Big or small, influencer or newcomer, everyone looking to get more followers and more likes on social media—more engagement, period—seeks out strategies that work.

And what works with a platform of 11 million followers tends to work for platforms with 100, too.

Social media is a moving ocean of posts, images, tools, ideas, and content that flows at a fast pace. You can find success by building your own social media strategy and keeping it fluid by checking and rechecking what’s working.

I’ve had the chance to check and recheck dozens of different social media strategies in managing a social media platform of 11 million. How do I do everything that I do? And what do I do, specifically? Well, I’d love to share the details with you!

scale your strategies social media

My network of 11 million

I’ve had the privilege to assist Guy Kawasaki, chief evangelist at Canva and former evangelist at Apple, on his social media marketing, and I’ve worked on building a social media following for myself.

I manage a huge social media platform across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. I started at zero on all my accounts, just like you, and I’m not a celebrity or household name. This is how I’ve worked to build a great social platform – and you can too!

What I manage:

  • An audience of 10,637,540 for Guy
  • An audience of 935,793 for me

Total: an audience of 11.5 million people

I’ve had the opportunity to take the skills and tricks I’ve learned along the way, managing my own social media platform and applying it to Guy’s social media and for clients we work with, and implement them in some exciting ways. Fortunately, a lot of the strategies have worked! And if things aren’t working, I find a different way to do them.

What is social strategy?

Your social strategy is the plan that’s going to make your social media work.

It’s a combination of content creation, content curation, creativity, and organization.

Random acts of social media won’t do a darn thing to help people find you or to be known for a topic area. To build your authority in your niche, you need to create a solid social strategy that will help people find out who you are, what you do, and most importantly how you can help them.

Answer these questions before you begin the work on your social strategy:

  1. What need will you fill for the people who will follow you?
  2. Why should they follow you?
  3. What will you consistently provide to them?

Let’s use the Buffer blog as an example since their wildly popular blog helped put them on the technology tool map. (Here’s a look back at the blog in late 2013.)

The Buffer blog, circa December 2013

First they created their great product, Buffer, then they started their blog to help get the word out. Leo Widrich started early awareness for Buffer with an extensive guest blogging plan; this was before Buffer had a big team. They’ve since moved to an in-house blogging method with a team of great writers and a social media plan to get their message to as many people as possible.

Their goal was to find people to use Buffer. What they did to achieve that strategy was guest blogging with social media to boost it and they’ve scaled it to match their growth.

You’ll need to be willing to grind it out to make your social media strategy work. Nothing works unless you do.

There are different elements to the social strategy I work with. I’ll go more in depth into each of these:

  1. Content creation
  2. Content curation
  3. Social media amplification
  4. Social media conversations
  5. Social media listening

Content creation & content curation

What is the difference between creation and curation?

Content creation is creating your media in the form of writing, graphics, design work, video, or any combination of these together.

Creating the media to share and express your blog or brand is very important to help build awareness and trust with your targeted audience.

Content curation is finding content that other people have created to share on your social media accounts.

From Buffer’s Complete Guide to Content Curation:

Content curation is sorting through a large amount of web content to find the best, most meaningful bits and presenting these in an organized, valuable way.

You’ll want to find content that matches the message that you’re presenting with your own content creation. Your curated content should boost your created content and work together. This is what you use to feed the content monster every day – a mixture of your own content and your curated content.

If you’re an artist, you might want to share curated content about art, creativity, and being an entrepreneur. The items that you curate and share are woven into your own social message so what you share is as important as what you create.

There are three ways I’ve found to make creation and curation as efficient and effective as possible:

  1. Be organized
  2. Load your tool belt
  3. Automate what you can

1. Be organized

Organization is the most important cog in the wheel of your social strategy – a world of planning means nothing without implementation. Keep this in mind when choosing what to do so you can plan time in your schedule to get it all done. Being realistic in your time, motivations, and ability to implement is key.

2. Load your tool belt

Feedly screenshot

 

This screen shot is from Feedly. I’ve set up my Feedly profile so I can batch process my content curation and easily find content for different accounts. For example, the highlighted accounts show Guy’s LinkedIn. I have RSS feeds set up to go into Guy’s LinkedIn folder based on the appropriate content for his LinkedIn account. You can choose an article, read it in Feedly and quickly send it to Buffer.

feedly

 

One key to great curation is to not share things all at once – let Buffer work for you by filling it in batches and sharing at the most optimal times.

