Think about how everything revolves around social media these days – events, brands, lifestyles, music, etc. How companies and politicians are using social media to get very important insights and guide their own strategies and agendas.
And how social media platforms are, in some cases, even changing the way we behave in real life, with the advent of influencers (we’re thinking especially about Instagram and YouTube here, but feel free to consider whichever social media channel you believe fits best to this concept).
So, yeah, social media is something that’s here to stay. Even with all its problems and the sometimes not-so-favorable perception it gets, it’s not going anywhere soon..
Either as part of a bigger content marketing strategy or as a standalone initiative, social media is critical for any business or brand to increase audience awareness and engagement.
Also, it carries a very comprehensive online marketing “benefit package” – traffic, leads and, obviously, conversions. But you, the reader, already know this, otherwise you wouldn’t be here, would you?
So we’re going to provide some really important social media marketing tips – and hopefully help your social media marketing project as a result. Let’s get to it?
Use this part to navigate through our social media marketing tips article:
- First off, get your strategy set
- Everything you do is about interacting
- Try to be funny (most of the time)
- It’s also about useful content. Who knew?
- Insert your favorite quote here
- Social media beauty is in the eye of the post beholder
- Most of us are here to share links
- Video is always great
- Any date that’s not everyday is a reason for a post
- You could use some help from paid ads
- A quick list of the most important platforms and why you should care about them
1. You’re still going to need a plan, because good social media marketing isn’t all likes and shares
You saw this one coming – just like any other content marketing initiative, a successful social media marketing strategy needs clear goals and objectives. Let’s consider some questions to start. By answering them, you may begin to have a clearer idea:
- What exactly do you expect to achieve from your social media plan? Bigger following, more traffic, more sales, brand awareness?
- How exactly will you measure these goals?
- Which platforms are you going to use, and are there going to be specific goals for each?
- What will the posting frequency be? At which hours of the day?
- Will you use any specific tools to help?
Just as important as these questions is the data that’s going to guide your plan. And yes, data comes with research. You’re going to need some numbers in order to make the right decisions.
Get whatever information you have: your web analytics platform, the latest hot topics related to your business on Google Trends, your e-commerce website, your social media pages (obviously) – find out as much as you can about your target audience.
Or hire an agency to do this for you, if you have the cash to spend on skipping this laborious – but very important – part.
We could go on, but the key idea here is: your chances of being successful are much bigger when you have realistic and achievable goals behind you. And your social media marketing goals should always be aligned with your overall content marketing strategy – and business strategy, for that matter.
2. Social media is NOT the place to be shy. Get some interaction going!
If there’s one thing that social media audiences are not, it’s passive. Well, maybe some of them are, but the reality is this: they’re in there to comment, share, like, message, unlike, unfriend, etc.
Which brings us to one of the golden rules in social media marketing best practices, for any platform: interact with them, ask them questions, tell them to share your post or tag a friend. In short: ask them to do something.
Anything. It’s all to get some social media engagement rolling and tap into that amazing potential. Many options are available, but we like these two basic forms of approaching it:
- Questions: these are great not only to get some obvious answers and interactions, but also to get some first-hand insights and market intelligence about your followers. You might get some useless comments, sure, but others might be incredibly valuable.
- User-generated content: this one can be truly interesting – asking people to post captions, photos, videos, little text challenges, poems, product reviews/opinions and so on. When done in a specific context, it can have amazing results. An example: content related to a particular brand and its product. Asking users to send content to be reviewed/curated before being shared by the brand page itself is also something done by many organizations.
In any case, well-made interaction posts and activities can boost your page’s popularity – by actually showing your users that you’re aware of them and want them to participate.
3. A content marketer, an SEO specialist and a social media consultant walk into a bar
There has to be some fun in it, otherwise what’s the point? (We’re talking about social media, but that sentence could be applied to anything). Yes, this is a list of social media marketing best practices, and yes, we are going to acknowledge the fact that more serious posts will be inevitable from time to time.
However, most of the time, your posting is going to need to include some good old fun. That can be done through (good) jokes, puns, cartoons, memes, pictures… anything that can be considered hilarious. And in good taste, of course.
It should always work best when related to the page itself. For example, if there’s a popular meme going around, try to adapt it to the page – or brand – in question. Guaranteed to be shared over and over if really funny.
4. Not everyone on social media is trying to pick a fight, stalk people or laugh at cat videos
That’s right – many people are actually looking for tips, life hacks, insightful quotes – things they can really use in their daily lives. This one is especially valid for LinkedIn and other business-related content.
Depending on the nature of your social media marketing strategy, useful content can be a big plus. By useful, we mean things like practical tips (“did you know?”), tutorials, product tips, instruction posts/videos, webinars, podcasts – anything that falls under the “beneficial” banner.
