Whoa, has it been an entire month? Time flies.
Last month, I promised to provide you with an honest and transparent insight into exactly what I do to grow the The Course Cartel social media accounts – successes, wins, failures and ALL. If you missed the first article with my summary of the first few weeks, you can check it out here.
I mentioned in that article that my sole objective for The Course Cartel accounts for the next six months would be brand awareness and engagement.
In other words, it’s ALL about building a following of people on social media that genuinely love the content on The Course Cartel because it educates in an entertaining and unique way.
Since then, I’ve given that broad objective some additional.. ‘meat’.
As you begin working with social media for your business, it’s really important to track your success. And in order to do that, you need to have very specific and measurable goals to work towards.
Why? So you can continually test what’s working and what’s not, and change things up when you need to in order to reach your goals.
So, here they are!
A set of specific goals to meet which, when met, will prove that I’ve ticked the broad ‘improve my brand awareness and engagement’ objective off the list if I hit them by the end of December.
1// Grow social media following to 2,000 on Facebook by December 2017 (42 per week)
2// Grow social media following to 2,000 on Instagram by December 2017 (42 per week)
3// Grow website traffic to the The Course Cartel website to 2,000 unique visitors a month by December 2017
3// Increase mailing list to 3,000 (from 1,300) by December 2017
4// Test out other social media platforms to see whether they will assist with longer term objectives, as well as driving traffic to The Course Cartel.
5// Network, grow and nurture an engaged audience of people who value my content.
These goals, are – for me – realistic and achievable, taking into account that it’s all fit into the (after) hours and weekends around my ACTUAL work.
In order to have any hope of actually HITTING these goals, it’s important that I break down the specific actions (aka tactics) that I intend to take in relation to each one.
The important thing when it comes to all things social media is to start with a goal and then break it DOWN. Put it into a plan with tactics, roll it out CONSISTENTLY every single day, measure how it is going and then FINALLY make any changes required along the way.
Honestly, that’s IT. The secret sauce to social media success.
It’s that simple, and that hard.
With that said, here are the tactics that I intend to roll out to help me reach each of my specific goals.
GOAL: TO INCREASE FACEBOOK FOLLOWERS TO 2000 // 42 A WEEK
- Weekly $30 ad spend on Facebook to increase following by 30 average. Ensure ads are split tested to ensure maximum number of likes for spend.
- Remainder of Facebook likes to be generated via organic reach.
- Ensure that there are consistent posts on the Facebook – 5 Instagram reposts, and 5 original posts (shared articles, GIFs) each week.
- Generate list of Facebook groups with aligned target audiences. Be active and add value to them; ensure new blogs are posted in there each week if allowed and relevant.
- Make a list of sites to approach for guest posting, and arrange at least one a month in addition to current posting schedule to gain exposure to new audiences.
GOAL: INCREASE INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS TO 2000 // 42 A WEEK
- Post consistently. Two posts a day with relevant hashtags.
- Do more research on other possible hashtags and create hashtag groups.
- Commit to half an hour of community engagement every day. This can be broken down into 10 – 15 minute chunks.
- Cross promote Instagram account on newsletter and Facebook. Include more prominently on every website blog.
GOAL: TO GROW WEBSITE TRAFFIC.
Content – interviews
- Seek out people to interview who already have a following and with a similar target market who could add value to site. Make a list and contact them.
- Feature regular articles on them on site, and send them links to share on their own social channels.
Content – blog articles
- Research on Buzzsumo and make a list of content that will add value to audience.
- Set out content schedule and post consistently every week.
- Make a list of places to approach for guest posting, and arrange at least one a month in addition to current posting schedule.
- Enrol in Kate Toon’s SEO course. (I ended up missing out on her July intake, so intend to learn via smaller courses and her Facebook group, and to enrol in the February intake).
- Building good quality backlinks.
- Attempt DIY SEO in the meantime, including implementation of points in the Its The Now post on Squarespace SEO.
GOAL: LOOK AT OTHER CHANNELS THAT WILL ASSIST WITH TRAFFIC AND LONGER TERM GOALS.
- Take a day to set accounts up properly, do research and contact group boards to join
- Consistently pin. Spend half an hour on a Saturday to find articles and post to Board Booster.
- Pin all new blog posts to Pinterest and group boards.
- Undertake LinkedIn Training course with The Digital Picnic on 10 July.
- Put together Linkedin strategy and add it to content calendar, including joining, posting and interacting with relevant groups.
GOAL: INCREASE MAILING LIST TO 3,000 SUBSCRIBERS.
- Add a unique and valuable content upgrade to each new blog post each week.