Chrome extensions are invaluable to me. They are quick and efficient allowing you to do more in less time. A few of my must-have extensions:

3. Automate what you can

Using IFTTT or Zapier to streamline repetitive tasks can save you time. Both of these services link other app services together. My favorite IFTTT recipe shares my Instagram photos to Twitter with the image. If you don’t use this to share images from Instagram to Twitter, it will tweet but without the image.

instagram-twitter ifttt recipe

My favorite Zapier zap posts my pins from Pinterest to my Buffer account. Once they are in Buffer, I can edit the description to customize it for a tweet and add a hashtag. I don’t want all my pins to go to Twitter so this gives me a chance to select them or I can edit the Zap to share only pins that I post to a certain board.

Creating your own social media shortcuts with IFTTT or Zapier can save time but make sure that you’re vigilant and check what is being processed on your social media accounts to make sure everything is going smoothly. You don’t want to share suboptimal content to save time. Quality is always important when posting.

Engagement [Social Media Conversations]

The wind beneath your wings for your social content.

A big part of the social media magic happens in the comments and conversations that take place on social media channels. When you post on social media, be prepared to have conversations with people. Scheduling your content frees you up to do other work and provides you with time to respond to tweets and posts.

Automating your content isn’t a free pass to be offline and unavailable. People will notice. While you don’t have to be online all day long unless you’re a social media pro or community manager, make sure that you plan several times a day to check your social media.

When you post new blog content, you want to make sure you’re available at that time to respond especially succinctly to comments or discussions that pop up around your new article.

Typically, I like to respond on each social platform. If you like to streamline tasks further, find a way to see and respond to the comments on each social platform that you use. A few that I like:

Cleaning house [Social Media Comments]

While you’re busy checking your comments, make sure that you take the time to sweep out all the spam comments from your posts. These come in different forms by platform.

  • LinkedIn published posts are being plagued by the LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers) spamming the comments with “invitations to connect.” Remove these comments from your posts to keep it clean for real comments and thoughts.
  • Facebook posts get spam in post comments leaving requests to like their page or some other off-topic link.
  • Instagram spammers leave their messages and requests to visit their page and follow them.

Keeping your community spam and profanity free makes it nice for other people to be there as well as encourages positive commenting. This is a daily, on-going task that shouldn’t be ignored.

Build a reciprocal network [Social Media Amplification]

A big part of my overall social media strategy is to post great content that people will love to share whether I write it or share someone else’s content. I feel that this creates a social media presence that people will love to follow and look to for great content to share.

I don’t advocate begging people to share content or bugging influencers to share your content. Simply share great content and people will find it. I have a solid distribution process for sharing my own content and don’t ask others to share it.

I use the Social Warfare plugin on my blog because how things are shared when I’m not there to do it are important! It takes time to load the images into the plugin but it’s worth it for fantastic social sharing and it reduces the load time of the page since the images are behind the scenes.

This is a little of what I do when I publish new blog content. Guy calls this “Pegging a post.”

How to share a blog post

  1. Create images for social sharing:
    > Pinterest 735 x 1102 pixels
    > Facebook 940 x 788 pixels
    > Twitter 1024 x 512 pixels
    > Instagram 640 x 640
  2. Create blog graphics (560 x 315) for Open graph sharing
  3. Pin blog post on Pinterest first
  4. Share on Twitter with an image
  5. Schedule later in the day for LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+
  6. Schedule tweets to go out on future dates for more traffic
  7. Add relevant hashtags to content based on the social platform and what’s acceptable.
  8. My posts go automatically into Triberr
  9. I also use Comment Luv on my blog so my latest blog post is shared when I comment on blogs.
  10. Add click to tweets into Social Warfare with quotes from the blog post

It’s important to customize the text and style on each social media platform. Dumping a link everywhere at the same time won’t get you social conversation or blog traffic.

Final step: Lather, rinse, repeat.

Being consistent with your social media and blogging is essential to success. I publish once a week on my blog and every day on all the social platforms that I’m active on.

Getting started on social media may seem like a big task but that’s just the beginning. Sticking with it and sharing great content every day is what creates social media platforms worth talking about.

Over to you

I hope this peek into what I do every day gives you some ideas to boost your social media efforts. If you want more, grab a copy of The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users and really get serious.

Have you tried some of these tips with your social media strategy? What would you add to the list here that’s worked for you? It’d be great to hear from you in the comments.

