Make things happen by turning dreams into actions and using the best business productivity tools to get organized.

01. Introduction

About this course

We're going to cover a bunch of content in this course and by the end you should have, a complete social media strategy, a better idea of your future products/services and a clear schedule of when you'll post to your social media channels. Sound good?

I help small business owners create a strategy and process for their business that will save them time and money. We're going to save you time by streamlining your social media plans. And I'll save you money because you won't need to pay a social media manager hundreds of dollars to do what will take you less than an hour a week.

This course is a combination of videos, posts and worksheets. Videos will be for technical training, teaching you the tools we'll use and going in-depth to using the worksheets. You'll be able to read about the strategy in the posts and begin to implement it using the worksheets I've provided.

Ready to dig in? Me too. Check out the different modules for the content, and get started by digging into the worksheets. Best of luck!


Tools we'll be using

2.png

02. Product Strategy

Product Paths

Right now you might be saying something like this "Nora, I thought this ecourse was about social media, why is there a module about products? I don't sell products!". It's okay, I haven't lost my marbles, well I have, but that's beside the point.

Let me ask you something, WHY are you on social media? Is it to grow your audience? To advertise your services? To grow your newsletter? Did you just pick a reason from that list and say "yeah, that one"? I'll tell you why you should be on social media - TO GROW YOUR REVENUE. Don't get me wrong, social media can be amazing for growing a community and growing your audience, but if you're not selling anything, what's the point of growing your audience?

How are you going transform a reader of your blog to a paying customer?

We're starting with products and services because that should be the core of your social media strategy. We'll humanize it, make you friends, grow your community and grow your following, but at the end of the day, I want you to know that your strategy is worth your time, because you'll actually profit from it.

Here's the thing about social media; it is so easy to focus on your follow count, retweets, favorites, and comments, so why do we forget to look at conversions? You could have 1 million followers, but if none of those people are or will become paying customers - what's the point?

Yes. Following competitors is important. Building relationships is huge. Engaging with your audience is a must. BUT you need to make that time worth the effort and in order to do that, you need to make sales. This is why having a product plan and having sales paths BEFORE strategizing your social media, is so. darn. important.


Content with you Build

Let's say you bought this course, you were ready to start on social media, and you realized you had no product ideas. Now you have to come up with ideas, build the products/sales page/services - what the heck should you post in the meantime?

This is the beauty of social media. Everyone is curious and everyone wants to know all your secrets - so give it to them! During the time you're building an eCourse or deciding what services to offer, take those plans, questions, ideas and behind the scenes stuff to your channels!

While you plan your new services, products or courses - start to work on building a community. Take part in twitter chats (here's a whole calendar of twitter chats), follow tons of people, start talking to your followers, ask them questions & get involved. You don't have to be putting out a ton of content to grow your follower count. Start with the basics.

Content Ideas:

  • Humor & Jokes
  • Questions of the day
  • Inspiration
  • Motivation & Quotes
  • Infographics
  • Weekly homework or training
  • Discounts and giveaways
  • Sharing relating content (other people's blog posts, retweeting quotes or your own posts)
  • Announcements and updates
  • Behind the scenes
  • Blog post promotion
  • Twitter chats
  • Webinars

03. Content Strategy

Intentional Content

I want to start this off by talking about intentional content. Have you ever read a blog post like this "5 reasons Squarespace is the best", followed by 200 words of personal opinion and no facts, examples or guides. Those blog posts are filled with fluff. We're not going to post fluff.

Fluff is that annoying "chit-chat" writing that only takes up time and provides zero value, intentional content is the exact opposite. When every piece of content you post, has a reason, a goal and an actionable step, your followers will be more engaged. That might sound like a lot of work to make every piece of content intentional, but that's why you're taking this course! Learning how to create actionable, important and intentional content doesn't have to be time-consuming if you have a process.

Before you post anything on twitter, Instagram, your blog or anywhere else, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Will this help someone?
  2. Does this match my brand?
  3. If this was the first piece of content someone has ever seen from me, would they stick around?

