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How To Succeed On Social Media (7 Quick Action Steps)

By Rebekah Radice

12 min read

Ever wonder what separates successful social media marketers from those that struggle? Or why one business will succeed on social media while another staggers along?

The answer isn’t as complicated as you might think. Those that achieve exponential growth commit to daily activities, habits, and strategies. These critical elements shape and form their future. And the good news? You can use the same ingredients in your social media marketing.

In this article, I share seven quick action steps you can take today. Each one has been time-tested and proven to make a difference. Read on to learn how you can add these ideas to your marketing mix to encourage social media success.

1. Know WHY you’re using social media

If I were to ask you why you’re using social media, would you know the answer? Have you taken the time to define how social media will support your marketing goals?

Until you know what you’re looking to achieve, social media will feel hard. And worse than that, success will appear elusive. Not sure where to get started? Here’s how to find your WHY and use it as a differentiating factor.

How to discover the WHY behind your social media

Begin by answering these eight questions.

  • When you first hopped on social media, what was your number one reason? (e.g. to reach a targeted audience, cheap advertising, better connections—be honest)
  • What’s your number one reason today? (explain how it's changed)
  • What three problems do you solve for your potential clients?
  • Can you articulate your solution to those problems across social media?
  • What do you see in your competitor’s use of social media that you feel needs to change? (what's broken, not working, inconsistent)
  • Will social media help you build trust and rapport?
  • Is there a market eager to buy your product?
  • Is the purpose behind your use of social media aligned with your business objectives?

Unpacking your responses to each of these questions will bring clarity. Rather than random acts of social sharing, you come to the table with a fresh perspective.

You know what you want and why you want it, just like Steve Gutzler. Steve is a business coach who works with top leaders, inspiring greatness through emotional intelligence.

Across Steve's social networks, it's easy to see how social media supports his vision. The consistent use, topic focus, and community building keeps his audience engaged.

2. Know your boundaries (and be explicit)

Since social media's early days, it's been evident that we (as a community) need to reign ourselves in. How often have you seen a verbal vomit episode online? One that spiraled into a debilitating—possibly tragic—outcome?

I'm sure many come to mind. While some bounce back, others find their career left in ruins. The key is to know your boundaries.

Identify where you draw the line and what conversations you're willing to engage in. And more importantly, which ones you'll avoid.

This becomes a roadmap to social media engagement. It makes hopping into conversations and monitoring the ones that matter most to your business easy.

How to create your social media boundaries

  • What’s your business focus? (industry, niche, vertical)
  • List the problems you solve.
  • Specify how you solve each one of them.
  • Who is your target audience? (Demographics - a geographic area, age, income, race, gender)
  • Describe who they are, what they do and why they'd want to connect with your business.
  • What's your social media engagement and conversational style?
  • How will you interact on social media? Are you fun or serious
  • Know your tone and voice.
  • Know what topics are on brand and which ones serve zero purpose for your business and/or personal brand.

Now stay in appropriate conversations. Don't deviate. It's like learning how to use crayons as a kid. Coloring books kept us within the lines. We knew our limits.

Knowing your boundaries on social media will keep your business safe and in the "verbal vomit" free zone.

3. Embrace your key differentiator

Are you connected to me across social media? You'll see this in action. Me being me. Both as a brand and a person. You might think I’m a born extrovert, but you’d be wrong.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a good party and love being among friends. I also appreciate moments spent surrounded by a community, audience or group of peers.

And yet, I’m not the life of the party. I'm the girl who retreats back to her hotel room to decompress and gain a little peace and quiet.

But, given the fact that my DISC profile is an off-the-charts D and I, I can also be somewhat of an enigma.

My D has been the driving force behind each success within my life. It allows me to step out in faith, believing that my strong sense of “what’s right for me” will also be my best guide.

Meanwhile, my "I" pushes me out in front of a crowd. Giving me the courage and strength to attempt anything once.

Have you determined what makes your business unique? You need to find that one thing you do better than anything else.

How to find your one thing

Steve Maraboli said in his book "Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience,"

“There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a person being themselves. Imagine going through your day being unapologetically you.”

- Steve Maraboli

I couldn't agree more.

Ready to embrace your one thing? It’s not as tough as you think.

