7 Proven Social Media Promotion Ideas for Every Type of Business
These social media promotion ideas will help you avoid the cringe and start your social marketing off right. (No dancing required.)
There are many reasons to use social media to promote your business. But the tl;dr of all of them is: people are on social media. (The rumors are true.)
Research shows that interaction — even briefly — with your brand on social media leads to increased brand awareness and loyalty, and influences purchasing behavior. That’s good news for you, since people are spending more time than ever on social media. Over 2 hours a day, in fact, which is 30% more time than in 2015.
So how do you capture even a bit of that attention?
You think I’m going to say you need to learn TikTok dances to sell your engine oil, right?
Definitely don’t do that.
Here are 7 social media promotion ideas to explore instead, and how to execute them.
Having a huge audience of carbon-based life forms is one thing, but here are the real benefits of social media:
1. Attract new customers
Guess what? Customers are already looking for you on social media. 44% of all internet users regularly look up brands on social media networks.
All you gotta do is deliver the quality content they want and have a half-decent (OK, fully-decent) product or service. Nice!
2. Build brand loyalty
Consumers want to know everything about you. According to McKinsey, consumers — and especially Gen Z — value authenticity above all.
They don’t need 500 posts about the latest sale. They want to know what your environmental and charitable commitments are. They want to see what you stand for and how you treat your employees.
Social media is the perfect way to communicate your values and build brand equity with customers across your marketing funnel.
3. Drive leads and sales
Social media delivers a big ROI, and I cannot lie, friends. What’s the point of building an audience and showing off your wares unless it results in moolah anyway?
Multiple studies confirm that when used alongside an integrated marketing strategy, social media directly influences purchasing decisions.
Using social media is important now more than ever. So much of our spending has shifted online during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s expected to continue. The global ecommerce market grew 25% in 2020 compared to 2019, driven by necessity as stores and services had to close in most countries.
Customer personas. (Who are you trying to reach? What do they like/dislike? Who are they? You will probably have several personas.)
A competitive analysis.
A content strategy for the topics and types of content formats you’ll share.
An editorial calendar, listing posting frequency, as well as who’s responsible for content production.
Step 2: Identify the best social media platforms for your business
There’s a place for every business on social media, but it’s not everywhere. It’s in your best interest to know the select few platforms that will bring you the results you want and focus on those.
“So… which ones are right for me?” Is what you’re dying to ask me, right?
That ain’t something you can Google, my dude. But the answer is simple: where do your ideal customers hang out online? Likely, only 1 or 2 key platforms that will drive 90%+ of your social media ROI.
If you’re not sure where your ideal user base hangs out, head back to Step 1 and dig into some market research first.
Step 3: Automate marketing with a social media management tool
OK, so you’ve got a plan and places to be. Showtime! Might as well make it as easy as possible for your team to stick to their editorial calendar.
Automating social media marketing with tools means you can accomplish more with a smaller social marketing team. This saves time and money, yada yada, but also, let’s face it, your sanity.
Hootsuite lets you plan, schedule and track the results of all your content across all social media channels. It also has other nifty features, such as social listening, to find out what people are really saying about you online. You can even reply to comments and messages on all your accounts from one central inbox.
Yes, there’s a free plan, so you should still try it even if you’re on a tight budget.
Step 4: Engage!
Social media should be social. #Quotable
Don’t hide behind boring promotional content. Get out there and talk to your customers. Ask for opinions on new product launches, or fresh new ideas. Then, acknowledge feedback you’ve received, and show how you’re implementing it.
Beauty brand Glossier does this flawlessly by listening to customer feedback, creating products to meet those needs and then posting about it.
There are many types of social media contests you can run, from the simple “like and comment to enter,” to asking people to share your post, tag a friend, fill out a form on a landing page, etc.
Tip: Before running a contest, make sure you read the platform’s rules for doing so and abide by them.
