We run a bunch of social media profiles for (almost) all of the websites that we run. On the first day of October; The Web Atom, Critter Addiction, Aviculture Hub, Teh Sims, and SingularLabs had roughly 1,800 followers between them. The goal was to add 500 followers over the month, but incredibly, the strategy we used added well over 2,000 new followers—more than doubling our social media reach in just four weeks.
We concentrated most heavily on building our Twitter presence using three strategies, which will be discussed in detail below. The purpose of the exercise was to gain followers who are genuinely interested in becoming customers or consuming our content, so we didn’t waste time buying fake followers.
Producing content frequently and consistently is one of the most important ways to build an engaged audience. We produce a few different types of content; short form, long form and links. Short form content and links are perfect for social media sharing, but they don’t generate much traffic to our websites.
We started using an editorial calendar to plan our long-form content publishing schedule each week. This ensures our sites are updated consistently, while also increasing productivity in the never-ending race to keep up with the calendar.
The excellent Editorial Calendar WordPress plugin simplifies this on individual blogs, but because we have half a dozen different websites, we use Google Calendar as an overarching editorial calendar for all of them.
We started using Buffer to schedule content sharing across all of our Twitter and Facebook accounts. This saves time because we can prepare a week’s worth of posts at the one time, rather than having to interrupt our workflow to post on each account manually.
Buffer also gives recommendations on when we should share content to get the most impact. Most of these suggested times are in the middle of the night local time (we’re based in Australia), so without Buffer it wouldn’t be possible to take advantage of this knowledge.
Buffer costs just $10 a month and we’re using it to share a conservative four posts per day on five different accounts. This cost averages out to a very affordable $0.016 per post.
Following and Engagement
Following a lot of Twitter accounts purely to increase your own follower counts is a little bit sketchy, but it certainly works. Twitter have some loosely enforced rules around this area, so we’ve taken some steps to do this the “right way.” That includes:
- Only following accounts that tweet about the same topics.
- Limiting ourselves to a few dozen follows per account, per day.
- Interacting with as many new followers as possible.
Twitter’s “Connect” page is particularly useful, because it provides a ready-to-go list of accounts that share topics or mutual friends. We’ve found that following all (or most) of the accounts recommended on this page yields a follow-back rate of about 15%.
Even with the many tools and services available to more effectively manage social media accounts, maintaining an active presence is still a time consuming exercise.
Our growing social media audience has corresponded to a small increase in website traffic, advertising revenue and sales; but it certainly hasn’t proved to be a worthwhile investment.
The nature of social media followers is that they grow cumulatively, so it’s likely that investing time in social media will bring greater value if we continue working on it long term. Perhaps in six or twelve months, I’ll write another post to see whether that proves to be true.