Social media is always changing. From algorithm launches to new trends and interface redesigns, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest social media changes to maximize marketing efforts. For example, Facebook announced three major changes that will be rolling out within the next year. These changes include a completely new redesign for Facebook, the ability for creators to sell their products on Instagram and a hidden like count on Instagram.
Companies whose social media strategies that include Facebook will have to readjust to these new realities and weave these changes into future planning.
Although social media is evolving rapidly, there are still a few best practices that will improve any social media strategy. Below are five tips that will optimize any brand’s social media marketing efforts.
Plan and Post Intentionally
A brand’s social media networks will only be successful with a strategic social media plan. Create a content calendar that includes all of the company’s communication channels so that there will be cohesive brand content across all platforms. Content calendars allow members of a brand’s marketing team to stay organized and streamline any ideas and themes its social media strategy. Be sure to push sales and promotions from other channels to the brand’s social networks and work with an omnichannel marketing approach (where a customer can shop from desktop, mobile or a brick-and-mortar store) that works seamlessly.
Keep it Consistent
It sounds basic, but it can’t be emphasized enough – consistency is important. Maintain a consistent posting schedule to build awareness and let audiences know when to expect new content. Before starting a social media marketing strategy from scratch, don’t make the common mistake of incorporating too many social networks into a social media plan at once. When it comes to social media marketing, emphasize quality over quantity. It’s better to focus on producing high-quality posts in a few channels than it is to spread valuable time and resources across multiple channels in order to create a higher amount of sub-par content.
Determine what platforms your target market is currently using and work from there. Social media use varies widely, and you may be surprised by what your target market prefers. At StickerYou, we’re consistently active on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest, as these platforms are very visual, as is our product of custom stickers, labels and decals. It’s important for our audience to see the high-quality and intricate level of design of our products, and we found through our own research that our audience base is most consistently active on these platforms.
Engage with Others
There’s a reason why it’s called “social” media. No brand should ever exclusively post to social media without interacting with others because then brand channels would only be promotional, not integrated or engaged with the audience. Today’s customers place their value and money in companies that are authentic in their overall values and commitment to their customers.
Being reachable and accessible on social media is one of the main expectations people have of the brands they support. Ultimately, engaging with others builds relationships on social media. This is important because creating a relationship with customers is the first step in building brand loyalty.
Dedicating the time and effort to contribute into industry-related conversations, reply to any customer questions, or even simply “liking” followers’ content are simple ways any brand can build this brand loyalty and optimize the brand’s social media strategy.
Keep an eye out for any relevant question and answer sessions on Twitter. Brands that participate in or lead these types of industry-related online conversations ensure that they’re leading experts in the space. Brands must establish themselves as authority figures because it builds trust. Trust is a leading factor in a person’s path to purchase, especially when it comes to buying something online.
Test What Works
Be sure to A/B test social media posts and ads using different creative and headlines/captions to find out the target audience engages with most. Do customers engage more with posts that include emojis? Do they engage with more posts that include a question rather than a statistic or a quote? Does writing tweets in a casual tone gain more engagements than a formal tone? More often than not, brands will eventually be able to see a trend with their audience.
Additionally, the audience is also likely to respond better to specific types of imagery. Take note of best-performing photos and incorporate this into future content. For example, some audiences are very receptive to a “human element” in images/video (i.e. a hand holding a sticker). In fact, photos containing faces are 38 percent more likely to receive more Instagram likes than photos without faces, according to research conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs. Similarly, photos that are predominantly blue performed 24 percent better than photos that have high concentrations of reds and oranges, a study by the social commerce platform The Curalate found.
Repost User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) features how customers are using a product or service and then reposting the content that was originally shared. Remember to always ask for permission before sharing someone else’s photos or captions and to tag them in the reposted content. Brands use UGC because people place more trust in non-sponsored reviews of other consumers more so than traditional methods of marketing, just like a person would trust a friend’s review about a product more than a sponsored review in a magazine. Showcasing the best user-generated content from company social media feeds is an effective way to boost organic reach. By reposting user-generated content and tagging the person’s account, the post will be exposed to their networks as well which is a great way to reach similar followers.
Even though the social media landscape is always in flux, these core ideas apply to whatever shifts in framework will appear in the near future. Being intentional, posting quality content on a consistent basis, engaging with your audience and reposting user generated content are all ways to make the most of a social media strategy.
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