By Deep Patel
Despite recent criticism among business and political commentators, social media networks remain some of the most important and unifying internet platforms. More than 2.5 billion people use social media networks, and that number is expected to grow in the coming years.
Marketers must rely on more than just hashtags and emojis to make the most of channels like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. The world’s most successful social media marketers rely on a variety of sophisticated strategies designed to articulate a particular worldview that boosts brand awareness, drives new business and delights followers.
Let’s look at seven creative ways in which you can dramatically improve your social media performance by following the strategies used by elite social media marketers.
1. Develop a multichannel approach.
Just a few years ago, Twitter was the go-to platform for social media marketers. After that, Facebook assumed the mantle as the best social network for marketers. Today, it seems that most marketers prefer Instagram to reach users.
In the future, there is no telling which social media network will be the darling of social media marketers. Marketers should recognize that it is dangerous to focus only on one social network. Instead, marketers should develop an understanding of the target audience. Many people use a variety of networks for different purposes.
Similarly, social media marketers must take a multichannel approach in reaching prospects and customers. Ensure that each platform is used in unique ways to encourage users to follow your brand across services.
2. Invest in influencer marketing.
According to one recent study, roughly 95 percent of marketers who invest in influencer marketing believe it is effective. Some of the world’s leading brands, including Nike, KitchenAid and Rolex, rely on influencer marketing to reach social media users.
Increasingly, internet users have become wary of traditional advertisements. So much so that users have developed “ad blindness,” in which they simply ignore display ads placed prominently on social networks.
To combat this, some brands rely on sponsored content created by social media influencers to build connections with target audiences.
3. Engage commenters as quickly as possible.
Most social media platforms rely on algorithms to determine what content is displayed prominently and what content is buried. Facebook and Instagram use “engagement” as a primary factor in determining what content should or should not be displayed.
One major form of engagement is comments. Posts that receive more comments are often displayed more prominently within social media feeds and within discovery pages like Instagram’s Explore page.
To encourage members of your target audience to engage with your content in meaningful ways, have a social media monitor who is ready to react to user comments at a moment’s notice. The faster you react to the comments, the more likely it is that other users will engage with your content as well. If you are able to comment in a way that feels on-brand and unique, you may even be able to improve brand sentiment in your target audience.
Take the work of one social media manager at Wendy’s, for example. Her work earned national media attention as a result of witty and on-brand retorts that confronted internet trolls.
4. Amplify reach through look-alike audiences.
Great social media marketing doesn’t just rely on organic content to increase reach. It should also include some paid elements to amplify reach, especially once you’ve established a clear strategy.
Look-alike audiences rely on the algorithms developed by social networks to help you connect with users who are similar to your ideal customer profile. Simply upload a list of email addresses associated with your best customers to a platform like Facebook, and Facebook will identify other users with a similar demographic and psychographic makeup.
Then you can run ads to drive viewers to your website or business page. In time, this strategy will help you to quickly grow a healthier social media following.
5. Measure strategy success through on-platform and on-site measurement.
Analytics are the best way to understand if your social strategy is working. Of course, it is best to measure on-platform metrics like follower growth, engagement and distribution. But it is also worth measuring on-site performance.
For example, are you able to drive users who engage with your brand on social networks to your website? If so, how do those website visitors behave? Do they immediately leave the page (bounce), or do they explore content thoroughly?
Depending on what you find using a tool like Google Analytics, you’ll know if your existing strategy will lead to meaningful business outcomes.
6. Create a clear and unique brand identity.
Social networks are crowded places in which users are constantly reevaluating what they do and do not want within their social media feeds. Because of this, it’s vital that your organization develops a clear and compelling brand identity. Otherwise, your social media presence will simply be some derivation of another brand.
Develop a strategy that articulates a clear and unique brand identity in novel ways using a mix of multimedia content to tell a cohesive story.
7. Find creative ways to delight people.
The average person shares a positive customer service experience with 9 other people. Finding creative ways to delight social media users is a great way to build an organic following through amplification and word of mouth.
Develop an editorial calendar and be sure to include delightful moments that make followers feel good about themselves and about your organization. The most obvious opportunity to do this is during major world events and holidays, but simply developing a fun midweek video that is entertaining and on-brand can be a great way to bring joy to social media users in an unexpected way.
The social media landscape is constantly changing, and the marketing tactics are changing as well. However, while tactics will change, the strategies outlined in this article will remain the same.
Develop a multichannel social media strategy that clearly articulates your brand voice, uses a mix of paid and organic means, and brings delight to followers. In time, you develop a meaningful social media following capable of driving big business to your organization.