Saturday, 25 March 2017
28 Social Media Marketing Tips to Enhance Your Business
Just like the audiences you’re hoping to target on Facebook and Twitter, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to social media marketing. The strategies and techniques at your disposal are almost as varied and diverse as the types of people to whom you can market your goods and services, and while getting started with social media
marketing is relatively straightforward, knowing how to launch, run, and optimize your campaigns from the outset is critical.
Whether you’re launching a brand-new social media marketing campaign this year or
optimizing an ongoing initiative, we’re here to help. In today’s post, we’ll be revisiting our best social media marketing tips, including Facebook marketing ideas, Twitter engagement tips, tips for increading the ROI of social advertising and more, from the past several years. From identifying and targeting the right audiences to expanding your reach across several different social media sites, there’s something for everyone.
The shareable infographic below summaries our tips, but read on to learn more about each social media marketing strategy in detail!
1. Create a Plan for Each Social Media Channel
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So many businesses make the mistake of blindly jumping into social media marketing without a strategy or plan.
If you can’t answer questions like “why are you on social media?” or “what social media platform features your target audience?” then it’s time to hit the reset button. Start putting together a plan in writing that you and your team can refer to when you need it.
Your social media plan should consist of mini-plans for each social media channel you expect to be active on. You’ll have a plan for your Twitter, Facebook and so forth.
If you’re just getting started, keep your number of active social networking sites to three or less. For most businesses, particularly small businesses, trying to tackle five different social media accounts often results in doing a mediocre job with little to no results.
2. Host Social Media Events
You can build a loyal, raving community by hosting online events that put the focus on your fans.
A fun and effective online event is hosting a “Fan Page Friday”—it’s essentially a virtual networking party where you allow all your fans to share links to their own pages on your page.
The event can last as long as 24 hours or more and is a great way to discover new businesses, get more fans, and build tremendous community while increasing your EdgeRank (news feed visibility), too.
Many page owners launch a Fan Page Friday event every week; however, I find it much more effective to host one about every four to six weeks, as it has a bigger impact. On my last virtual party, several thousand page owners participated, many of whom picked up as much as a hundred or more new fans as a result.
Be sure to include a hashtag like #FacebookFriday and schedule your initial invitation to go out very early in the morning. Then add another couple of invitations throughout the day.
Another example is to host live webinars where you give away great content. You can monetize your time and effort by making a great offer on the webinar. Many businesses both large and small use this model well.
By way of example, my latest Facebook marketing webinar had over 13,000 registrations; I like to provide ongoing access to the replay as well. Whether your fans ever purchase from you as a result of one of these webinars, you’ll find a good percentage become evangelists for your brand and love to help spread the word to their own community.
3. Post Consistently
Sending out one Tweet per day just isn’t going to cut it. Certain platforms like Instagram and Snapchat don’t necessarily move as fast as Twitter or Facebook. This means you don’t have to publish as often. But you should still develop a routine posting schedule and be consistent.
This ties back in with your social media marketing plan. You should outline:
How often you plan to publish on each social media channel
What type of content you plan to publish
Social media outreach publishing schedule (reaching out to influencers via social media)
Remember your followers are likely following hundreds or even thousands of other people. If you’re not publishing new content as often as the other accounts out there, it’s easy to get lost and forgotten.
Your social media strategy must include social media engagement
Skimping out on social media engagement in your social media strategy can pose a huge threat to your company’s social media presence. The 3 steps to doing social media engagement right are being proactive, always listening, and being engaging.
4. Share at the best times.
There may not an exact best time to post, but data analytics firm SumAll found the optimum times to post on various platforms as follows: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. EST for Google +, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for Twitter, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for Facebook, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. for Tumblr, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. for Instagram, and 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. for Pinterest.
I’ve personally found that women tend to be online late on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. I typically wait until around 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. to post. When I'm working with an ecommerce site, the best time for me to post is Thursday night. My previous company Organize could sell almost three times the amount of products online on Thursday night as compared with any other night of the week.
5. Use Images to Amplify Your Facebook Updates
Let’s face it. If you’re posting on Facebook and not seeing engagement in the form of likes, shares or comments, you’re wasting your precious time. You need fan engagement if you want to continually be seen in the news feed (which is where all the action is on Facebook!).
