Social media has become a significant driving force in online marketing. One decade ago, only 7% of the U.S. population used social networking sites. This figure has increased almost tenfold, to 65%. Furthermore, most social networks have reached a stage of maturity, which means that they are now capable of reaching all age & gender groups.
These, and many other amazing statistics demonstrate that social media plays a huge role in peoples’ lives. Many digital marketers are now allocating substantial budgets to social media marketing. You should too. This is why we urge you to take a look at these 40 proven social media marketing strategies.
But before we get started, we have to answer a very important question: what is social media marketing, and why should I care? According to SearchEngineLand:
“Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining traffic or attention through social media sites.”
Sounds pretty simple. However, each social network provides radically different actions and, therefore, entails a unique approach. There are plenty of reasons why you should care about social media marketing. First of all, people are spending an ever-increasing amount of time on social networks. Secondly, different social networks serve different purposes. For example, Pinterest is used predominantly by adult women (42%) with great purchase power, while LinkedIn is used by professionals that are looking to further their careers.
Through the correct use of social media, companies can reach out to relevant audiences, promote their products, and increase brand awareness. What’s more, social media can help websites build links that, in turn, support SEO efforts.
Now that we’ve cleared the basics, here is a list of social media marketing strategies that have withstood the test of time:
General Social Media Marketing Strategies
1. Create a Social Media Marketing Plan Before you Dive-in
Like most things in the business world, social media marketing also requires a plan to be effective. In other words, every action that you take on social media has to be part of a larger strategy. Easier said than done.
“Content, audience building, and conversation are the three pillars of a strong social media plan.”
Crafting a solid plan may set you up for success and help you avoid common social media pitfalls, but it takes time. On a positive note, a comprehensive social media plan will make all your efforts follow naturally.
Recommended Read: How to Create a Social Media Marketing Plan in 6 Steps
2. Choose the Right Platform
One of the most common mistakes that new businesses make is attempting to branch out on too many social media platforms at the same time. Without a solid plan and large marketing team, it’s almost impossible to obtain good ROI. This is why it’s important to choose networks that offer the best potential for reaching the ideal audience & distributing content that aligns with your business goals.
“Facebook is great, but having 2,000 friends doesn’t necessarily translate into business (…) Visual networks such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are best for consumer-facing businesses, while to find key executives, I suggest you go to LinkedIn and Twitter.” Source: Maria Dykstra for Forbes.com
If you’re having trouble deciding on a suitable social network I recommend checking your Analytics data (e.g. age groups, interests, gender, device, browser, etc.) and evaluating your digital marketing strategy. Are you sharing many company videos? Then YouTube might be the answer. Do you prefer engaging in ongoing conversions? Experiment with Twitter.
3. Share at the Best Times
According to SumAll, the optimum times for various platforms are 1 PM – 3 PM for Twitter, 9AM – 11AM for Google+, 5PM – 6PM for Instagram, 8Pm – 11PM for Pinterest, and 7PM-10PM for Tumblr.
Facebook post frequency & effectiveness | Photo courtesy of Bufferapp & TrackMaven
But don’t take these metrics for granted. The ‘best time to share’ isn’t universally applicable. You will have to find the best time to share by checking your analytics and finding out when your followers are active.
Different users have different habits. Besides publishing hours, you will also have to think about the best days to post on social media. Personally, I have found Thursday night the best time to post on social media.
4. Layer your Advertising Targeting Options
Several years ago, it was literally impossible for advertisers to target specific audiences with paid ads. This has changed. Today, the possibilities for social media ad targeting are incredibly diverse – to the point that they have become creepy. This granularity is extremely powerful, as it enables advertisers to reach out to those that matter to their business.
Don’t settle for targeting a certain age group, level of education, or household income. Go the extra-mile. Leverage life events and additional data such as purchasing behaviour, places visited & interests to generate timely, relevant campaigns.
Case-study: Larry Kim of WordStream used $50-worth of Facebook advertising to promote his post, “Working Mothers Raise more Successful Daughters” to generate over 1 million views and +30,000 shares.
