Marketing Experts’ Top 12 Social Media TipsDecember 15, 2021 | UGC
For any business, social media can play an integral role in getting your products and services in front of the right audience. But casually posting a photo on Facebook when you happen to think of it is no longer enough to stand out among your competition. To maximize your marketing efforts and reach your goals using social media, take a look at the top 12 tips from several social media experts.
Let’s jump right in!
1. Choose the Right Social Media Platforms
“The number one tip I would give business owners is that they first need to identify their target market and then identify where that target market hangs out. Too many businesses attempt to attack every social media platform at once; this leads to them overwhelming themselves by spreading too thin,” says Kyle Dulay, Co-Founder, Collabstr. “As a result, their efforts don’t amount to anything. You shouldn’t be investing the same amount of time into social channels that have less relevance than others.”
When it comes to social media, there are more platforms to choose from than ever. But don’t just settle for the social networking service that you personally enjoy most or the ones that get the most press.
Ask yourself if that trendy new platform is relevant to your audience before you make it the focus of your social media marketing campaigns. Then, invest your marketing resources in a few platforms that your audience is already active on. And confirm that each has a content moderation policy in place to prevent content that contains hate speech, illegal activity, discrimimation, nudity, violence, profanity, or other offensive content that could be harmful to your audience and your brand.
“One of the most common mistakes businesses make when trying to leverage social media is focusing on the wrong social media platforms and the wrong messaging. To have a successful social media campaign, companies must understand their audience and create a strategy that includes their needs,” says HMG Creative’s Senior SEO Strategist Matt Benevento. “For instance, if you are a tax professional, spending resources on Instagram marketing will often result in a poor return on investment (ROI). Instagram is a highly visual social platform, and tax services are not…”
2. Become an Expert on Your Audience
“As in all things digital marketing, know your audience, set your goals, and use the proper channels to get the most out of your social media marketing budget,” adds Benevento.
Although quality content may look different from brand to brand, it should always compliment the brand’s style and voice, and convey that you know your audience better than anyone.
To become an expert on your audience, use your social media channels to post questions. It can be as simple as asking “What flavor would you like us to add to our product line?” on Twitter or as engaging as a poll on Instagram stories. The responses you receive to these questions and surveys will provide valuable insight into their preferences.
“For Instagram, an enterprise may use Instagram Stories to give teasers, create a poll, and engage their audience for future products, sales, and promotional items,” says business growth expert Danny Veiga. “Using a poll is an excellent way to engage your audience. Not only can you understand their perspective, but you will also know who your potential customers are.”
And take note of the social media content that is specific to your industry. For instance, are Instagram stories popular in your field? Or is most of your audience dancing on TikTok?
3. Stand Out From the Competition
“The best way that businesses can use social media in 2021 and beyond to attract and keep new customers is to use the platform to not only showcase their expertise but also how they differentiate themselves from others in their field,” suggests Law Quill CEO and Owner Annette Choti, Esq. “Consider using popular culture references, recent events, or interesting historical tidbits to make social media users smile and eventually engage with your content.”
Looking at how successful companies are utilizing social media can certainly be helpful. It’s not, however, an effective use of resources to research a luxury watch brand’s marketing strategy if you’re a local car repair shop. Instead, take a look at your competition’s presence and content online.
Then, apply your brand’s unique value proposition (UVP) to your own content, communicating how you’re different from the competition, as well as how your products or services will meet your audience’s needs. Depending on your demographic, it’s beneficial to use social media content to communicate how your brand offers the best quality and / or the best prices. Your content should also convey that you understand your clients’ budget, values, and lifestyle.
“These days, audiences are looking for a more personalized experience online,” LLP Seth Price, Founding Partner of Price Benowitz Accident Injury Lawyers, says. “There is so much content out there, and avoiding personalization will only make you blend in with everyone else when the goal is to stand out.”
4. Schedule the Right Amount of Content at the Right Time
It may not be enough to just post on social media at random times, a few days a week, when it’s most convenient for you. Take it up a notch by posting when your clients or customers are most active.
To begin, make sure that your social media accounts are set up as “business accounts.” This will enable your company to review Insights, especially on Facebook and Instagram.
“Most Active Times” is one of the most important metrics to review, as it will tell you when your followers are most active. You can then use Buffer, Hootsuite, or another social media management platform to schedule posts for when your followers are typically on social media.
“Using my Buffer queue, I schedule my Instagram post for that day and time. These free tools help me attract customers,” Janice Wald, Marketing Coach at Mostly Blogging shares. “They are already interested in my brand since they follow my account. By posting when they are on Instagram, I boost the chances they can see my content, increasing the conversion rate. These are free strategies you can use to boost your Instagram marketing.”
5. Harness the Power of Captivating Images
“People generally don’t like being advertised too, and if given the option, they will scroll past or skip an ad as soon as possible,” Stephen Light, Co-Owner and Chief Marketing Officer at Nolah Mattress advises. “By making my advertisements look like normal content, I’ve found that users will read and absorb the ad before they even realize they are being advertised to, giving you a leg up on your competition. What’s great about this is that it costs the same as an obvious ad, but gets you more results.”