Image sources: Pablo, UnSplash, IconFinder, Wayback Machine

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Written by Peg Fitzpatrick

Peg is an author, social media strategist, and blogger writing on her own website as well as guest blogging for Social Media Examiner, Buffer, Hubspot, and other great blogs. She co-authored The Art of Social Media with Guy Kawasaki. She’s a cross-platform social media passionista managing a total social media platform of 11 million every day. Peg has spearheaded successful social-media campaigns for Motorola, Audi, Google, and Virgin as well as having been a brand ambassador for Kimpton Hotels. She was recently chosen by Pinterest to work in their Pinterest Expert program helping others with Pinterest for Business.

Someone bring her a grande skinny caramel macchiato stat or at least pencil in a nap on the schedule.

  • Anna Zubarev

    What a fantastic Post yet again Peg!
    Thanks for putting this together!

  • Dharam Bindra

    Please, my time has certain value so I have stopped participating non economical activities. Thanks

    • Hi Dharam – I’m not sure what you mean. Did you have a question?

  • Hi Peg!
    Thanks for the awesome post! I agree with you about asking for shares. I hate doing that but I’ve been wondering if it’s not a necessary evil when you get started. I know that just sharing on my own accounts usually doesn’t get me far. Few hundred views at best.
    What did you do when you just got started, did you focus on building relationships with bloggers? How did you get to work with Guy?

    • Aurelle,

      It is hard when you start blogging. I was lucky to have an online community built a bit before I started my blog. Have you looked at blogging communities like Triberr? You can build a group of blogging friends that share your content without having to ask and you can also find great content from their posts. http://triberr.com/pages/stream.php There’s also another called Social Buzz Club – one of these might be great for you.

      • I’m on Triberr but just getting started so I’ll see how this helps me 🙂

        • It takes time to build a blog community. I’ve found that Pinterest collaborative boards are also a great way to connect.

  • The number of followers doesn’t really matter (I manage over 30 million and yet it’s no different than managing 2000). The overall engagement of the following is far more important.

    Guy’s Twitter following isn’t engaged at all. Maybe 10 favorites and retweets per tweet from a guy that has over 1.45 million followers? Buffer sees those numbers or better from just 1/5 the following. Countless other communities see far higher engagement.

    Number of followers doesn’t matter. I’ll take 1000 followers that are highly engaged over 1 million followers that aren’t engaged at all.

    The IFTTT recipe to post from Instagram to Twitter as a native picture was great until IFTTT updated to be inline with the Twitter TOS that doesn’t allow automated @ mentions. Because of this mentions are now removed leaving strange looking tweets that don’t tag others. I’ve since stopped using this recipe.

    • Hello Ben,

      Guy responds to his own tweets and conversations everywhere. I don’t manage that.

      • sheloveslondon

        I sort of have to agree with Ben on the numbers front – I’m immediately suspicious of Twitter accounts that are following, say 24,000 people and having 41,000 people follow them back. There’s a lot of these accounts around, often belonging to people who talk a lot about how to grow your followers.

        Yet to my mind, that sort of ratio isn’t indicative of organic growth, and often this shows in the engagement levels – maybe 5 RTs at the most for some tweets, others passing without a nod… it just doesn’t match up.

        No doubt in the case of Canva, this isn’t the case. But in your personal account, was there an element of “gaming” followers in order to increase your following? Genuine question.

        • I don’t know what you mean by gaming. I don’t game anything in my social media. I show up every day and post. I think there are plenty of people who look for shortcuts but that’s not me. I follow people back and follow people I like. Everyone does different things on Twitter.

          Genuine question – why don’t you use your real name and photo when commenting on blogs?

          • sheloveslondon

            That’s true, everyone does things differently on Twitter. It’s more a discussion on growing numbers vs growing engagement, and whether the two are related.

            And She Loves London is the account attached to my personal blog, She Loves London, which my name and photo are freely associated with. It’s not a cloak I’m hiding behind. Apologies if my comment came across as antagonistic, I was / am just curious.

          • There are many variables in Twitter growth. I try posting content regularly, following people who are interesting, and engaging with people on Twitter. It’s worked well for me so far.

  • indy

    Super info here and perfect timing for me! I blog consistently and am slowly building my audience, but need the tools to schedule and automate in order to make my marketing time more efficient – this helps show me the way – thanks!

    • Thanks! It’s really hard when you first start with a blog but there are lots of ways to share it. I hope this this!