A word of caution: Social media targeting is a double-edged sword. Targeting extremely broad audiences may lead to low engagement rates, but opting for highly targeted ads may also result in poor-performing ads.
Recommended Read: 5 Ridiculously Powerful Facebook Ad Targeting Strategies
5. Deliver Content Consistently
One of the best ways to increase your following & engagement levels on different social platforms is by consistently posting updates, images, videos, and interesting content. Assuming you’ve already devised a comprehensive social media marketing plan, this shouldn’t be difficult.
If you’re finding it difficult to consistently post valuable content on your accounts, I recommend entering Edgar, a social media queue that fills itself. This superb tool will help you save time by scheduling posts indefinitely.
Recommended Read: How to Find your Social Media Marketing Voice
6. Use Hashtags Strategically
Most social platforms, like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, support has-tagging. If you want to be successful with your social media marketing you need to stop randomly using hashtags immediately, and start using them to tie pieces of your campaign together.
Below are a few tips for strategically using hashtags in your S.M. campaign:
- Choose hashtags that are easy to remember.
- Check the hashtag across all channels to see if it isn’t already being used.
- Be consistent. Once you decide on a hashtag, you should start using it on all platforms.
- Follow and join the conversation. You can do this with the help of tools such as Sprout Social, or Social Mention.
Recommended Read: How to Use Hashtags on Every Social Media Network
Now that we’ve covered the basic, let’s quickly overview specific social media marketing strategies for the most popular platforms:
With 1.65 billion active monthly users, Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world. The opportunity to reach out to such an incredible user base is reason enough to consider investing in Facebook marketing. The social platform also offers incredibly targeted ads and plenty of features for business pages.
Want to get started with Facebook marketing? Here are a few social media marketing tips:
- Mix up content formats. This rule applies to other social media platforms as well. Be creative with the content that you promote on social networks. For example, if you have a list-article, you can convert it into a short video and share it on YouTube. Another idea would be to convert snippets from existing articles into enticing images, for better Facebook reach.
- Use Facebook “Call” buttons. This powerful social feature is often overlooked by marketers. It provides mobile users with a direct link to your company and allows them to bypass slow-loading pages.
- Provide a Cohesive Visual Experience. Ads, in general, should provide a cohesive & seamless visual experience. This rule most definitely applies to Facebook ads and their accompanying landing pages. According to WordStream, “offering users a smooth, cohesive visual experience is almost (if not equally) as important as the messaging of your ads themselves.”
Facebook Ads | Image courtesy of InfoLinks
- Structure your Facebook page around business goals. Your Facebook advertising campaigns should be clear on your page (e.g. “reach other businesses”, “promote your products” etc.). This will help you leverage the power of Facebook and increase conversions.
- Become a resource for your audience. As you probably already know, Facebook is constantly making changes to its algorithms. Therefore, a limited number of people can see your posts. This is why it’s imperative to create a page that delights customers. Don’t promote only your company’s content. Curate interesting articles and deliver posts that inspire, entertain, and educate your audience.
- Host contests and giveaways. People love free stuff. Facebook is a great place to host giveaways and contests. The thrill of winning something for free represents a great incentive for people to engage with your Facebook page. Returns on investments for this strategy include increased fan base, better brand awareness, traffic boost, user-generated content, interesting conversations, and virality.
- Split Test Facebook Ads. When it comes to Facebook ads, split testing is the recipe for success. The structure of ad campaigns on Facebook has changed quite a bit. Many people ask if it’s better to target a narrow audience or a wide one. There is no universal answer to this question, but split testing can help you find your own.
With 310 million active monthly users & a young demographic boot, Twitter is one of the best marketing platforms for marketers. Growing a loyal Twitter following takes more than a few tweets about your products and a cool bio.
“Every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter (visualize them here), which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year.”
Below are several Twitter tips that will help you engage with your audience and unlock new business opportunities:
- Schedule Tweets. Learning how to schedule tweets will help you save a lot of time. You can use social media dashboards, like Hootsuite, to take the stress out of tweeting or managing multiple accounts.