  • Be fearless! Get out there and break things. Try something new. Dare to be bold in your decisions. Know what you and your business stand for.
  • Stand UP for what you believe. If you don’t take a stand for your business, who will? Do what you know is right for the direction and focus of your company and brand — every single day.
  • Know that you might be able to do all things, but that you cannot do everything. Give away everything that doesn't serve you or the best interest of your company. Focus on your highest and best.
  • Stop trying to be everything to everyone. Identify who you serve and give back to that community in meaningful ways.

4. Blaze your own branded trail

Are you clearly articulating what sets your business apart from your competition? Is this spelled out in your social media branding? If not, you’re walking a dangerous line.

Heard of a tactic called “me-too marketing?” I'm sure you've seen it. It's on display across social media everywhere you look. It's a term that means you look at your competition and say, "Hey, I like what you're doing. I can do that too."

But instead of using that knowledge to create differentiation, you mimic every aspect. Right down to a revised version of their logo. Why, oh why would you do that? Blaze your own trail. Be unique.

See how busy social media is? If your branding is cookie-cutter at best, you're going to have a hard time standing out. From your colors to the font you use, create a consistent look and feel.

Strong branding equals an instant connection with your audience.

Coca-Cola, one of the most well-established companies around, has created an unforgettable brand. And it’s no surprise. Their content is captivating, consistent, and unique in tone and voice.

5. Define your version of success (and know how you'll get there)

Tony Gwynn, Hall of Fame Baseball player said, "The minute you’re satisfied with where you are, you aren’t there anymore." And so it is with social media marketing.

Just when you think you know what success looks like, change comes along and sweeps you off your feet.

If you’ve struggled to build momentum, it's time to define what success looks like to your company. What drives your social media decisions? Have you nailed it down? The sooner you do, the quicker you stop wasting time on social media.

6. Align social with your marketing strategy

Are you posting without a plan? Is your content an afterthought and your social media strategy non-existent? If this sounds like you, you need to get aligned with your marketing goals.

With a plan in place, you post on purpose instead of randomly rushing to push something out. You also roll your social goals up into your company goals. This leaves no doubt in your mind how social supports growth.

conveying your brand on social media

Before you begin to create your social media marketing strategy, it's time to brainstorm.

Answer the questions below. I've given you examples to see how simple it can be to clearly spell out how social media (organic and paid) can help you achieve your business goals.

Once you have the answers, you'll begin to weave social into your big vision.

Example strategy brainstorming session

Plan ahead: Where do you want to be?

  • Global industry leader through a clear, measurable, and achievable company marketing strategy
  • The dominant player in the market through WOM marketing, influencer marketing, integrated marketing plan, and defined customer acquisition campaigns
  • WOW factor established—plays a significant role in customer retention and satisfaction
  • The inbound marketing model is 100% in alignment with company goals and strategies
  • Team trained to nurture leads through the established customer journey—speak to a clearly defined customer persona

Get clear: What are your social media marketing priorities?

  • Increase Awareness
  • Generate New Users
  • Attract and Retain Users
  • Innovate (Thought Leadership)
  • Engage (and Activate) Audience

Know your goals: What are your objectives and key results?

  • Define a Consumer Facing Strategy
  • Have 3-4 primary campaigns defined (acquisition per segment/ persona, retention per segment/ persona, loyalty/ affinity per segment/ persona)
  • Have Q1 secondary campaigns defined within 60 days
  • Have a specific assumed lead nurturing (customer journey) path defined for each campaign within 60 days,
  • Create happy customers
  • Clearly identify segments and personas for the current 20% of users within 30 days
  • Send segmented surveys—within 45 days
  • Require team involvement—train team on execution and support within 45 days

7. Assess and adjust—test, test, test!

Once you know what you're looking to achieve and you're measuring results, it's time to review. Use the accumulated data to calculate and estimate how you will improve your social media marketing.

This is critical if you're looking to improve continuously. It also requires that you take a look at previous goals. Were they attained? If so, it's time to crank them up. Set bigger and bolder goals.

And always look to your analytics. See what content resonated with your audience and what flopped. Adjust your strategy and your content when appropriate to keep your social media content fresh and your information relevant.

Final thoughts

There are many ways to market your business with social media. There are also a multitude of ways to kill your momentum and drive results into the ground. But that doesn't mean using social media effectively has to be hard.

In fact, knowing how to use it best to market your business will give you a big leg up. You see, your competition is still flailing around trying to put a plan in place.

Take the time today to determine what success looks like to you and how you'll get there effortlessly.

Rebekah Radice

About Rebekah Radice

Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.