We're going to build a strategy for your brand, to make sure every tweet, post or update you share, is intentional and actionable.


Humanize

Being intentional with our content is important, but humanizing that content should be a priority.

Humanize has a couple different meanings:

  • make (something) more humane or civilized
  • give (something) a human character

Which email would you rather get?

(A) Hi customer, your order number 937576T has been shipped.

(B) Dear Nora, Thank you so much for your purchase! We just shipped your item and it's heading your way. If you have any questions or concerns please email us at customerservice@supergreatcompany.com. Have a wonderful day!

I might be crazy, but I prefer email B. Why? Email B makes me feel like someone took the time to send me an email and let me know they appreciate my service, email A makes me feel like I'm just a number. Email B HUMANIZES the brand and makes me feel valued. That is what you need to do for your customers.

Email A and email B take the same amount of time to send - using templates, the only thing that needs to be hand-entered is the customer number or the customer name. It takes no extra time or work to make someone feel like a human. This is almost always true for humanizing our own brands.

It's so easy to get caught up with sales funnels and profit and traffic analytics, but that's not what's most important. Making your customers feel like a person (not a number) is what great customer service is all about. There are some easy ways to humanize your content and your voice, so I talked about a few in the video below.


Time to Plan

Now we're going to talk about how to actually schedule your content and plan what to use. This is taken from my blog post about social media strategy, but I've added a little more detail and information to help you take actionable steps and use this strategy for your own account.

I'm going got shop you how to schedule 100 days of social media. If you tweet 10 times per day, that's 1000 tweets. Whether you're scheduling 200 posts or 2000, this method is the quickest and most effective way to stay active on your channels. I'm not just talking about spammy tweets either, these are tweets that give me more subscribers, new clients and more engagement on my site and channels.

I know those numbers sound crazy and overwhelming, so stick with me before you have a panic attack. I promise it's simpler than you think. Even if you only use one of these strategies, you'll save more time and post more often.

PICK YOUR TOOLS WISELY

I know some of you like HootSuite or Edgar, but I'm telling you, I've tried them all and nothing compared to the Buffer Business account. Nothing. Buffer has 3 price levels;

  • Free - you can schedule up to 10 posts per channel (you need more than that)
  • Awesome plan - $10/mo you can schedule up to 100 posts per channel (this could work if you're just starting out)
  • Business plans - $50/mo or more if you upgrade larger, you can schedule 2000 posts per channel (25 channels), get full analytic reports, pull content from up to 15 feeds and add team members. This is what I use and what I 100% recommend to everyone.

I know $50 is a lot of money, every time I pay it I cringe a little, but there are some ways to make it worth the money. First of all, you can add team members, meaning you can add your best blogging friend, clients or VA to the account. Personally, I have some clients on my account, each of them pays $10/mo. They pay me $10 a month (the price of the awesome plan) but they get $50 worth of stuff. I use that $10 to help me pay the bill, so I only pay $20/mo for the Biz plan. Good deal, right?

On top of that, if you follow this method and you have a half-way decent sales plan, you'll make much more than $50 every month by promoting your products and services on social media in such an active and unique way.

If you don't want to drop $50 yet, try the free trial and see how much it changes your business in the trial period. Then you can sign up after your mind has been blown.

There are a couple other reasons I <3 Buffer too.

  1. You can use Bulk Buffer to upload hundreds of tweets at one time. This saves you hours of typing each quote, link or post into the buffer interface itself.
  2. You get in-depth and insightful analytics that can help you develop a better social media plan (more on this later).
  3. It's easy to use, has a shuffle button, and is designed beautifully. All things I think Hootsuite stinks at (sorry HootSuite fans).
  4. You can pull content from feeds directly within the interface, which can save you a ton of time on the weekly task (again, more on this later).
  5. Their Chrome extension kicks butt. This is the biggest time saver of them all. We'll go really in depth with this one too.

I know you HootSuite and Edgar fans want to throw tomatoes at me right now, but be patient and hear me out - giving this a try with a free trial will not kill you, and it'll actually skyrocket your biz.

BTW, even if you don't use Buffer, their learning center is amazing, check it out here.

CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT.

For me, twitter is a pain in the you-know-what. I love the community on there, but the posts move so quickly that your content gets buried in minutes. That's why using Buffer primarily for your twitter account(s) is such an effective way to stay active. I'm going to talk mostly about twitter because it's the most time-consuming social account. However, keep in mind, you can add some photos and share this same content on Pinterest, Google +, Facebook or LinkedIn.

QUOTES

I love using quotes as content on twitter. Not only do they perform well for retweets and likes, but they also can be really uplifting and addicting. Since using quotes as a big chunk of content, I've seen a jump from 1-3 new followers daily to 6-7 new followers daily on average. People love quotes. I like to find quotes that relate to business and faith since that's what my business is all about.

The first thing you should do is start a spreadsheet in google drive (Or download mine here). In column A, type one quote per line. As you find quotes on twitter, Pinterest, reading books or on blogs, add them to the spreadsheet. It's easy to build this up over time. If you want to sit down and find 250 quotes all at once, here are some good places to find some:

  • Pinterest. Type in "business quotes" or "inspirational quotes" to the search bar and start typing.
  • Planners. Day Designers and Simplified Planners both have quotes for every day of the week, copy those into your spreadsheet!
  • Books, the Bible, and magazines. Get in the habit of underlining or highlighting good quotes as you read, these can be great to add to your list.
  • Blogs. Anytime someone has a great quote, add it to the list! They don't all have to be from famous people ;)
  • Make your own! Sometimes I say really ridiculous things and I like to share them just to get some laughs.

I try to add at least one quote per day from somewhere to my spreadsheet. Quotes make up between 40-50% of my content in my buffer queue.

Buffer made a quick video on how to use Bulk Buffer, check it out here.

OTHER BLOGGER'S CONTENT

I like share other people's content, not only because it's a great way to build your community, but it's also nice to share people's hard work when you enjoy it. I use Bloglovin' and Pinterest to read blogs every Sunday. When I read a really good article or something I found helpful, I add it to my buffer account. I try to have 20-25% of my Buffer queue be content from others.

This is when the Buffer Chrome Extension comes in very handy. With the extension, all you have to do is go to the URL you want to share, click the extension and then add it to buffer. Instant, super quick and easy to edit.

YOUR BLOG CONTENT

Sharing your own content is the main reason we're doing all of this. By sharing quotes and other blog's, you're not overwhelming anyone with all your content, so when it comes along, it's more likely to be noticed. I try to share between 15-20% of my own content. This includes my YouTube videos, blog posts and newsletters.

In a very similar way to the quotes spreadsheet, I also create a spreadsheet for my own content. This is easy but requires more initial work, however if you do it little by little, you'll eventually build a library of great posts to use. Open a spreadsheet and for every blog post you have, write 2-3 posts to promote it.

For example, this blog post will have 5 posts added to the spreadsheet:

I add all of these to my spreadsheet. Each of my current blog posts, multiplied by 2-3 tweets per post gives me 100-200 tweets to use. That's only my blog posts. That doesn't include my 200+ YouTube videos or weekly newsletters. It's so easy to grab content using what you already have. Take a few hours to make quotes for each of your blog post. The best thing about these spreadsheets - you can reuse them when your queue is empty!

Another tool I love using is bit.ly. Now buffer, auto connects to bit.ly to shorten your links for you, but did you know you can customize your bit.ly with your own domain? If you sign up at bit.ly you can buy a domain name and replace the bit.ly with norac.co (that's my domain). That's how I add a little extra branding to all my tweets, and how my followers can instantly recognize that the link is to something I created. There's more info on how to do this here.

PROMOTIONAL CONTENT

One of the most important forms of content is promotional content. This is anything you're selling or promoting. Whatever your goal is for social media, that's what kind of content you'll be using. So if you want more newsletter subscribers, you might advertise a free ebook with an opt-in. If you want more clients, you might offer coupon codes or details on your packages. If you're aiming for more sales, these could be your Etsy listings or sneak peeks at new products. Decided what you want to promote (pst, it can be all three).

