30 Key Tactics to Boost Your Social Media Strategy
Amidst all the hype about social media marketing, all the noise and chatter about followers, likes and content, it can sometimes be a little bit too much. While there’s no shortage of information available online, sorting the good from the bad is becoming more complex. Finding tips that are actually actionable and relate to your business can be hard, as you’re scanning through the millions of blog posts trying to find that one nugget of golden info.
To save you time, we’ve put together a list of some of the top social media tips and tactics to help maximize your social strategy and take it to the next level.
1. Use Demographics Data to Determine Key Platforms
You likely already know the age and basic demographic make-up of your ideal target audience – one way of utilizing this info is to cross-match your existing audience data with demographic info on which age groups are using which platforms. You can use research tools like Pew Research or eConsultancy, both of which regularly publish reports on social media audiences, or you can use the advertising options for each site, most of which have ‘Potential Reach’ calculators built into the ads process (which you can see without having to actually pay for ads). These will show you which platforms, in a wider sense, your target audience is present on.
2. Examine Which Networks the Social Shares From Your Website Are Heading
Understanding which networks people are using to share your existing content – or even your home page – can inform your strategy, as it shows which social networks are popular amongst your existing audience. To do this, you can use Social Crawlytics, a free app that examines your site and produces a report showing which social channels your content is shared on, for example, if 95% of your social shares are on Facebook, that’s where you need to be looking first.
3. Check Which Social Networks Are Most Popular Amongst Users Discussing Your Focus Keywords
If you know where people are discussing your key terms, chances are those are the networks where you’re going to get the most traction, as discussions around your industry are already happening. You can use BuzzSumo to do this – just enter in your focus terms and BuzzSumo will give you a listing of the most popular articles, along with social share counts for each across the major networks. You can filter the list by time, region, and even content type to get a better idea of what’s resonated and where.
4. Locate Key Influencers in Your Niche
Another function of BuzzSumo is the ability to search for influencers by topic (and by region). Just enter a key term in the Influencers tab and BuzzSumo will return a list of all the key influencers for that topic. From there, you can view the specific links they’ve shared as well as lists of other people who’ve shared that same content, again filterable by region. This is a great way to locate the key voices, and the people they influence, amongst your target groups.
5. Analyze Your Competition
What’s more, with both Social Crawlytics and BuzzSumo you can examine other users, including your competitors. Crawlytics will show you the most popular content from their website and where they’re generating the most shares, while BuzzSumo will highlight their most popular content and enable you to view who, specifically, is sharing it.
6. Find The Most Popular Content For Your Focus Terms
Staying with BuzzSumo, if you enter in your keywords, BuzzSumo shows a list of the most popular content, and content types, related to those topics. These are the posts that are getting the most traction amongst your audience and the questions your audience is seeking answers to.
7. Find Relevant Hashtags Related to Your Business
Using Hashtagify, you can enter in your business key terms and get an idea of the hashtags being used around those topics. Hashtagify will also produce a graph of all the hashtags most commonly associated with those terms, giving you a wider reference set to use when looking into hashtag conversations around your areas of interest.
8. Find Out What People Are Asking About Your Products
Question sites like Quora can help when trying to establish what the most common questions are around your key topics or products. You can also use Google Suggest for this – when you enter terms into Google, the search engine will suggest various, commonly used search phrases based on the terms you’ve entered. These suggestions can be a good insight into the questions being most commonly asked around your industry.
9. Use In-House Experts for FAQs
There’re no better resources on commonly asked questions than the people who are answering them every day. This is an often overlooked resource, but getting your key people to write down a list of FAQs helps give you an understanding of what your audience is asking about.
10. Discover Trending Content in Your Industry
Apps like PopURLs, Nuzzel, and even BuzzSumo have trending content functions that highlight the most popular articles within your industry or niche. Knowing what’s trending is a great way to inform your strategy and stay in-tune with what’s happening in real-time – and tools like this streamline the discovery process, freeing you from scanning through pages of blog posts.
11. Allocate Time To Social Media Efforts
Obviously, this will be largely dictated by other happenings and ROI, but it’s worth taking a moment to figure out how much time you can spend on refining your social media presence. The truth is it does take time, and without planning you can easily spend lengthy periods going through each nuance and setting and post, and lose hours as a result. Allocating a set amount of time will help you focus and frame your efforts in a more meaningful way.
