Earlier, I outlined six questions to ask yourself before you start a social media account. I realize some of those questions may be basic for those who have a team, or at the very least is not alone, but what about for those who do it by themselves?
At my full-time job, I do have two people that assist with some of my social media needs - a photographer and videographer. But the day-to-day posting and planning are still up to me. Their help is tremendous, but most days it still feels like I’m running social media alone.
I’m responsible for responding to followers, analyzing the data and coming up with plans for the day, week, month and year. And as someone who runs a nonprofit, I am alone, and everything is up to me.
There are many things I’ve learned a few things over the years, and I’ll share them over time, but I have a Top 3 that are important to know, and I wish I knew when starting out.
1. Know Your Limits
I mentioned this in my earlier article, but as a one-person creator, it’s the most important thing you can do. You can create a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest account, but can you manage all of them? Will you drive yourself insane trying to optimize content for all of them?
Truthfully, the only way you’re going to find your limits is to skip to No. 3 and test. There is research you can do before you launch social accounts to give you an idea what is the best to start with, and I recommend starting with a couple and adding on later, but what works for some does not work for all.
I’ll discuss this more in No. 2, but while Facebook might be the king of all social networks, it doesn’t do much for my traffic. Twitter is my No. 1 and Instagram is my second regarding engagement.
What I knew when looking over the landscape was that I can’t manage a Pinterest or Snapchat account. Between creating content for my website and my three social media channels, I’m tapped out. This is not missing out. This is focusing on what works.
As I mentioned above, the only way to know your limits is to test them. Whether you create an account for every platform, odds are there will be some that just don’t seem to gain traction.
For me, Facebook has never really driven much traffic to my website. It seems like every article out there tells you why Facebook is the most significant platform for online marketers, but looking over my analytics for the past few years tells me that what I’m doing there is not working. When someone else shares an article with their friends, that’s when I get a noticeable bump in traffic, but rarely does it happen when I post to my business page.
I get more engagement on Twitter and, lately, Instagram. Those are the platforms I’ve chosen to focus on, and it’s paying off. My traffic has increased despite ignoring Facebook, for the most part. It’s still my No. 2 social network when I look at my analytics, and while Instagram doesn’t drive much traffic, it’s a different demographic than the others, which is valuable for me.
My number one must-do under this section is, get your Google Analytics set up. I cannot stress this enough.
I did not. I started LaxRecords.com just to see what would happen. I did not have grand plans or really a roadmap for the future. My idea was to try it for a year and see if anyone cared. I cared, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure anyone else would. During Year 2, I could tell I was getting more emails, and I had WordPress stats to tell me about how much traffic I was getting, but no actionable information.
It was not until late in Year 2/Early Year 3 that I set up my Google Analytics. That gave me the knowledge that what I was doing was gaining traction. It allowed me to talk to potential advertisers and tell them who my audience is and what they’re interested in. I could highlight my best content and see where I was falling down.
So, learn from my mistake and get that analytic account set up and go through the process to get your Google Analytic Certificate. You’ll understand more, and it will give you ideas on how to gauge your success.
This applies to the type of content you create, especially if you’re early in your website, and to the social media you create and post.
My website is almost five years old, and I still try new content time-to-time. I’ve brought on guest bloggers, tried Top 10 lists, podcasting, photo galleries. You name it, and I’ve made an attempt. Some of these items have seen various levels of success, but what I’ve learned from these new attempts has sparked new ideas and constant evolution.
What will you learn with a new content idea?
I also recommend testing the platforms you utilize for posting to your social media accounts. Once you’ve analyzed your success, you’ll know which platforms work for you. That will help you find which software will help you post to those platforms.
Later is geared towards Instagram. Tweetdeck only does Twitter. Sprout Social posts everywhere. I use Buffer with good success and post to Twitter and Instagram and sometimes Facebook. Each of these has their strengths and weaknesses, and I’ve tried them all. I settled on Buffer because it worked best for me.
Now that you’ve asked yourself the 6 Questions and checked out the Top 3 things to know before you get started, it’s probably time to create a plan for your future website and get started on social media!