- Commit to regular fortnightly newsletter to promote content and add value.
- Ensure that the mailing post is cross promoted on all social channels.
- Include CTA to join newsletter on all blog articles.
To keep me on track, I’ve put ALL of these tactics into a content calendar that sits on my desk and that I work to every single week. It keeps me consistent, and ensures that I am doing everything I need to in order to keep on track.
MEASUREMENT AND REPORTING
The final step in my much-more-detailed-than-last-month social media strategy?
Measurement and reporting. Which, to be honest, can be a bit of a bitch.
So, what am I doing to make sure I, well, actually do it?
THIS VERY SERIES OF POSTS. Yep, I’m actually doing these posts for a semi-selfish reason, which is to make sure I actually track, measure and report on my efforts.
I know it’s gonna work, because it needs to go out EVERY SINGLE MONTH or else you guys are gonna miss it. Nothing like a bit of guilt and obligation to make sure that I actually get shit done.
So guys, the above is, in a nutshell, a complete social media strategy – for those of you who have been asking how to do one. The only bits that are missing are the details of my target audience and a competitor analysis, but otherwise you have the exact framework I would use when putting together a strategy for a client.
Maybe I’m giving too much away! 😉
SUMMARY OF THE PAST MONTH
So now to the main bit – a summary of the last past 4 weeks. This week, I’m breaking it down into different platforms rather than reporting week by week.
Psssst… You can find me on Facebook here and I’d love you to follow along for regular social media tips!
BEST PERFORMING POSTS:
Hands down, the best performing posts were links to useful articles.
In fact, the BEST performing post last month was the first edition of this stats article.
The other two best performing posts were articles, too. One was an awesome article I shared written by Wildbloom Creative on 9 things to look for in a social media manager, and the other was this article of my own on turning social media likes into leads.
Here’s a snippet on the success of each taken from my Facebook Insights.
Ahh, Facebook. I love it, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that it’s AWESOME (and, in my opinion, BETTER than any other platform) benefits aren’t always easy to recognise on the surface in the wake of reduced organic reach, which to be honest? Can sometimes make it hard to feel motivated to keep up momentum with.
POSTING AND ENGAGEMENT
I posted on average 5 times a week last month which just isn’t enough. 10 -14 times a week is ideal – or in other works, twice a day at the most popular times for your page (not sure when they are? Check your Facebook insights).
Why is it so important to post so often?
Because organic reach is way down, and in order to get maximum bang for your buck you need to be posting more than once a day to:
- Ensure more people are actually seeing your content; and
- Test what’s working and what’s not so that you can adjust the type of content that you are pushing out.
The lack of posts SHOWED in my levels of engagement, which were down by half on last month. Next month’s goal?
To post more of the stuff that I can SEE in my Facebook insights is working, and to actively work on improving engagement. This will have a flow on effect on impressions (the number of times my stuff is seen in newsfeeds), too.
At the moment, what’s working is articles, and video.
I also want to concentrate more on STORYTELLING, because by looking at the most popular posts on some of the pages I admire (you can add these and keep an eye on their most popular posts in the ‘posts’ tab within your Facebook Insights) this is the content that REALLY gets the most traction.
I ran two like campaigns over the month for $30 each. Targeting and split testing are the two keys to success here.
Here is the most successful ad, which I ran as a video ad and which attracted 30 new likes in the first campaign when targeted to followers of pages that my target audiences would be likely to ‘like’. The second campaign was less successful – 15 page likes.
The remainder of the likes on the page are a result of posting in Facebook groups, the ‘like’ button installed as a pop up on my website and others seeing my content and liking the page.
I’m almost on target with likes this month, and happy with my progress here.
Have you liked my Facebook page yet? I’m hoping to hit 1000 by my next progress update so would be grateful if you would!
Facebook is hands down my biggest lead source. In the past month, I have had SEVERAL business leads come directly via Facebook message.
It’s also my biggest source of traffic to my website. In the last month, it was responsible for around 60% of my website traffic according to my Google Analytics.
So, for those of you struggling with the lack of engagement and organic reach, all I can say is – stick with it. It’s a hidden goldmine, in my opinion.
Next month? I’m gonna take my own advice.
Wanna get griddy with me? You can find me on Instagram here.
Instagram is like that friend you love having around because she’s always heaping praise and compliments on you, and making you feel bloody good about yourself. Seriously, though. Engagement on Instagram is next level compared to Facebook.
Post a pic, use your quota of well selected hashtags, and wait for the likes and comments to roll in. Which they DO.
