For some, social media marketing ends in disaster. With the social site flexing it’s biceps and spitting a wad of chewing tobacco out of the side of it’s mouth while it repeatedly beats the user until they do their impression of a limp dishrag.
For others, social media marketing come across as dainty little fairies, magically kissing their updates with likes and shares, fluttering across the medium to send precious retweets, re-pins, and blessing them with magic fairy dust that drives manipulated traffic to a post where they happily click “buy now”.
Those last people make me sick. I would rather trek through middle earth to Mordor, battling ogres and wizards, rather than listen to how these people effortlessly drive traffic to their site with little or no work at all from them. On some occasions, when I am forced to listen to these miraculous(but somehow ridiculous) marketing strategies, I am forced to smile and agree that yes, it is so simple to be one of the upper-class blog owners.
Little do they know that I have to work for my traffic and new readers.
I was actually talking to my friend Allie Rambles today and it really got me to thinking about the lower and middle class bloggers that fight tooth and toenail for every inch of ground they get on social media.
This will not be a post for the blogger that has never had to work up their own audience.
This will not be a post for those people that have big companies backing them, therefore making it super-easy to manipulate traffic on social media.
This is not a white-collar blog post.
This is a post about the blue-collar blogger. The blogger that gets dirty, the blogger that works long hours and barely sleeps. The one that worries about how they are going to make their next dollar online. This is for the person who fights for every visit they get every day, the twelve and fourteen hour a day blogger.
And this is how you can improve your social media marketing strategy online.
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Search engine land says this about social media marketing:
Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining traffic or attention through social media sites.
Social media itself is a catch-all term for sites that may provide radically different social actions. For instance, Twitter is a social site designed to let people share short messages or “updates” with others. Facebook, in contrast is a full-blown social networking site that allows for sharing updates, photos, joining events, and a variety of other activities.
Why would a search marketer — or a site about search engines — care about social media? The two are very closely related.
Social media often feeds into the discovery of new content such as news stories, and “discovery” is a search activity. Social media can also help build links that in turn support into SEO efforts. Many people also perform searches at social media sites to find social media content.
There are people out there that are looking for the information that you can give them. The best part about social media platforms is that every social user is a potential visitor. Depending on whether or not you are doing your part in driving social media traffic can either make or break you when it comes to surviving in the social media jungle.
So you have great content and you are living on social platforms day and night, I want you to stop and listen to this question.
After you publish that great content on your blog, then what? You share it to your respective social media accounts, ie Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest…then what? Are you hoping for a miracle?
Let’s not get too overwhelmed here. If you’re sweating because nothing is happening for you on social media sites, then you may have to re-assess where you stand on these sites.
If you’re a new blogger, then it’s very easy to get caught up in the atmosphere of the whole idea of making money. Just like a new year resolution, you promise to post to LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook every day religiously, and by February, you’re MIA from the overwhelming responsibility that keeping all of these “major 3″ has on a person.
Not all social sites may be a good idea for your blog at the time. There is no shame whatsoever in picking the best platform for your blog and diving into in with everything you have.
Social Media Marketing Tip #1
Unlike the “white collar” people, you may not have thousands of Facebook fans or Twitter followers. So what is the smartest way to drive traffic to your site? Working with a handful of followers and Facebook fans, one could literally make “hair-pulling” a prominent career. However, there is people out there that can benefit from what you are posting they just don’t know it yet.
If they don’t know you, then they can’t come. Did you ever watch Kevin Costner in The Field of Dreams? Apparently there were some dead baseball players hiding out in his cornfield, in full uniform, waiting to play ball. He built the field, and they came. Simple as that.
Social media is the cornfield and content is the baseball diamond. People are waiting for what you have to give them. They may not know it yet, because they don’t know that you exist, however, there are some equalizing strategies that you can take to build your momentum.
Let’s take Facebook as an example. You need to know the playing field (pardon the pun). Get to know, right from the beginning, your demographic area and how many people you are actually influencing at this moment. Facebook Insights is a great way to see how many people you are connecting with at the moment. Use this to get a starting point for your launching pad in your social media marketing.
Becoming visible when you’re invisible seems to be an impossible task. Sometimes I can stand in a room full of people for ten minutes before anyone even knows I’m there. Being visible has always been a challenge for me.
So you want people to notice you…
In the world of social media marketing it is based on how you approach people in your updates. First off, it’s easy getting friends on Facebook, followers on Twitter, and connections on LinkedIn. That’s not a problem! The problem is in getting those connections to notice an update.
But this is what separates the “blue collar” from the “white collar”. Sure, we would love to wipe those everlasting smirks off their faces with a baseball bat, but you have to hand it to them; they are doing something right.
What is it that they are doing that you’re not?
The ever popular site Social Media Examiner points out that in order to be successful, you must “build a following”. However, they fail to mention how to do this fast and effectively. All they can drum up is this quote:
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are social media followers.
Hey, thanks for that! Meanwhile, I’ll go back to chewing my fingernails off at the nubs while you leisurely sip on your martini and laugh as the traffic rolls in.
Sadly, no one can really tell you the exact formula for becoming visible on these sites. Speaking from experience, it does take a lot of time to really buckle down and build a following that you can be proud of.
Some “No-No’s” in Building a Following
Never, should you ever, buy any type of followers. Whether they would be Facebook likes on your fan page, or Twitter followers, keep an appearance of integrity in social media, because there is always some smart-aleck that will find you out.
What I have found that really works for me in building visibility is actually reaching out to people in these sites. In my case blogging is 90% marketing myself on social media and 10% actually writing the post. If you ever think that there is nothing to marketing, then you may as well pack it up and go home.
