Social media platforms are some of the most integral components of the marketing plan for any business, large and small. In fact there are a myriad of ways that you can leverage your online presence to increase your visibility and drive the marketing plans for your organization.
However, the Internet is constantly evolving and changing; this means that the tried-and-true social media strategies that you have used in years past or even just a few months ago might not work as effectively as they once did. In order to help companies cope with the constantly shifting landscape of the Internet – and in particular the social media market – here are 22 actionable social media strategies that you can implement immediately in order to begin building your own brand awareness.
**1. Redesign your look
If it’s been some time since you’ve updated the profile pictures on your various social media accounts, be sure to do so immediately. Since followers and fans will be alerted when you change or update the image on your profile, it’s an excellent way to remind them that you’re still active; this can lead to some organic traffic increases from curious individuals to see what your new picture looks like.
2. Review your most popular content
You can use tools like Facebook Insights to look back over the last quarter, the last six months, or the last year to see what kind of content has been the most popular. This will give you valuable information on how to approach subsequent content in the future, as you can concentrate on content that has proven popular in the past while avoiding content that was less than awe-inspiring.
3. Increase engagement with your audience
If someone comments on your Facebook page, no matter how inconsequential, be sure to respond to them. Likewise, if you get a mention on Twitter, acknowledge it in some way – even if it’s just favorite that tweet on your marketing account. It will show your followers that you value them and that you don’t just consider them sales leads or prospects.
4. Use content marketing to build your email list
Run a promotion or two where you’re offering a free eBook or something similar in exchange for an email address. This can help you build a more robust funnel that will already be filled with warm leads.
5. Think about investing in a short-term or limited run of paid targeted advertising
Platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest have robust targeted advertising programs that can help build your exposure without much cash outlay. Even a few dollars can lead to a good return on investment if it increases your follower count by a significant margin, though there is of course no guarantee that this will lead to any additional conversions.
6. Plan ahead by the quarter
Over the coming three months, ensure that you’ve got social media strategies in place for promoting new products that will be dropping or new services that will be going live. Develop some rough ideas for any promotions you’ll be running to coincide with these scheduled events or anything else you’ve got in the pipeline. Repeat the process every quarter for the best results.
7. Take the pulse of your audience
Feedback, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, can help you strategise for changes to your marketing plans in the future. Set up a poll on your blog or on your Facebook page and encourage individuals to leave feedback; incentivise it if you have to with exclusive content. While you’re posting other content, end with a question designed to elicit response from your followers as a way to gauge their opinions on particular topics, and then use that knowledge to inform your strategies going forward.
8. Go against the grain
Nothing ventured, nothing gained – and that goes for taking risks by bucking trends or going in the exact opposite direction. Identifying a gap in your particular industry or market – like a podcast, a YouTube channel, or a new and unproven social media platform – and then taking steps to fill that gap can pay off; if it doesn’t, then you’ve at least learned something that you can apply towards future endeavours.
9. Use hashtags and other social media keywords effectively
If there’s a current event that has a trending hashtag that relates to your business, you can get eyes on even tangentially related content if you tag your social media posts effectively. This extends your reach further than just your core followers, as your posts will be included in search results for that keyword.
10. Revisit popular content from the past
Especially content that had proven popular. Make “in case you missed it” posts once a week, promoting one or two of your most popular posts over the last seven days, as a recap of the week. It’s just one more opportunity to get eyes on content that has already proven to be effective in attracting attention.
11. Include images or video clips in your social media posts
People are highly visual, and if you tend to simply post text updates these can be lost in the shuffle of the constant stream of cat pictures featuring clever captions or the other countless forms of entertainment that is so common when it comes to social media.
12. Provide regular updates
Don’t disappear for days, weeks or months at a time, as this will make it harder to regain any lost traction when you finally begin to attempt to re-build an online following that you neglected. With the tendency for social media users to occasionally purge their profiles of pages or subscriptions that have been inactive, it’s going to be an uphill battle to get them back or to find additional users to replace them before you can even begin making any headway.
13. Don’t be afraid to crib from competitors
If you’ve got rival companies that have highly developed social media strategies that seem to be paying off through increased engagement and popularity with followers, don’t be afraid to take a close, hard look at them. See what you can learn from them in order to increase your own cachet if you can.
14. Keep your brand identity uniform
Since you’re likely to have profiles across more than one social media platform, make it easy for your followers to identify you by using identical or highly similar user names and make use of the same profile pictures and other core language.
15. Provide unique content on each separate platform
While it’s easy to mirror your social media posts across all your platforms – which is something you should do to ensure that you reach as wide an audience as possible – choose some unique content for each platform in order to encourage people to follow you across all of them if they want to see the whole story.
16. Build a community
Remember, this is the Internet Age. You can’t just run a few television commercials, some radio ads, and a full-page spread in the Sunday paper and expect people to beat a path to your door. The Internet is the great equaliser, so don’t remain aloof from your customers, but instead engage them on an equal footing.
17. Peel back the curtain
Use the opportunity to expose your followers to behind-the-scenes glimpses into your organisation through images and videos. Transparency is key to building trust, especially in a post-modern world like our own, so never hesitate to show your audience that you and your staff are real people that do real things, and not just corporate drones looking to separate prospects from their hard-earned cash with the next “big” thing.
18. Don’t over-promote
Most experts say that an 80 percent to 20 percent split between value-added content and direct promotions of goods and services, and this is another way to build trust with consumers and show them that you’re not just mindlessly posting marketing material. Too many promotional posts will give you a reputation for spamming your social media platform of choice, and that will reduce the chances of you gaining additional followers.
19. Stay positive
Sure, you can post a constant stream of controversial or negative content on your social media feeds, and that will create some buzz surrounding your brand, but that tends to be short-lived once everyone realises that it’s just a tempest in a teapot. You’ll soon find yourself having to go to further and further lengths to continue the stream of traffic. Positive content, on the other hand, is usually evergreen and also helps to develop a brand with a reputation for being a peacekeeper and a positive force for good.
20. Showcase your followers
Nothing builds community by occasionally calling out a follower at random or celebrating the accomplishments of someone who used one of your products or services to positive effect. Posting an image of a happy customer on your Facebook feed or retweeting an accomplishment that was made possible by your company in some small way brings a community closer together in solidarity, and happy customers with positive thoughts to share add up over time.
21. Ally yourself with complementary businesses
Just because there’s another company out there posting social media updates on the Internet doesn’t mean that they’re automatically going to be a rival. If their products and services dovetail nicely with yours, consider cross-promotions or simply supporting their efforts in return for the same.
22. Don’t forget your sense of humor
Positioning yourself and your company as filled with light-hearted, happy people who can take a joke humanises you to your social media followers, provides added value through entertainment, and simply makes following you more warm and inviting than otherwise.
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