The Truth About Automating Social Media Content

The Truth About Automating Social Media Content

Automation has become a huge buzzword in the marketing industry in the past few years. And why wouldn’t it? With people managing more responsibilities in the workplace than ever, it makes sense that marketers are trying to find ways to work smarter, not harder. Personally, I love automating social media content. With some simple planning, it’s easy to pinpoint which holidays you want to run content for or sales/products you want to consistently promote.

BUT.

Automating content doesn’t mean you get to forget about your content completely. You still have work to do.

More and more social media marketers are using automation tools as an excuse to be lazy. Especially when it comes to social media content. Why spend time checking on trending content every day for unique posts, when you scheduled social media content that self publishes daily one month ago?

Social media marketers can also run into issues when they miss trending content, or share inappropriate content that had been previously scheduled when breaking news occurs. Most recently, brands ran into this issue in the United States when George Floyd was murdered in Minnesota and light was being shed on the Black Lives Matter movement. Many businesses (and influencers) were suddenly under fire for posting their regularly scheduled content instead of speaking on racism in America.

For business owners, automation has other dangers. I get it, running a business is A LOT of work. It’s time consuming and posting on social media seems like the least important thing on your to-do list for the day. In that sense, automation has its perks. The problem occurs when businesses use automated content as an excuse to stop checking their social media accounts. After all, you know content is being published…. and that’s the most important part of social media, right? WRONG.

Social media channels like Facebook and Instagram were created to foster connections with your friends and audiences, NOT to recycle the same content over and over again in the hopes that someone will buy your product of service. Engagement is key on social media, and if you’re using automated content on social media as an excuse to stop checking social media or talking to your audience, you are doing it wrong.

I’m a fan of automated content. But I only use it for my own brand accounts and pages, and I only schedule content a week in advance. For my clients, I schedule content DAILY to ensure that the content being shared is timely and relevant to our target audience. In addition to scheduling content, I am constantly monitoring notifications for messages from followers, new comments, etc, so that I can engage quickly and create a dialogue that will build the relationship between the business and the customer – something a simple post cannot do.

If you want to make sure you are spending your time effectively when it comes to managing your social media content and presence, I recommend doing these things:

  1. Schedule evergreen content. Evergreen content is content that doesn’t go out of date. Examples include testimonials, information about services, product highlights, etc. (Note: It is possible to overshare this content on social media, so use sparingly ie weekly or monthly)
  2. Schedule 15 minutes at the end of the day for engagement. Before you sign off for the day, take 15 minutes to go through your engagement notifications. Ideally, you would do this more than once throughout the day, but sometimes things get busy.
  3. Determine what trending holidays you want to post for in advance. Fun holidays like Take Your Dog to Work Day, or National Wine Day are often the same every year. Do your research in advance and include the trending holidays you want to share a post for in your annual content strategy so you know when it’s coming.
  4. Keep a library of content you can use in a pinch. In your downtime, find or create unique content like blog posts or graphics that can be shared when you’re running low on content. I use Google Drive to store my content, but many scheduling programs allow you to save content directly to their program as well.

The takeaway here is that automating doesn’t mean forgetting about it completely. Schedule evergreen content when you can, but don’t forget that the key to building relationships and trust with your followers and potential customers is to present timely, relevant content and engage with your audience. If you’re pressed for time and don’t have the capacity to prioritize keeping up with your social media channels, shoot me an email today and find out how I can help.

Infographic: Elements of a Marketing Strategy

Infographic: Elements of a Marketing Strategy

Earlier this week, I dropped some hard truths about your marketing strategy and why it’s failing. Today, I wanted to share some other essential elements your strategy needs to be a fully developed, comprehensive plan of action.

Keep in mind the elements listed below are not the only things you’ll need to incorporate into your marketing strategy, but they’re the key pieces you’ll need to include to run a successful campaign. Need help developing your annual strategy for 2021? Shoot me an email today to learn about my strategic services.

This May Be Why Your Strategy Is Failing

This May Be Why Your Strategy Is Failing

You’ve done the work. You’ve identified your business goals and developed a strategy (with flawless execution) but you aren’t seeing results. After hours of work and planning to build a strategy that will yield results, you scrap your entire the entire thing and consider it a failure. Now you’re discouraged and convinced digital marketing just doesn’t work for your business and go back to your old business model and marketing plan because having some plan – any plan – is better than having nothing at all.

Sound familiar?

Too often marketing strategies fail to yield any return on investment. But before you scrap your entire strategy, or give up on digital marketing altogether, take a second and think about this.

