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Monthly SMM Ninja Plan: Neo Lessons

| Posted in category Blogging Copyright Facebook Google Plus Guest Blogging Internet Marketing Social Media Twitter

The information flow on Social Media is enormous, strong as a flood and fatal for your personal and working time like a hurricane. Yes, it's almost a natural phenomenon where you have little control without proper beforehand planning and which development curve has already acquired a negative tendency.

Before you look at the comics and then hurry up to close the tab with this article, I just want to confirm it's not a WWBD (what would Buffy do) post (WWND - what would Neo do - in our case). We're trying to dig deeper and suggest you on applying feasible solutions to your ambitious SMM month plan that looks usually like this:

Social Media Comics

You know multitasking, I know multitasking and Neo is the king of multitasking, but who cares if you just don't have time for everything? Aha, you think that this is what to-do lists are for: to help you manage your activities. But before we talk about your activities, let's focus on your goals first.

Your Monthly SMM Goals: Thomas Anderson Perspective

They may differ. No joking, I have really just written that. Your goals differ on your internal marketing strategy, your SMM strategy, your industry, audience, etc. There are too many ifs and which is why I suggest you having a look at your Social Media presence like you've never ever seen it before.

Let's assume you know your audience and know they hang out on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and, say, YouTube. What are your goals there? They are probably very straight-forward:

  1. Get more targeted fans, followers, friends, subscribers for both personal and corporate accounts;
  2. Increase engagement and I bet that you measure engagement by a number of likes, shares, re-shares, views, comments. It's a somewhat naïve and fatal mistake, but let's leave it for another blog post;
  3. Increase traffic.

Let's assume that you have to write for your corporate blog, also contribute to the guest posting efforts of your team and count Social Media ROI.

Goals -> Activities Transformation: Thomas Anderson becomes Neo

Here we gotta think what activities typically lead to goal 1, 2, 3 executions. You might have your own special recipes, but I'd love to specify the basic ones that normally work regardless of your industry or previous SMM efforts.

Below are very basic activities with nothing extra:

Increased Followers/Fans/Subscribers Ratio Facebook: contests, giveaways, promoted posts, regular posts;
Google+: contests, giveaways, G+ communities, regular posts, Google+ hangouts;
Twitter: contests, giveaways, regular tweets, #FF tweets;
YouTube: contests, giveaways, new videos, video tutorials, keywords use, YouTube lists, Google+ hangouts, testimonial videos, training or how-to videos ;
Increased Engagement Facebook: see above + polls, questions, FB posts with questions and CTAs in description, images;
Google+: see above + posts with questions and CTAs in description, messages tailored to specific circles;
Twitter: see above + re-tweets, personal #FF tweets, answering (potential) users questions on Twitter, hashtags use, brand mentions search, Twitter cards;
YouTube: posting your videos on Google+, video blog posts instead of traditional ones, Google+ hangouts;
Increased Traffic Facebook: see above + proprietary Facebook app (like the one we have), website link in bio section, content curation;
Google+: see above + website link in bio section, G+ interactive posts, content curation;
Twitter:see above + website link in bio section, content curation (especially the one from your own blog);
YouTube:see above + keywords use, videos embedded to your site and appropriate sitemap;

OK, now let's try to find out what things from this list are humanly possible to do within a month.

Time execution boundaries: it's 2199 not 1999 any more

My calculations are performed assuming that Social Media management is your full-time job and we have at least 40 hours per week for our chores.

Firstly, you have to make a distinction between live conversations and ''content curation and Co''. What's more important for your brand at this stage? If you're a well-established brand then people dive into conversations with you themselves, but normally we have to buy our fans a scuba set, dive computers and the ticket to the Maldives to make them really dive into engagement with the brand.

It's a very important part and I would give 2 hours a day for live social media conversations because if you don't speak – you're dead according to Social Media Bible. Please note that 2 hours are not only allocated for speaking on behalf of your brand only. You are responsible for maintaining your personal accounts too. It's silly to specify how many comments you should write and how many answers give – you just do it as long as you see anything you can contribute too. It's like reading your personal Newsfeed on Facebook and liking cat photos of your grandma. It should come as a natural activity and feel natural for your readers too.