Your prospects are on social media for entertainment, or to connect with friends and family. They are not on social media to read advertisements and be sold to. And millennials in particular detest the idea of being sold to.
To avoid featuring content that feels like an ad, use captivating but relatable visuals. Images that are grainy or out of focus won’t stand out in a social media feed, but photos that are blatantly staged, filtered, and photoshopped will attract attention for the wrong reasons. The key is to strike a balance between photos and videos that are high-quality without appearing too polished.
To move your clients or customers to take action, feature products or services being used by individuals just like them in photos and videos. And if you choose to include copy in these images, do so sparingly and make sure it functions like an engaging headline with a few words or a sentence at most.
“My biggest advice for ALL business owners launching or revamping their social media is to use IMAGES! At this time, the adage, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is never truer than it is in today’s social media age. The image is the compelling factor, the attention grabber, the big-ticket item,” Ed McMasters of Flottman Company & FUSIONWRX asserts. “Images that are immediate, current, and applicable are the best type. A great shot of the people entering the building, a shot of your favorite dish (this is our good stuff, you could be eating this!). You could also use an image of your kids doing the work (family business). Each of these possible image posts have a good vibe, make people want to pay attention, and could have the magnetic ability to attract current and potential clients to your business.”
A Word About Video Content
The average individual only has an 8-second attention span, which means your content needs to be attention grabbing, moving users to take immediate action. Instead of only posting photos that users scroll by and forget 5 minutes later, use video clips that your audience will click on as well. Once they click to watch a video, you can keep viewers engaged (and your brand in front of them!) for up to 10 minutes.
With 122 million active users daily and a focus on building personal connections, YouTube is an excellent platform for sharing your brand’s videos, especially if you market your products or services to teens.
Viewers appreciate practical video content that educates and inspires them, and this could be in the form of life hacks, instructional guides, and do-it-yourself tips or helpful content that motivates them. As such, YouTube is ideal for brands that publish a good deal of educational videos related to their field. Whether you use YouTube (learn how to start a successful channel here), or Twitter is a better fit for your brand, videos that capture a user’s attention should be included in your marketing strategy.
Social media videos continue to evolve, with the current emphasis on live video and user-generated video campaigns. By all means, this type of content is effective and can be integrated into your marketing approach. Just be aware that video campaigns are more complicated to moderate.
Don’t rely solely on AI-based moderation to check for damaging content. To catch gray areas that technology may miss, partner with a content moderation professional that uses AI and a live human team for UGC moderation.
6. Live Stream Your Content
When the pandemic forced marketers to find alternatives to explaining a product or service to a customer in person, video-streaming campaigns became the vehicle for accomplishing this. In fact, 94% of marketers found video content useful for explaining a product or service.
“Live streaming grew exponentially in 2021 by enabling influencers and brands to test how users engage with their social media profiles in real-time. Live streaming also allows users to comment on the live stream, giving the profile streaming a chance to interact with users and converse with them instantly and personally,” Cari Casas, Social Media Coordinator at Herrman and Herrman PLLC, explains. “Live streams can be in the form of showcasing an event, an item, or a service. Live streams can also inform users of news related to the profile or industry.”
Easy to create and consume, live video is an accessible digital marketing tool that can expose your brand to a global audience that it may not reach otherwise. Often cost-efficient in comparison to other video marketing strategies, real-time video also cultivates engagement with current customers.
If you’re planning a video-streaming campaign, but aren’t sure of how to approach live broadcasting moderation, find a content moderation company that can offer guidance for managing live video and UGC risks through a hybrid moderation approach.
7. Expand your Following with Social Media Ads
“You can pay to promote your free offers, a strategy that helps you get new subscribers. These subscribers have the potential to drive future sales,” CocoFinder’s Harriet Chan.
To build a larger following, you can boost posts on your social media channels. Since you will be charged to boost these social media posts, be selective about what content you pay to promote.
If you decide to implement this paid advertising on social media, target a specific group to be sure that your brand is visible to the right audience. Posts that truly showcase your brand’s value, the most appealing benefits associated with your services, special sales, or a new product line that your audience will be excited about will be the most likely to improve your bottom line… and be worth the investment!
“You must target a specific audience. Otherwise, you’ll reach a broad audience but few interested people. That’s not optimal ad spending,” says SEO Marketing specialist Jon Torres. “Instead, make your targeting individual-centric rather than channel-centric.”
8. Explore Link-Building Opportunities
“Social media is all about relationship building and connecting with your audience and other people in the industry,” says Shane McEvoy of Flycast Media. “So, the best way to acquire dofollow links from other website owners through social media is by building up a rapport first. Once you have this connection with someone, you can then use it to explore link building opportunities.”
Consider other businesses in your field that offer products or services that complement yours. For instance, if you sell gourmet chocolate, an artisan coffee company that has a loyal base of followers might be a good fit for link building opportunities. This can be as simple as providing a link to a relevant page on your site for use on their homepage.
“A company offers its services for free but asks in return that you contribute your Facebook/Twitter/YouTube account link to their content on their website hosted on YOUR domain,” says Robin Brown, CEO at VIVIPINS. “Companies employ this strategy… because it makes them look more credible.”