12. Select Networks Carefully
You need to determine which networks are worth your time. There’s no point having a presence of every channel if your target audience is only on one or two, and there’s no point focussing on platforms if your target market isn’t active there. Especially when starting out, it’s more important to select your key platforms and focus on doing them right then it is to create a presence on every platform and do all of them poorly. You can’t be everywhere – and the reality is, you probably don’t need to be.
13. Create a Content Calendar
Your content will be a key element of your social presence, and it’s important to have a content schedule set out in order to build a consistent dialogue with your audience. If people expect you to send out a new weekly newsletter or post, they can build that into their reading plans – that sort of consistency builds an expectation of reliability, and will strengthen your brand as a result.
14. Understand Your Mission
Another crucial element is to understand what you’re using social media for. For most, your efforts will focus on one of three areas – sales, loyalty or awareness. Focus on which of these goals you’re seeking to achieve with each process, then align your content and social efforts with that goal. There’s no point building followers and likes if you have no further goal in mind – having a set focus and plan will help you remain consistent in your efforts and build towards the target.
15. Establish Your Voice
Understanding how you want to communicate is almost as important as what you communicate. What tone do you want your social presence to have? How do you want your brand representatives to approach each interaction? What’s the core mission behind every response and post? Answering these questions, again, builds consistency and reliability, as well as scalability, as you can ensure all members of your team are delivering an on-brand response.
16. Track Brand Mentions and Key Terms
By using tools like Hootsuite, Mention or Sprout Social, you can set up streams and alerts to monitor key terms, helping you stay on track of relevant mentions without having to be always online. You can allocate searches to specific geographic regions, ensuring you remain aware of key local mentions and trends, further filtering the process to save you time. You can also set up push notifications to keep you up to date while you’re away from your desk.
17. Schedule Content to be Sent Out Via Your Social Profiles
One of the biggest time savers, and the easiest ways to maintain a consistent social presence is to schedule your social media posts ahead of time. When you create a new blog post, you can schedule it to be shared on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram and LinkedIn. You can share links to related content to go out at different times across the day. You can schedule your posts months in advance to ensure you’re active even when you’re not in the office. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite are perfect for this purpose.
18. Check Analytics Via On-Platform Options
One of the greatest strengths of social media is that it’s all measurable and traceable. If there’s anything you want to track, it’s pretty likely you’ll be able to. It’s just a matter of working out what data is most valuable, then working out how you might go about it. The major platforms like Twitter and Facebook have their own inbuilt analytics tools that provide great oversight into overall page activities – ignore such data at your own peril.
19. Use Tools to Get a Better Understanding of Your Performance
There’s a wide range of social analytics tools available. Hootsuite has a range of data tools inbuilt. BuzzSumo can help you track performance by providing info on social shares and sharers. Twitonomy will analyze your Twitter account and provide in-depth data on performance while Fanpage Karma does the same for Facebook. Simply Measured has a range of free and paid tools to help rationalize and harmonize your on-platform activities. Using any, or all, of these tools, will greatly inform your strategy and you’ll move forward.
20. Use Snapchat Stories and GeoFilters
Snapchat is a huge potential market. In fact, over 100 million users watch about 10 billion snaps a day. By creating your own Snap stories and geofilters, you can tap into that massive audience.
Geofilters allow Snapchat users to add a brand’s logo or other design to their snap photos. You can create your own Geofilter for your business or event for as little as $5. Not only are they relatively cheap, but Geofilters are a great interactive advertising tool as well.
Snap Stories, on the other hand, allow you to show videos and photos to people who follow you on the social platform. This can be a great way to show off your company culture or even new product launches. For example, Pixar recently had a Snap Story where they took followers on a virtual tour of the Pixar campus in Emeryville. They also shared short interviews with some of their interns about why they became animators and what they love about Pixar.
21. Get Specific with Target Audiences on Facebook
The beauty of Facebook’s Ad Manager tool is that it allows you to create an audience based on very specific criteria. One of the more useful of which is the ability to target by Life Events.
Facebook’s Life Events feature allows people to let their friends know about a new change in their life by adding it to their timeline. For example, say you own a bridal shop. When someone changes their relationship status on Facebook to engaged, it’s added as a Life Event. You can now have Facebook display your ads to these people directly. Obviously newly engaged people are very likely to be looking for the types of products and services you provide, which makes them leads.
You can also target people based on interests, recent behavior (such as going to church), estimated income, relationship status, education level, and more. Using these types of filters can help you narrow down your audience to only those who are most likely to be interested in your brand.
22. Make it Look Good
When advertising on social media, visuals are very important and so is the messaging. You must remember that most users are scrolling past an incredible amount of content--your ad must stand out in order to gain their attention.
