Most social media marketers have been there. You read about new social media tactics working miracles for others in your field, and then try to replicate their approach. When you don’t see the immediate results you were expecting, you get frustrated and wonder what you’re doing wrong. There is an overwhelming amount of information available online promising you with the one thing you can do to boost your social media strategy, but the truth is that a solid approach combines a variety of practices working together.
There is no magical, one-size-fits-all approach for using social media effectively, but the following social media tactics offer substantial areas for you to focus your efforts–no wand required.
7 Effective Social Media Tactics To Consider
I’ve heard the pain in people’s voices as they question my hashtag use. While I’m used to this judgemental groan, I’m also used to being able to share with these people why I believe the hashtag is such an important gift bestowed upon us, for which we are not yet worthy.
The hashtag is one of the easiest-to-use organizational elements available on social media, acting as a virtual filing system. I use numerous hashtags on all of my Instagram posts as a way of grouping them with other posts of the same theme, as well as for, let’s be honest, the extra likes that unfailingly accompany heavy hashtag use.
On the flipside, when I am looking for social media posts related to a certain topic, the hashtag has been invaluable. As a business or brand, you can take advantage of this basic Instagram practice by adding relevant hashtags to all of your posts. Check what kinds of hashtags your most successful competitors are using, and be inspired to create your own. Our “The Do’s and Don’ts of How To Use Hashtags” guide offers solid tips surrounding the often tricky use of hashtags, with the bag and accessories brand Herschel offering a great example of social media best practices.
Herschel “created a hashtag called #welltravelled, which they used to share beautiful travel photos featuring their products taken by their employees and followers. Seeing photos from regular people on the official Herschel account quickly prompted more of their followers to embrace the hashtag and share their own Herschel photos.”
Hashtag use is also alive and well on Twitter, and is incredibly helpful to professionals and social media marketers. Searching Twitter for the popular hashtag #smm will bring up the most recent and most popular tweets regarding social media marketing, and usually lead you to powerful social media influencers sharing content in your field.
Ask the right questions
Our social nature is peppered with an almost insatiable curiosity and desire to share knowledge. Recognizing this, a great social media tactic is simply asking questions. Of course, this doesn’t mean just throwing out random questions that pop into your head while you’re enjoying a Wednesday night bubble bath, and it definitely doesn’t mean answering your audience’s questions with another question, but rather targeted and thoughtful questions where the potential answers could add value to your feed. As Memeburn explains, when asking questions make sure you’re “not asking in the form of selling online, but purely in the form of asking questions to your network, target audience, and clients to start engaging with them.”
If you’re feeling stuck about what kinds of question might engage your audience, one of my favorite places to find question inspiration is Quora, where questions are being asked and answered at an unprecedented pace. Another dependable way to find out what exactly your audience is inquiring about, is through the vital practice of social media listening.
Listen to your audience
Thanks to social media, you can find out exactly what people are saying about your brand or business at any time, from anywhere. Social listening is an important part of developing a social media engagement plan, with the core principle being “that brands will listen to conversations taking place on social media and look for opportunities to participate and engage customers and prospects.” In doing this, you can jump into conversations surrounding your brand (when appropriate and non-intrusive) and answer questions that may be voiced on social media.
Mike Allton explains a process for social listening and monitoring here, with the two main steps being:
Identify specific words and phrases that might be part of a conversation that would apply to the business.
Identify key social media influencers
As Mike goes on to explain, social listening is also a great way to keep track and monitor your main competitors. You can see what they are saying, sharing, and what their customers are talking about, allowing you to “make sure that you’re positioned to respond to any sudden sales or other developments which might affect your own business or customers.”
Offer something of value
As you have probably noticed, the social media landscape is incredibly noisy. It’s often difficult to get attention from an audience when so many other brands and voices are competing for recognition. One way to stand out from the online crowd is through offering something of value to your followers. As Entrepreneur explains, “This doesn’t have to be an item that’s valuable in a monetary sense, as some individuals will find great merit in information. By giving customers something that they deem to have worth, you are building trust from the beginning and positioning yourself as an authority figure.”
This can be anything from a downloadable book on the best social media practices to a quality infographic that your audience can easily share. In offering something to your audience that they can’t find anywhere else, you’re making connections and building relationships that will prove mutually beneficial.
Build relationships through Twitter chats
Another social media tactic you can use to build relationships is through a Twitter chat. If you’re not familiar with what a Twitter chat is, our Matt Diederichs explains that “using a shared hashtag, users meet at a predetermined time to discuss issues of community relevance. These chats generate tons of conversation, and build deep connections between the people partaking and brands who host.”
As a social engagement tool, Twitter chats usually prove successful but have been underutilized by many companies and brands, who are missing great opportunities for building their social media communities. If you find yourself not knowing where to start with organizing a Twitter chat, you might find our guide to “Everything You Need to Set Up Your First Twitter Chat” helpful.
Once you start establishing relationships, you want to be able to maintain the trust that your audience has put in you. As a social media tactic, consistency means more than just posting at a certain time everyday. Are you responding to certain tweets but not others? This indicates a lack of engagement consistency, which can be off-putting for your audience and followers.
However, one of the most important aspects of consistency is undoubtedly in the tone you’re using on social media. While posting frequency, timing, and engagement are all important, your brand voice is what develops your relationship and loyalty with the audience. You want to ensure that your business’ social media accounts are portraying your brand voice consistently across channels through things like tone, logos, images, sharing habits, and language.
Olsy Sorokina suggests the following as a way of checking in with your brand identity on social media:
“A quick way to check your brand identity on social from time to time is what I call “the Twitter search test.” Can your customers easily find and recognize you by typing your name into the Search bar on Twitter? (This applies to Facebook or LinkedIn, too—any platform that auto-fills matching accounts as one types the query into the Search bar).”
Use engaging images
A picture is worth a thousand words, so you need to consider what message you want to send through the images you use on social media. As this infographic from Social Media Today shows, “content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without.” Furthermore, 90 percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual, which is processed 60,000 times faster than text.
If these numbers alone don’t convince you, think about some of your favorite posts on social media. There’s a good chance that many of those you’re thinking about are either completely image-based or contain relevant images. A paragraph written about cats being scared of cucumbers just doesn’t have the same effect as the actual video.
While the evidence for using images in your social media strategy is overwhelming, it can be hard to know where to start in choosing the best ones for the job. If you need some help with this, our guide on “How to Choose Social Media Images” is a helpful resource for taking advantage of this important social media tactic.
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