Becoming visible is as simple as reaching out to someone online. It always helps to have blogging friends in your corner when the time comes. A recommendation from a blogger that has more followers than you is golden. Never underestimate the power of networking yourself to each other. Becoming visible to other bloggers is just as important as getting noticed by “the man on the street”.
Clearly, and you may be surprised to find out, most bloggers are blue-collar bloggers and are happy to find a new friend in the industry, perhaps with a crazed look in their eye, but happy nonetheless.
Playing the Trend Card:
A couple of things that you can do to get more people to notice you on these big social sites (since you don’t have a large group of followers and/or friends) is to check the #Trends on each site that you are wanting to get traffic from. Now, I for one, am a big advocate of setting my own trend. However, you can ask me about it when I actually do it. Until then, I follow the trend traffic to get a boost in visibility.
Trends are basically hot topics in where you can jump on the bandwagon and provide your relevant link to your content. However, finding a trend that really hits home with the niche you’re in is a little tricky, but it can be done.
A great trend finder is Google Trends and there are basically a lot of searches that you can do to find your niche related topic. Jeff Bullas recently wrote 6 Social Media Trends You Don’t Want To Ignore in 2013 that you should check out also.
Trends are easy to find depending on what social platform you are on at that time. Twitter has their hot trends on the left sidebar in your timeline, and you can monitor trends on Facebook and other social sites through a third party service called Kurrently.
Social Media Marketing Tip #2
Sharing, sharing, and share some more. All of these tips go hand in hand. You can’t do Tip #2 and forget about Tip #1. They are all equal in importance and all necessary to ensure the best result for traffic and followers.
This should be something to think about. Are you just trying to get traffic, or are you trying to build a following? If it’s traffic you’re after, then that’s pretty easy. Updating every 15 minutes or so will guarantee that traffic will flow steadily (at least on Facebook). But if blogging is something you’re planning on doing two years from now, then a following is what you need. I’m going to talk about building a following in a minute, but let’s discuss a different type of social media marketing…one that most people either forget, or could care less about.
Share That Post!
I read somewhere, and I’m sorry that I don’t have the link, you’ll just have to trust me, that social media marketing was 80% of sharing other people’s posts. If you look at it that way, it just confirms what I said before. You can’t do one of these tips without the other.
When you’re sharing other people’s posts and updates, then you’re interacting with them in a parallel level. Interaction is the primary goal of the social media marketer. So sharing is important! When you share consistently, you will start to notice that other people will start returning the favor. I recently have been getting shares from a white collar blogger by the name of Jeff Bullas. Seems as though all of those shares I have been doing has started to get the attention of this powerhouse blogger.
In my opinion, people that are getting shares from me and don’t return the favor pretty soon, I’ll find someone else to share with. You’re not the only blogger in the niche my friend!
Social Media Marketing Tip #3
I have literally wracked my brain on how I can actually show you how this next tip works. However, its a plethora of different tactics accumulated over time, but I’m going to try anyway…
Building a following on social media
Let’s take Facebook for example again. No matter how many friends you have, not all of them are going to see your updates. Simply because some of them won’t be online when you post that update. Another reason for not being visible on Facebook is because of your EdgeRank Score. Apparently, the average fan page only reaches about 7% of its audience. So for that reason alone make me think that they should throw that algorithm out of the window, but first they should shove it down Mark Zuckerberg’s throat!
Building a following takes time. The now white collar bloggers that lounge in their easy chairs used to be where we are, most of them anyway. You can always tell the white collar bloggers that have made it with their own sweat, blood, and tears because their fingers will be nubs and they tend to be very jumpy and nervous.
But these are the people that have worked long hours to get their following, and those long hours eventually turn into days, which turn into weeks, months, and years. One day, if you have been consistent, you literally wake up and boom, you’ve arrived!
In order to build a targeted following through social media marketing, you must be consistent. There is no algorithm, no secret, just plain and hard consistency. Sure, you will learn some social media tactics that eventually help you, but even with different tools, you can’t make them work unless you are consistent.
When I was working underground in the coal mines I used to drive a scoop. I really wanted to be an electrician because, more or less, they made more money. When I got the desire to be an electrician I found the right person to ask about it and he told me “no”. Now I could have went right back to the old scoop and kept on working, but that wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to be an electrician! So I kept going back, and kept going back, until they finally caved and allowed me to take the course.
You’re not going to build your following fast
You must stay consistent with your updating. Keeping your posts in front of your followers and friends is the best way for them to remember you. This and consistently sharing posts from others as well. A lot of people remember you when you take the time to comment on an update, tell them you shared, etc. I honestly believe that implementing one day into your busy schedule and devoting that one day to others will go a long way in bringing in the following that you desire.
What’s the secret of building a following?
No one can tell you. This is different for everyone. Some people come into this business with the full weight of a big company behind them with unlimited funding and resources. Of course these people are going to build a following faster than the rest of us simply because we can’t spend $200 a day on advertising. Even though these people get it honest, could they build a following that fast if a large company wasn’t backing them? Probably not.
The only thing that can be said about building a following is through content. Once you get the hang of pointing traffic to your site, writing catchy titles that peak the interest of a social user, and building relationships with them from social sites, you must have great content that will keep them coming back to your site.
There is nothing better than when someone says this on your blog:
What are you doing to implement a great social media marketing strategy? If no one is coming, or you still have all of your fingernails, then you’re probably not doing it right. Tell me, my blue-collar blogger, what is it going to take for you to be able to change shirts and get your blog to the standard of where it needs to be on social media? Pitch me some theories about what you think you’re doing right, but for some reason, nothing is coming of it. Let’s discuss it!