Whoa, has it been an entire month? Time flies. Last month, I promised to provide…
But let’s get one thing straight.
I’m not a social media expert.
Because social media ‘experts’ are annoying.
You’ll often find them banging on about a ‘100% fail safe’ way to get 10,000 Instagram followers in a week. Or how social media is THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS, and that if you’re not all over it your business is as good as DEAD. Or telling you that you NEED to be using this scheduling software, or that reporting tool, or that Facebook live is the ONLY thing that matters, or.. you get my drift.
Donna reminds me of an annoying social media ‘expert’.
It’s annoying, and downright confusing.
That stuff? It’s not my style.
Don’t get me wrong, I think social media is GREAT. I’ve seen first hand – many times – what a difference it can make to a business and their bottom line.
But I’m not gonna lie.. it’s also HARD.
It’s time consuming (and all too easy to spend hours down a rabbit hole).
It’s inconsistent (because what works for one business won’t necessarily work for another).
And I don’t care WHAT anyone says, there’s no quick formula for success (gaining 10,000 Instagram followers in a week is bullshit – unless you buy them, and if so, what’s the point? Because, ultimately, bots aren’t going to do business with you so what exactly are you trying to achieve?)
So, if the last thing the world needs is another social media expert, then how is Stevie Says Social – and this website – different?
In a nutshell, it comes down to two things.
Number one, honesty. The social media tips, tricks and advice I give are based on experience, and I’ll never PROMISE that something is guaranteed to work – because nailing your social media is all about TESTING this stuff to find out what works for YOU.
And number two, transparency – starting today!
Advice is one thing, but having a bird’s eye view into into what it actually takes to grow your socials properly is a whole other.
That’s why, from here on in, every month, I’m going to start documenting EXACTLY what I do to grow the Stevie Says Social social media accounts and provide you with complete transparency – my stats, successes, failures, EVERYTHING.
Because when you’re a new business or a business new to social media, it’s hard to know how you’re tracking when you don’t have any other business to compare to. Or more specifically, when you’re comparing your behind the scenes or new set up with another businesses highlight reel or years of experience.
Before I start, it’s important for me to share with you what I consider success to look like for Stevie Says Social.
For the next six months, the sole objectives are brand awareness and community engagement.
For now, that’s IT.
So, how is this being measured? I’ve chosen three key ‘metrics’ – because it’s SO important to have a way of tracking your success, what’s working and what’s not.
1// Page likes
I want people to like my content so much that they want to see more of it. The way most people do that is by connecting with our social media pages. So, I’m measuring this with the number of page likes on the Stevie Says Social Facebook page, and the number of followers on the Stevie Says Social Instagram account (I’m also measuring the number of email subscribers, but will leave that for now).
2// Impressions / reach
In simple terms, this is the number of people seeing Stevie Says Social’s stuff in their newsfeeds.
So, when you’re scrolling through and see a story, it’s counted as one ‘impression’.
The difference between reach and an impression? A person may see our stuff twice, in which case it’s two ‘impressions’ but has only reached one person so is counted as one ‘reach’.
The third metric is an extension of number two. It refers to the number of people liking, commenting on and sharing Stevie Says Social’s stuff. Because people SEEING our stuff (reach/impressions) is useless if the right ones don’t also LIKE it.And so, with that in mind, here’s a breakdown of the EXACT steps I’ve taken over the last few weeks/months to launch and grow Stevie Says Social along with my growth stats, successes and failures.
Here’s my very first post (nawww).
It all started before that, though. Over the previous 12 or so months, I’d really started to notice the massive lack of GOOD advice on how to make social media work for service-based businesses.
So, on January 1, I set a New Year’s resolution to start Stevie Says Social. The aim? To share my social media experiences and experiments and hopefully provide some helpful advice along the way.
And THAT’S when the real work began.
I put together my social media strategy (a full post coming on that soon).
Then, I put together a content plan. I started with four topics that I thought would really help my ideal audience, and started writing about them. And writing. And writing. And writing. Seriously. I spent 7am – 6pm every Saturday and Sunday for six weeks straight writing articles.
Social media is all about developing relationships and providing real value, and I really wanted to make sure I would be pushing out super high quality content that did just that.
Here’s the final product (plus one all about creating social media graphics).
The first posts on the Stevie Says Social website.
In February and March, I spent time putting together a brand I loved, thinking of a name, building a website, buying domains and finally uploading my articles. I’ve summed this up in a sentence because it’s not strictly related to the growth of my social accounts, but it deserves a post in itself. It was a LOT of work.
Finally at the end of March, I set up my social accounts (Facebook and Instagram) and Stevie Says Social was officially a ‘thing’!
Let’s break it down week by week.**
** Note – this post covers Facebook only, because I haven’t been tracking the growth of my Instagram (currently at 520) as well as I should have. Next, time, my reports will include Facebook and Instagam – and also the results of my experiments with Pinterest and possibly Linkedin.
Yep, it was a veryyyy slow start.
*I’m not counting this as week 1 because although I posted and my pages went live, I didn’t officially kick off til a few weeks later.
What was done
Although everything was set up at this stage, I wasn’t yet ready to tell anyone. My Facebook and Instagram sat pretty much dormant.