Content curation is however also an integral part. If you've ever curated content you know that the hardest parts are search and presentation. Search is harsh because internet is a huge garbage bin and presentation is harsh because you gotta make fans believe this content is quality before they even read it. I would say that the most feasible time boundary is 4 hours. Yes, 4 precious hours every single day.

Theoretically there's a time amount of 2 hours left every day. What could we potentially spend it on? I personally call it self-improvement and ideas generation time. Everyone curates content, most brands talk on Social Media, but you also need time for creating your own content (writing blog and guest blog posts), generating ideas for your contests, video tutorials, answering your emails and just browsing the web to see what other folks are doing.

Let's draw the line:

Live conversation: 2 hrs per day -> 10 hrs per week -> 40 hrs per month

  • Answering people's questions to your brand on Social Media (this may be typical support questions or just some requiring your expertise);
  • Leaving comments to interesting discussions, blog posts, etc;
  • Answering industry-related questions and contributing to the theme tailored discussions;
  • Monitoring brand mentions and specific keywords;
  • Managing ''holy war'' consequences if any;
  • Answering comments to your posts on Facebook, Google+, Twitter or to videos on YouTube.

Content Curation: 4 hrs per day -> 20 hrs per week - > 60 hrs per month

  • Reading your newsfeed, influential magazines, journals, blogs and the like;
  • Choosing content that can be the most beneficial one for your target audience;
  • Presenting it in an ''eatable'' format tailored for the specifics of every social network (i.e. adding related hastags on Twitter, using text formatting on Google+, extensive use of images, etc.);
  • Assigning tasks to other team members: visual content creation for designers, video ''montage'', some pages coding, and so on.

Idea generation and self-improvement: 2 hrs per day -> 10 hrs per week -> 40 hrs per month

  • Content creation: writing blog and guest posts;
  • Creating contests, video ideas;
  • Monitoring competitors;
  • Reading industry and smm news;
  • Testing waters on new (old) social networks;
  • Keeping an eye on stats (e.g, Google Analytics, Facebook fan page statistics, etc.);
  • Meetings, emails and other time consuming holes;
  • Report preparation.

NB: I hate to see people working overtime. It’s unproductive, silly and unprofessional. Remember: you’re doing something wrong if you work late hours more than once a week. You’re a social media manager, not a goddamn surgeon. Stop extra drama and learn time management.

Activities Scope: ''a world where anything is possible''

Time limits are necessary for self-discipline but setting some figure targets can make you even more focused and responsible. But before we should really understand what social network works for your business better. There's at least one place that can give you a pretty decent overview – Google Analytics.

Just go to Standard Reports -> Traffic Sources -> Social -> Overview and you'll see a general overview that can guide you perfectly well.

google analytics, social traffic

We strongly suggest checking Standard Reports -> Traffic Sources -> Social -> Conversions because some social networks can suck at attracting visits, but can still rock at generating conversions.

By analyzing these stats you can decide which social networks deserve more time and which ones less.

Let's assume that your key traffic generators are Facebook and YouTube, however Facebook and Google+ convert better than anything else.  And just don't think about quitting Twitter immediately: if it works for your industry and your competitors then you're probably not trying hard enough or need a direction change.

Let's get down to some figures based on the info we've just got from your GA.

Content curation:

Facebook: 4 posts per day and 4 posts per week-end (2 on Sunday and 2 on Saturday). Sounds a lot, ha? However, it converts well and not all posts should be somebody else's content, it can be polls, contests/discounts/special offer announcements, company news, and so on – the variety will depend only on your personal calendar. Moreover, Facebook EndgeRank is pretty tricky and doesn't show fans all of your posts and 4 is the most optimal figure if you want at least one of them to be seen by the most loyal fans.