One simple way to boost your engagement is to use images to amplify your status update. Here’s what I mean: Search for “blank” images like talking bursts, chalkboards and signs, and then add text to the images, in the form of a question for your followers to answer.
Here’s an example of one of my latest image posts where I used the soda bottles as a fun way to amplify my question and grab attention. Almost 200 people left a comment! (Plus, this question also served as great free-market research for my podcast!)
6. Be Picky About What You Share
When it comes to figuring out what to share on social media, quality beats quantity. You want to publish content consistently, but it also has to be valuable. Quality content is:
Relevant to your audience
One trend becoming popular that you should be cautious of is relying on tools that “suggest” content to share to your audience. Sometimes the suggestions are decent, but in most cases, you’ll end up with a lot of suggested content that isn’t very relevant or high quality.
These tools typically run based on keywords and data feeds. For example, if you’re searching for content related to “content marketing,” your results may include suggestions.
If you didn’t take the time to check the suggestions and just blindly added the posts, you’d be sharing content that’s not really helpful to your audience. Strive to share the best content, not just what’s immediately available.
One way to have a steady supply of fresh content is to create a list of sites in your industry or niche that are known to publish high quality content. Add them to an RSS reader like Feedly. Then you’ll have a dashboard full of the latest posts from sites you trust and know have relevant content that you can confidently share with your followers.
7. Social media monitoring is your biggest missed opportunity
When it comes to social media, people have all the power to say whatever they want about your company and brand. What they are saying can be positive or negative. Regardless of how or why they give you feedback, not monitoring your social media audience is a missed opportunity.
8. Use a Social Media Management Tool
If you’re using the native publishing platforms for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you’re wasting time and being less productive. Social media management tools like Sprout Social make it a lot easier to:
Publish content across multiple platforms
Schedule posts in advance
Collaborate with your team
See all of your social media feeds from a single dashboard instead of logging into five different sites
Track and measure your results
There are plenty of other benefits to using a social media dashboard, but those instances alone are more than enough to make the move. The casual user may be able to stick with managing their social media from their phones, but as a business, you need to use a tool that will allow you to be more efficient and strategic.
9. Use LinkedIn’s “Your Day” Feature
Get a big return on your time investment using LinkedIn’s Your Day feature.
Linda Coles wrote a very thorough article on the new LinkedIn Contacts back in June. If you haven’t read it yet, go read it now!
Sync your contacts and your calendar with LinkedIn and the Your Day feature will give you an opportunity to more deeply communicate and engage with your network, especially as this feature is new and most people aren’t using it. Strike while the iron is hot!
The Your Day section in Contacts will show you if your contacts are having a birthday, have been promoted or are in a city you’re traveling to.
Your average Facebook user probably gets between 50 and 100 congratulations on his or her birthday. They might get one or two on LinkedIn. Who’s going to stand out?
If one of your contacts just got promoted in a company that you’ve been prospecting, this might be a really great time to reengage with him. And what better way than to congratulate him on his promotion?
How much more business are you likely to close in a face-to-face meeting? What if you could set five additional meetings in the next city you are traveling to? At the very least, you could write the trip off! The announcement section will also show you who in your network lives in a town you’re traveling to and you can set up a meeting right from there.
Any reminders you have set to get back in touch with the connection will show up here as well. And keep showing up until you do something about them.
Finally, when you sync your calendars to LinkedIn and have an appointment with another LinkedIn connection, LinkedIn will pull up her profile information in the Calendar feature so you can quickly get a snapshot of whom you’ll be talking to. Check the notes you’ve taken on her, as well as who introduced you so you can thank them later. A win-win-win situation!
Taking just a few minutes every day to review and congratulate your connections could have a big effect on your bottom line.
10. Post More Images
The results are in and photos have shown to be the most popular type of social media content for engagement. They get the most shares on Facebook.
The most evident example of the power of images for social media are sites like Instagram and Pinterest, which are primarily driven by images. In fact, Instagram has the most engagement of any social media channel. It’s not a coincidence that both Instagram and Pinterest were able to gain a lot of traction and see more success than other failed social networks.
