I am frequently seeing articles explaining how to do social media marketing in 30 minutes or an hour each day and decided it was time to deliver a reality check. Unless you are a social media “guru”, “author”, “celebrity” or #fauxpert that has never done social media marketing outside of self promotion and has a huge social following, it’s time for a reality check. Any expectation that real results, revenue and return on investment for any SMB or marketer will be achieved by following such advice is foolish thinking.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but effective social media marketing is a detailed combination of technology integration, creativity and a whole lot of activity 24/7. It’s not working when you want, getting weekends off and forgetting to check your feeds, mentions and conversations for days at a time. We call that kind of activity and dedication social networking, not social media.
That’s great if you are an enthusiast that is not using social media channels for marketing, but then again I don’t write for enthusiasts. My articles are always focused on the average brand, SMB, individual marketer and social media agencies. It’s what I know and do, not a hobby or a subject matter I have become known for and use to generate book sales, speaking gigs or ad revenue from blog traffic.
Our goal is to change the message of the industry that is dominated by the folks outlined in the above paragraph into that of real effective use of social media by people who have and actually do it. It’s one thing to consult Starbucks or most other major brands on social media because you sold a ton of books about the subject. It’s another thing to actually create and execute a strategy for the majority that make up social media marketers like small and medium brands or individual marketers and get results. Heck, my 14-year-old daughter could consult Starbucks or most other major brands on their social media marketing. They do it wrong and don’t have to do it right. They have billions in media and marketing dollars that drive their brand on and offline.
While articles that tell you that you can get results with minimal time and effort in social media are incredibly appealing to the masses, I am hear to tell you that it takes work.
*Note – Social media agencies, consultants and coaches – keep reading. There are some reality checks for you as well. :-)
In an effort to both deliver a reality check as well as a real guide of activity, following is a list of SOME daily activities that are required to get results with any social media marketing program.
1) Content Posting: Every day you need to have relevant valuable content for your audience in your stream. Content that gets them to engage, like, comment and share. Not just posts about you or what you do, but information, news and articles your audience will find relevant.
How much content? Here is a basic list of posts per day on a few of the networks you are likely working with:
Twitter – 15-20
Facebook Personal – 4-8
Facebook Page – 3-6
LinkedIn Personal – 5-10
Groups – 1-4
G+ Personal – 10-15
G+ Brand Page – 2-5
Every industry, audience and brand is different, but this will give you a sense of some minimum levels that are required.
2) Content Creation: Like it or not, you have to not only share content relevant to your audience, you also have to create your own content. Blog posts, videos, images, infographics, etc. You can’t lead in an industry where you are not contributing to its message in new ways. This is not an occasional required activity, it’s every single week.
3) YOUR Content Posting: Once you have created content, you need to post it. The good news is that the more content you have created the more content you have available to post daily. I believe content you have created and posts that are about you and what you do should make up about 20% of what you post every day.
4) Content Sharing: Part of social media marketing is sharing other people’s social posts that you and your audience may find interesting and valuable. This serves two purposes;
- It delivers additional value to your audience beyond what you found and posted.
- It lets others know that you appreciate what they post and wanted to pass it along.
5) Real and Real-Time Posting: These posts are above posting and sharing content and are just about being real, human and approachable. These are often just text and consist of what you are thinking, the weather, where you are and what you are doing. Don’t forget that people connect with people in social media. Don’t be a logo or a robot. Nobody can like or build a relationship with either of those.
6) Community Growth: Every day you need to be growing your community of fans, followers and friends that are your target audience. If you build it they will come doesn’t work in social media. Though doing the above 5 activities every day will help you consistently grow your community, if you are using social media for marketing, that community size needs to increase. Therefore every day you need to be searching and finding your target audience on all of the social networks and connecting with them. Don’t wait for them to find you.
7) Community Outreach: Within your community you need to continually reach out and engage. That is no different from being at a live networking event. You start conversations and get to know them. You share their content and information with others and build a relationship. This must be done daily to be effective with social media marketing.
8) Response/Engage: The opposite of outreach is responding. When someone likes, shares, comments on your posts, acknowledge them, thank them and star a conversation. If someone mentions you in social media, respond.
I have a lot to say about this section, but in order to keep it a blog post and not an article I will say that timing matters. When someone mentions you or comments, they are there, online, right now. Waiting hours or days is missed opportunity and will never see any real results.
9) Follow Backs: When someone follows you on Twitter, Circles you on Google Plus or Friends you on Facebook or Linkedin, you need determine whether you want to reciprocate or accept. I recommend that this is done every single day. We do it twice per day ourselves.
*Tip – if you’re using social media for marketing, follow, friend and connect with those that are your target audience. If you are a restaurant in Tennessee, friending or following someone in the UK doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
10) Data/Statistics: You need to know what is working and what isn’t. Paying attention to your statistics, results, analytics and data on a daily basis is required. Knowing this information enables you to adjust the what’s and when’s of what you are doing and set realistic goals and targets. Not knowing means you are not getting anywhere.
11) Planning/Strategy: Every day you need to be planning and adjusting your strategy. Using what you learn to improve results in social media marketing is no different from anything else in business. Test, measure and adjust… DAILY.
More Reality Checks for Marketers:
So if you think that real, effective social media marketing can actually be accomplished in 30 minutes or an hour per day, I invite you to think again. This is why there are so many social media agencies out there and more popping up every single day. Not too many people have the time, knowledge and ability to execute all of these thins on a daily basis. If you can’t either or are not getting results, I suggest you speak with a qualified social media professional agency as well.
*If you are paying $99/mo for “social media” from some online company, you’re being robbed. It takes far too much time, tools and activities to really do social media marketing right that results in real business.
More Reality Checks for Social Media Agencies:
If your agency is teaching social media marketing instead of doing it, before taking some unsuspecting persons money, be sure they understand what it really takes. Stop taking money from people to teach them things they will never have the time, skill or experience to execute well. Anyway you slice it, it’s stealing…
*As a consultant or agency that teaches social media, the person you teach is rarely the CEO that paid for you. Be aware that the admin, intern or junior employee you train, will soon be in love with social media marketing just like you and will be starting their own agency when their employer pulls the plug. Stop creating competitors for yourself every six months, while making pennies for doing it. Do the hard work for clients and get them real results by delivering effective social media management that has value and recurring revenue.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more required in social media marketing like strategy, targeting, social selling, conversations and more. But true to form, I am not here to condemn or be hurtful. My only goal here is to increase the effectiveness of social media marketing in general and change the message to real results, not scores, followers, likes or speakers. Go do this!