These posts are best scheduled at launch times or spread out throughout weeks to keep the excitement going. I try to post "promo" content no more than once per day. There's a fine line between selling your products and being too "sales-y".

SEASONAL POSTS

The last kind of content you can use is seasonal. This makes up less than 5% of my content. These are things like a "Merry Christmas" tweet. Or a black-Friday sales announcement. These posts can be scheduled up to a year ahead of time, which is why they're so easy to pre-plan. Take some time to make graphics and wish everyone a happy holiday for the holidays you celebrate.

WEEKLY TASKS

When you've built up your posts, you should have somewhere between 100 and 2000 posts in your queue. At this point, 90% of your work is done! (Woohoo). However, there is still work to be done that I do weekly. These are things like last minute updates, personal posts (such as sharing behind the scenes images or funny stories), and replies.

In the morning, on my lunch break and sometimes before bed, I check my social media accounts for comments, re-tweets, shares, and likes. This is when I'll reply to questions, re-tweet things I was tagged in or chat with my community. Without scheduling my tweets ahead of time, I wouldn't be able to dedicate 30-60 minutes per day to just communicating with people - and this is the main reason I schedule my tweets.

A quote from Albert Einstein isn't that important, what's important is the conversations that come from that share. Building relationships and then maintaining those through conversations, emails and sharing each other's content is what turns a follower into a client and it's a step we often overlook on social media because it gets pushed to the back burners.

HOW IT'S BEEN WORKING FOR ME.

Check out my stats over the last few months:

Facebook: 238 likes [Change from July 2015 +111] 

Twitter: 2794 followers [Change from July 2015 +143] 

Instagram: 659 followers [Change from July 2015 +203]

Pinterest: 1669 followers [Change from July 2015 +435]

YouTube: 1937 subscribers [Change from July 2015 +536] 

Bloglovin': 308 followers [Change from July 2015 +47] 

Google+: 57 followers [Change from July 2015 +39]

Newsletter: 1048 subscribers [Change from July 2015 +608] 

Periscope: 330 followers [Change from July 2015 +330]

These are not magical numbers or a drastic jump in followers, but this is consistent growth. And what you don't see from these numbers are the number of relationships I've built as my number grew. When I began offering my services in July I had 1 client. Today I have 7 and when I stop working with one client, I have two more leads to pick up. You don't need a million followers to have success. You don't need a six-figure business to support yourself.

I want to make it clear, this strategy will not get you 1000 new followers in 10 days. This system will give you the chance to save time from posting and better use that time to grow your connections. That is what will grow your business.

Below are some of my analytics from my Buffer account that shows my growth from July to January.


Reuse and Repost

This is going to be quick, but it's important.

Post the same image you shared on Instagram to twitter and Facebook. Share the same blog post on Pinterest and Google+. Link to your newest blog post on all your social media accounts.

Most of your followers on twitter, don't follow you on Pinterest. And even if some of them do, 99% of them will not check your twitter account then check Instagram to see if you posted the same thing. Repost your content across ALL your accounts. This not only gets more eyes on your stuff but it keeps your branding consistent and easy to find.

If you post a great 30-second video with biz tips, share it on everything, so when your followers want to watch it again, they can find it in 5 places.

There is a limit to this, don't try to share an entire paragraph from FB to twitter, that won't work. But make each post slightly different, maybe a different graphic or emojis in one and not the other. Make sure your content is relevant to the social network, but don't be afraid to reuse content!

Untitled design.png

04. Graphics Crash Course

Basics

If you're not use to designing graphics or you're looking for new quick ways to create site graphics + social media images - this module is for you. If you've been creating graphics for awhile and feel comfortable in it - you can skip this section :)


Canva

Canva.com is a free photo editing software that allows you to use and create templates to streamline your graphic creation. This year, Canva also released a premium version of their software called, "Canva for Work" which gives you more branding, template and teamwork features. 

Canva does have limits on what it can do, but combined with our next tool, Pixlr, you can create virtually anything you need for your graphics (all for free). I have Adobe Creative Cloud, and I still find myself using Canva for quick announcements, social media posts and webinar graphics.