Your target audience is probably wrong.

You read that right. Many times business owners focus on their ideal target market instead of their actual customer demographics. I’ve touched on this in previous posts before, but it is so important as freelancers and small business owners to separate the idea of what your target audience should be from who your target audience actually is.

Fortunately, with a little market research you can pinpoint your primary target audience to ensure your marketing strategy yield positive results. If your marketing strategy isn’t hacking it in terms of sales, take a look at the market research you conducted while developing your strategy and consider if you had the right target audience.

Do you need help assessing whether or not your marketing strategy is operating successfully? Shoot me an email today to schedule your free one on one consultation.

Infographic: When Should You Post on Social Media?

Infographic: When Should You Post on Social Media?

By far one of the most common questions clients ask me is “when should I be posting on social media?” While I usually advise clients that they should be posting as often as it feels natural to do so (forced content is not your friend), the time that posts are shared is a bit of a science.

Since social media algorithms favor specific types of content, the time of day that you post can affect your post’s reach, engagement, and click through rate. Today I am sharing some of the best times to post on social media to see the highest reach and engagement. These times vary based on industry and are based on national numbers, so be sure to prioritize testing on your social platforms to pinpoint the time your audience is online.

Need help identifying when your audience is online? Shoot me a message today to schedule your FREE 30 minute consultation.https://maggielasley.com/contact/

How I Got My Client a Free Feature on a Large Social Account

How I Got My Client a Free Feature on a Large Social Account

This week one of my client’s reached a new milestone in their social media strategy – they were featured on an account with over 450,000 followers FOR FREE! This is a huge win for us, it’s something my client has been trying to do since before we began working together and we were able to accomplish her goal together in just TWO DAYS. Keep on reading to find out how we were able to accomplish her goal.

We had relevant, quality content.

Props to my client for keeping her goal in mind and jumping at the opportunity to take a great photo while out on a walk that we could use to post on our social media accounts. She sent me two photo options, and we chose the best one to share.

We paired the image with a quick, snappy caption that played on the holiday season to make our post relevant to our followers (and to the large account) and utilized relevant hashtags with both large and small followings to ensure our post was seen.

We shared the post with our audience.

By posting the photo we wanted to be featured during a time frame when our audience was most active. We also leveraged the tag feature to share our post with local accounts to help increase our organic reach and bump up our engagement.

We shared our post with the large account.

But not just on social media. While we did tag the account (and their sister account) in our photo, I also did just a bit of research to find out who managed the account. I tagged them in the photo as well, and emailed the photo to the customer service account. Because large accounts get so inundated with tagged content, most of which is usually irrelevant to their account, it’s easy for tags to get missed so multiple points of contact is crucial when it comes to guaranteeing that your post gets seen.

What were the results?

In the first 24 hours, our featured post got over 17,000 likes and a good amount of comments from individuals living in Grand Rapids – that is awesome for a national account like the one we were featured on. That combined with our own post’s performance has helped us increase awareness exponentially in just a matter of two days and no ad budget to speak of.

Now what?

Now that our post was successfully featured, it’s up to us to leverage that feature in a way that is beneficial for us. That means I’ll be hopping on that featured image and returning comments to everyone who commented on that post and lives locally. We’ll also come up with a brief MMP (mini marketing plan) to drive some of this new traffic to the website and monitor performance through Google Analytics.

Do you have a goal to be featured on a large account or to amp up your social presence in 2020? Click here to connect with me and explore some fun opportunities!

4 Common Misconceptions About Social Media

4 Common Misconceptions About Social Media

By now it’s no secret that social media is a powerful tool. But there are tons of myths floating around about how to best use social media as a part of your marketing mix. Below I outlined just a couple of common misconceptions about social media for you to consider as you develop your marketing strategy in 2020.

You should prioritize likes and engagement to track ROI.

No, no, and no. Likes and engagement (comments and shares) are considered vanity metrics. They seem impressive to your followers, but really, they don’t mean much unless your main social media goal is to create a space for open dialogue with your existing followers.

I’ve had many clients in the past put too much emphasis on getting likes and comments on their social posts, and ultimately most ended up unhappy because they realized those metrics don’t convert to sales.

Establish valuable and measurable KPI’s that can help drive your sales and encourage growth in your business (clicks to the website, e-mail signups, and profile visits are all considered measurable KPI’s that can have direct impact on sales).

Social media is free.

Social media platforms are tools that are free to create, but that doesn’t mean they are free. When you consider the time and resources it takes to keep your social media content relevant and new for your followers (not to mention a budget to run ads), you will definitely need to plan on investing at some point.

