Most businesses have at least some presence on social media such as a Facebook page or Twitter account. Depending on your industry and target audience, you might also be active on platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn or Snapchat. Whatever channels you use, however, it’s essential to map out a focused strategy that includes targeting the right audience, posting great content and using analytics tools to track your campaigns. The following are five effective guidelines for getting more out of your social media marketing efforts.
- Adjust to the Latest Changes on Facebook
Facebook is still, by far, the most significant social media site and one that almost every business uses. It’s therefore essential to keep up with Facebook’s latest changes. Recently, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced some significant changes to the site’s algorithm. Starting in 2018, Facebook will focus more on engagement and posts from friends and family. These changes are part of a backlash from members who felt that Facebook was getting too commercial and losing touch with its social aspect.
What does this mean for marketing on Facebook? At first glance, it might seem that Facebook is turning its back on businesses and advertising and returning to its roots as a social site. That, however, is unlikely, considering the scale of advertising. Like all digital companies, Facebook depends a great deal on business for its funding. It does mean, however, that companies will have to focus more on engaging meaningfully with followers and staying in touch with their needs and interests. Rather than looking at Facebook as a place to promote your business directly, cover topics that your followers find interesting and helpful.
Aside from posting quality content, there are other ways to increase your influence. Facebook Live provides a powerful way to connect with followers, and it’s a feature that the company is actively promoting. Additionally, in one of Zuckerberg’s announcements, he mentioned that people would see more posts from Groups. That is a clue that starting or engaging more with your Groups is a viable way to use this site.
- Make the Most of Visual Content
By now, it’s common knowledge that images are dominating the internet and social media in particular. Images bring more engagement than text posts. Of course, it matters what kind of visual content you share. Posting striking and original photos and other images will get you better results than using stock photos. Infographics are still useful for educating your audience in a visually interesting way.
Keep in mind that you aren’t merely trying to divert people with images. You want to motivate them to take some action. Make sure your images contain a link or call-to-action leading people to your website or sales page. Another tactic is to use a compelling picture on Instagram or Facebook to send viewers to more substantial content such as an article, blog post, video or webinar.
- Keep Up With Trends in Your Industry
While it’s essential to perform social media analytics on your campaigns, it’s equally important to track what’s going on in the broader digital world. To provide your customers and followers with the most compelling and timely content, you have to stay current with the latest news and trends in your industry. If your audience is interested in SEO, you’ll want to comment as soon as Google announces a new algorithm update. If your audience is interested in mobile technology, make sure you mention the latest news regarding iPhone and Android apps.
Set Google Alerts for news that your followers want to know about. Pay attention to Twitter hashtags to learn about the latest trending topics. You might also want to use sophisticated social media monitoring tools such as HootSuite to get a sense of what people are discussing.
- Connect With People in Real Time
One of the emerging social media trends is real-time engagement, which creates a more intimate and spontaneous atmosphere. You can answer followers’ questions and show them what’s going on at a live event or your place of business, or from anywhere you’re broadcasting. There are now quite a few tools to help you do this.
Live streaming video services such as Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope, and others are now popular alternatives to traditional videos. Live Twitter chats can help you attract a wider following. Google Hangouts and webinars can be used to present products, interview experts, and hold discussions on any topic. These and other real-time tools don’t replace more typical social media engagement, but they can enhance your presence and make your channels more exciting than those of your competitors.
- Build Your Authority With LinkedIn Publishing
LinkedIn serves some distinct functions that are very different from Facebook. If you do B2B marketing, this is one of your best tools for making connections and growing your brand. Not too long ago, LinkedIn changed its timeline to resemble Facebook’s. It’s now quite simple to post updates. An even more valuable feature is Publisher, where you can upload articles. If LinkedIn features your content on Pulse, you have a chance to get viral traffic not only on LinkedIn but from everywhere online as Google often ranks these articles highly.
No one can afford to ignore or downplay the power of social media. Whether your business is online or brick and mortar, you can be sure that most of your customers are active on social media. Getting the results you want requires you to identify the platforms that work best for you and apply the most effective strategies. The above tips will help you make the most of your social media marketing efforts.