Be sure that your ad is aesthetically pleasing and feels compelling enough for the viewer to click on it. In other words, you want them to be enticed but relaxed enough to click through to your landing page.
Take a look at the ad above from Slack, a cloud-based communication service for the workplace. Not only is the ad visually striking, but it also does an excellent job of explaining their product in a fun and meaningful way. Slack’s marketing department knows that most people in the workforce detest sitting through pointless meetings. Keeping this in mind, they crafted clever copy that would greatly interest their demographic: less meetings and time saved. And who doesn’t love a unicorn?
23. Rework and Recycle Your Best Copy
If you’ve ever created an ad in AdWords, you know that quality score has a big impact on where your ads are displayed. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have similar metrics for their ads: Relevance Score and Quality Adjusted Bids, respectively. These scores are important because they can either decrease or increase your cost-per-click.
If you’ve already seen success with the ads you’ve created in AdWords, try using the same or similar language in your ads on social media sites. In addition to saving you some time and effort, it’s likely that you’ll see similarly positive engagement rates.
24. Pay Attention to the Data
Once you put up a new ad on social media, you’ll need to regularly monitor its performance. For one, your ad may not perform as well as you thought it would and you may need to make some adjustments to your copy or your target audience. Secondly, sometimes even ads that were once performing very well can start to slump. This is due to “audience fatigue.”
25. Take Advantage of Remarketing
Remarketing allows you to target people who have already shown interest in your product or service. For example, say someone shops around on your site and abandons the items in their cart. By using remarketing ads on social media, you can display these items to that user and encourage them to come back to your site and complete their purchase. This technique is a great way to get a second chance at conversions you may have missed.
26. Monitor Engagement for Your LinkedIn Posts
LinkedIn Publisher allows you to monitor the people who are engaging with your content, and it’s a great way to establish professional relationships and foster conversation surrounding your brand. Simply go to the analytics page of your last post and click on “Who’s Viewed Your Posts.” This will display a selection of viewers and stats for the last week. You can also see who has liked, commented, or shared your posts. This helps ensure that you’re responding to comments and targeting people who show interest in your brand. You can even reach out to people who have shared your post.
27. Make an Impression with Facebook and Instagram Carousel Ads
While Facebook and Instagram are a great places to advertise your products and services, there’s also a lot of competition. Make your ad stand out in the crowd of other advertisers with captivating images and ad copy. There is also a relatively new feature that allows you to display a carousel or slideshow of images within a single ad. You can even add transitions, music, or narration. These types of advertisements are a great way to increase the quality and potential engagement of your content.
28. Use Live Video Broadcasting
Live video has become incredibly popular across various social media platforms, including Facebook,Twitter, and YouTube. Live video on social media allows brands to reach consumers directly and create an interactive experience. For instance, you could host a live question and answer session. Because it is live, there is a sense of urgency that encourages people to log on and view.
Companies that use live platforms to market their products and services have seen much success. For example, Benefit Cosmetics began producing a weekly live show called “Tipsy Tricks with Benefit!” which they air each Thursday. On the show, the hosts drink wine and try on products while they answer questions from viewers. Their first broadcast gathered 42,000 live viewers, and they have continued to see success in later videos.
29. Embrace Virtual Reality
While it’s still evolving in many ways, virtual reality (VR) has begun popping up all over social media. In June of 2016, Facebook started supporting 360 videos and photos. Since then, many companies and organizations have used the feature to release an amazing and entirely unique online experience. Snapchat filters are also an example of augmented or virtual reality, and they can be a great way to reach people and generate excitement around your brand.
As far as marketing is concerned, you could use these VR features to produce interactive ads for your audience. With the right content, virtual reality ads may just sell themselves.
Check out this awesome 360 video from Coachella:
No doubt they’ll be selling a few more tickets next year.
30. Assess, Refine, Repeat
The key to social media success is outlined in these three words. Individual results will vary, what works for others may not work for you. Because of this, the only way to truly maximize your social media success is to test, to see what works and what doesn’t, then learn for the next stage. While there are many guidelines and suggested processes available, the only true rule of social is ‘your audience rules’ – your individual followers and fans, they’re the ones who’ll dictate your ultimate level of success.
So there you are 30 key strategy tips that will help you better utilize social networks for your marketing efforts. Follow these steps and you’ll get a better understanding of how social works, how your competitors and partners are utilizing the platforms, and what your audience expects from your brand via tweets and posts. The only other truly critical step is to listen, to hear what’s being said, and to respond according to what your data and insights are telling you. The rest is up to you.