Over the following few weekends, I spent my time putting together a 20 page e-book with ‘100 FREE social media tips especially for service-based businesses’ – something that helped A LOT when the official launch day rolled around a few weeks later.
The e-book is a ‘lead magnet’ – which basically means a valuable piece of content that you give away in return for an email address. The goal? To grow an email database of people keen to know more about social media! This put me in VERY good stead for…
On the 23rd of April, I decided I was ready to go live. This is what I did.
// Posted on my personal Facebook page letting people know about the page and requesting them to ‘like’ it.
Here’s the post I put on my personal page.
// Invited friends and family to like my Facebook and Instagram pages. Around 170 of the 455 new likes on the page listed above were friends and family invited directly from my personal Facebook page. Note that I didn’t invite EVERYONE in my friends list at first, just those that I thought would either be supportive or would be interested in knowing more about social media.
To do this, you simply navigate to your business page, click on ‘invite friends to like this page’ in the right hand column and then add away!
// I found a number of Facebook groups that I thought would find my e-book valuable, and posted in the groups inviting them to download it. They were then directed to my website, where a popup invited new visitors to like my Facebook page. The majority of the remainder of the new followers to the page were a result of this strategy.
Note: Make sure that the offer you are providing is SO valuable that people would otherwise pay for it, otherwise it can come off as spammy. Also check the rules of the Facebook group before posting – they may have a specified day for promotion. Don’t be a dick, and simply drop a link and run if you decide to follow this strategy.
Here’s the e-book I posted in one of the Facebook groups.
// I posted my very first interview for Stevie Say Social, with the legends from the Digital Picnic. They shared it (which they certainly didn’t have to), and it resulted in a further spike.
// Over the course of the week, I promoted the interview with mini blog posts going into further detail on the 5 tips they gave service-based businesses for nailing their social media. This allowed me to repurpose the post and get more ‘mileage’ out of it. The more people going to my website meant the more people getting the ‘like my page’ pop up.
What was done
// Interview two with Start Up Creative went live.
// I experimented with Facebook ads for the page for the first time, and boosted the post for $30. This resulted in 28 new likes, as well as increased engagement.
// I sent out my first newsletter to my growing email database. 120 people clicked on the links in the newsletter and landed back on my website, where they were invited to ‘like’ our Facebook page. The newsletter received a click rate of 10% which is above the 7% average.
// I continued with mini blog posts on Instagram and Facebook to promote my interviews. Experimenting with posting times, I noticed increased engagement from around 7pm on weekday nights, first thing in the morning. Engagement was dead on Saturday and Sunday until around Sunday evening when it would pick up again.
// It was a slow week due to lack of new content.
// I made a decision from this week onwards to post new content on the Stevie Says Social website one a week, with each piece to be high quality and detailed (2000 words +) to provide as much value as possible. The content would then drive social media content for the week ahead.
// A new post was released on whether size matters when it comes to social media.
// My second email newsletter was sent out, with a click rate of 7% (which is right on average).
// A new post was released on social media for lawyers. The post was shared in several places, included by the College of Law which drove traffic to the Stevie Says Social website.
// On last day of this period, new post was released on whether Facebook is Dead, with Owners Collective. Significant spike in page impressions, engagement and page likes on this day in particular.
// Owners Collective kindly shared their post in their private Facebook group and on their Facebook page on the first day of this week, which again led to significantly increased engagement on this day in particular.
// The post was promoted to people who like Stevie Says Social facebook page and friends with a boosted post, and the post reached 3200 people. This resulted in good engagement on the post, which was done to lift the overall engagement rate of the page.
// We released a really comprehensive post on Facebook ads called Beyond the Boost. This was put together because we’d seen a LOT of people asking about Facebook ads in Facebook groups.
// We promoted the post in relevant Facebook groups, with a great response (approximately 40 new likes).
// We invited more friends and family to like our page from our personal page.
// We put together a Facebook like campaign, which resulted in 30 new likes to the page.
Video ad for Facebook like campaign.
And that brings us to.. today!
Hopefully this sort of transparency is something you find useful. Let me know, because if you do I’ll keep doing them.
And next month, I’ll include Instagram stats and updates too! I’ve set up software to track these things in much more detail from here on in (via Hootsuite reporting) so it will be interesting to see.
To sum up the learnings from what we’ve done so far:
Our numbers spiked when we launched, and since then it’s been slow and continual growth in terms of our page likes. This is driven by valuable content.
The lesson is simple. If people find your stuff valuable, they’re gonna want to see more of it. And to see more of it, they are gonna want to connect with you – by liking your social pages, or leaving their email address.
And even better, they’re gonna be the RIGHT people – ones that may one day do business with you because they are already interested in your content.
One thing I’m going to start doing over the next month is to double the amount we post on Facebook (without reducing the quality) and hopefully will see positive changes to our level of engagement.
All of this content will be scheduled one – two weeks in advance according to a set content plan. ‘Batching’ like this saves time and ensures you aren’t spending ALL your time on social media.
Facebook page likes these days are really only good for one thing – social proof. Our focus on increasing them is a very short term strategy, and once our golden number of ‘likes’ has been hit we will start to focus much more on more important things (all to be revealed in a couple of months!)
‘Til next time!
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