How to Use Social Media to Take Your Brand from Zero to 100,000
It gives me great pleasure to welcome back Sarah Gratton as a guest with her advice on growing your brand using Social Media.
These ten steps to success have been taken from the international best-selling book by Sarah and Dean Gratton, Zero to 100,000 which was listed as one of the top marketing books for 2012 by Social Media Marketing Magazine. You can find more details about Sarah, her book and how you can connect with her at the end of the post.
1. Listen First, Engage Second
The first step to success in social media is learning how to listen effectively before you start to engage with your audience. “Surely there aren’t enough hours in the day” I hear you cry, but it’s actually far easier than you might think.
There are some wonderful listening tools available, such as Google Alerts, Twitter Advanced Search and Technorati, which will do all the trawling for you and find those snippets of information that will make you a great curator of knowledge. It’s important not to bombard yourself with too many tools. Stick with a few really good ones to keep you informed and updated about the topics that relate to you and your followers’ interests.
2. Understand and Build Your Social Voice
You need to understand the impact of your social media voice within the social media spectrum, along with all the emotions or ‘sentiment’ attached to it. To do this effectively you need to find all the mentions about your personal brand using your preferred listening tool from step 1. Once you have accumulated all these mentions, you need to assign a number to each in a way that categorizes their sentiment value. For example: Positive = 1, Neutral = 3 and Negative = 5. This will enable you to calculate your average level of sentiment.
Now you have a measure of your sentiment, you can use it to better understand your social media voice by tracking it alongside what’s known (in social media terms) as your Share of Voice (SoV). Your SoV represents the conversations going on about your brand versus your competitors or your business sector in general. To find your SoV, you need to divide the number of conversations or mentions about your brand by the total number of conversations or mentions about other brands in your market.
Over time you’ll be able to see exactly how your social interaction benefits your brand, which will enable you to make smarter and more confident marketing decisions through social media.
3. Identify and Optimize Trends
By spotting and optimizing trends correctly and frequently, you’ll be able to identify them before they happen and discover those keywords that will work to attract customers to your brand rather than your competitors. So look for those trends and themes that come up time and time again in your particular field.
These will arm you with great insight about how your particular industry’s products or services fit into your consumers’ lives. Be sure to study the terminology used in discussions, noting down any keywords that come up repeatedly, as these will prove incredibly useful when optimizing your website through keywords, and when tagging future blog posts and other online content.
4. Find and Attract the Influencers
Influencers tend to engage in conversation with a number of different individuals and retweet or repost a variety of content simply because they find it interesting. Influencers lead and create trends rather than just follow them. In other words, they truly engage and don’t treat social media as just another promotional vehicle. They provide their audience with interesting content, clever responses and an eye for new information that will, in turn, be shared by their followers.
Engaging with the influencers in your business sector will enable you to engage their audience as well as your own. Join in their conversations, being sure to include fresh and relevant information that will grab their attention and mark you as someone who can add value to their community. The provision of information that continually adds value will assure you of their support in spreading the word about your brand through their sustained influence and will start your journey to become a key social media influencer yourself.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
Social media platforms are continually changing and evolving and many offer their users the opportunity to try out beta features, widgets and tools on a regular basis before their general release.
Let your communities know that you are keen to grow and expand upon your embrace of social media, and don’t be afraid to be a pioneer in terms of new ideas. Expanding your social media applications can work to grow both your brand and your following.
6. Use Cross Platform Promotion (CPP)
“Cross Platform Promotion (or CPP) defines the synergetic partnership between social media platforms to bring about the greatest content exposure.”
– Gratton & Gratton, 2011
When Dr. Dean Anthony Gratton (@grattonboy) and I started talking about cross platform promotion early in 2010, there was a great deal of debate taking place about the best way for small businesses to promote themselves online. We attended a huge number of seminars with experts talking about the best platforms out there on which to make the strongest impact and very little about harnessing the overall power of the global social community.
When it comes to building a trusted brand, we’ve always believed in the power of teamwork, each member of the team working together to spread the message quickly and with as much impact as possible to maximise Return on Investment (ROI) or Return on Involvement as it’s now being called in social media circles.
