Is your company on top of its social media marketing game?
Long gone are the days of relying on one or two social platforms to handle the entirety of your company’s social marketing operation. Facebook and LinkedIn are still integral to just about every company’s digital outreach operation, but they’re no longer paramount.
Today’s digital marketers need to take an all-of-the-above approach to social outreach. And that means deploying a slew of complementary strategies, not all of which will feel entirely familiar or comfortable.
Try these 13 ideas out for starters. Which works best for your brand?
1. Expand Your Horizons.
Don’t be shy about expanding your social footprints to new and unfamiliar networks.
Case in point: Snapchat. At first glance, this disappearing-message channel seems like hostile territory for “traditional” social media marketing. In reality, it’s anything but. Snapchat advertising is a sleeping giant, especially for brands that cater to younger consumers.
2. Develop a Realistic Posting Schedule.
Post too infrequently and your social media marketing operation won’t ever gain the traction it deserves. Post too often and you’ll find yourself overwhelmed, sacrificing quality and intentionality in the service of a checked box.
The trick lies in threading the needle with a realistic, consistent posting schedule. At least once per day, per platform is preferable; you can decide whether it’s possible or advisable to ramp it up further. Use a scheduling system like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite for efficiency and accuracy.
3. Invest in Engaging Video.
Done properly, video is a powerful conversion driver. While you shouldn’t expect every video you produce to go viral, even a basic company YouTube portal boosts engagement and visibility among those who matter most — current customers and decision-stage prospects.
It doesn’t take much to produce high-quality videos these days. Between your smartphone and an off-the-shelf editing suite, you probably have everything you need already.
4. Switch Up Post Formats and Lengths.
Post formats and lengths vary widely between platforms.
Your Instagram posts will, of course, look very different from your Facebook posts. (Common ownership notwithstanding.)
Even within platforms, you’ll want to vary posts for optimal visual impact. Don’t crowd your Instagram handle with sunset shots, for instance — take plenty of candids, product photos, and selfies as well. Ditto for Twitter — for every glossily produced video you embed, share a text-only comment or two.
5. Reach Out to Influencers.
Align your brand with complementary influencers: non-celebrity social media users with broad followings and professional-grade posting skills.
“Eighty-four percent of millennials have bought something directly from a social influencer,” writes Entrepreneur contributor Jordan French in Social Media Matters in Marketing for More Reasons Than You Think. “People trust influencer endorsements more than they trust celebrity endorsements.”
Influencers don’t come cheap, especially when their followings outstrip yours. But they may well be worth the cost.
6. Respond Promptly to Questions and Concerns.
Companies of all sizes deal with irate customers. It’s a fact of life. Prepare for your inevitable encounter with less-than-satisfied users by upping your rapid-response game.
Make it a policy to address questions and complaints within a set number of hours, regardless of the time of day or day of the week.
Your public posture should always reflect the old truism: “the customer is always right.” If you have any reason to dispute this, do so privately and discreetly.
7. Align Your Social Platform With Your Website.
Align your social media posts and descriptive content with your company’s main website and blog. The goal here is to speak in a unified voice that resonates with your audience and shores up the trust you’ve built with them.
“People want to see uniformity,” writes French. “Make sure your description, tagline and all posts are in the same tone and voice as your website.”
Create a list of acceptable words and phrases to deploy throughout your marketing content and copy. Whatever you’ll lose in spontaneity, you’ll gain back (and then some) in brand loyalty.
8. Invest in Paid Posts and Other Advertorial Opportunities.
Paid social promotion isn’t as daunting as it seems. Every platform is different, but Facebook is a good example.
Its ads portal is designed for non-marketers and built to support small-dollar campaigns — perfect for small businesses and startups with limited budgets and even less conviction about the proper advertising strategy to pursue.
9. Seek Out Customer and Follower Reviews.
Not all social platforms are conducive to customer reviews. Facebook, YouTube, and Yelp (if you define Yelp as social) all come to mind; platforms like Twitter and Instagram, less so.
On social properties that do support long-form customer and follower reviews, don’t be shy about seeking them out. The only line you must be careful not to cross is pay-to-play: Providing any sort of compensation for positive feedback is verboten.
10. Make It About More Than Just You.
Effective social media use is about more than tooting your company’s horn. Use your platform, no matter the size, to share compelling and complementary content from peers, employees, and random social media users that you think your followers might find useful.
Ultimately, it comes down to engagement. Taking it upon yourself to create every piece of engagement-oriented social content is not the most efficient use of your social media resources.
11. Run Contests and Giveaways.
Use your social media handles to amplify contests and giveaways. Combined, your social media ecosystem’s reach is likely far greater than your website’s.
Blasting out notification of your next contest’s start date on Facebook and Twitter is almost certainly more cost-effective than mentioning it in a blog update and waiting for contestants to materialize. Successful contests are great social attractors too — the right promotion can draw hundreds or thousands of new followers.
Social Media Marketing Matters
Let’s zoom out a bit and remember just why all this matters.
“This is the first time in history that people have been instantly connected all over the world, able to communicate in a moment over different mediums,” writes Jordan French.
The world has never been smaller, humanity never closer — at least, in theory. But breaking through all the noise and clutter inherent in our ever more digital existences is exhausting. For smaller companies with limited marketing resources, it feels all but impossible.
Don’t let the odds get you down. With a coherent plan, a talented and creative team, and the willingness to make targeted investments in your company’s future, you can stand out from the social pack and get your brand noticed.