Where do you go to see what your friends are up to? Where do you go to find out the latest interesting news? Heck, where do you go to find out if people are officially in a relationship? I’m talking about social media.
If you think it’s not important, think again. Check out the infographic by Leverage below. There’s a lot of juicy information there, so I’m going to highlight a couple of important points to consider:
Twitter has 241 million active users, with 5,700 tweets posted every second.
Google+ has 540 million active users, and allows brands, not just individuals, to build circles.
Facebook has a whopping 1+ billion active users, and users share 1 million links every 20 minutes.
You need to take advantage of this massive swarm of human interaction by throwing your brand into the mix. Social media optimization, or SMO, is rapidly gaining in importance, so pay attention because I’m going to tell you how to do it with three great tools.
Step One: Add Social Buttons to Your Website
The ultimate goal is to get some of that delicious social media traffic to your website, but you've gotta give a little to get a little.
Your first goal should just be to build your social media audience, and you can start by getting your website visitors to follow your social media accounts. This accomplishes two things:
- It grows the amount of “Likes” or “Follows” for your social media profiles, adding to your authority and authenticity as a brand.
- It’s an effective method for retaining your site visitors, ensuring they receive updates when something new is available, rather than losing them when they leave your site.
So you want your site visitors joining you on social media, but how? Convenience is key. Make it easy for them: have social buttons at the ready on your pages, particularly your content pages.
I'm assuming most of you use WordPress to build your affiliate sites, so I'm going to cover what is, in my opinion, the best all-in-one social media button plugin. (If you use code instead of WordPress, you’ll want to check out something like AddThis instead.)
The Crafty Social Buttons Plugin has buttons people can use to share your content, which is fairly common, but it also has buttons for enabling them to follow you, which is something sorely lacking in the other plugins I looked at. This plugin makes it super easy to add both types of buttons to your website.
The really cool thing is that it allows you to customize the look of the buttons to suit the style of your website. There are 8 design options, which range from the standard look, either square or circular, through to some very creative options, including metallic and “crafty-stitchy.”
It doesn’t matter whether you want simple buttons or creative buttons, they’re both here for you to try out.
Step Two: Schedule Regular Posts
One of the reasons people love social media so much is how current and up-to-date all of the information is. People are posting constantly, which makes it a thriving environment of live updates. For the user, this is great; for an affiliate marketer, it can be a time-consuming royal pain.
Sure, you may enjoy logging into your social pages regularly, but who wants to work on their brand’s social media strategy in broken fragments of time throughout the day, every day? You’d have to constantly switch your focus, and for many people that really hampers productivity.
Scheduling your posts in advance allows you to handle your social media tasks all at once, while giving your followers the appearance of being active all the time.
The AffiloTools Social Module is designed to do exactly this. It’s also handy to be able to manage your social media in a tool that’s made for affiliate marketers. You can see how your strategy is working right alongside monitoring your website’s health, checking your SEO rankings and tracking your backlinks.
This is how easy it is:
Step 1: Write Posts
Write a bunch of posts that would be interesting to your followers. This is a great opportunity to link to relevant content on your website, or get people excited about your niche topic.
Step 2: Load AffiloTools
When you’ve written a few, load AffiloTools, and head to the social module (hover the cursor over the left-hand bar to locate this).
Step 3: Enter Your Post
Enter one of your posts into the text box, and choose your publishing time. You can post immediately or select “Schedule post for.”
Step 4: Select When You Want to Post
Select a time and date for each post, scheduling them into the next week or two at your desired intervals. Then click “Schedule.”
Step 5: Review and Repeat
Check that your scheduled post pops up underneath “Scheduled Posts.”
This is where you can always see what posts you have lined up to go out. Repeat for any other posts you have ready to go. It’s really that simple!
Step Three: Follow, Share, and Comment on Relevant Posts
On top of posting your own updates, you want to share posts from other relevant authorities in your niche. This accomplishes a few things:
- Sharing their content grows your association with these authorities.
- You’ll be providing more valuable information for anyone visiting your page.
- It allows you to flesh out your page without having to spend time creating each and every post.
- It encourages a social media relationship with the authorities. As you grow your presence the hope is that your content will be shared, if not by the authority itself, then by shared followers.
You can of course do this manually if you only have a bit of social media interaction going, but if you’re serious about your social media strategy, you may find that you have more profiles to follow than time. This is where you need to manage your streams in the one place; I suggest Hootsuite.
Hootsuite allows you to add multiple streams on one page, or even organize these streams into tabs. Here’s how I’d suggest using Hootsuite:
1. Add Your Social Media Profiles
Hootsuite will walk you through this for the most part when you first sign in. You can’t add a Facebook page straight away (you have to sign in with your personal profile first), but don’t worry. You will be able to add any pages you manage later on.
2. Fill Your First Tab with Profile Feeds, Inbound Posts, and Mentions
This is how you will keep up with people who are talking about you, to you, or commenting on your posts.
3. Create Tabs for Following Others
Obviously you can have as many or as few tabs as you like, and each person or business will have different needs, but I would suggest making at least one Twitter list filled with the authority brands of your niche so you can follow them in a feed.
Taking it a step further, you could make a Twitter list for each authority brand, and add the most influential contributors for those brands.
Separating the brands into different streams is an especially good idea if they post at different frequencies. E.g., if Bob the Builder posts 10 times a day, and Humpty Dumpty only posts once every few days, Humpty’s updates will get drowned out by Bob’s and be hard to follow.
4. Add Topical Stream Tabs
For even more results, create tabs for specific search phrases, and Hootsuite will get you the latest mentions of these topics for each network. I’d suggest creating tabs of topics, and having a stream for that term in each social network, like this one for the term “Affiliate Marketing.”
Then it’s easy to scan your tabs for specific topics to see what people are saying about them at any given time.
So there you have it!
If you haven’t already set up any of these tools, get started right away. Add social buttons to your site, practice scheduling posts with AffiloTools, and keep up with relevant authorities by following them via Hootsuite.
Social media is such a great way to get your brand out there and interact with people talking about you. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to keep up to date on the latest news in your niche. Go get ‘em!
What are your favorite social media tools, and why? Let us know why in the comments!