You need to be on every platform to make the most of social media.

Before you start trying to use Tik Tok for your business know this: you can do anything, but not everything. And you certainly can’t do everything well. Fortunately, to reach your target audience you don’t need to. Your social media marketing strategy will be infinitely more effective when you focus your attention and energy on the platforms your target market lives on.

Social media is too time consuming.

If you fail to plan, social media can be VERY time consuming. But when you have a marketing strategy in place, utilize a content calendar, and set aside a few minutes throughout the day to engage with your followers, managing your social media content can be accomplished without much struggle.

That being said, managing social media is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you don’t enjoy spending a lot of time on social media, it may be worth your while to invest in contracting a professional to help manage your social media channels.

Ultimately the main thing to remember when utilizing social media is that it’s a tool meant to serve you and your business. Put it to work in a way that best suites your needs to make it an effective part of your marketing strategy.

Ask Yourself These Things Before Hiring a Marketer

Ask Yourself These Things Before Hiring a Marketer

You’ve made the decision to contract a marketer for your business. That’s great! Before you meet with your candidates, there are a few things to consider to ensure your interviews go off without a hitch and you find the perfect professional to help you grow your business and your brand. Often times, business owners establish a need for marketing before they determine why they need it. Don’t make that mistake. Read on to find out why, and learn some questions you should consider prior to meeting with marketing professionals.

Think of your business in terms of health. Say you have had knee pain for the past few months and you go to your doctor for an exam. Your doctor will likely ask you if you’ve taken any medications to help your pain, if your pain is chronic, and what your activity levels are like. You likely know the answers to those questions because you’ve thought about them prior to your appointment.

The same applies to your marketing needs. In order for someone to successfully help you develop your marketing plans, they need to know as much information as possible first. Below I’ve outlined 4 things that you absolutely need to consider before meeting with any marketing professional to discuss your needs.

Have you identified your business’s biggest problem? Have you tried solving it internally?

It’s important to know your company’s pain points prior to interviewing someone to help guide your marketing efforts. Be as detailed as possible when identifying your issues, so that when the time comes, your marketer has all the information necessary to establish a strategy that addresses your problem directly. It’s also helpful for potential marketers to know what you’ve tried before in an effort to fix your problem by yourself.

If you have many problems outlined or are unsure of how to identify your issue, you may benefit more from a consultation than a full time marketer to begin. Get the ball rolling today with your free 60 minute consultation.

Do you have a clear goal for your business in mind?

Let’s just get this out of the way – “make as much money as possible” is not a clear goal. Everyone wants to grow (aka make more money). When establishing a goal ask yourself how much you want to grow, and how quickly you want to get there.

Setting up a successful campaign that yields more money can be a total disaster if that growth happens too quickly and your business doesn’t have a capacity to fulfill those sales. While a marketer can certainly help you establish whether or not your goal is realistic (after a thorough analysis of your current marketing/business presence), it’s up to you to voice your expectations up front so that everyone enters the partnership with clear guidelines.

An example of a good goal is: “Last year we did X amount in sales, this year our goal is to do Y.” This goal will give your potential marketer an idea of where you’re going, and when you want to get there, and you provide real numbers that your marketer can use to break into micro (quarterly or monthly) sales goals to establish whether or not a campaign is working well and you are on track to meet your goal.

Do you have set expectations for a marketing role?

This seems like a given, but often times isn’t discussed. Please consider what expectations you have for a marketing professional prior to contracting an expert to help you, especially in terms of communication. Do you want someone who can join weekly team meetings to provide updates? Are you looking for a weekly report, or monthly? What do you want the approval process to look like?

Those are all things to consider so that when the time comes, you can address those expectations immediately and establish whether or not the person you are meeting with will mesh well with your current business practices.

Have you established a marketing budget?

Every single marketer you meet with will ask you this question because it keeps them a jumping point to start a proposal and begin planning a strategy.

It is 100% okay if you don’t have a solid budget established at the time of your interview. Having a price range in mind is often enough for a marketer to get the ball rolling. However, you should consider your marketing budget, and your ad budget and whether or not you will establish an ad budget, or run an organic (unpaid) campaign.

Ad budgets are often charged in addition to your marketing budget, both should be considered prior to your interview. Keep in mind: the marketer you hire will be able to determine whether or not your ad budget is reasonable during the analysis phase of strategy development and may change month to month.

Have you considered these questions and are ready to take the next step in growing your business? Let’s chat today and get the ball rolling!

