You’ve probably heard how important implementing social media marketing into your business strategy is. You might have even heard how 90% of brands use social media to increase brand awareness (Hootsuite). Saying social media marketing is one of your greatest marketing tools wouldn’t be an overstatement, but, like any useful tool, if you’re not using it properly, it isn’t really that useful at all.
We are living in a digital age, to say the least. With new trends and algorithms and social media features that continuously come and go, we can often lose sight of the most efficient practices, and instead of being a tool, social media becomes another daunting task on your to-do list.
We want to help you make the most of the tools you have, so here are seven tips to optimize your social media marketing strategy:
1. Know your audience and when they’re active on social media
First and foremost, who is your target audience? What social media platform are they most active on? What days are they most active on social media? What time of day are they most active? Knowing your audience is absolutely key to making any social media marketing plan work. You can post seven times a week, but if your audience isn’t seeing it, it’s just pointless posting. In fact, if you’re posting on Facebook, and your posts aren’t performing well, Facebook’s algorithm will see that as poor content, and restrict the distribution of your content even further. So not only would it be pointless posting, doing so would actually decrease your chances of getting future posts in front of your target audience. Get to know your audience and start posting with purpose. Focus on posts that will generate valuable social media engagement (even if that means not posting as often).
There are a ton of great programs that can show you analytics across all of your social channels, like Hootsuite, Later, Social Report, the list goes on. You can also check your audience analytics in your platform app. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn will tell you exactly who makes up your current audience, and the times and days they are most active on social media. The best way to increase your brand awareness and grow your social media audience, is to serve your current audience; that means showing up and engaging with them when they do!
2. Post consistently on your social media channels
We’ve all heard the cliche “Consistency is key”… and it couldn’t be more true when it comes to social media marketing. Consistency doesn’t necessarily mean you have to post every single day. But, getting into a rhythm of regularly scheduled social media content creates an expectation for your audience, and it helps you stay relevant. Back before the digital revolution, it was thought that a consumer needed to see an ad seven times before an impression was even made. Now that we live in a multi-screen (and screen addicted) world with ads and messaging blasted at us from our smart phones, tablets, browsers, and televisions, seven views won’t even come close to penetrating your viewers’ consciousness. Which means, posting once a month isn’t helping you expand your audience or increase your brand awareness.
Creating a social media calendar can be a great way to stay organized, and have content planned ahead of time. You can have recurring topics or themes you cover each week. For example, Mondays could be all about something motivational, Tuesdays could be dedicated to featuring a product or service, Wednesdays could be a fun fact about your industry or company; the options are endless really.
Sometimes social media is about trial and error. Maybe you post for a few weeks and you aren’t getting a fabulous response on Motivational Monday. Switch it up. Don’t be afraid to play around with your content calendar and adjust according to how your audience reacts to certain posts. Maybe your audience really engages with tidbits about your company, so you could start dedicating two posts a week toward fun facts instead of just one. Everything is changeable, and everything is trackable. There are so many ways to track analytics, and it’s so important to the success of your social media marketing strategy enabling you to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
3. Use hashtags in your social media posts
There was a time when hashtags were all the rage. #EVERYTHING #got #hashtagged. Nowadays, it seems like hashtags tend to get overlooked. While they aren’t for every social media platform (Facebook, I’m looking at you), they do have a massive capability of increasing your brand reach on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Pinterest.
According to Later Media, just using a single hashtag on an Instagram post increases engagement by an average of 12.6% compared to posts without a hashtag. With hashtags, you can reach an audience who is searching for exactly what you have to offer.
To break it down, hashtags are a way to categorize your social posts in a way that is searchable for users across the platform. For Instagram, you can use up to 30 hashtags in a single post.
So, now you know hashtagging is important, but what hashtags do you use?
A general rule of thumb regarding hashtags is to incorporate three that are; specific to your company, specific to your field and location, and one industry acknowledged. To give you an idea, we use #amplifyyourmessage, #yegmarketing #digitalmarketing. One is specific to us (our video marketing tagline), one is specific to our field and location (YEG is Edmonton’s airport code) and the final is industry-specific.
