Social media is one of the best ways to engage current readers and find new ones. You probably already have Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest accounts set up with fresh tweets, posts, and pins. But how do you get your followers to leave that social media site and land on yours?
Build Your Audience First
Long before you post on these sites, you need to build your list of followers to create the perfect audience.
On Twitter and Pinterest, find your audience by searching for keywords related to your target reader (e.g., if you run a beauty mag, you'd use keywords like makeup, fashion, or haircare) and follow them. Many will return the follow out of politeness or, at the very least, will check to see what you're about.
Facebook is different because you don't "follow" your readers. To build a base of followers, make sure your publication gives information on your Facebook page, and don't be afraid to link to your Facebook page from your other social media accounts every once in a while (at least include it in your bio).
What to Post...
There isn't a one-size-fits-all guidline for the types of messages to send out from each account. To give you a leg up, here are some tips, specific to each site, that will drive traffic to your publication's site.
In Twitter Power 3.0, authors Joel Comm and Dave Taylor dedicate an entire chapter to the art of constructing the tweet.
Try these strategies, mentioned in the book, when you tweet:
- Make sure your 140 characters make it clear why someone should leave Twitter and go to your publication's site. If you run a writing publication, and your current issue features an article about how to get an agent (written by an agent), then a powerful tweet might be: Sally Jones, NY lit agent, gives top tips for getting an agent's interest: [Article URL]
- Be honest about what the content will do for the reader. For example, don't guarantee your readers will get rich unless you're giving away money. However, you could tweet: Top financial tips from Seattle bank execs to grow your money: [Article URL]
- Yes, use hashtags. No, don't use a dozen of them. Hashtags do work, but have only one or two of them. One way to use hashtags is to gear them toward the people you want to read your publication. Example: Share your feelings #stepmoms. We're here to listen, even if no one else is: [Article URL]
Facebook is forever changing their rules and algorithms to encourage companies to spend marketing dollars on boosting their updates so they'll reach more followers' newsfeeds - and more frequently. If you have a budget for this, great! If not, here are some things you can do:
- Let your followers know they have to select "Get notifications" from your publication's page to see your posts on a regular basis. Followers can do this by clicking the "Like" button and viewing the drop-down menu.
- The more your readers comment and like your posts, the more they will see them. Get some discussions going on your page, and then post a link to a relevant article.
- You have more words to sell your link on Facebook, so use them. Facebook users love quotes, funny stories, and inspirational messages. If you can work any of these into your status update - preferably with an image - and include a URL, it will get noticed, and your link will get clicked.
Pinners love visuals and information to make their life easier, but they want their loved ones to think they put forth extra effort. As of July 2014, 85% of this site's users are women, a lot of them moms, grandmas, and teachers. Remember this on Pinterest, and:
- On your publication website's posts and page, be sure to include at least one bright, beautiful photograph (or interesting, cute, colorful, etc.) that can be pinned.
- Pin that image and under the pin, insert a caption showing how this content will benefit the reader. Here's an example: "5 Meals to Make in 20 Mins" under a photo of chunky chili with cheese on top. It's short and to the point. Here's one that doesn't work: "Wondering what to make for dinner? Are your kids always crying and starving as soon as you get home from work? In a rut? Try these five meals." Save this type of long copy for Facebook.
People are busy. They use social media to connect with friends and family, but also to stay up to date on the latest trends and to quickly find information to improve their lives in some way. Your social media strategy should target your publication's readers, showing them how you can help improve their lives...and why they MUST click that link now.
Angela Mackintosh is an editor for WOW! Women On Writing, a site that inspires communication between women writers, authors, editors, agents, publishers, and readers. She works with WOW's social media manager, Margo L. Dill, on finding creative ways to get followers to click that link. Want more like this? Subscribe to Recruitment ADvisor and get the best straight to your inbox!