- Focus on Building your Audience. If you’re new to the Twitter community, I strongly recommend spending more time developing an audience. Once you spend more time on the platform, people will start adding you to various Twitter lists. Dig into these lists to find interesting people to follow and interact with.
- Add visual appeal to your tweets. Why use only one image when you can create a collage of multiple images or insert a fascinating GIF? Creating the best-looking tweet has never been more important.
- Don’t just tweet at people, tweet WITH people. You can have 100,000 followers. If they aren’t interested in your content, it won’t get you anywhere. You have to learn how to listen to conversations. Share your two cents. Interact with people who are interested in your brand.
- Don’t get lost in a sea of faces. Carla Dewing says that “most followers become nameless, faceless numbers on a follower list.” She also adds that icebreakers can help us start a meaningful long-term relationship on Twitter. By retweeting someone’s post and adding a meaningful comment you can instantly create a connection and gain more followers.
- Be helpful. Too many companies push promotional content without thinking about the needs of their customers. Earning loyalty via Twitter takes time, but it’s worthy. Instead of putting your account on auto-pilot, try to engage with your followers and answer their questions. Even if they aren’t ready to take action, they will know that you are there to help when they return.
- Maximize character count. When linking, use URL shorteners and concise messages to take full advantage of Twitter’s character count. Many social media marketing companies recommend using automation tools for improving the effectiveness of Twitter marketing.
Looking for more Twitter marketing tips? Check out this article by SocialMediaExaminer
Regardless of whether you’re operating a brick-and-mortar store or an online agency, you should consider expanding your reach through Pinterest. This platform has an engaged & active audience that is eager to spend money.
Here are several social media marketing tips for Pinterest:
- Give Pinterest a test-drive. I always believed that Pinterest is only suited for companies that have something visual to show (e.g. fashion, jewellery or food). However, if you’re a company that produces original visuals for a narrow audience (e.g. infographics, cartoons), you have high chances of converting leads via Pinterest. Hubspot, an all-in-one marketing software took to Pinterest as well.
- Track Pins from Competitors. People who are liking or repining content from your competitors’ boards are people you’d like to have on your site. You can use various tools to track active pinners and engage with them. Following an active pinner will, most likely, result in a follow back.
- Create Long, Optimized Descriptions. According to a B2C study, 200-250 character descriptions represent the sweet spot for getting re-pins. Don’t just re-pin content from other boards as is. Include a unique description, 1-2 hashtags, a call-to-action, and some keywords. This will improve the visibility on Pinterest’s search engine.
- Give Context to Pinnable Images. When you design your Pinterest graphics, make sure you tell viewers exactly what they’re going to get by clicking on your pin. In other words, your Pinterest images should still have meaning even when they are separated from their accompanying article/landing page.
“Always include the title of your blog post in your graphic. That way, when you pin it to Pinterest, users will have a frame of reference and want to read it.” Source: Kim Garst for SocialMediaExaminer
- Find Popular Group Boards. You can use PinGroupie to find interesting boards according to category, title, collaborators, followers, etc. Start following the board, add thoughtful comments, like & repin, then ask to become a collaborator. This will help you reach out to new audiences.
- Use the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule means that for each self-promotional piece (e.g. blog post, sales page, promotion, etc.), you should curate 4 other pieces of content. For this strategy to work, you should re-pin the most successful stuff, as it will lead to more re-pins & followers.
Looking for more Pinterest marketing Ideas? Check out SocialMouth’s Pinterest Marketing Strategy Guide.
LinkedIn is the go-to place for thought leaders, industry experts, career-oriented individuals, and ambitious brands. If you’re looking to connect with an educated B2B or B2C audience, then you should start with LinkedIn. Below are a few LinkedIn social media marketing tips to help you get started:
- Optimize LinkedIn for SEO. With over 364,000,000 members, LinkedIn is one of the largest & fastest-growing social media platforms. Despite the fact that LinkedIn is home to many thought-leaders & qualified professionals, many companies are unaware of the platform’s SEO value. Optimizing your profile or business page for LinkedIn is not difficult.