Other ways to find additional hashtags that are relevant to you and your audience is to research your audience. Figure out what your target audience is searching for and use those keywords as your hashtags. Google Search Console is a great place to start when hunting for relevant keywords as it will show you a list of keywords people searched before being directed to your website.
4. Engage with your audience on your social media channels
Like most things in life, it’s not all about you. While posting consistent, purposeful social media content is important, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Anytime someone makes a comment on your post, there should be a response; spend some time searching hashtags and liking and commenting on posts from people who have businesses similar to yours. Spread some love. At Amplomedia we interact with posts from companies like Hubspot and Later because they are experts within our broader industry and create content that our customers may find interesting and useful. Another way to engage with your audience is to ask questions. And don’t forget to utilize your stories to update your audience on what you are up to!
5. Be personable on social media
There have been many transformations across social platforms, but the basis is still centered around connecting. The entire principle of social media was based on the foundation of creating and fostering connections.
Nobody wants to interact with a robot. While you are running a business account, the content shouldn’t feel cold and corporate. It should be cozy and welcoming. Even as a social media manager for a corporate business, you can still connect to your audience in a personable way. Think about what your brand stands for, the messages your brand portrays, the characteristics of the people who make up your business; ensure those characteristics come through clearly within your social post captions.
Further along those lines, it’s all about storytelling. What story do you have to share? What’s the story of your business, your clients, your day, why you do what you do. Grasp onto all of that and place those feelings and reasons into your captions. Make your brand into a relatable character. Make your posts relatable. Make your feed your story.
6. Add a call to action to social media posts – ALWAYS
If you want your audience to give you feedback, ask them for it. If you want people to read your latest blog post, tell them to check it out and let them know where to find it. If you want your audience’s opinion on something, ask them for it. It’s easy to assume people will take a hint, but what’s the point of taking a chance when you can hedge your bets and tell them exactly what you’re thinking?
Some calls to actions could be sending people to your latest blog post (consider this blog post you’re reading right now exhibit A), some could be as simple as asking your audience to share their opinion on a topic that is relevant in your field (for instance we might ask what their favorite social media scheduler is).
7. Implement social media VIDEO
Last, but certainly our favorite, IMPLEMENT VIDEO. If there’s one thing all social media platforms have in common, it’s that they want their users to spend extended periods of time on their platform. If you play a role in keeping people on social platforms for longer periods of time, you’ve automatically found favour in the eyes of the algorithm, and the algorithm will place your content in front of more people. And, oftentimes, it’s people who have expressed interest in content similar to yours. It’s a win/win.
Because social platforms love video so much, they have created all kinds of opportunities for you to implement it into your social strategy. With Instagram in particular, you can post video on your Instagram stories, IGTV, and in your feed. A picture might be worth 1,000 words, but a video is worth 1.8 million words according to Idea Rocket, which seems like a pretty valid reason to use video wherever and whenever you can!
If you want to catch your audience’s attention, share your message in a concise way, while also sharing your story, then video is the way to go. According to Social Media Today, 1,200% more social shares are generated by video than pictures and text combined.
Not only do videos get more audience engagement on social platforms, they also help improve your SEO when people are searching the web for content relevant to yours. And, if that’s not enough, Social Media Today also reports that marketers who use video in their marketing strategy grow revenue 49% faster than marketers who don’t use video. Bottom line, if you haven’t started implementing video into your marketing strategy, you’re a little behind the times. But, thankfully, we know a company who can bring you up to speed! 😉
Check out this video to see why exactly we love video so much:
When it comes down to it, there are so many things you can do to improve your social media presence. In the midst of all the to-do’s, don’t forget to have fun with it! The moment you start putting too much pressure on creating fabulous content is probably the exact moment your creativity is stifled. Don’t be afraid of a little trial and error. Set up a 3-month plan. See if your analytics improve, and then try to figure out why. Just a heads up, if they don’t improve, it’s probably because you’re not incorporating enough video. And, if you need some video content, well, you know where to find us.