Watch the tutorial for Canva below!


Pixlr

05. Social Media Basics

Choosing Your Social Channels

When you begin planning to use social media for your business, it can be daunting to look at the 6 most popular and figure out how to be on them all (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+). You don't need all six to see success. You should probably have an account on all 6, but you really only need to be active on 2 or 3.

For my business I picked Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I'm on these every day and posting to them regularly. I still post to Pinterest and Google+ (mostly with automation) but they are not in focus.I put most of my time into my #1 social profile, Twitter. This is where I get most of the traffic from social media to my content and where I find it easiest to communicate with my followers.

Choose your 2-3 accounts to take time on and pick on of those to put 80% of your work into. (We'll talk later how you can use that 80% of your content across all your accounts).

When picking your social media channels, choosing what you're finding success in is important, but you should also consider other factors. The buffer team put together a great guide on picking your channels.

Keep your audience in mind as you select your top 3. Are they mostly women or men? How old are they? If you have no idea what your demographics look like, enroll in Google Analytics and take a look at the audience section and the demographics tab. Here's a look at what my overview is:

This means 83.7% of my audience is female and 41.5% are between the ages of 18-24. That range is who I need to be targeting on social media. Find your audience demographics, and plan your social media channels according to that info.

Untitled design.png

06. Grow Your Channels

Pinterest

Switch to Pinterest for Business

click here to do it now

Pin Consistently but not crazy

Do you binge-pin like me? Some days I pin 200 things, other times I go weeks without logging in - but my followers don't have to know that. By using Buffer to SCHEDULE your pins rather than pinning like crazy, you can spread that Pinterest-juice around and keep your name at the top of feeds. This is how you'll gain more followers - not pinning 10,000 in one night. Schedule, schedule, schedule.

Follow others in your niche

Humans are selfish people. If you're following zero people, no one will want to follow you. We all secretly hope the people we follow will follow us back at some point. Plus following others will give you more content to pin and more people to pin your content. It's a win-win. Start checking the social media on blogs you read, follow people who pin similar stuff. Follow boards that you really love, follow trends you want to keep up on. Following people is one of the fastest ways to grow your numbers.

Optimize your profile

Add a photo of yourself that everyone will recognize. (I recommend using the same one across all your platforms). Tell people what you do and who you are in your bio and include some keywords. If you're a food blogger, you should mention "food blogger" somewhere in your bio. Also add your URL and confirm it! This is super important for SEO and looking like a pro. There's a walk-through on how to do this here.

Show your "branded" boards first

Let's use the food blogger example again. If you're a food blogger, your first 5 boards should be something like "Deserts to try", "Crockpot Recipes", "Kitchen Tools", "Healthy Snack Ideas" and "Kid-Friendly Food". Your first 5-10 boards will be the first ones your followers (or potential followers) see, make sure it showcases what you're all about.

Also, make sure these boards have at least 50 pins, and all the links work. These boards will be the first impressions from others - having great content on them is important!

Brand Your Board Covers

You don't need to have perfectly matching board covers to have a cohesive feel, but it's important that your covers make visitors want to follow.

Need more ideas?

Here are some great blog posts about Pinterest that will help you grow your following:


Facebook

Find the best times to post

No fancy tools here, Facebook pages have their own analytics built right in. Just go to your page, and click on the "Insights" tab on the top. This will help you see everything going on. If you click on the "posts" tab on the left side, you'll see a breakdown of what times your followers are most active.

Grow your following

  • Stay Active - no one wants to follow a page that hasn't posted in 2 months. Post regularly just like any other social media channel.
  • Mention + Link to your page - if you don't tell people you have a page, no one will find you. Add it to your "jobs" in your personal profile as well.
  • Join facebook groups - I love Savvy Business Owners , Being BossThe NCC and GoIndepedent - stay active in the groups, answer + ask questions and introduce yourself

I'll be honest

Facebook is NOT my expertise. I stick with Instagram and Twitter as my main hubs, so I wanted to make sure you're getting the best advice possible, that's why I'll link to some amazing blog posts that can guide you through the tech stuff.