  • Great insight Peg! Thanks for sharing and creating great content! 🙂

    • You’re welcome! Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  • Dharam Bindra

    Buffer: In the picture a gentleman,seemingly so, pointing gun hole. Message for him Dharam Bindra has stopped playing with toy guns. He does not believe ,now after wasting 1.5 years online,love,peace and harmony. He has strong desire to lift gun in reality against” the exploiters” those are hiding behind online walls and think that they are transformers of the world and can use people without paying something and later on labeling them “incompetents”. I have a firm belief that such kind of bitches may label a man as “impotent” without giving him a chance to hit at their bottoms.
    So kindly don’t me such guns online in future, if you are really men of substances ,then, place the foot on the ground in Syria and Iraq.

  • Natasha

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Peg! So many great tips here!

    • You’re welcome, Natasha. What’s your favorite social media platform?

      • Natasha

        It’s hard to choose, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be Twitter! I love how accessible people are, and I think it’s a great resource for new information! What about you?

  • What a fantastic post, Peg! I absolutely love Triberr and Buffer. I just started using Iconosquare for Instagram. I haven’t tried Social Warfare and will be looking into it. I love your advice,”Simply share great content and people will find it.”

    There are so much valuable information here that I’m going to have to read this again 🙂 Thank you for sharing your expertise. I will be sharing this.

    • Thanks Robin!

      You’ll love Social Warfare for making it easy for other people to share great images with your blog posts. If you check out a post on my blog and hit the Pinterest button, a great image pulls up with a special Pinterest description. It’s pretty cool.

      Iconsquare has been great for desktop Instagramming. I don’t like to do everything on my phone, do you?

      • I will check out a post on your blog, Peg, to see how Social Warfare works. After I left my comment, I went over to the website.

        For Iconsquare, I am with you. I prefer to use it on my desktop. 🙂

  • TEDz

    Awesome! Very useful post.Thank you for sharing your tips. I’m one of your Avid Followers Peg =)

    • I appreciate that Tedz! What’s your favorite social media platform?

  • uwefunk

    Hi Peg, great post.
    Covers nearly everything from strategy up to tools for social media. There is no reason not to get successful with these tipps ;-).
    I’m from Germany and a heavy user of feedly and buffer in combination. I wrote a blog post (unfortunately in german) about sending the right information at the right time to customers with the help of buffer: http://www.uwe-matern.de/auf-den-punkt-die-richtige-information-zur-richtigen-zeit/

  • Very informative post Peg. I have read your blog for the first time and I am quite impressed. Infact I have’nt came to Buffer yet. This is my first visit. I am surprised how I missed it. I will definitely going to practice these techniques suggested by you for my website http://www.pulpstrategy.com/ . Thanks.

  • hughforsyth

    Is there a reason/benefit to posting to Pinterest before Twitter and others?

  • Wendy Kiana Kelly

    This article is super comprehensive. As I was reading it through a second time this morning, I realized just how many great resources you list — & *then* show a step-by-step of how you do what you do 🙂 Genuinely helpful – Thank you!!

    • I’m so glad you found it helpful and worthy of a second read, Wendy. Thanks!

  • Pandian

    Sure this article is an eye opener. Thanks, Peg! “Do not beg others for sharing your content. If it is good people will share it” . Inspiring!

    • Thanks! I’m not a fan of sucking up or being sucked up to.

      • sarah b danks

        If you used content/ideas from influencers (experts, whatever) in a blog post, when you Tweet it out, you don’t @ mention them?

  • Scot Newbury

    Another great article Peg, thanks for sharing your process, it’s great to get a bit of insight into how you pull it all together.

    I’ve saved this off for reference as I work on building my communities and will be sharing with others looking for guidance.

    • I appreciate that @scotnewbury:disqus – good luck building your communities!

  • Loved this blog! Will definitely be testing out this tips on our social media.

  • Hi Peg Fitzpatrick,

    since someone who has been following you for a while, I know you have a treasure to learn from. And buffer one of my top fav blogs. I am so glad you shared some of the greatest tips for effective social marketing here in the post.

    One doubt as you are the best person in the world to ask this:

    1) I use a opening image or featured image on my blog which is basically a 750*300 or something graphics (plain one). I don’t use one tall one because it would crowd my content which might even have more screenshots and tables in accordance with the post.

    My question is what should I do? I want to leverage pinterest so have I to add two images or I have to do away with my starting image or what do you suggest? Here is a article link I request you to see so that you can get my point.

    http://www.digitalgyd.com/39-kickass-facebook-marketing-tips-for-socially-awkward-folks/

    Thank you 🙂

    • Hello Swadwin,

      Have you tried the Social Warfare plugin? You can add a big Pinterest image in the plugin that is there when people hit share to Pinterest and it doesn’t slow your page down. You can see it here: http://pegfitzpatrick.com/5-tools-everyone-on-twitter-should-be-using/

      Or you could add a big image to Pinterest and then embed the code into your blog post.