Adding images to your social media posts has never been easier. Tools like Canva and Landscape allow you to create perfectly-sized images that are fit for all major social media channels. And you can also do things like use images for upcoming events, make company photos and craft other image tasks for posts to get more visual with your content.
11. Grow your email list.
Yes, email is still popular. In 2012, 91 percent of consumers reported checked their email everyday, according to a survey by Exact Target, now part of Salesforce. Furthermore, it found that email is the preferred channel for customers.
What does this have to do with social media?
Since email can be a major asset in a marketing campaign, try to gain more email subscribers. Provide a sign-up form on your website or on Facebook through one of many apps, offer incentives for customers to join an email subscription list or run a contest.
12. A/B Test
This is a tip that a lot of social media marketing professionals take advantage of, but not many small businesses on social media are even aware of. A/B testing or split testing, involves using multiple headlines for the same piece of content to see which generates a better response. Marketers use A/B testing a lot for landing pages and sales pages, but you can also incorporate split testing into your social media posts.
Instead of publishing a Tweet or Facebook post once and then forgetting about it, schedule the link to be shared multiple times and change the headline out with each post.
A/B testing is important because people will react differently to a post depending on the copy. In our post, Call to Action Phrases That Will Convert, we went over some of the psychology of words and how we interpret them.
The reason why a piece of content is lacking success on social media could be due to low quality content or that your headline in the Tweet, Pin or Facebook post didn’t capture your followers’ attention.
Use Sprout Social’s post planning feature to schedule your posts to be shared throughout the week and test different headlines. Then see which one has the best engagement.
13. Send the right message to the right platform.
Every social media platform serves a different purpose and draws a distinctive audience. Understanding this can make your marketing efforts go more smoothly. For example, you wouldn't want to promote a law firm on Instagram or Pinterest.
Evan LePage, a writer for HootSuite, explains that Twitter users enjoy an image that has been attached, Facebook users like pictures and can’t stand asking for likes and Google+ followers are passionate brand advocates.
Test each platform to see how your audience responds. I’ve found that women tend to be on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, and men turn to Twitter and Google+ more. Here is additional data from Alex Hillsberg on how men and women use social media.
14. Get the Attention of Influencers
Influencers are important in every industry. They generally have “real” jobs, and are extremely active on social networks, spending their time sharing content and blogging. Getting on their radar is not easy, so to get their attention, you need to give away “content gifts.”
Originally coined by Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping, Social Media 4-1-1 is a sharing system that enables a company to get greater visibility with social influencers.
Here’s how it works.
For every six pieces of content shared via social media (think Twitter, for example) four should be pieces of content from your influencer target that are also relevant to your audience. This means that 67% of the time, you are sharing content that is not yours and calling attention to content from your influencer group.
One piece should be original educational content that you have created.
One piece should be sales-related—like a coupon, product notice, press release or some other piece of content that no one will likely pay attention to.
While the numbers don’t have to be exact, it’s the philosophy that makes this work. When you share influencer content, they notice. And you share this content without asking for anything in return (so that when you do need something someday, those influencers are more likely to say yes).
15. Learn how to schedule tweets so you can save time
Social media tools like Hootsuite take the stress out of managing multiple Twitter accounts by providing you the ability to schedule Tweets ahead of time.
16. Measure & Analyze
To go along with the previous social media marketing tip, you need to measure your efforts and analyze the results. Over 40% of businesses don’t track their social media ROI at all, so they have no idea whether or not anything they’re doing is working. If you don’t want to fall under that umbrella, start tracking your social media activity right now.
Some of the metrics that you want to look for include:
Reach and engagement for Facebook
Impressions, visits and mentions on Twitter
Views and actions on Google+
Impressions, clicks and interactions on LinkedIn
Impressions and engagement on Pinterest
Likes, comments and mentions on Instagram
You should track these metrics on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis so you know when and if you need to make changes to your social media strategy.
17. Focus on the Platforms Where Your Customers Are
Social media overwhelm is one of the biggest challenges for small businesses. They think they need to have a presence on every social platform including the latest “shiny object” that comes along. This spreads them too thin and causes wasted time and effort.
