5 Social Media Marketing Best Practices
Social media marketing remains the lynchpin of all other inbound marketing strategies, including email marketing and content marketing. Creating a social media presence for your business can open up new growth opportunities by expanding your brand’s exposure and affinity.
Every business should have established objectives before tinkering with their social media presence. Set goals early and monitor them constantly. Simply having a Facebook account is meaningless if you don’t create value for your customers.
Are your social media posts only getting a few interactions? Uncertain about what strategies to use to improve your presence? We’ve got 5 easy and free tips to help you boost your social shares and improve that referral marketing campaign.
Build Relationships, Not Traffic
Fostering an online community provides a higher ROI than acquiring new customers- it’s also cheaper. This follows the 80/20 rule of marketing: 80% of your sales will be generated by the 20% of your consumer base that’s loyal to your brand.
Social media marketing allows you to keep your brand up-to-date with your existing customer base and should not be confused with an outbound marketing campaign. According to Ambassador, 71% of customers who had a positive social media experience with a brand were more likely to recommend it to others.
Brand advocacy means your customers market and promote your products for you, which is not only cost efficient, but also more believable than what your employees say about your own company.
Growing your audience and building relationships with industry thought leaders will position your brand to become a leading voice and an influencer. Before acquiring this status, it’s key to partner with influencers early on who will endorse and market your brand for you. This can be accomplished through sponsorship, engaging with them directly, and sharing their content.
These strategies should be standard practice. Stamp your name on every relevant piece of content that you’d want your brand name attached to.
Engage with your audience by honoring any feedback you receive, encouraging user-generated content submissions, and engaging in community groups/forums. Follow your followers and listen to any industry buzz relevant to your business or your competitors.
Social media is also the ultimate user-review resource, so it’s important to immediately respond to any feedback or criticism to mitigate any negative exposure. Through strong social engagement you can be proactive, rather than reactive, in curating a positive social media presence.
Once you’ve established your brand’s identity and built trust with your customers, drop a highly relevant promotion or offer directly in front of them to drive sales.
Content quality always trumps quantity. Examples of highly shareable content include tutorials, infographics, videos, and long-form blog posts.
One strategy that many brands take advantage of is a behind-the-scenes story about the company itself. According to OneSpot, web users consume 100,000+ online words daily. 92% of users want those words to be delivered in a story format.
Share content, self-produced or not, that provides utility for your customers. This could even include a funny meme or a how-to guide from an industry publication.
You’re essentially establishing your own syndicated content platform. Encourage your customers to turn to you for news and information. Provide value that will entice users to engage with your brand in the first place.
As an added bonus, the content you share will provide valuable backlinks for your website and help improve its search engine rankings. This will align perfectly with your multi-channel marketing campaign.
Your highest shared and compounding posts could also be featured on your website and in a company e-newsletter.
Create a Post Calendar
Did you know that overposting can actually harm your brand’s image and reduce the amount of shares you get on a post? It’s important to create a post calendar and brainstorm topics for posts throughout the week. Your social media calendar will likely be an extension of your larger content marketing calendar.
Ideally, you should only post to Facebook once a day for maximum engagement. Research what times of day each channel receives the highest engagement. For example, businesses receive the highest engagement over Facebook between 1pm and 4pm with some studies showing increased engagement on Thursday through Sunday. On the other hand, studies have shown that you should post as many as 15 times a day on Twitter for maximum effectiveness.
More importantly, you’ll want to know which social media channels to post to based on your audience’s psychographic data. Expanding on this notion, specific categories of content will receive higher engagement on certain days and over certain channels.
Light and interactive content over Facebook will receive higher engagement during the workday on Friday than Monday. LinkedIn is the ideal platform to produce long form and industry-specific content for a professional-based audience. Consider what types of engagement you wish to receive with each post and strategically plan and place each post for maximum engagement.
Brands generally follow the seven-in-one rule of posting, which states that out of every seven posts, one should be focused on self-promotion. Every other post should be about value-added content. Factor this into your content calendar and add columns for the date and social media channels you’ll share each piece of content on.
*Be sure to brand each post you create and use this opportunity to create your author’s voice.
Interactive and Seasonal Content
Seek audience engagement by providing interactive content with value. Interactive content, such as quizzes, contests, and giveaways are great choices to entice user clicks and consumer brand engagement. This will promote a positive branded experience.
Some experts suggest focusing on your local market, as you will have the easiest time fostering brand recognition and a community immediately at your reach. One of the best forms of interactive content is hosting an event that draws people to your physical offline location.
In addition to sharing your blog posts, you could simply ask your followers a provocative or interesting question that encourages debate and discussion. You could host Q&As or live streams that encourage users to post questions to the feed.
These tactics will show the human side of your brand.
As referenced earlier, studies show that customers want brands to tell more stories. Whether it’s advertising your corporate wellness programs or local community sponsorships, brand storytelling reaches customers on a personal level and is authentic.
Sharing seasonal or trending content shows your audience you have your finger on the pulse. If conducted at the right time, seasonal content has the potential to compound and draw a mass audience to your site for a short period of time. Seasonal content can also be reposted one year later.
Finally, assess how well your social media strategy is aligning with your bottom line. Actively track key performance indicators, such as the amount of referral traffic generated from social media channels and the social signals each piece of content is acquiring.
There are many analytics tools your business could use, such as Hootsuite and Buffer. You can use these tools to track the amount of email subscribers or website subscribers that they collect from each post and channel.
If you have Google Analytics activated on your website you can insert a tracking code that will track the amount of times somebody shares a blog post from your website.
The important thing to remember is patience. Results will develop slowly over time, and abandoning your strategies early on will plague your inbound marketing strategy.
Social media is a community platform, not a marketplace for your brand. The focus of any inbound marketing strategy is to pull customers closer to you and this requires consistent engagement and value-added content.
Align your content marketing strategies with your social media outreach to retain customers and create demand for your products. In an interconnected world, brand affinity remains the most formidable weapon in a business’s arsenal to separate itself from the crowd.
Want more help? Schedule your free 1-hour breakthrough marketing coaching call with me.
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Author: Bill Carmody
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