Why Winging Social Media Won't Cut It Anymore

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This is a familiar conversation: "Yes, we're on social media. We have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google+. Many of our staff contribute to our accounts and post when they can. We don't really get any engagement though. Clearly, social media isn't for us." Does this sound like you?

This is what I like to call "winging" social media. Your company has a presence on many social media platforms, but instead of approaching it with a strategy, you're throwing content up there and hoping it will stick. While it's great that you're building a presence on social media -- and probably gaining some followers -- what you should be aiming for is engagement and winging it likely isn't doing it for you.

Instead of throwing stuff on the wall, here are some ideas that might work a little better:

1. Have a plan. Because you'll get down in the trenches with day-to-day social-media posts, you'll want to make sure to have an overarching plan to guide your everyday efforts. This can be as simple as writing down your goals, figuring out what content you'll share to achieve those goals and setting up a social media calendar to make sure you're posting consistently.

Related: 10 Questions to Ask When Creating a Social-Media Marketing Plan

2. Don't overdo it with self-promotion. It's great to sing your own praises but no one likes a bragger. Make sure your posts don't only include information about your offerings or news from within your company. I like to think of it as a rule of the thirds: one-third of the time, it's ok to talk bout your company. But the other two-thirds should be focused on sharing outside articles, engaging with your audience, asking questions and sharing other words of wisdom.

3. Find your voice. One of the trickiest parts of social media and marketing  is figuring out what your voice sounds like. This can make or break your marketing. So you'll want to figure out what persona you need to be channeling to attract and retain your audience.

DiGiorno Pizza is an example of a company that rocks their voice. They realized that they needed to be channeling a couch potato -- a mid-20's guy who would rely on a good frozen pizza while watching the game. Then, they took it a step further and added a layer of cynical snarkiness that helped propel them into Twitter stardom

Related: 5 Tools For Entrepreneurs to Grow Their Online Presence in No Time

4. Track your results. Once you get going in the right direction, make sure to track your efforts. Are you gaining followers? Which of your posts are getting engagement? Doing so will help you not only understand if what you're doing on social is getting attention, but you'll also find the likes and preferences of your audience, so you can constantly rework your plan and gear it towards those likes. If you need an analytics tool, I suggest using SumAll.

5. Be patient. Social media success doesn't just happen overnight. In fact, it can take months -- or years -- to see a huge, active audience. But if you do things right, you'll start seeing engagement right away in the form of one like or one comment. Revel in these small successes and stick to your plan. Before you know it, you'll start getting referrals, new clients or recognition through social media -- and then you'll wonder why you ever doubted it.

Related: Use These Twitter Guidelines to Avoid a PR Nightmare

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