Social networking sites are a powerful means of building considerable site traffic and reaching more users. David Fernandez, CEO & Founder of Capital Solutions, offers some helpful suggestions for how to use social media to cultivate more backlinks, leading to deeper connections and, ultimately, conversions.
- Contact an influencer. Influencer marketing in social media effectively promotes your brand and garners more viewers. You don’t have to make a major financial investment in career influencers (experienced content creators with a larger audience) to accomplish this either. Team up with content creators who live in, use, and love your brand’s offerings, such as brand ambassadors (everyday content creators with a smaller, more intimate following).
- Create more infographics. Posting more infographics can build backlinks for your brand and get more brand exposure for every post you publish.
- Conduct social media challenges. These challenges have helped many brands not only grow their social media following, but start social media trends, including virtual contests.
And on that note…
9. Encourage Engagement Through Contests
Virtual contests on social media took off during the pandemic and their popularity has yet to die down. When planning social media contests, the emphasis should be on socializing and sharing, and not necessarily on winning. For any contest that your brand runs, be clear about contest submission rules, FTC guidelines, what content will be published, and what content will be rejected.
“We’ve found that contests are a great way to get new people to like and follow both our own social media accounts and those we manage for our clients,” says Tess Tobias of Encite Branding + Marketing + Creative. “More recently, we’ve been working with one client to promote more consumer-generated reviews and product ratings from real people that can vouch for the products we’re authentically selling to our social audiences.”
If you present the social media contest as simply as possible, users will be more likely to participate and submit their content. Contests with around three easy steps tend to have the most participation – And one of these steps should require that participants post or share user-generated content.
Don’t forget to check submissions for possible violations of your brand’s standards. Additionally, it’s beneficial to work with a moderation company for more thorough content moderation of interactive content like memes.
10. Empower Your Employees
If your organization’s own team members aren’t already part of promoting your brand, social media is an easy way to get them involved in the effort. Your employees may not have as many followers as your brand ambassadors, but they likely possess the background and passion to make up for the smaller audience.
Including your employees in your marketing strategy begins with giving them the same, clear content creation guidelines that you give your influencers. To generate excitement about social media marketing campaigns among employees, invite suggestions for hashtags and virtual contests, and acknowledge the content they share on their personal social media accounts.
“Based on the familiarity concept, ‘self-promotion’ can be used to create social media hype about an event,” Simon Brisk of Click Intelligence, LCD, explains. “One of our employees posted on his wall regarding our upcoming seminar for which he was ‘interested’ to attend. This action led to the discovery of the event by a greater number of people. The news made its way to more people who created free promotions for our event in a more efficient manner.”
11. Resharing is Caring
In addition to investing in content created by your brand and shared on your social media channels, you can also create content with the specific intention of giving it to your influencers to share on their channels. To encourage further resharing, ask influencers to include a caption that will function as a conversation starter. “Tag someone who would love this view” or similar wording in relevant social media posts is effective.
“Social media is among the affordable online marketing places you can have,” Ed Cravo, Co-founder and Head of Marketing at Groundbreaker, offers. “Share your experiences and insights by posting on social media platforms. You can ask your audience to share their own experiences or wisdom, which could kick-start conversations and engagements.”
By providing high-quality content to your influencers, you should see an increase in engagement… but don’t stop there! Reshare the content of friends, followers, influencers and like-minded businesses. Often, this encourages the content creators to continue posting more content that aligns with your brand in hopes that you’ll in turn share it on your channels. And don’t forget to give credit to the original creator, account, or channel by tagging them in the repost!
Once you’ve been posting content on social media for a few months or longer, you’ll have the data necessary to analyze metrics. Facebook, Instagram, and the other big players offer Insights as an analytics tool to every business account.
By reviewing data on engagement, demographics, and best performing posts, you’ll be able to thoroughly evaluate your social media marketing efforts and make the necessary changes. For example, you may notice that out of all the images you shared on your business’s Instagram feed, photos featuring your employees and customers perform the best. Based on that data, you can justify investing your resources in creating more of this content.
Don’t ignore the poor performing content either! If black and white photos had the least amount of engagement, you’ll know to focus on color photos instead. Other common denominators to pay attention to are the hashtags used, accounts tagged, format used (copy, image, or video), and influencers featured. If an aspect of your social media campaign no longer performs well, it’s time to change your approach.
Top Social Media Marketing Tips: The Takeaway
Using social media as a marketing tool is only as powerful as the content you create and share. To create content that compliments your brand and moves your audience, get the creative juices flowing. Think about whether there are any new services or products that you might be launching!
For further inspiration, consider any upcoming national, religious, and hallmark holidays. These seasonal events also offer an opportunity to put a spin on your social media marketing.
Promoting your products or services on social media has proven to be one of the most popular approaches to marketing your brand in 2021. If you apply these tips to your social media marketing campaigns, your brand’s content can motivate purchasing decisions, drive traffic to your website or place of business, promote authenticity, garner trust, and put your brand on the fast track to success.