SOCIAL MEDIA

3 Steps to Boosting Your Social Media IQ, Courtesy of YouTube

A YouTube handbook shows how to become more strategic with your social media efforts, in any platform.
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It's the online equivalent of a tree falling in the forest: If you tweet, update your status, and post videos but nothing happens, did you still make a sound?

If your social media efforts aren't making enough noise, you might take a look at YouTube's recently issued "Creator Playbook for Brands," which is designed to help companies reach and engage people on YouTube.

Happily, a lot of the advice applies equally well to other social media outlets. If you seem to be posting day and night but aren't winning an audience, or if you've got an audience but it doesn't seem to matter, you need to get strategic. Here are some key tips from the 90+ page handbook.

To target your audience:

  • Pinpoint your audience. Study content that's similar to what you're creating or planning to create, and try to figure out who's engaging with it. Are those people part of the demographic you're trying to reach? Or are they different people entirely? What sort of content is your audience already enjoying?
  • Examine your content. Look at your existing content, and take a look at who's responding. Are these the people you're trying to reach? How could you tweak your content to better appeal to your desired audience?
  • Refine your strategy. Design every element of your content specifically for the people you're trying to reach.

To jump-start engagement:

  • Make an emotional connection. "Cognitive psychology shows that people are more likely to remember something that caused a strong emotional response," reads the handbook. Positive stories are more likely to be shared than negative ones.
  • Ask for feedback. Don't just assume that your fans, followers, users, and customers know you want to hear from them. Tell them their comments matter, and that you're listening.
  • Walk the walk. You can't ask for feedback and then ignore it. Browse around YouTube, and you'll find plenty of companies that completely ignore viewer comments, even though they respond promptly to comments on Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, and other platforms. If you're asking for comments, you need to respond.

To develop relationships:

  • Offer rewards. You probably have an idea of who your top commenters, fans, or followers are, and hopefully you're already responding to their input. Now take it a step further and share insider news and updates with them first. In essence, you're building a loyalty club, but it's a lot more sophisticated than simply saying, "Hey, buy 10 things and we'll throw in the eleventh free."
  • Collaborate. Do your fans consistently watch content made by other producers? Reach out to these people and partner with them. Also, some of your top fans/followers may create content themselves, so why not collaborate with them?
IMAGE: Getty Images
Last updated: Mar 31, 2014

KIMBERLY WEISUL | Staff Writer | Inc.com Editor-at-Large

Kimberly Weisul is editor-at-large at Inc. and co-founder of One Thing New, the digital media startup that is rebooting women's content. She was previously a senior editor at BusinessWeek.




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