece, slowly implement, build it up, and that’s exactly what I did when I started and now I’m comfortable on multiple channels and I still can’t cover them all fully. And I just have to live with that, it’s something I can’t do, and yeah, that’s basically the way it is. And as you say, it doesn’t – you don’t have to copy everybody else. Do what you can but do something and try to engage with people and I think that’s almost perfectly covered it all, so these people should be creating a little bit of content wherever they’re comfortable on the channels that they can do that on. Awesome. I’m ready to go, even though I’ve already got mine in place. But I feel like I should’ve had that when I started out. That’s, yeah, that’s as you say, it doesn’t have to be complex, and that’s what I think people need to realize. It sounds really difficult when you say, “Social media strategy, oh my God, I need to write a book!”
Rebekah: Exactly. No, and you said it so well. Do what you can with what you have.
Rebekah: Don’t over think it; don’t stress yourself out over it, just figure out what you can commit to, and what you can commit to daily.
Ashley: And certainly if people go and follow you they’ll get lots of great tips, and let’s go there. What’s the easiest way to connect with you?
Rebekah: Well, they can find me on my blog which is Rebekahradice.com or connect with me pretty much anywhere social media-wise; on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ is probably where I’m spending the majority of my time, and that would be +Rebekahradice or @Rebekahradice over on Twitter.
Ashley: Okay, and I’ll put all of those links on the show notes and that’ll be madlemmings.com/episode18, that’s the number 18, and all of the links there and I’ll the links a few of your posts on this topic too so people can get a feel of what you’re blogging about and get some more information and yeah, I just want to thank you again for having your first coffee with me.
Rebekah: No, thank you.
Ashley: And we’ll certainly catch up again soon, I’m sure, and yeah, have a great day and hopefully a great rest of the week, as well.
Rebekah: You too.
Ashley: Alright, thanks Rebekah.
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Youtility – Jay Baer (being useful)
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Ashley is obsessed with SEO and WordPress. He is also the founder of Mad Lemmings. When he is not busy helping clients get higher on Google he can be found doing crazy sports in the Swiss Alps (or eating too much chocolate - a habit he is trying to break).