We could also mention polls here, something currently offered by many social media platforms.
And let’s not forget one big type of social media post aptly called answers. By collecting user questions from all your social media accounts – or any other channel where you have contact with them – you can create a set of informative posts using this as source material. What’s more, you can include links to your website’s FAQ section, generating some welcome user traffic in the process.
5. “Quotes make awesome social media posts”, said William Shakespeare. No, he didn’t, but you get the point
Sorry about that title, by the way. We think quotes deserve a mention here as a special topic because they can bring above-average engagement when used correctly. Why? Because they can communicate ideas and insights in a powerful, authoritative way. Especially when coming from people perceived as relevant and successful in their respective fields.
If you consider that people are actually interested in books with quotes from remarkable people and such, you can understand why this kind of content can have social media traction. “Ideas are bulletproof”, as a great character once said (quote alert), and quotes get them out there like few other social media posts can. Hence the number of social media pages and influencers that mostly share quotes from other people – and are doing very well in terms of followers and engagement, thank you very much.
6. Some social media posts shine brighter than others: the visual ones
A post with an image – whether by itself or as an addition to something else – is much more likely to generate some buzz. It could be a massively entertaining infographic, a landscape picture, a well-designed thumbnail or a header photo (which links to another type of content).
Or a new profile image, perhaps? Anything within the realm of sight, because humans are more likely to pay attention to visual content. Otherwise, billboards – which are something very very old – wouldn’t still be around today. And if your brand/company/project is deeply related to images, there’s no way of escaping the need for this kind of post.
The good news is that you don’t need to be a super sorcerer of design and photography to create compelling, attractive images for your social media marketing strategy.
There’s a lot that can be accomplished with a good photograph – sometimes taken by a mobile phone – and some free image-editing software. Sure, if you hire professionals to do this for you, the result will always be on another level completely, but don’t let this hinder your visual social media plans.
A few examples of visual social media posts that gravitate towards this concept:
- Cover photos – as seen on Facebook and Twitter
- Profile images and avatars – present everywhere
- Thumbnails – they’re a great way of standing out and most platforms have them as a feature
- Infographics – could also come under “useful posts”
- Instagram posts – a social network focused on photographs from its origins
- Pinterest posts – very much focused on design and visual content as well
- GIFs – these have become hugely popular over the years and most services now have them integrated as a feature (Facebook recently acquired the GIFs service Giphy). While mostly used as humor/memes, they can be pretty useful for brands as well, and there are many options of platforms that help users create their own GIFs.
7. If social media is about connecting, then links truly belong there
This wouldn’t be a social media marketing tips article without mentioning links – they’re one of the basic building blocks of social media posts.
While Facebook and Twitter are the first platforms that come to mind when sharing links, the fact is that they’re being increasingly used in other apps and websites as well – think of Instagram here, where many brands and outlets post links to other sorts of content along with their posts and in their “bio” sections.
Your link post can be to your own content or to content from other pages/organizations, provided that it’s within your overall content plan and, of course, aligned with some social media marketing best practices (which we’re covering right here).
And while we’re at it – let’s talk about a social media marketing SEO tip. While social media does send signals to search engines (in the form of likes and shares), it also helps SEO directly by increasing the visibility of a particular page (or site). Not to mention authority, brand awareness and, of course, traffic. So, yeah, links are a pretty relevant part of social media marketing, if you ask us.
8. Ever considered making your post a video? Here are some reasons why you should do it
The truth is, video content could be applied to a great deal of post types listed here – if not all of them. So why do videos get their own special section in this social media marketing best practices article? Well, because videos are indeed special, and they have a powerful edge when compared to all other posts.
Social media marketing was made for videos, and videos were made to be shared on social media platforms. We all love videos. We like to watch them, re-watch them, comment on them, share them. Regardless of its topic, video content has a powerful capacity to engage with the viewers, capturing their attention and connecting at an emotional level. Also, videos are preferred by many audiences because they’re an “easier” type of content to consume – you can just sit back, relax and enjoy it (even if it’s a lecture about rocket science).
Plus, video content offers some specialized types of posting that can be truly interesting:
- Live videos – a great tool for special occasions such as webinars, launches of new products or services, presentations, conferences, etc. Also strategic when it comes to enticing users to participate in the form of questions and comments.
- Sneak peek videos – they can be a kind of “teaser” about upcoming and exciting projects, announcements, products, etc.
- Behind-the-scenes content – this one is more specific, but it can still be a great tool in a successful social media video plan. Showing the day-to-day aspects of work on a particular project, fun details that don’t go into the final cut – these things can be very compelling. And they can be outlined in a series of posts, by the way.
