Lorraine Pavel – February 17, 2019
Social Media Marketing is not a nice to have any more, it’s an absolute must in any marketing strategy and there is no company in this world that can afford to ignore it. Knowing the best social media marketing tips and best practices that work in this very moment is a must.
We all have personal accounts on social media networks, nowadays if you don’t have such an account you do not exist, the same is valid for companies, they should have social media presence. This is not just a transitory tendency, social media has lately become a valuable marketing tool and is here to stay.
As Social Media Examiner in its Industry Report for 2018 highlights: 87% of marketers consider that social media helped them grow their exposure, 78% saw a rise in their traffic and 53 % sustain their sales were improved through social media marketing activities.
Social Media Industry Report. Source: Social Media Examiner Report
Taking advantage of social media to grow a business is not exactly the easiest of tasks, but more and more companies are doing it and some even brilliantly. If you are planning to manage social media marketing for your clients or for your own company, here is a list of important tips you need to be acknowledged of and these will guide you towards the next level:
1. Your marketing strategy should include a social media strategy
Having a business strategy, a marketing strategy and furthermore a social media strategy seems to be still an alien concept for some entrepreneurs and business involved persons. It happens more often than expected to ask a business owner “Do you have a marketing strategy?” and receive an answer like “Yes, of course, it is in my head, I just have to put it together…”. Uh, splendid, just that there is some news… having a sort of idea about the strategy in “your head” does not qualify as strategy. Full stop! End of discussion!
The importance of a clearly written marketing strategy is not the subject of this article, but since we have to start from the foundation, this is the starting point: a coherent marketing strategy that includes the social media strategy, with SMART goals and media channels to be considered.
Use social media statistics to tailor your social media strategy according to your business needs. Select and target the channels where your audience is present and just those that have the best ROI for you. Concentrate your efforts on 3-4 channels and do it consistently, don’t try to be present on each and every social media network as there are great chances of being counterproductive.
2. Audit your social media presence
Before updating your strategy yearly, an audit of the social media presence is needed. Take the effort to investigate how your profiles are standing according to the latest social media best practices. Research your industry performers and verify their online social presence and see what performing elements they use.
Social Media Audit is the foundation of a successful strategy so, don’t skip it.
3. Draw a strategy and an implementation plan for each social media channel
Maybe continuously emphasizing on the importance of strategy and plan seems useless to you, but the reality is that each business needs to know which are its objectives and how its limited resources are to be used in order to generate the best results. A plan and strategy are useful as they indicate the steps and actions to be executed, they give you direction.
It’s not an option to blindly immerse yourself into the social media game, just to find yourself busy, without objectives and return on investment activities. You should be able to answer to questions like why does your business use social media (just because everyone does is not the answer); why is your business present on a certain channel like Facebook or Pinterest; why did you choose Pinterest or Facebook? what type of content you want to publish? how often? The strategy offers answers to these questions.
Having strategy, implementation plan and calendars will ease the tasks of execution and increase your chances of reaching your goals faster and cheaper.
4. Be present on the social networks where your audience is
Being present on already famous social networks is not an issue any more. You just need to adjust your presence in function of your audience, be present where she is present. If your audience moves on new, less known networks you should consider installing your presence there also.
5. Optimize your social media accounts and posts
Like all your online presence, your social media accounts and posts should be optimized, as their algorithms are almost similar to that of search engines.
For your social media posts use common keywords, relevant words that your audience use in her searches related to your niche. This tactic will make your content more searchable and easier to find. Do yourself a favour and facilitate the task of search engines. This social media marketing tip worth its weight in gold, so don’t ignore it.
Some social media optimization useful tips can be found on CoSchedule blog “How to Increase Visibility With Social Media Optimization”
6. On the social media channels you choose, have a bold presence, post consistently
“Work hard, work smart and work consistent” is a dictum that applies greatly to social media marketing. Sending a Pin or a Tweet once in a while, equals zero, if you want results, traffic increased, expanding number of followers, likes, shares, etc. you have to post several times a day and be consequent. Being constantly in front of your audience is a must, otherwise you will likely lose her attention.
7. Tailor your social media posts for your buyer personas
Your audience is composed of multiple segments and thus buyer personas. Consequently, you should create content for each of your buyer personas. If you have consultants, bloggers and small and medium enterprises as your clients, it’s pretty obvious they will have different interests and will engage with different content.