One Step You Can Take Right Now To Improve Your Social Media Presence

One Step You Can Take Right Now To Improve Your Social Media Presence

Having a social media presence in 2019 is unavoidable. With over 335 million users on Twitter, 1 billion users on Instagram, and 2.23 billion users on Facebook, there is no denying your audience is scrolling through these social apps on a daily basis. But with so much competition on social media, getting your content to stand out can be a daunting and overwhelming task.

So many businesses see brands with large followings posting on social media and strive to replicate their online presence to “get more followers.” We can chat about why getting more followers is not an ideal goal for businesses later, but today I want to talk to you about how you can take the first step to improving your social presence in a way that is absolutely organic for your business and will set you apart from your competition.

Are you ready?

Pick one thing to focus on, perfect, and share it daily with your audience. For example, the idea of posting a quality photo, consistent with the feed on my dog’s Instagram account (yep, I’m one of those people) daily was just too much. Between working a full time job, spending time with my friends and family, and working on my side hustle, I didn’t really have the time, or the desire, to post a curated image every single day.

But I did have time to post stories. Quick snapshots and videos of life with a rambunctious pup were easier to take at random than it was to set aside hours upon hours to take and share photos in my feed every single week.

By sharing 3-8 stories per day, I actually increased my account’s overall reach AND engaged with new accounts by utilizing stickers, sharing candid content, and asking questions. More people engage with me in my stories than they do on my posts because that is where I focused my energy and dedicated my time.

My “brand” recognition comes from my stories, not my posts, and that is A OK.

Eventually I will work on curating my content, but for now I am dead set on perfecting my presence in stories and maintaining the relationships that come from that because that is where I see value.

Maybe you want to use stories more, maybe you want to engage with new accounts, or maybe you really love curated content and your feed is your top priority. That’s great! The important thing is to focus your attention on that one priority and perfect it before moving on to the next step in making your social presence more like those big accounts.

It’s true that you reap what you sow, so why not plant one seed and nurture it to perfection before planting other seeds – instead of planting many seeds at once and putting in the minimum amount of effort to get those seeds to grow?

What one thing are you going to focus on to amplify your brand on social media?

Case Study: Boosting Engagement on Social

Case Study: Boosting Engagement on Social

If you own a small business, the likelihood that you’re familiar with Small Business Saturday already is pretty high. On the Saturday following Black Friday, individuals are encouraged to support small, locally owned business in their area by shopping in their stores.

While sales are by and large the most popular way to take advantage of Small Business Saturday, when you offer a service rather than physical products, it can be tricky to find ways to take advantage of the widely publicized holiday.

This year, I worked with a local business to create a campaign for Small Business Saturday that would promote the brand as a whole rather than a sale or product. Keep reading to learn what I did, and what the results were!

The Campaign

The plan of attack for this Small Business Saturday campaign was relatively straightforward. By running a Like, Comment, Share contest on both Facebook and Instagram we could instantly reach new prospective clients with every single person who opted to share our content and comment on it. By running the campaign for a short period (two days), we anticipated creating a strong sense of urgency for our followers, encouraging them to take immediate action. We continued the elevating the overall campaign strategy when we chose the prize package – branded gear for people and their dogs.

The prize package ensured that even after the campaign was over, we would be reaching new people whenever our winners wore their gear out in public.

What Were The Campaign Goals?

The goals of this campaign were clear and simple: Effectively give a boost to our organic reach and engagement on the business’s Facebook and Instagram pages. There was no hard number or percentage in mind, we were simply trying to give ourselves a boost on social during a typically slow period of engagement. We chose to focus on reach and engagement for the sole purpose of increasing the likelihood we’d be discovered by new audiences – aka friends of people who followed our accounts.

The Results

Not only did this campaign exceed client expectations in the first few hours of publishing, within 24 hours it became the post with the 2nd highest amount of overall reach and total engagement for all of 2019 on Instagram, and the fifth most popular post this year that converted to website clicks (only outranked by blog posts that were shared throughout Q2 and Q3) on Instagram!

On Facebook, we also saw great success, reaching 1,193 people organically and maintaining our overall engagement rate of 8% (the average engagement rate across all industries is only 3.91% as reported by Sprout). We had less comments on Facebook than we did on Instagram, BUT we had more shares, ultimately increasing our reach and increasing awareness among potential clients.

From an analytic stand point, this campaign could not have gone any better given the time parameter of a one day holiday like Small Business Saturday. More importantly, the client was thrilled with the results!

Do you want to amplify your organic reach and overall engagement on social media in 2020? Shoot me an email today and let’s discuss social media management for your business!