Better social media marketing in 10 easy steps

A 2014 study found that around 90% of brands were active on social media, so nobody really needs convincing to get involved anymore. Now that we’re all online though, are we really making the most of the opportunities that social can offer us?

Here are 10 simple ways to keep your social media strategy fresh and give your fans and followers what they want:

Catch their eye

Grabbing the attention of your audience is key – social media channels constantly display new information, so making sure your content instantly engages a user is vital.

Images should be bold and your titles concise, and if you’re creating video content for a platform like Facebook, then the first three seconds are crucial.

Videos auto play without sound on Facebook timelines, so those first few moments of your video need to draw the viewer in.

Producing a short 3 second montage of your video to put at the start will entice users to keep watching, more than a dry company logo or introduction will.

Be consistent

Getting users to look at your content is the first step, but keeping them there is the hard part. To keep your followers engaged you should become a reliable source of information.

Post regularly (every day if you can), but check the best practice guidelines for each platform you use, as they do vary in the regularity of posts.

The experts from automated social posting tool, Buffer, published some information on their posting schedule earlier this year, showing that Twitter has a much more active user base, and engagement rates only seem to grow after you post more than three times a day.

The most important thing is to be consistent. Test strategies and timings, see what works, and then establish yourself on the platform.

Follow up

Research has shown that it takes on average 7-13 ‘touches’ from a salesperson to generate a qualified sales lead. That seems like a lot of follow-ups, but it highlights the importance of multi-channel marketing.

The content you share online can help establish your brand and grow your audience but it might not necessarily lead to sales.

Follow up on social content with eye catching adverts – social media sites have some great features, which can let you directly target your audience.

You can drill down into your audience’s age range, location, and even interests and even with limited budgets promote your content so that it appears on their timelines and feeds.

Facebook ads can now take data from users’ Google searches too –  a brand like Prestige Post-boxes might use Facebook ads to follow up on a user’s recent Google searches for wedding favours and decorations.

Create calls to action

Always create a next step for followers, so you don’t lose them as soon as they finish looking at your content.

Your call to action could encourage them to click through and read more information, subscribe to a newsletter or sign up to a service or product.

Charities in particular are very good at providing users with calls to action in their social posts. The British Red Cross Facebook page is a great example of not overselling something.

While they occasionally prompt users to donate, generally their content is interesting and engaging, rather than being solely focussed on conversions.

Not everything has to be a hard sell – if you prove your worth to an audience as a brand, they’ll make their own decisions.

Check who you’re following

While social media provides you with a great platform on which you can engage with your customers, it can also be a valuable tool for you as a business.

Use it to find influencers in your niche and get information about trends in the industry. Many brands recognise the importance of showing their followers they’re engaged by following them back, and replying to tweets and messages.

Although it’s important to engage with your followers, it doesn’t mean you have to follow everyone who follows you.

Check who your followers are before automatically following them back, and though it might be easier to cast a wide net, you’ll be rewarded later if you’re more selective.

Tools like Manage Flitter can help you get an overview of your followers and manage who you’re following across multiple accounts.

Check who’s following you

When  you’re building a social following, it can be tempting to try a range of different tactics, in order to get new followers quickly.

While your follower count can be an initially positive sign to potential followers of your prominence, it really is a false economy.

Buying followers will mean that you have a bigger audience, but not one that’s interested in what you have to say. If your follower list is full of irrelevant or spam accounts, then you need to readjust your strategy.

Spam accounts will generally have few followers, generic looking tweets, and no imagery on their profiles.

Focus on what works

There’s only so much time in the day, so don’t waste your time on what isn’t working. Pick a platform that your audience is most active on and put all of your efforts into that platform.

Look at what your competitors are doing and whether it’s going well. If it is, you can try and learn from it.

Many factors can influence the success of a piece of content: relevancy to the time period and relevancy to the audience’s interests are probably the two most important.

Flooring retailer, Posh Flooring, recently ran a competition to find Britain’s Ugliest Carpet. It encouraged those on social media to offer up pictures of their own carpet for the prize.

Not only was the competition relevant to their own niche and products, but it gave their followers the chance to get involved too.

By finding something their customers were keen to share and focusing on the campaign over a 3-month period, the company saw a great uplift in followers who had all engaged with the competition and were interested in their products.

Make to fit

Once you’ve got your focus, don’t waste the opportunities you have. All platforms have different nuances that make them special, but they all have restrictions too.

When you’re creating images for each of your accounts, you should check the guidelines and create posts which fit into them.

Cover photos and profile pictures can easily cut off important information or parts of an image if not sized correctly.

Tools like Canva can help make sure your images are the right size across all social media platforms.

Make sure your content and brand is right for each platform too – if you work in a fast paced industry, then Twitter should be your focus, if you’re a tech company, then make the most of Google+.

Keep your details uniform

Your address and contact information should be the same on all platforms. Not only will this give a good impression to users who follow you on multiple platforms, but it will also help search engines recognise and reward you for offering clear information.

There’s  evidence that platforms like Google+ have been used as a ranking factor in the past, and as social becomes more integrated into all of our lives, surely it will play an important role in future.

Just as you should stay consistent with your posts, make sure all your details are consistent too.

Tag it up

Hashtags aren’t just for One Direction fans, they can be a really useful tool when it comes to getting your content in front of an active and potentially new audience.

All of the major networks use some form of tag now to help users find content around particular topics, and people use it more than you might think.

Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr are traditionally the home of the tag, but it’s being used more and more on Facebook and other platforms as well.

Facebook’s trending section in the side bar of its news feed now even analyses the trends of certain phrases without hashtags, so if you use the right keyword you could get your content to an audience looking to find information on something you have the answer to.

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