So, whenever coming up with a social media strategy, consider investing in really good video content and turning your post into a video. Employ good copywriting, production values and editing – or, as we’ve mentioned many times before, hire a good company to do it for you. Very likely, your post will achieve much higher levels of visibility and engagement than a regular text- or image-oriented one.
9. Somebody or something somewhere is commemorating an anniversary of some sort. Or not, but it might still be a themed day. Enter the “dates” post category
Holidays, special events, celebrations, notable days, anniversaries, the birthday of someone special – all these occasions are a very good excuse to make an awesome social media post. Most of these situations – if not all of them – involve some sort of hashtag that may reach millions of posts/people if truly popular. Here’s why this kind of post can be so popular – and fun:
- Themed days – the first one that comes to mind is “Throwback Thursday” – or #tbt – where people post old pictures. But the possibilities are endless, from popular hashtags that trend out of nowhere to movie-related themed days (thinking about Groundhog Day posts here).
- Actual holidays – these offer very good opportunities to reach new users. And they have a solid advantage: every country (or should we say market?) has holidays, representing a lot of chances to create great social media content.
- Events – of course we couldn’t leave this one out. A special event related to your page or business is always an occasion for a good post. Also, because some platforms actually allow you to create events and invite people to them (thinking mainly of Facebook here), you can use the event itself as post material.
10. Yep, paid ads are also a thing in social media, in case you forgot
We’re all for organic content everywhere. But sometimes paid advertising becomes a very interesting option to add to your social media marketing tips. If nothing else, you can employ an advertising program from the social media platform to work side by side with your organic posts.
Consider starting a paid ads campaign on social media platforms if you have very ambitious goals (like conversions, for instance), if your organic posting strategy isn’t being very effective, or maybe if there’s no one else doing it in your niche (this can be a pretty relevant edge, as with any other marketing channel). Facebook and Instagram in particular have very resourceful paid advertising programs that could be advantageous to your business.
11. The part that you already know: a list of the most relevant social media platforms. Still good to remember, though
This is a list of social media marketing best practices, after all. So we think it’s a good idea to list the main social media services out there, with their respective strengths and advantages. Sure, by now you’re probably familiar with most of them – if not all of them. But it always pays to recap a bit.
- Facebook: even with all the problems and controversies associated with it, Facebook remains arguably the most important social media channel to promote a business or brand with. Many companies use Facebook to gather visibility and generate leads because of its many content, posting and interaction options – quite aside from its huge user base, of course. Features like live streams and Facebook shops have made it even more compelling for companies.
- Instagram: the distinctive visual appeal of Instagram and the exceptional engagement among its users is an asset for any brand. Particularly interesting for visual content (of course), as well as getting users to interact with their own images, stories, hashtags, tags, etc. It has also, in recent years, added features like product links, IGTV Ads (IGTV being its video-focused subdivision), shopping-focused pages and the possibility of companies selling products through the app.
- Twitter: with their 140-character posting limit, Twitter has always been an agile social media platform used by personalities, government agencies and businesses worldwide. The lean, concise approach can be very strategic with the short messages and all kinds of content that can be attached to them. It’s also a great platform to engage in customer service/support and communicate directly with users.
- YouTube: the biggest video platform and a powerful social network in itself, YouTube is used massively to promote entertaining and useful content. Its advertising program uses Google Ads, which can be a crucial option for any brand. Also, YouTube has recently released its music-focused subdivision, YouTube Music.
- LinkedIn: with its business- and professionally oriented scope, LinkedIn has immense possibilities for generating leads – either from organic content through profiles of companies and professionals (for which it offers many different options) or from its directed advertising program itself.
- Pinterest: the visual/design orientation of Pinterest can be very interesting for companies that want to display products and communicate relevant information about them. It also offers cool features such as product catalogs and shopping recommendations, among others.
- Others: Snapchat, Tinder, WhatsApp, Spotify, TikTok, Yelp… The list could go on and on, but this article is already too long. It really is a world of interesting social media platforms and chances of visibility out there.
How many people joined the biggest social media channels last year alone? How much time do people spend on social media apps every day – and how many times do they check them? How many business leads can a company get from social media? Try googling some of these questions – or other related ones – and you’ll be impressed with the results.
While you may not be a social media person yourself, everyone has to accept the fact that it has become an incredibly important part of our lives. And of our business activities too, for that matter. Social media can be an incredible asset for increasing the digital presence of any brand, business, service, product, professional, and so on. Don’t leave social media marketing out of your content strategy; otherwise you might well be missing a phenomenal amount of visibility – and leads – to your potential users. That’s for certain.