A good tactic to raise engagement is to filter your social media audience in function of demographics, interests, domain of activity and deliver targeted posts. For example, a post like “How to double your consultancy rate in two months” will not be of interest for a start-up that sells yoga mats on Amazon.
8. Post and share only top-quality content
Even if quantity is required on social media, under the form of consistency, the quality of the shared material is even more important and this is among the social media marketing tips to remember. Your audience will share, tweet, pin, etc. only content that appeals to her, that she considers relevant and interesting. The audience will appreciate primarily just the content that has intrinsic value, from her own point of view.
Publish only the content that provides the best value you can offer, not everything you produce. Share valuable content published by influencers and reputable sources in your industry, not just your own.
9. Answer, engage and interact with your audience
It’s simply not enough to share links all day long on social media. As the name states, you have to be social and socialize, interact regularly with other users. It’s a chance to literally speak with your clients and get insights of which are their problems with your products/services and how to solve them. Get in conversations, reply to other posts, link to other posts, answer to questions, invite your audience to interact, encourage a two ways communication.
That’s the much-preached engagement – provoke reactions and respond, ask for feedback and opinions.
10. Use appealing visuals
The old diction “an image makes more than a 1000 word” is more valid than ever and particularly for social media. Visual content statistics come to support the idea that visual content is gaining momentum and is considered by far more entertaining. 80% of marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing, with video claiming 63%. Also, Cisco sustains that by 2021, 82% of global traffic will be referred by video content.
That visuals and images are extremely powerful in social media there is no doubt, Pinterest, a visual search engine is the obvious evidence. Instagram and Pinterest generate the highest rate of engagement, primarily thanks to visual content.
The explosion of high quality visuals is due to technology and user-friendly applications like Canva, Adobe Spark, Pixlr or PicMonkey. A collection of graphic apps that can support your social media design efforts can be consulted in this blog.
11. Test Social Media headlines
Split testing or A/B testing is the norm for sales pages, landing pages, even for content headlines. In social media it is also important, because headlines are the first trigger to capture your audience attention. Schedule for publishing the same piece of content with different headlines and see which title generates more response.
If your content doesn’t get enough attention in general, there are two obvious reasons either the headline is not catchy enough, either the content is not high quality enough. The first to investigate and test is the headline.
12. Improve efficiency with management tools for social media or outsource
Social Media Management Tools. Source: SproutSocial
Publishing and interacting on social media channels can be a great resource consumer in terms of time and effort. Entering on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, several times a day to publish content for one or more accounts takes time and it’s not very productive. To improve efficiency, there are two options either outsourcing social media marketing to a specialized company, either implement a social media management tool.
Outsourcing might be a solution when you want to focus on your core business and don’t have inside the capabilities to manage the social media marketing. Like any option, it has its pros and cons, but depends how this fits the reality of your company.
The second option refers to using a software application to manage your social media channels. These days there are several applications that promise to make your social media marketing a breeze. Meaning they have capabilities like publishing simultaneously content on multiple platforms, schedule publishing in advance, provide analytics, present the feed in one dashboard.
Several social media automation tools that you might want to consider are Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social or Agora Pulse. A comprehensive comparison of automation tools available at the moment can be found in this article.
13. Use strategic following
Since your purpose is to attract as many interested followers as you can, a good tactic is to start following persons that are interested in topics related to your niche. Filter and follow users that are involved in conversations about your industry, use often related keywords or hashtags. Encourage them through interaction to join your audience.
14. Built relationships with influencers
When you are just starting up a company, acquiring the initial followers is the most difficult, but every company started somewhere. And, of course, competing with already established brands with tens or hundreds of thousands of followers seems a lost battle and overwhelming at least.
But, with step by step actions each goal can be accomplished. A sort of shortcut can be a partnership with industry influencers, if you can convince them to partner with you. This is a proven method that can catapult your following from zero to thousands in a couple of days, but since and when you can convince influencers to support you.
Influencers already have a large number of followers and once they “warrant” or recommend you, you will get in front of their audiences, which will be more likely to trust and follow you also.
Developing a relationship with influencers takes time and effort, but is very helpful. You can first follow the influencer, share his content, then approach directly with some piece of content that you think his audience will find useful.
15. Take advantage of contests
When you are new brand, besides contacting influencers as indicated above to grow your social media following, another successful tactic is to organize contests. This is a pleasant way to encourage users to interact with your brand.
Instagram and Twitter are among the social networks that encourage contests, and thus engagement. You can set up a vote contest – ask opinion about a piece of content, image or video; photo contest – invite users to send some sort of photo related to your niche; caption contest; like to win; sweepstakes.