It’s all pretty superficial, though – especially with the follow/unfollow garbage that is STILL going on and used by SO MANY ACCOUNTS to try and attract followers to their pages (I’m looking at you, @foodiesofbrisbane).
BUT, Instagram is bloody fun and considering that my focus at the moment is brand awareness and engagement, it’s working well.
(If my goal was TRAFFIC or CONVERSION on the other hand, it would be a different matter – less than 10% of my website traffic comes from Instagram).
My strategy on Instagram is to post twice a day, once around 6 – 8 am and again around 7 – 8pm. I’ve tested, and these are the times that I generate the BEST engagement.
One post is a fun picture which fits in with the blue/black/pink/white aesthetic of my Instagram feed, and the other is a social media tip. Fun pic, social media tip, fun pic, social media tip, fun pic.. You catch my drift. I’ll soon be organising a photo shoot which will be added into the mix, and which will be accompanied by ‘storytelling’ type posts which I can see work really well.
Best and worst performing posts
The mix of my best performing posts is an interesting one. The most likes mostly come from the fun pics.
The most COMMENTS always come from the social media tips.
And followers? All I can say is it’s a slow and steady slog (ESPECIALLY for accounts under 1000 followers, which is where I currently sit).
My BIGGEST piece of advice is to socialise!
Go out and find accounts similar to your target market and genuinely engage with them. Like their posts, comment (‘nice pic’ does NOT count) and if you think you would enjoy seeing their content in your feed, give them a follow.
The best time to do this is around the same time you are posting on your account, because they are the times that you know people are online. I’d also recommend finding account in a similar phase in their Insta journey – they will be more likely to follow you back, and more appreciative when you follow them in the first place!
Also, collaborate with like-minded businesses.
Last month, I ran a competition with Kylie from It Starts With Us events. She provided me with a double pass to her ‘Movers and Shakers’ event, and I ran a competition for my followers to win. It was a win win – she got exposure for her event, and I was able to add value to my followers and gain a few new ones.
More on collaborations in a future blog post.
I NEEDED to throw this one in the mix because I have literally JUST dipped my toe in the water with LinkedIn this month, and the result has been really, really surprising and (for the most part) positive!
What did I do?
Well, simply, I joined a number of LinkedIn groups with similar target market audiences to The Course Cartel. Then, I posted one of my blog articles in a group that I thought may find it valuable.
The result? In the week I posted it, 40% of my website traffic was generated from LinkedIn. 40 PERCENT!!!
I was seriously impressed. I also received a lot of positive feedback on the article in the group.
The down side? I also received one VERY negative comment, and a follow up post very passively aggressively directed at my in the group later that day.
Each to their own, Sally-Anne. Each to their own.
I’m really keen to do (a lot) more with this platform, and I think anyone working in B2B, sales (for example real estate) or professional services should look at it closely. It’s a platform that has been around forever, but with it’s recent acquisition by Microsoft I think it will become more of a major player in the future.
In particular, I think producing blog posts either natively on LinkedIn or posted in groups is a great way for businesses to showcase their expertise to their target audience.
I’m looking forward to a LinkedIn training session with the girls from the Digital Picnic all about LinkedIn this coming Monday!
Summary and learnings
To sum up, here are my highlights, lessons and learnings from the month that was:
NOT EVERYONE IS FOR YOU.
I’m not used to receiving really abrasive negative comments, and to be honest the comment in the LinkedIn group was something I really thought about.
What I’ve realised is that not everyone will be right for you and your business, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s probably a good thing – by giving your business and brand a strong personality that aligns with your values, you make sure that you only attract others that share the same mindset.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS SOCIAL
Honestly? Engaging with other accounts in a genuine way is the key to Instagram growth – especially in the early days. Social media is SOCIAL. Start conversations and form real relationships.
TEST NEW PLATFORMS
My mini-test with LinkedIn really surprised me, and reminded me how important it is to test new things. Looking forward to seeing what sort of results I can get with it next month. The following month, I will also test out Pinterest more.
GENUINE SUPPORT IS JUST SO, NICE.
Over the past month, I have received some really beautiful feedback and it has kept me going.
Like this one, from the awesome Nicky in the Launching Legends group:
And this from Green Revival Co.
And a number of lovely emails from some legends who know who they are.
Give this feedback to others, often. It makes a massive difference.
GOOD SOCIAL MEDIA IS BLOODY HARD WORK.
Doing social media well isn’t a quick post, set and forget thing. It requires a LOT of thought, time and hard work. A LOT. I’m not complaining because I love it, but if you’re looking for real results? You better make sure that you do, too (or else, outsource to someone that does!)
‘Til next month!
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