How to Get More Facebook Likes For Free

How do I get noticed on Facebook?

Improve Your Facebook Page with the Facebook Page Checklist


Instagram

Use Hashtags

There are many hashtags like #FollowForFollow or #FollowTrain that will only get you spammed and followed by inactive accounts. Don't use those! Pick 10-15 hashtags to use regularly and rotate through 2-4 of them on each post.

First, make a few hashtags for yourself. I use #NoraConrad and #ConradU - they can be your blog name or something more clever, just make sure you use it on anything relating to YOUR business.

I would list a bunch of hashtag ideas for you to use, but Sarah at Venus trapped in Mars already made the perfect post. I refer to this all the time, so check it out.

Post at the best time

Use the free tool, Iconosquare , to find the best times and days to post on your account. Everyone will vary so check it out for yourself to get the best results. Once you've logged in with Instagram click here and take a look at your chart. Here's what mine looked like:

Grow your following

Bec from Bloggers Bazaar has five great tips for this one:

  1. Contribute to someone else’s hashtag – Join in and take part in a challenge such as those listed above. This a a great way to connect with others on Instagram and to get your images seen by others who may love your style and start to follow you.
  2. Interact – Don’t just have a one-way mentality when it comes to Instagram, get out there among the feed and comment, and like other people’s images. Truly connecting with others will make them interested in what you are sharing too.
  3. RSVP – translation: “Respond Please”. Has someone left a comment for you? Don’t leave it unanswered. Take a moment to let that person know you appreciate the time they took to comment. This will help keep your followers loyal.
  4. Be Consistent – Post images regularly, at least 1-2 times a day, and keep to your brand’s visual story and your strategy and people will start to take notice.
  5. Be Patient – You probably don’t want to hear it, but it simply does take time for people to find you, follow you, tell others about you and for your following to increase. It’s just the way it is.

Consider how you edit your photos + your caption

Light, textured and blue hued photos get the most likes (statistically). Every photo you post should have a reason and a great description. Captions with more than 200 characters get 35% more activity than photos with less than 100 characters.

Every photo tells a story, so don't be afraid to share that in the caption as well.

07. Content Ideas + Storage

The Idea List

 

  • Behind the scenes photos
    • Desks, coffee, office tours, in-process designs, plans, notes in a notebook, screenshots of projects, tools you're using, inspiration in your home
  • Quotes
    • Inspirational phrases, funny one-liners, quotes from famous people, quotes from your own blog posts or workshops, quotes from other business owners in your niche (tag them), quotes from a book or your bible
  • Related Content
    • Links to blog posts or bloggers with great content (be sure to tag them), links to your own blog posts and past posts, links to blogs you follow regularly for #FF (the Follow Friday hashtag is huge on twitter), links to videos or workshops that your audience would benefit from
  • Updates and News
    • Changes to your site, products or services, updates on things happening in your life, news about the industry or niche, news about upcoming events or workshops, updates on projects, upcoming work or collaborations
  • Other Ideas
    • Announcements, Question of the Day, Tip of the day (daily tips), funny images or videos, tutorials or workshops, webinars, giveaways, contests, favorite books/movie/recipe, infographics, coupon codes or discounts, encouragement, follow trains, call to actions, surveys, newsletter lists you love, adult homework, worksheets, ebooks, freebies, resources, virtual events, short stories, testimonials, services, products.
Untitled design.png

08. Bonus content & Tips


Resources from Others


Building your Products

Trying to decide which products or services to create can be tough. I wanted to provide a few resources to help you figure it out.

Product and service ideas to get you started:

  • eBooks
  • Worksheets
  • Workbooks (eBooks you would write in)
  • Workshops (paid webinars, live teaching)
  • Webinars (advertising something)
  • Blog Posts
  • Newsletters or email ecourses (using Mailchimp)
  • Mini-ecourses (short 2-3 module courses)
  • Video Series
  • eCourses (teachale.com is the platform you're using now)
  • 1-on-1 Coaching
  • Hourly Services
  • Packaged Services