Before organizing a social media contest, take a look at the most successful contests organized by renown brands and study the available tips.
16. Increase your authority by curating content
Promoting uniquely your content is not exactly the best of tactic to attract your audience. In order to become an authority, a go to resource, you need to share and forward various quality content, from trustful sources that may interest your audience.
To help you streamline the content curating task, some interesting curating tools are available. Take advantage of their facilities and impress your audience.
17. Study social media analytics and measure your success
One of the greatest advantages that came with the digital marketing is analytics and the possibility to measure the effective results of your actions. Since social media is an important pillar of your marketing strategy, measuring the results that social media in general, and each channel in particular generates, is compulsory.
It’s a no-brainer that if 80% of your traffic, for example, comes from Pinterest and just 10% from Facebook, you should concentrate your effort on Pinterest, not on Facebook. But you have to be acquainted with this information. So, study your social media analytics and monitor them periodically: weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly to observe progress.
Track and measure the metrics that are relevant for your goals.
18. Peak carefully the corresponding metrics for your social media ROI
There are quite many the metrics you need to measure for all your social media channels, but pay attention to consider particularly those that are relevant for your goals and ROI. If your goal is to increase the number of leads you get from the social networks to your site, the number of likes your company has is not exactly significant.
19. Consider social media advertising, if it serves your objectives
If you plan to boost your traffic rapidly and have a budget for that, you can opt for social media advertising. Be aware that this boost will be sustained as long as the ads campaign is active, not more. Since social media networks are also very interested in paid advertising, they privilege their paying clients and the organic visibility will be reduced.
Anyway, the costs for social media advertising are lower than other media buying or Google AdWords and thus affordable for small and medium enterprises.
A real advantage of social media advertising is the possibility to target in detail your audience upon different criteria like demographics, core interests, geolocation, etc. Social media advertising is a powerful tool that most companies should use, but is also true that implementation plays a huge role and can easily turn into loss, if not properly approached.
Before plunging into social media advertising do yourself a favor and study its basics.
20. Approach communities in your target niche
Each social network has its own groups and communities like Twitter Chats, LinkedIn Groups or Pinterest Communities. Join the groups related to your industry and niche and participate actively. It’s a valuable opportunity to get in contact with influencers and companies from your domain. And you can profit on to establish yourself as authority in your area.
21. Offer a strong motive to be followed on social media channels
There is a myriad of options on media channels from which to choose. So, you have to differentiate yourself and offer users a motif to follow you on a specific channel. Create and offer some valuable asset for your followers on a certain channel. For example, discount coupons exclusive for your Twitter followers, real-time customer support on Facebook, or exclusive offers for Instagram.
Conceive some unique advantages for each of your social media channels, that are not available anywhere else and add some sort of value.
22. Use hashtags in your advantage
Hashtags is a tactic you cannot ignore if you want to multiply impressions for your posts. Since organic reach has decreased significantly, alternative ways to boost reach is incorporating hashtags.
Identify the popular and trending hashtags for your niche and insert them into your posts on Instagram and Twitter and increase your chance of popping up in search results. Take advantage of Google Trends or Facebook Trending Topics to find current events that may help you reach new audiences.
Use analytics to detect the most successful hashtags that drive engagement.
23. Study your competition and its best practices
Keep an eye on your competitors and check which are their activities that bring them most social media success. Are you implementing those activities? Or not?
Verify what type of content your competitors are posting, what headlines they use, which are their most popular posts, on which channels, how often they post, which are their followers, who they follow, which communities they use.
The aim is not to copy your competitors, but to see what’s working for them, improve and apply in an original manner.
Some other tools to “spy” on your competition are listed in this article.
24. LinkedIn presence is a must
A LinkedIn profile for your business, besides of being an opportunity provider, is compulsory. Being a business platform, LinkedIn offers the occasion to strengthen your credibility, get in touch with an extended network of professionals, and various marketing and sales opportunities. Study some LinkedIn best practices that can enhance your business.
25. Keep yourself up to date
The ever-changing rules of online medium are referring to social media too. So, constructing good profiles, posting consistently and engaging is not enough. You should also be always up to date with the latest modifications and releases of the social media and with the ultimate best practices and social media marketing tips. Social media platforms can change anytime the rules of the game, knowing them in due time is an advantage you should certainly use.
Put some of these tips or all of them to work and see which of them brings the best results for you.
This article was repurposed from Business2Community on 21 May 2019.