Google+: 2 posts per day and 2 posts per week-end (1 for Saturday and 1 for Sunday). G+ is algorithm free which means that your followers see everything you post unless you specify some circles to share with. 1 post is not enough because it'll target only a couple of time zones, 2 posts are better if published at a different time and with a substantial interval as they cover a bigger audience and more time zones.

Twitter: 2-3 scheduled tweets with links and 1-2 unscheduled tweets (real conversations excluded) per day 6 scheduled tweets per week-end (3 for Saturday and 3 for Sunday). The idea here is to show that you're not a bot and are involved into a couple of conversations, but you should also be careful about that too. People also need to see what you're curating at first sight to make sure you will not pollute their Twitter feed if they follow you.

YouTube: 2-4 videos per month (1 video per week ideally). Sharing your own content on YouTube is associated with huge development and time costs. Creating a video isn't a fast process. Adding other YouTube videos to your channel is somewhat dangerous and copyright sensitive. Please also note that Google hangouts can serve in a perfect way and enrich your YouTube account. What's more, they generate a higher level of audience engagement.

Thus, your activity list will resemble something of the kind:

Facebook – 76 posts

Google+ - 48 posts

Twitter – max.120 scheduled tweets

YouTube – 4 videos

Contests, giveaways, polls, funny images/comics and the like:

The major aim of these post types is to make your SMM strategy more comprehensive, diversified and effective. You should be viewed not only like a content curator, but also the brand that makes fun and is ready for a conversation.

Needless to say, contests with prizes like your products, discounts and services increase product life cycle.

How many activities of this kind should you perform weekly and monthly? Firstly check how well they fit into your Social Media success picture and start experimenting with a feasible minimal amount.

Activity Type Frequency Possible Ideas
  1. Quarterly
  2. Every week
  3. Every month
  4. Occasion-based
Small contests (weekly, monthly):

  • share our news, video, post and get …
  • share our tweet with a special hashtag and get …
  • tag all your friends on our products photo and get …
  • help us name our new product and get …
  • make a photo with our product logo and send it to us on FB, Twitter, G+ and get…
  • write a brief letter why you love our product, we’ll choose the best and the winner will get …
  • participate in our survey and you’ll get …

Bigger Contests (quarterly and occasion-based): 

  • contests devoted to Christmas, Easter, the Olympics and other prominent events most people are aware of. More ideas can be found here and here.
  • discount contests like the one we had last year
  • video contests. For example, make a quick tutorial where you say why you love our product and get …
  • send us the greatest list of functionality you want us to add to the software, explain why and get …
  • send our support team the greatest list of bugs you found in a new release and get …
  1. Every month
  2. Quarterly
  • help us to spread the word about this charity organization and get … for free
  • write a blog post about our software and get … for free (say, first 15 writers)
  • like our page/ subscribe on YouTube, etc. and get … for free (say, first 100 subscribers)
Polls Weekly (not more than 2 times per week)
  • You love our product/service because a, b, c
  • What’s pictured on our 404 page? a, b, c
  • Which new features do you like most? a, b, c
  • Matt Cutts is a… a, b, c
Comics, cartoons, etc. Weekly (2-3 times per week)
  • funny cartoons you created yourself
  • comics created by other folks with reference to them
  • infographics
  • videographics

NB: this scope isn't the final one and is presented for your consideration only as a starting point in order to understand what works and what needs improvement. We would strongly suggest reviewing this monthly plan every month and every quarter to make the necessary corrections depending on your results.

Results: To be continued…

The most logical step after reading this article would be making a Social Media calendar where you will specify all your activities at least for the upcoming week. It's hard and doesn't always work as it was planned to, but it's always beneficial to have a to-do list in front of your eyes just not to forget something and to focus on priorities.

One more piece of advice is to align this strategy with your marketing team and ask for their calendar as too often marketing folks put us under great pressure with their planned endeavors that they forgot to tell us. I know that you get what I mean if you are a social media manager.

I wish you good luck and encourage you to share your monthly plans in the comments below.


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