As a business owner or blogger who uses social media to grow the reach of your brand, you are constantly battling against the noise, trying to stand out in the crowd.
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 business owners and bloggers will recognize that it’s difficult to go it alone and will form collaborative relationships with others in their niche.
Unless you have the luxury of owning a universally recognized brand name with tons of existing brand equity, getting noticed on social media is a struggle.
Partnering with other professionals in your niche who are facing the same struggles can really help you turn the tide of the social media war you’ve been waging.
What is a social media alliance?
A social media alliance is a group of likeminded professionals or creators who are active in the same niche. The members of the alliance agree to share one another’s content to help each member of the alliance increase their reach. A social media alliance serves to help all members grow their blog or their business in a collaborative manner.
To keep things less complicated, it’s best to limit the alliance initially to somewhere around five (on average) members. Then, as you get the hang of working together to help one another grow, you can grow your alliance. As the alliance grows and the collaboration becomes easier, you’ll all grow together and expand the reach of your content.
Each member of the alliance should agree to make it a regular practice to share each of the other members’ posts, recommend pages to new followers, post comments on other members’ blogs and otherwise engage to add value. The cycle will continue each week, which will effectively increase the reach of each member’s posts, help 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.
Research to make the right connections
First, you’ll need to do some vetting. An alliance is most effective when the other members involved work within similar niche areas of expertise that complement one another.
For example, if you sell athletic footwear, perhaps you could connect with other marketing professionals who work for companies that sell sporting goods, or maybe even healthcare practitioners who work in sports medicine.
Or perhaps you’re in the blogging space. In addition to serving as CEO of a full-service digital marketing agency, I obviously run the blog you’re reading right now (it’s in the name). As such, I work with other bloggers by offering my assistance in a variety of ways to help them grow. But the relationships I’ve built with other bloggers took time, and the first step was understanding both my audience and the audiences of those with whom I’ve built an alliance.
Make sure you consider the following when you look at people to connect and collaborate with:
- Can you genuinely add value to their efforts?
- Do your audiences overlap so that each audience is interested in the content you both have to share?
- Are they actively engaged on social media or just posting and walking away (set it and forget it)?
I don’t necessarily worry about follower numbers. If you find someone in your niche who might make a good alliance member but they only have 100 followers, that’s ok. If they are actively engaged and making moves to grow, they are a solid fit.
Reach out and build relationships
Once you’ve uncovered a few potential allies, you’ll need to craft a compelling message that covers the following items:
- Introduce yourself, your company or your blog and what you offer
- Make sure you let the people you’re trying to work with know you’re looking to help them and not steal their audience
- Start sharing their posts or adding links to their content in your articles (and let them know)
Not everyone will be up for working together. Sadly, many people have yet to catch on to the value of sharing and collaborating. But you will find a good deal of people will want to join you.
If someone doesn’t want to join you, it’s ok. Don’t get upset, just move on. The last thing you want to do is post something negative or create an enemy. It’s enough of a battle out there already without creating supervillians looking to bring you down!
For those who are on board with the alliance, start sharing their content and make sure to prove your value. For each person you target, make sure you focus on building real relationships. If you just target people for their numbers, your alliance will fail.
Introductions to the expanded network
Now that you’ve built your initial alliance, keep in mind that each person in that alliance has a larger network of followers and relationships (just like you). You’ll want to gain introductions to those larger networks, but you don’t just go in for the ask.
First and foremost, your goal should be to become a social media connector. Start by looking at your own audience and determining who within your own alliance might be able to help your new connections.
Then reach out to your new connections and mention to them that you think they should meet the person or people you think would be a fit and let them know why you think they’d be of value to your alliance member.
If your alliance members are on board, then make the intros. Make sure the people in your extended network who you introduce are genuinely looking to help others as well. Then, as the members in your alliance begin to see the value in the introductions you’ve made, they’ll start to make introductions between you and their connections which will help you grow.
As you continue along with this part of the process, you’ll start to notice your network is growing and growing. Eventually, it begins to happen organically with little or no effort.
Continue to engage and share
The key, after relationships are established, is to maintain engagement and activity. Be consistent about doing the following things:
- Sharing other alliance members’ posts
- Commenting on blog posts
- Adding links to others’ content and websites in your articles (and sharing them on social)
- Continue to make introductions and expand networks
If you create the relationship and then just let it sit idly by, or worse, if you create the relationship and then just always ask for others to help you without you giving back, those relationships will grow stale. Your alliance will break down, and you will lose the battle to gain a foothold in the digital world.
When you share other alliance members’ posts, make sure you mention their social media accounts in the posts you share. That way, they will see that you are still actively engaged in the alliance.
I collaborate with a ton of marketing and blogging pros. And when I share their content, I always add a mention. Here’s a great example from a shining star in the social media collaboration space, Ryan Biddulph of Blogging From Paradise. In the post, Ryan mentions both my handle (I wrote the post) and the handle of Moss Clement of Moss Media who hosted the article on his site. I recommend checking out both of these folks, as they are great examples of the power of collaboration.
— Ryan Biddulph (@RyanBiddulph) March 31, 2021
Make sure you use @ on Twitter and follow specific guidelines on other channels when mentioning someone. Here’s a good guide to help you determine how to mention someone on some of the most popular social media channels.
Whatever methods you are using, and whatever channels you prefer, be sure to be consistent and stay in touch with the members of your alliance.
Staying in touch
One important thing you’ll want to do is stay in touch with all of your collaborators. If you lose touch, you’ll forget about one another and the value you bring to helping one another reach your goals will stop.
So, don’t be afraid to just say hello now and then. Drop a message in the private message area your social channels offer, or maybe say hello with a public post. Just drop a line to some of your alliance members and ask how they’re doing.
Create a post that asks how they’re doing, asks a question, or otherwise engages with them. Whether it’s a one-to-one message or a message to the larger group within your collaborative alliance, make a point each week of staying in touch so you can stay top of mind.
And don’t shy away from actually getting to know the folks in your alliance. Go beyond the page, feel free to find out who they are as a person and connect on a deeper level. No, you shouldn’t get too personal, but it’s ok to find out about things like where they like to vacation, what hobbies they have, if they have a family, etc.
Staying in touch will ensure that your network continues to grow and so does the positive impact of the alliance.
Measure the impact of your social media sharing alliance
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. It won’t be a collaborative activity, but it’s something you need to understand.
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
- Number of followers
- Engagement levels (shares, mentions, comments, etc.)
- Newsletter subscriptions
- Blog readership
- Lead generation
If you aren’t measuring the results, you’ll never know if you are making positive strides. And you will also miss out on wonderful opportunities to grow.
Wrapping it up
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 or your blog 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!
Start slowly and prove your value. As you prove the value you bring to other members in your alliance, the value the alliance offers to you will grow.
Make sure to stay active and don’t get complacent. The key is to build REAL relationships. Not just try to fake it to get people to share your content. If you do that, you’ll get called out, and your opportunity to create new alliances will be crushed.
Have you started a social media alliance? Do you collaborate with others in your niche to help one another grow? If so, I’d love to hear about how your efforts are working or any tips you have in the comments!
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