March 12, 2015 by NILS
Best Practice Social Media Marketing
There are endless opportunities to boost your organisation, brand or personal profile through social media marketing. Whatever level of effort you decide to put in, there are certain things you should always do. They should be a routine part of social media marketing because they represent best practice. If you don’t do them, you’re not getting the most out of your campaigns and you’re not demonstrating information literacy with social media.
Here are some examples:
- Writing in a reader friendly style.
- Including social share buttons with every post so readers can easily share blog content.
- Identifying what times of the day and week your followers are generally reading and interacting with posts.
- Targeting post formats that your audience seems to prefer, which might be videos or status updates.
Best practice marketing will deliver high returns if you are also able to produce high-quality content. If people visiting your site love your content, they are more likely to share it on Facebook, Twitter or other social platforms. As more people and more people do this, your site attracts a buzz, links from other websites, and referral traffic. It also sends strong social signals about your site, which can help search rankings.
So, what strategies will work to increase the visibility and reach of social media posts? How can you design posts to give them the highest chance of likes and shares? Here are five tips for social media marketing success. For advanced training, you could also take an online marketing course.
1. Pay close attention to headlines
Articles with attention-grabbing headlines get read; articles with boring headlines don’t. That’s how important your titles are.
Social media headlines can refer to blog post titles or the opening lines of your social network posts. For Twitter headlines, the entire content of a tweet matters. After all, you only have 140 characters to work with.
The headline is what captures audience attention of your audience. It makes the difference between a post that is widely read and shared, and one that just sits and collects dust.
General rules for headlines
Using numbers in headlines for blog posts is always effective. It shows that your blog is purposeful. A number in a title could be a list post (Top 10 Ways to Gain a Promotion) or a stand-alone figure (The #1 Secret to Influencing People).
Include an obvious, tangible benefit for the reader. For instance: Quit Your Day Job Now and How to Cook Meals that Children Love.
Use a powerful hook (which might relate to something in the news now). A unique angle that evokes powerful imagery in your readers’ minds will get attention. For example, Celebrity Red Carpet Diet Secrets.
2. Perfect your social media profiles
Social media profiles are the only fixed, static elements of your social media presence. Posts, images and tweets change daily while profiles remain relatively constant. When new visitors find you or your business online, they often go to the profiles first.
Strategies for successful social media profiles include:
- Having consistent images, content and styles across social media profiles
- Completing every field or nearly every field on your profile (note that sites such as LinkedIn give search preference to completed profiles)
- Placing a URL to your site in an obvious place (far too many Facebook pages don’t allow you to easily click through to the main website, which can be effectively done via an app such as this one).
3. Strong calls to action in posts
While most people know how important calls to action (CTAs) are on blog and website pages, they often forget to inject CTAs into social media posts.
There are advantages from letting your readers know what you want them to do next. Social media analyst Dan Zarrella has found that effective CTAs for Twitter include ‘Please ReTweet’ and ‘Please Help’. Remarkably, he found using the terms ‘like’, ‘comment’ or ‘share’ on Facebook generated more engagement.
If you want people to go to your website, you can use CTAs such as ‘download now’ or ‘read more’. Asking a question can work as a CTA as well; for example, ‘What would you do in this situation?’ or ‘What do you think about this?’
4. Use images
A survey by Adobe and Software Advice found 82% of marketers considered images were important to their social media marketing. For anyone with a consumer product business, it is vital to use highly visual platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram. But all types of businesses should incorporate images into the marketing mix. Here are some ways to do it.
Funny or inspiring pictures are what fans enjoy and share. Images that capture interaction help you boost the reach of all your posts. But you need to balance attention-grabbing pics with personal, product or organisational branding.
Tweets that include a photo get a significant (around a third) boost in re-tweets compared to their image-less counterparts. You can use Twitter Cards to incorporate rich media into tweets. Generally, this boosts views and interaction.
For all social platforms
Some ways to include images on just about any of the top social media platforms are: create montage images to promote a future event; place a motivational quote over a suitably inspiring image; and share an infographic. Almost anything you can share using text can also be presented in an image format.
5. Use hashtags to reach new audiences
Knowing your way around hashtags is important. Many people use them willy nilly on posts without really understanding what they’re doing. Hashtags are how you make your posts and tweets ‘findable’ to a general audience.
Using relevant, searched-for keywords in hashtags allows people who are interested in the topic to find you. It makes the post accessible an audience beyond your followers.
Best practices for using hashtags include:
- Using only 1-2 hashtags on Twitter. According to Buffer App, this gets you 21% more engagement on average compared to using 3 or more.
- But, on the other hand, Instagrammers love hashtags. Many people have found that, for Instagram, the more the better (up to around a dozen hashtags or so).
- For Facebook, FaceEdgerank Checker once found that posts without hashtags outperform others. So, if in doubt, don’t use any hashtags on Facebook.
These five tips should give you a head-start on applying best practice to your next social media marketing campaign. However, there are plenty of other strategies available. It is worthwhile testing out a variety of approaches and taking note of which are best for your particular audience. Ultimately, you should do whatever works for you.