It starts with organisation. Applications such as HootSuite and TweetDeck allow you to put all your major social media accounts into one central location – your hub of operations if you like. From there you can plan a CPP schedule for success, using it to create a response buzz.
Effective use of CPP means getting the most out of each social media platform you choose to employ. For example, you might offer additional incentives for those people who like your Facebook page or tweet about their favourite products from your range (with a link to a photo of it). You can also build in geographically-tagged response buzzes through both Facebook and Foursquare, enabling your audience to echo their loyalty and empowering them as your brand ambassadors.
7. Keep Your Content Fresh
Stale and outdated content can be unattractive for both visitors and search engines alike. In fact, search engines often reward sites for having content that is fresh and frequently updated by promoting them ‘up’ on the list.
When writing new content for your blog, try to include the primary keyword phrase approximately five times. And don’t forget that including the phrase in your hyperlink and metadata are great ways to strengthen your posts’ relevancy during a search. This task should be tackled at least once a quarter after you update your keyword list.
8. Find Your Elite Social Drivers
Discover the most valuable traffic-driving sources across your social media platforms and rate each one to provide a top-down list of what and who’s working the hardest on your brand’s behalf. You’ll find some key drivers that are, in essence, you’re ‘A-listers’ or elite driving forces for your social media brand presence.
Use tools such as Sprout Social to track them and provide all the necessary stats your need, and others such as Klout and PeerIndex to keep tabs on those you influence the most and, likewise, those you are most influenced by.
9. Don’t Get Too Big for Your Social Media Boots
It happens to us all! That point of complete self-assurance, where the self becomes more important than the assurance. And, make no mistake, it will happen to you on your journey from Zero to 100,000!
You see, it’s all too easy to be seduced by the responses and comments surrounding that latest and greatest post of yours. Be flattered and honoured, but don’t allow the adulation to distract you. Remain focused and bear in mind that you’re only as good as your last post, so continue to ensure that each new one is as good as or better than the one before.
And remember to pay special attention to any negative feedback. Don’t sweep it under the rug with a “what do they know?” click of your mouse. These are the comments that can prove the most valuable to your business and your social media longevity.
10. Keep Them Hanging on to Your Content!
Instead of focusing solely on the number of blog page views you receive, take time to review how long your social audience spends viewing your content or using your online applications. You need to pinpoint those posts that achieve the longest audience duration periods to correctly assess what works best for your brand in terms of content.
When my @grattongirl brand started to really take off on the social media circuit, I found this kind of measurement particularly valuable, as it enabled me to target different types of content to certain social media tribes within my overall audience based on categories of interest and media delivery preferences.
Buy the Book!
The above ten steps to success have been taken from the international best-selling book Zero to 100,000 by Sarah-Jayne Gratton & Dean Anthony Gratton (2011), available from Que Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other leading booksellers.
The book provides the ultimate low-cost social media plan for finding your 100,000+ followers and has been listed as one of the top marketing books for 2012 by Social Media Marketing Magazine.
About the Author
Sarah-Jayne Gratton is a celebrity author, television presenter and former theatre performer. She has become an influential social media persona (as @grattongirl), speaker and writer, being regularly featured in Social Media Today and other publications including In-Spires Lifestyle Magazine and blogcritics.org.
Sarah-Jayne is the winner of a 2012 Shorty Award for ‘The Best Twitter in Social Media’ and is one of “Twitter’s Top 75 Badass Women”. She is also listed as one of the ‘Top Marketing Book Authors on Twitter’ in Social Media Marketing Magazine.
Sarah-Jayne is the co-producer and host of online TV talent show TwittersGotTalent.TV where contestants submit videos to the show and the Twitter community vote for their favourite act. TwittersGotTalent.TV was featured on the BBC’s Click TV program. Sarah-Jayne is listed in the Top 50 of The Sunday Times Social List.
You can contact Sarah-Jayne at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @grattongirl to enjoy her personal branding and social media related tweets. You can also read more about her work at sarahgratton.com.
*All images courtesy of Dean Gratton