Social media is an incredible marketing tool if used correctly. Hundreds of millions of people log in to social media accounts every day, and you have the opportunity to reach potential customers, engage with current clients, and connect with other businesses. We field dozens of questions every week on social media and our website, and the vast majority are in regards to social media marketing. With all of the tips and tricks, sites that sell fake followers, and the changing nature of social media platforms, it’s hard to keep up and know what we can do that works and what hurts. We’ve put together this list of ways in which you can really take hold of your social media marketing efforts.
This is a good tip for any marketing or business efforts! Do some research before jumping in. Take a look at businesses or individuals that have strong and healthy social media accounts, and see what their posts look like. We do this frequently with our clients. We go through influencers in their industry and analyze their posts to find the most popular and useful posts. You can do the same, looking at what types of posts are working. It’s good to know what works so we can be most effective.
You can look at hashtags, length of posts, colors of posts, and content to see what posts are getting the most engagement. Instead of jumping directly into the technology portion, know where you’re going. By researching appropriately, you can maximize your time and energy. You want to know who are the power players in your niche, what to post, and when to post. As we’ll talk about in our final tip, you can continue to do research with your posts as you move forward.
If you have content that is unique and original, make sure you brand it! Whether it’s an inspirational quote, an infographic, or a promotional piece, it’s important for you to put your information on it. Part of the power of social media is in its ease of resharing and reposting. As you post something useful, you hope people share it on social media, on their blogs, or tag friends in it. When new people see your image, you want them to immediately know it’s from your account. When somebody who is already familiar with your business sees your post, you want them to recognize your content.
You can do this pretty easily by adding some identifying information to your images. It may be a website, a social media handle, and/or your logo. We do this with our own images and our clients’ images, and you can see an example in the image to the right. By adding your information to your images, you are increasing exposure and branding your business. As a business owner or marketer, you likely already know the benefit of potential customers seeing your name and logo as often as possible. Don’t miss this valuable opportunity; it’s a really easy way to help your business!
Know Your Fans
This is an important piece that many people seem to miss. You must know what social media platforms your potential customers are using. Do you have a product that is aimed at a specific age, gender, or other demographic? Different platforms have different users and different methods of posting. Twitter, for example, is much different than Instagram. If you’re a financial advisor, Twitter may be a better fit. If you’re a hair stylist, something more image-heavy like Instagram may be appropriate.
This is a place in which you should do your research and know the information. For example, Facebook is mostly users from the United States, you’re more likely to find young users on Instagram or Twitter than Facebook, Pinterest is predominantly female, and LinkedIn is the best place to reach college-educated individuals. Know who your fans are and which social media accounts they’re likely to use.
Ask (For) Questions
This tip is related to actual content of your posts. When we ask questions, we really kill two birds with one stone. First, we can get to know our users and their wants. Ask questions related to your industry and take note of the answers. For example, if you’re a financial advisor, ask your users about their biggest financial worries. If you’re a yoga teacher, ask your users about their favorite time of the day to practice. If you sell Buddhist mala beads, ask your followers which piece of jewelry they like most! You can also of course ask FOR questions. Ask if anyone has questions about your industry or business. This is a great opportunity to do some research about what your users want to know!
The other great benefit of asking questions with your posts is that you encourage engagement. As more users engage, your posts will be shown to more of your followers. A question is a direct prompt for your users to engage, which is a valuable interaction that you can instigate. Remember that engagement is often the most accurate Key Performance Indicator of a social media marketing campaign. That is, engagement is most accurately tied to the success of a social media marketing campaign.
This tip may seem a bit obvious to some, but it’s worth mentioning here. Don’t be afraid to use hashtags, and don’t be afraid to leave hashtags out! Especially with a new page or campaign, using hashtags is one of the best things we can do. Find what hashtags are popular and/or trending, and see if you can work them into your content. Although you don’t want to use 200 hashtags in a single post, don’t be too afraid to use quite a few. Many users scroll through hashtags and you have the opportunity to be found by interested users.
On the other hand, some posts simply look better without hashtags. If you’re boosting the post, you may want to steer clear of hashtags. As we’ll talk about in the final tip, know what works for you. Depending on your industry and the social platform, a different amount of hashtags may be useful. Investigate what works for you!
Many people hesitate to repost other users, especially what they view as competition. There’s no denying we have competition in our online marketing efforts, but other accounts on social media don’t have to be seen as competition. We can change our perspective and see other accounts as influencers and people with whom we can work together. When you repost and interact with other accounts of similar nature, you’re getting your name out there, building reputation, and cultivating a relationship. If you repost someone a few times, you’re going to get their attention.
Find other accounts in your industry, especially new ones. Interact with these accounts, repost them, mention them in comments, and grab their attention. What happens, in our experience, is these accounts will do the same for you over time. You can work together with other accounts to grow and reach new people, not compete directly with them.
This tip, like many others, speaks to our first tip about doing some research. Look into your posts and see what time of day is most effective. When do you get the most engagement? Posting in the middle of the night probably isn’t a great idea. There are general rules about posting times like this, but every industry and follower base may be different. For us, posts do best from 9am-11am Pacific Time and from 3pm-6pm Pacific Time. Knowing these things can help your posts reach more of your actively online users.
This is a super important piece that people often miss in their social media marketing efforts. When you have a new piece of content or blog post, you probably share it when it’s completed. Many people post the content once when it’s new, then forget about it. Use your content to drive traffic and keep posting it! Whether it’s a promo piece, a post about a new blog post, or a simple inspirational quote, if it does well you should share it again from time to time!
There are tools like Buffer in which you can schedule posts out for future times. We also have tools in which we can set this up for you if you use the contact form below. The idea is that you reshare posts that do well for you, rather than letting the content fall away. Recycle what is useful and helpful and don’t miss out on the simple opportunity you have in re-using great content.
We’ve pointed to this repeatedly for a reason. It ties in with the first tip of doing research, and this needs to be at the foundation of your marketing campaign. Take a look into your analytics. Most social media platforms have an analytics feature in their system, or you can download third-party apps. Look at what posts work, when the right time is to post, who is engaging, what days of the week people engage, etc. Looking at analytics will help you understand what is working and driving traffic and business. Without investigating the analytics, your campaign is shooting in the dark.
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