The solution is rather simple: if social media makes sense for your business, be where your customers are. Find out where your customers are hanging out online, choose 1 or 2 of those platforms that you enjoy and that align with your business objectives and then focus deeply on those platforms.
There are a number of tactics to help you find where your customers are online such as: ask them (so simple, yet so many business don’t do this), use the search functionality in each of the social channels to see if there are communities talking about your business or topic of interest and use Google Alerts.
Set up alerts for your name, business, industry and topics of interest. This will give you insight into the conversations happening that are relevant to your business, so you can join the conversation where appropriate.
18. Join in on Communities
Within large social networks, smaller communities form. Whether it’s Facebook Groups, Twitter Chats, Google+ Communities or LinkedIn Groups, there are plenty of opportunities for you connect with like-minded people and companies within your niche.
Participating in these communities will help you establish yourself or your company as an authority. Use communities as an opportunity to share your knowledge and interact with influencers. As you start to connect with these influencers, they’ll be more likely to share your content with their followers on social media and maybe even on their own websites.
Look for communities related to your industry on the social media channels you’re active on, then start joining and actively participating. Try starting with Facebook groups or Twitter Chats because they tend to be the most active. But this can vary.
19. Share Content More Than Once
We often share our blog posts multiple times on social networks, for a few difference reasons. Some of the biggest benefits we get are more traffic, reaching people in different time zones and sharing our content with people who’ve followed us since we last posted it.
The first, and perhaps most obvious, reason to share your content more than once is to drive more traffic that the initial share.
To get an idea of how many people were seeing and sharing his posts, Tom looked at the number of Retweets he got when Tweeting a link to one of his blog posts. We can assume from this that actual visits to his posts increased with each Retweet, as well.
20. Reach your new followers
Something we’ve noticed at Buffer is that a lot of our posts are still relevant months after we publish them. The other thing that changes after we publish a post is that more people follow us on social networks, so if we repost content from our blog that’s six months old, many of our followers will be seeing it for the first time, so they’ll get value out of it even though it’s old content.
You can use a tool like Twitter Counter to track your follower growth, so you know when it’s a good time to repost some of your older content.
21. Build a Community
What if there aren’t any existing communities for your industry, or none that are active? Then it’s the perfect time for you to be proactive and create one.
Assuming that your industry has a decent amount of people active on a social media channel, start reaching out to let interested people know you’re starting a Facebook group, Twitter Chat or LinkedIn Group and you’d like to invite interested users to join.
Some ideas for groups you could start are:
A local small business group for your city.
Groups of people within your industry.
Groups with other companies related to your industry. For example, real estate agents, mortgage brokers and construction companies.
A lot of the time, there is a desire for groups, but either nobody thought of the idea or they just didn’t take the effort to put it together. You can be a trailblazer and lead the group.
22. Give People a Reason to Follow You
Why should people follow your company? This is the question you need to ask yourself.
Think of it from the perspective of a consumer. They have thousands of choices of people to follow, so you have to stand out somehow. Create a type of value proposition specifically for your social media channels. For example:
You share behind the scenes content on Instagram
You share discount codes exclusively with your Twitter followers
You curate the best content in your industry on LinkedIn
You offer real-time customer service and support on Twitter
You host live webinars on Periscope
View image on Twitter
The value has to be exclusive to the social media channel. If you regularly share the same discount codes through email or on your website that you post on Twitter, there’s no added value there. Make coupons exclusively for social media. Or have content that’s only on Snapchat or on live streams with Periscope so there’s a sense of urgency.
23. Use Keywords in Your Posts
Don’t underestimate the power and effectiveness of social search. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social networks have search features that operate just like search engines.
When people search for a specific keyword or phrase like #SMM, the site’s bots crawl through all of the content on the site including your posts and profile to display the most relevant information. Including keywords and phrases in your social media posts and profile makes your company more searchable.
Social media optimization is becoming more advanced and accurate because these sites and apps have a lot of content needing to be categorized. Get into the habit of using common hashtags, even on Facebook, and relevant keywords within your social media posts so that you have a better chance of being found by people searching for topics related to your industry.
24. Choose Your Image Wisely
It’s been said that an image is worth a thousand words and since the explosive growth of Pinterest, more and more emphasis is being put on images in social media marketing.