      I hope this helps. Thank you for your kind comments. I appreciate it!

    • sarah b danks

      Good question — I was wondering the same thing!

  • Megan Kellar

    Great article, I’ll be buffering this to my social accounts!
    There are some great tools you mentioned too, will be checking our triberr.
    Thanks again!

    • Thanks for Buffering my article on Buffer. 🙂

      • Megan Kellar

        No worries, had a few interested likes on it!

  • Mary-Margaret Walker

    I’ve been a fan of Guy since I met him in ’95. You are amazing too Peg!! (I don’t blow smoke.) This is a fantastic guide. What I don’t see is how to handle personal questions. My social media has always resulted in onslaught of very personal direct requests from every form of communication. I took a long break to reset myself and it still happens. Whatever you can share on that matter would be most helpful. Thanks! MM

    • Hi Mary-Margaret,

      Thank you! I don’t get an onslaught of direct personal questions. Was this on one platform in particular? I would just not answer things you aren’t comfortable answering. You don’t have to answer just because they asked.

      • Mary-Margaret Walker

        Thanks so much for your reply! It’s through every messaging system including phone and email and I should have been more specific. When I said personal, it is personal to them. The equivalent would for you to receive direct requests fo to review individual social media strategies or to talk to people one on one about their issues instead of taking the time to respond in a comments section where others can benefit from the interaction.

  • Hey Peg

    Love the tips in this post. Just one warning Awesome Screenshot app has been known to be involved in some shady tracking practices in the past : https://mig5.net/content/awesome-screenshot-and-niki-bot

    • I’ll have to check that out – that’s no good. Thanks!

      • I switched to something called FireShot. It’s not too bad.

  • How do you automatically share your posts on Triberr? I just joined am not sure if thisjust happens or you need to activate something. Thanks for this excellent post

    • You need to go into Triberr and approve the posts you want to share. You can put people on auto share but I like to read them before I send them. It’s free, you should give Triberr a shot.

  • @PegFitzpatrick:disqus … Plain and simple.. Yet highly effective! You rock !

  • edificeautomotive

    Great Post from Beginning to End! Thanks Peg!

  • Peg, thanks for the awesome post! (I think I repeated Aurelie Chazal on that one.) I recently had a social media assessment done for my blog and social media platforms. I received some high points and some low points, but altogether a good assessment and moving forward plan. But I have still been fiddling around to find the right way to track what I’ve posted and where I posted it and when.

    You’ve answered some questions for me and provided some essential links I need to look into. Any suggestions on tracking the prime scheduling times for each platform and what you’ve already posted for each?

    • Hello Sherrey,

      For Facebook I use Likealyzer and Social Bro for Twitter to find the best times to post. i check them weekly.

      It’s cool that you just had an outside assessment – good luck with everything moving forward.

      • Peg, thanks for taking the time to respond. The assessment is the best thing I’ve done for myself in a great while.

  • David Nesbit

    Hi Peg,
    Many thanks for such comprehensive info on social media as a regular activity specifically and the tools and techniques that you rely upon more generally.

    WRgds – David Nesbit

  • Greatly enjoyed the read. One question; “When, if ever, do you integrate paid advertising in your social media strategy (FB adtool, LinkedIn DirectAds, etc.)?”

  • I always knew about the importance of good
    content creation for managing social media platforms. However, the emphasis on
    content curation has opened up new avenues for me. I did it but never very
    seriously. I will need to divert more constructive efforts towards it now.

  • Chad Godoy

    Hi Peg!
    Thank you for giving us helpful tips on managing Social Media, I’ve been following you for almost 5 months now, and I can say that you made an impact on how I see stuff that will help me on managing my own.
    Thanks You Peg!

  • Loïc Baudry

    Thanks Peg, always useful and practical, I like it! What proportion of curation against creation do you recommend for a social media management professional? Thanks! 🙂

  • sarah b danks

    WONDERFUL article! This one is a definite keeper — not saying I’m going to print it out or anything, but saving it for reference!

    Thanks for sharing your tips of the trade 🙂

  • Nora Flint

    Hello Peg! Thanks for sharing this amazing information. Good stuff. It was useful but can I know more about content curation?