In the last part of this series we looked at developing an editorial calendar for your content. The next phase of running a successful social media campaign is ensuring that your audience can find it and can interact with it.
Running a social media campaign based solely on an editorial calendar is rather like trying to find friends by sitting at the end of the bar and talking to yourself. It might work, but it’s going to be very slow going and most people are going to ignore you.
A better way to start conversations is to approach people and ask them about themselves. In a real life situation that can be a little nerve wracking but online it’s very easy.
Google is your friend. Take a topic from your editorial calendar and put it into Google with the word “blog” at the end. Scan through the lists and find blogs with clearly engaged audiences (e.g. they aren’t blogging to themselves) and see if you can contribute to discussions they already have going.
This is really important. Don’t leave comments for the sake of link building (they usually get deleted). “What an interesting post, please visit mine.” Is not a conversation starter. Something along the lines of “your 5 safety tips for cats are really good, I’ve often wondered if butter on the paws (the old wives tale) really stops a cat from running away?”
Now the other blogger has an incentive to take notice of your post. You’ve asked a question and given them room to respond. 99% of blog comments allow you to link to your blog, so you’ll have gained an incoming link (which is good for SEO purposes) at a minimum. Ideally, the person will answer your question then visit your blog and if they like what they see – they’ll share it with their audience.
It’s important to follow up on these conversations. If you get a response keep talking. This has another beneficial effect – the readers of a blog like to see engagement between the writer and their audience and they too are likely to follow your link back to your site.
There’s no easier platform to start talking to other people on than Twitter. Hashtags (#conversation) make it very easy to find people talking about things that are relevant to your business. So on the day you’re running your cat promotions, you can search for “cats” and you’ll get a list of everyone who has included cats in their hashtags. If you find an interesting conversation – you can join in immediately. Make sure you keep the shameless self-promotion to a minimum – users will visit your page and click out if they find you engaging, there’s no need to keep dumping links on them.
The same principles can be applied to any other form of social media with a little bit of thought. This is so important that it needs to become part of the editorial calendar. Each day should have a specific number of targeted new interactions. As time progresses you’ll need to allocate additional resources to maintaining larger numbers of conversations too.
OK, by now you should be fully ready to launch your first social media campaign for your insurance brokerage. The next part of this series will look at making the management of campaigns easier through automated tools.