Images can help clarify a message and can also quickly grab someone’s attention. Images used in blog posts help the reader to comprehend the content and tend to be more memorable. The images can then be shared across networks like Pinterest, Facebook and Google+ to help promote the content.
However, images are open to interpretation. Before you settle on an image for your blog or social media post, ask yourself “Does this image communicate my message well?”
For example, take this image below. What does it say to you? Is it about how to make a salad or is it about food photography lighting?
Most people scan the content they come across and don’t take the time to read the descriptions or comments associated with the image, unless the image grabs their attention first. A little nudge in the form of a simple text overlay can go a long way in bringing targeted attention to your pins and posts.
Text overlays can be added quickly and easily with online image editing tools such as PicMonkey or Pixlr.
A few words can make the difference between your content being overlooked and attracting a targeted audience.
25. Make Real Life Connections
Connect in real life with your social media network. Take some time to reach out via Skype or even the phone for a quick hello to people who are active in your niche or in a complementary business to yours.
Many times there are great ways to partner up between people in the same niche or there are ways that complementary businesses can be referral partners.
I know every time I have connected in real life either through a conversation or by meeting at a conference, the social media connection is so much richer and more meaningful. If I look at who retweets, shares and comments the most on my posts, it’s usually the people I’ve met in real life in some way.
It’s easier to have online conversations after you’ve had an offline one.
26. Watch Your Competitors
Is one of your competitors absolutely killing it on social media? Does it seem like all of their Tweets get dozens of Retweets and their Instagram posts have hundreds of likes, while yours are completely abandoned? When this happens, you should start to analyze what they’re doing that you aren’t.
What time of the day they post
What kind of headlines they use in their posts
Their most popular posts
This will give you an idea of what’s working for your competitors and why they might be seeing more social media success. Once you start to get a feel for your competitor’s strategies, you’ll want to incorporate some of what they do into your own plan. At the same time, you don’t want to completely copy a competitor.
For instance, if you notice a competitor posts a lot of images, then start creating more images of your own. Try posting at similar times of the day, or more frequently based on their activity.
However, this isn’t an excuse to mimic your competitors to the bone. Your customers will want you to be unique and you should show that by adopting some things from competitors and looking for other ways to improve those strategies.
27. Make Following/Follower Management Part of Your Daily Routine
Obviously a Facebook page can’t follow fans, but Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram all give businesses the chance to search for relevant social media users based on their biography or the content they post and follow them.
While there are tools like Tweepi or SocialBro which can help you find and follow relevant users on Twitter, other platforms will require you to do a bit more searching and perusing of profiles to find and follow relevant users.
That’s why you should make following/follower management part of your daily social media routine. Invest a few minutes a day, or perhaps 15 minutes a week, in finding new social media users to follow while maintaining a following/follower ratio that you are comfortable with.
This will help you not only get noticed in various social media communities, but undoubtedly help you build a larger, more targeted base of followers.
This social media marketing tip can be a game changer. Don’t be the company that only shares links all day. The purpose of social media is to be social and engage with other users. That means interacting on a regular basis.
Take a look at some of your past social media posts. How many of them include @mentions of other people? How many of your interactions are replies to other posts? If you’re like a lot of companies, then the answer is probably not many. Instead, your social media stream is probably filled with broadcast posts (a headline/message with a link to an article or just text).
You’ve repeatedly seen the advice of engaging with your audience. But what exactly does that mean?
Replying to other peoples’ posts even if it doesn’t @mention you
Adding people to Twitter lists
Essentially you want to switch from one-way social media posts to two-way posts. The difference is two-way posts encourage conversation and communication. On the other hand, one-way posts leave little to no room for anyone to reply back with anything other than “good post” or another generic response.
If you’re sharing a link, ask for feedback and opinions or tag someone so they’ll reply. Think of your social media posts as a part of a conversation.
With these 21 social media marketing tips, you’ll be well on your way to building an engaged audience and establishing your brand’s presence across all your social channels. These tactics have worked for some of the largest brands in the world, and each tip could work well for you too.
Do you have any social media tips that you love to follow? Let us know in the comments!