Last week, we spoke about social media marketing; today we will speak about what to do to get noticed on social media.  STRATEGY is the KEY HERE.

#1 Make a Plan

Social media might look like it’s all spontaneous, but the reality is, the most successful social media strategies include making an organized plan and sticking with it.  Spontaneity should have a place in your but your social media should run on a schedule.  Your plan should consist of a mix of promotional and non-promotional content.

Your plan should include what your non-promotional posts will be.  For example, if you decide to post four times a day, you might break it down to one promo, one inspirational quote, one link to content you did not create, and one relatable text post.

It plan shouldn’t be set in stone — in fact, it will be most effective if you allow your plan to be fluid and change over time as you see what works best for you. But there should be a plan in place from the get-go.

#2 Don’t Over-Promote

Your number one goal is to gain as many social media followers as possible. These are people who are literally choosing to allow you to sell to them in their feeds.  The best way to avoid convincing people that you’re worth following (and sticking with) is to over-promote yourself.

How much promotion is too much promotion? A general rule of thumb in social media marketing is The 70/30: As in, 30% of your posts should be promotional, 70% should not be directly promoting your business.  Basically for every one promotional post you make, there should be three or four that do not promote your business.

Again, this isn’t set-in-stone.  You don’t want to be actively selling 70% of the time, but if the information is relevant and, more importantly, what your followers want, you can certainly post things that connect to your business most of the time.

The more you can present your business with valuable content rather than sales pitches, the better.  Writer’s Digest’s Twitter, for example, posts mostly thing that relate to their publication. It doesn’t come off as promotional, because it’s content that their followers, working and aspiring writers, find valuable.

#3 Focus On Your Service Area

The internet is huge, and it’s natural to want to tap into the vastness of the web.  For most small businesses, you’ll have more success if you target similar-sized businesses as other small businesses are likely to look for services like yours first because you are familiar with their culture.

In social media, you can focus on your service area by joining groups related to your business.  You should also follow people who show an interest in your industry, or who could benefit from your services. Just remember not to post ads on other people’s pages — as connections should be built strategically.

#4 Engage and Interact

The biggest factor in getting noticed on social media is engagement. You can plan and plan and plan, post religiously, and offer high-quality content, but if you don’t interact with followers, you’ll never reach your social media potential.

Sometimes, interaction seems easier said than done, but it’s really not. If you’re not getting comments, go to the account of a mutual follower (preferably one in your industry), and comment on one of their posts.  And when you do get comments, make it your goal to respond to every one until you have more comments than you can respond to individually and even then, make a comment directed to a group.  Being present on social media should be priority.

Make sure you have your business social media accounts on your phone apps, and set it up so that you receive alerts when people interact with your page.  This way, you can respond in more or less real time instead of blocking out a chunk of your day to respond at once.

Devote a certain amount of time on each of your social media accounts each day. Set a timer on your phone so you don’t fall into the abyss — 15 or 30 minutes, tops — and see what other people are talking about and posting.   Comment, share, retweet. It’s all part of social media engagement.

#5 Build a Community

The best small business social media accounts are not just interactive web pages, they’re communities.  Building a community starts with engagement and interaction. Encourage conversation.  A community is having followers who keep coming back to interact with you and each other.

One way to build a community is to start discussions that your followers will want to participate in. This takes trial and error — chances are your first conversation starter won’t catch fire, but keep at it.  If you consistently engage and offer content of interest, a community will grow.

#6 Post on a Schedule

This goes back to having a plan: you should have a regular posting schedule.  a good place to start  is just posting several times a day at evenly spaced intervals but if you find that you get the most engagement at certain times of the day or evening, adjust schedule to reflect that.   Avoid posting during the overnight hours but know your demographics (for example, if your target is stay-at-home parents, you should probably avoid the after-school-through-dinnertime hours).

#7 Grab Attention

When it comes to social media, don’t worry about being an attention hound, as long as it’s the good kind of attention.  Spamming people’s feeds is always going to lead to the bad kind of attention. A fun and engaging marketing campaign will get you good attention.

Take Taco Bell’s Super Bowl campaign, where they teased a new mystery item on social media for weeks before. People on Twitter got involved, making videos and commenting about the mystery product.  You may not be a big company like Taco Bell that can do a major Super Bowl campaign, but you can start a buzz with an attention-grabbing campaign.  Be mysterious, be clever, and follow through with something satisfying.

Don’t confuse “in-your-face” with attention-grabbing. Smaller businesses have a tendency to go for bells and whistles instead of something genuinely interesting, and you should capitalize on that.  Social media can be an overwhelming place, but it’s really not as disorganized as it may seem. The best social media sites use clear strategies, even if you can’t see it.

I will say one thing in Caribbean; we don’t take advantage of all the social media apps available such as LinkedIn or Twitter.  Look Instagram just launch Instagram story upping the game to the next level.