Esker Insoles does a good job with the easy-to-execute “like and tag” contest. They chose a prize that appeals to a very specific type of person who also happens to be their ideal customer. This increases the likelihood that their new followers will stick around long-term.
Some say influencer marketing comes across as insincere and in some cases, it can. You definitely want to steer clear of the “product placement” look. Yikes.
But when done well, influencer marketing is the most genuine type of digital marketing you can do. And the most effective, too: 55% of Instagram shoppers have purchased clothing after seeing an influencer wear it, for example.
Remi Bader rose to Tiktok fame in 2020 with the hilarious series she calls “realistic hauls,” that now has over 40 million views. She shows what popular fashion brands look like on an everyday person, compared to the overly-stylized, professional model photos companies often use. For anyone with a similar body type to Remi, her posts are relatable and welcoming to see in popular media.
Her hilarious commentary is also what makes the content shareable and great exposure for brands.
Not only does this save you time (and brainpower), it helps build a community around your brand. If you have an authentic connection with your customers, they’ll enjoy seeing their photos featured on your page.
This is how you promote your services without shouting to everyone, “Hey! This is what I do!”
The post from Adams Off Road Shop subtly mentions the shop did the suspension work, but the focus is on the customer’s trip to the Arctic (the freakin’ Arctic!) — something other off-road enthusiasts will stop scrolling to check out.
And even regular peeps. If this guy trusts this shop enough to head to the Arctic, I can probably trust them enough with my 4×4 Land Rover for my weekly roll down the hill to Whole Foods.
Ask for permission before sharing customer photos.
Focus the caption on your customer, not promoting yourself.
Tag your customer to credit them for the photo.
4. Be the expert in your field
If you’re not the hottest, be the smartest. High school advice? Sure. But it works for social media, too.
By focusing on education, you add instant value. Budget-tracking app Mint does this well with their personal finance advice aimed at a Millennial/Gen Z audience.
Each post is relevant to someone looking to save money (i.e. those in need of a budgeting app). Plus, they put in the extra effort with fun visuals and keep it light-hearted with plenty of memes thrown in between the meatier content.
Funny video content is highly effective, though the most complex to produce. You can do anything from a quick Tiktok or Instagram Reel, to professionally-shot YouTube videos, which have great staying power.
Dollar Shave Club’s “Our Blades are F**king Great” ad is a classic example of successful funny marketing.
Lastly, you can go the snarky route. Big brands Wendy’s and Netflix are often seen slinging zingy comebacks, especially on Twitter. Saying the wrong thing can put you in hot water, though. Be sure you trust your social media manager with your life — or at least your profitability — before using this strategy.
Starbucks manages to keep their account feeling personal, which is no small feat when you have 17 million followers. They respond to comments on posts and to DMs, and — unlike many brands — don’t shy away from tough conversations in the comments section.
No, it’s not really bragging. Consumers are more conscious than ever about where they spend their money. They want to support businesses that share their beliefs and use their prosperity to do good in the world.
OK, some probably want to do evil, but whatever. Mostly good.
You could post about charities you support financially or your stance on social justice issues, or launch a giving back campaign. Outdoor retailer REI made headlines when their #OptOutside campaign launched for Black Friday 2015.
They closed all their stores on the biggest shopping day of the year. The goal? To get people outside, into nature and away from the consumerism behind Black Friday.
Worst move ever or genius? Turns out: genius.
Not only did the campaign capture media attention everywhere, it’s now an annual event that partners with hundreds of nonprofit organizations to promote sustainability and outdoor recreation.
This bold campaign works because it’s aligned with both the values of the company and its target audience’s values. Like peanut butter and jelly, baby.
Steal this strategy
Don’t post about social justice for the optics. Just don’t. Believe in what you’re saying and take action on it.
Be prepared for backlash. Not everyone will agree with your stance. (But the ones who will agree, really will.)
For a safer bet, give money to charities instead.
Make it easy on yourself to get started: try Hootsuite for free and manage everything in one place, including post scheduling, social listening, analytics, messages, campaign planning and more.