The rapid rise of social media
The rapid rise of social media has created what has become an increasingly important marketing medium for companies looking to get the word out about their products and increase sales. However, the relative ease of accessing social media does not mean that devising a social media marketing campaign that works is also easy – far from it. To maximize the impact of your social media outreach efforts it is crucial to know the most effective strategies and tactics to use.
Doing social media right is a time intensive process – while there are tools that can help you plan and launch marketing campaigns, there are no shortcuts when it comes to taking the time to put together quality marketing material and proactively manage the social interaction generated by your social media presence. If you are marketing your company and its products on social media without a well-thought-out plan, or without being willing to spend the time necessary to do it right, you run the risk of spinning your wheels and wasting both your time and energy.
The following tips are designed to help boost your chances of getting the most out of your social media marketing efforts.
Use a Different Approach for Each Individual Social Media Platform
The major social media sites have different rules, cultures, and audiences. To optimize your social media marketing efforts, it’s best to approach each platform individually. Some platforms, such as Twitter, are ideal for short targeted messages or for including links back to your website to more detailed material. Other sites, such as Facebook, or LinkedIn, work better for longer messages.
For instance, a blog post is generally best placed on your website or a site like LinkedIn. You can use your Twitter presence to announce its availability. If you are using image-heavy marketing, sites like Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook are the best choice. You should have separate plans for marketing on each site you use, so that you can make the most of each one you are active on. Avoid trying to be active on too many platforms when you are just starting off, as building a social media presence takes time – trying to do too much at once can dilute the effectiveness of your efforts.
Post on a Regular Basis
To keep your audience interested, posting regularly is optimal. This doesn’t mean you should spam social media to the point where you alienate your audience, just that by providing your followers with regular updates and information you motivate them to keep coming back. This is the point where many small and medium-sized businesses fall short when engaging in social media marketing. It is not enough to put out an interesting blog post or announce a sales special every once in a while. Unless you put in the time and effort to consistently add content to support your social presence, you are likely to find that your results suffer in comparison to companies which maintain a steady stream of social content on the social media platforms they use.
To make this process as efficient as possible, maintain a content calendar which specifies what you will be posting on which platform and when. The calendar should also identify the type of content you will be publishing on each site.12 Advanced Social Media Marketing Tips Click To Tweet
Focus on Quality not Quantity
While it is vital to maintain a consistent publishing schedule on your social media sites, it is a bad idea to let quantity overwhelm quality when it comes to the material you publish. If your audience feels that much of your content is spam, they are just as likely to avoid visiting your social media sites as they would be if you maintained an infrequent publishing schedule.
Quality content doesn’t necessarily have to be lengthy, but it should be relevant to your readers, and offer them something of value. That could be advice that helps them perform a task, a special offer or promotion that provides them a discount on a purchase, or even something humorous that leads to numerous social shares. If you aren’t able to come up with new content as quickly as you might like, another approach is to share related content that you find to be of high quality to keep your audience visiting your social media presence on a regular basis.
Utilize an App to Manage Your Social Media Efforts
The control panels associated with social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, among others, are not necessarily optimized for productivity. To operate more efficiently on these platforms, using tools designed to automate and add efficiency to their use is recommended. Such tools can help you:
1. Establish a schedule for publishing posts automatically
2. Push out content on more than one platform at a time
3. Engage in collaboration with relevant parties
4. View a variety of social media feeds at one centralized location
Use Images in Your Posts
A marketing truism which has remained valid before and after the internet revolution is that images attract eyeballs. As a result, photos and other visuals are consistently cited as the most effective means of attracting attention on social media. Post with images often attract the most shares and engagement across various platforms. Take advantage of this in your social media marketing by adding images where appropriate. You can use apps such as Canva to embed images in your posts that are properly sized for the major social media platforms.
Use a Tool to Help Monitor and Evaluate Your Results
While mounting an effective social media marketing campaign takes time and effort, be careful not to shortchange the work you’ve done to create content and spread awareness of it on social media by failing to monitor and evaluate your results. If you fly blind and simply create content without analyzing its impact, you risk wasting much of the effort you are putting into social media marketing by taking an approach that is not generating an acceptable ROI. To find what works you need the type of feedback generated by social media monitoring tools.
When evaluating the efficacy of your social media activity, the following are among the indicators that should be tracked:
1. Total followers/friends on sites such as Facebook and Twitter
2. Likes and mentions on Instagram
3. Facebook engagement
4. Impressions on Pinterest
4. Website page visits generated by your social media presence
Engage in Two-Way Communication
Part of the power of social media marketing is the ability to interact directly with your audience. While old-school advertising pushed ads out to an audience without any opportunity for direct feedback, that is not the case with modern social media sites. Don’t miss the chance to stay in touch with your followers by responding to requests when appropriate and letting them know that you are interested in what they have to say.
Experiment with A/B Testing
A/B testing refers to using 2, or more, headlines for a single content piece to gauge which attracts more interest online. The strategy is often used by marketers in conjunction with landing pages but using this approach with social media posting also makes sense. One way to use A/B testing is to post the same link a number of times using different headlines each time. Once you’ve determined which headline received the best reaction, you can use that going forward with your landing page ad or social media post.
Keep Tabs on the Competition
While it’s important to establish your own brand identity on social media, you can learn a lot about what is working in your industry by keeping an eye on the social media presences of your competitors. By studying what is and isn’t working for them, you can glean valuable information to use in your own social media marketing campaigns. Some things to look for include:
1. How often they post content
2. How many followers they have
3. Who is following them
4. The type of headlines they use
5. What type of content receives the most social sharing
Reach Out to Industry Influencers
One of the most difficult parts of marketing yourself and your business via social media is attracting an initial following. Social media is a crowded space, and it can be difficult for a new business or poster to cut through the clutter and attract eyeballs. One way to jumpstart the process of reaching an audience is to contact social media influencers who may have an interest in your business and its products. If they like what you have to offer and are willing to inform their audience about it, this can provide the fuel to rapidly catapult your social media presence to a higher level.
Utilize Keywords and Hashtags
Another way of getting noticed in the crowded social media landscape is to use keywords that help people searching for the products you offer find your company. On sites like Twitter and Instagram, and even Facebook, using hashtags (for instance, #food, or #cars, etc.) serves a similar function. Do some research to find which keywords and hashtags are most popular within your industry so that you can use them to gain maximum exposure for your company’s social media efforts.
Run Promotions to Build Your Audience
You can start thinking about campaigns that would offer prizes to motivate your audience to interact with you on social media can be a good way to help build up your audience. There are a variety of ways to do this, and various apps which can help you run promotions that offer your followers a chance to benefit from their interaction with your social media presence. For best results, make sure that your prizes are chosen to attract quality followers who are likely to be interested in what your business produces, rather than offering generic prizes that don’t have any connection to your brand.