As a business owner who uses social media to target customers, you find yourself constantly battling against your competition for audience members’ eyes and ears.
The fight is intense, and you aren’t confident you have the resources to win. If you only had a bigger team to help amplify the content you post and beat back the competitors. Just as you reach for the white flag and consider surrender, the cavalry rushes to your aid in the form of a social media sharing alliance.
Smart businesses will recognize that it’s difficult to go it alone.
Unless you have the luxury of owning a universally recognized brand name, getting noticed on social media is a struggle. Partnering with complementary companies who are facing the same struggles can really help you turn the tide of the social media war you’ve been waging.
To keep things less complicated, it’s best to limit the alliance to somewhere around five (on average) members, however, feel free to go higher if you think you can handle the organizational challenges.
Each member of the alliance will then make it a regular practice to share each of the other members’ posts, recommend pages to new followers, post comments and otherwise engage to add value. The cycle will continue each week, which will effectively increase the reach of each member’s posts, recruit new followers and engage new audiences.
Here are a few steps you can take to create a social media sharing alliance to hold and eventually gain ground against the competition.
First, you’ll need to do some vetting. An alliance is most effective when the companies involved offer products or services that complement one another.
For example, if you sell athletic footwear, perhaps you could connect with companies that sell sporting goods, or maybe even healthcare practitioners who work in sports medicine. The connection will help you reach different audiences, but the members of those audiences will likely have some level of interest in each of the businesses involved in the alliance.
Once you’ve uncovered a few potential allies, you’ll need to craft a compelling message that covers the following items:
- Introduce your company and what you offer
- Explain the concept of a social media sharing alliance and how each member will benefit
- Make sure you let them know you’re complementary not competitive
- Provide your contact info and suggest a start date
Not everyone will be up for working together. Sadly, many businesses have yet to catch on to the value of sharing and collaborating. But you will find a good deal of companies will want to join you.
You’ve reached out to several businesses, and you’ve convinced four others to be a part of your alliance to battle the evil competition. It’s now critical that everyone be introduced to each other. You’ll want to make sure each member has a chance to voice the following:
- Name, company and contact info
- What they do or what they sell
- Objectives or goals they hope to achieve through the alliance
- URLs for pages or website they want to promote
Knowing these things will help each team member be more effective in their sharing and stay in line with the goals and objectives each has set forth.
After an understanding of each member’s goals and objectives is established, it’s time to lay some ground rules. This is imperative to the success of any social media sharing alliance.
Ground rules can be whatever you want them to be, but one thing I recommend having in place for sure is the quantity and frequency of sharing. It’s best to set something in stone.
Set a rule that states each member will share, like or engage in some way with at least three posts from each of the other members’ pages once per week. That way there is a standard set, and anyone not pitching in can be booted out.
Now you’ll need to put something in place to help nurture a sharing environment.
Emailing or messaging each team member every week can be quite tedious. Make it easier for everyone to collaborate by creating a common area to meet online.
Setup invite-only LinkedIn or Facebook Groups. Allow members to share content they want to promote, and tell other members of the group exactly what they hope to achieve (like achieve shares of their post, for example).
Monitor and approve posts to ensure the group doesn’t get spammy, and keep tabs on who is interacting and helping others and who is in it only for their own benefit. Keep the group full of likeminded professional who actively help one another.
Finally, you will need a way to determine whether you’re achieving what you’d hoped. This one is something you’ll likely do yourself. If you want to truly be successful, it’s important to measure the results of your involvement in the social media sharing alliance you’ve built. An effective alliance should lead to an increase in these types of stats:
- Website traffic from social
- Newsletter subscriptions
- Blog readership
- Lead generation
As children, we’re told about the importance of sharing. The relevance of that wisdom is still true as an adult in the business world. If you want your business to stand out and beat back the encroaching competition, you’ll need to bolster the troops and fight back. A social media sharing alliance may be just the weapon you need!
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