Follow these easy steps:
- Add 2-4 important SEO keywords at the top of your company’s page descriptions. Repeat these keywords in your page’s description.
- Write a compelling & concise company descriptions, about 150-160 characters long, that also includes your most important keywords.
- Next, create an extended version of your company’s description, where you can include 6 to 8 variations of your most important keywords.
- In the Specialties section of LinkedIn, add your primary & secondary SEO key-phrases.
- Use LinkedIn’s publishing platform to share unique & engaging long-form content. This will help you position yourself as an authority in your niche, generate new leads, and reach out to like-minded individuals. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you will have to consistently share your own experience & expertise.
- Personalize connection requests. Generic messages are considered bad etiquette on LinkedIn. If you really want to make an impression, you should use customized invites. You can also LinkedIn tools to improve your sales prospecting & relations.
- Track Profile Visits. LinkedIn shows you how many people viewed your profile. It even shows you exactly who viewed your profile. This can help you connect with people who are genuinely interested in you. You should also keep track of the profiles that you view. John Nemo, author of “LinkedIn Riches: How to Leverage the World’s Professional Network to Enhance your Brand, Generate Leads & Increase Revenue”, uses Dux-Soup to track and organize LinkedIn profiles that he visits.
Looking for more Linkedin Marketing Tips? Check out SocialMediaExaminer’s Expert Roundup.
Google Plus Marketing
Google Plus may not be as popular as it was a couple of years ago, but it still has an active user base and plenty of interesting features that will help you increase your company’s reach. I can give you plenty of reasons why you should use Google+ for social marketing: circles, integrations with Google apps, Hangouts, elegant notifications, better ads, safe sharing, etc.
- Personalize your page’s URL. This should be your number one priority. By default, Google+ page URLs look like a senseless string of numbers (e.g. https://plus.google.com/102033020202011020/ – this is not an actual profile). You can create a custom URL by following the steps outlined on Google’s support page.
- Use Google Hangouts. As you probably know, Google+ has a hang-out feature that allows users to connect directly. Want to make your followers feel special? Invite them to hang out with someone important (e.g. your CEO, an influencer, a famous spokesperson, etc.).
- Create a great first impression. Many people try to connect on Google+ but fail to update their basic information. Don’t think of Google+ as just another social network, but as the first point of contact with a potential customer. Create an interesting mini-bio, fill out all the fields on your profile, and add a professional profile photo.
- Create micro-circles. One of the best ways to get repeat business through Google+ is by building circles on a micro-level. Using the platform as a knowledge base will improve your relationship with clients.
- Promote Third-party content and add your own opinions before you share. This will help you become the ultimate resource for your audience.
Looking for more Google+ Marketing Tips? Here are 5 tips from the pros.
The most recent YouTube & online video statistics are mind-boggling. According to an ExpandedRamblings report, 300 hours of new videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute and over 1 billion people use YouTube on a regular basis.
What’s more, it has been predicted that video content will soon become the most popular form of content. If this isn’t reason enough to start investing in YouTube Marketing, I don’t know what is.
Below are several YouTube marketing tips to get you started:
- Use annotations. Annotations can be added to YouTube videos to encourage people to visit your site, other videos, channel, subscribe, etc. This feature is also helpful for refreshing out-of-date information.
Video source: https://youtu.be/C5zzVemi3m4
- Create unique video descriptions. YouTube is owned by Google. This means that it has high potential for organic visibility. It’s imperative to create unique video descriptions and to fill-out your title, tags, and category fields with relevant keywords.
- Embed videos on your site & in your articles.
- Partner with YouTube Celebrities. YouTube is teeming with vloggers & individuals who have thousands, if not millions, of subscribers. Reaching out to one of them and partnering up will help you promote your business. Let’s say you have a beauty & make-up store. Connect with a fashion vlogger and ask him/her to test your products.
- Single out customers. A long time ago, Old Spice created a handful of videos in which it responded to customer questions. The videos worked well for the company because they were funny and genuine. You can also make your customers feel special by including them in your company’s videos.
Image Sources: depositphotos.com