Social Media Marketing Industry Report revealed that 86% of marketers consider social marketing strategies important for their business.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Social media is increasingly dominating our internet usage. One out of every 5 online minutes is spent on social media. Facebook alone has 1 billion active users – yes, that’s 1/7th of the world’s total population!
But even though marketers recognize its importance, that doesn’t mean they know exactly how to make it work for them. 90% of marketers are still interested in learning what the most effective social tactics are.
Every form of marketing is part science, part art form, but this may be particularly true for social media. If you purchase a TV ad or a billboard on a major road, you’re speaking to a somewhat captive audience. But with the internet, you have much more competition for your attention, and it takes a fraction of a second to click away.
What works for one company or one particular audience won’t work for another. What’s successful on what social media platform may totally bomb on a different one.
So what can you do to help increase the chances of success for your social media marketing efforts? Trial and error – test the waters and see what works. But that doesn’t mean you have to do so blindly.
Here are 20 social marketing strategies to try based on the data collected by over 3,000 marketing experts in Social Media Examiner’s Industry Report.
89% Report Increased Exposure as the Top Benefit of Social Marketing Strategies
Whether you’re a national company or a local business, social media can be an effective way of building brand recognition. The key is getting the word out.
1. Use multiple platforms. Don’t just set up accounts – actually post content to them regularly. If time is an issue, make use of a tool like HootSuite that allows you to post to several social networks at once, or begin by honing in on two or three platforms.
2. Add social sharing on your site and blog. If you’re generating content, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to share it.
3. Respond. The key word is “social.” Unlike other marketing strategies, you have a real chance for a two-way conversation with customers. Your audience will notice – and tune in more – if they recognize that your company is engaged.
Only 1 in 4 Are Able to Measure the ROI of Social Media Activities
Considering that 97% of marketers are using social media, this is certainly a shocking statistic. If your company is putting money into social marketing strategies, you should understand how much you’re getting back for your efforts. Don’t expect results over night, but do find ways to track it from the beginning.
4. Set up Google Analytics reports. Social Media Examiner has a great step-by-step guide here. Use “Goals” to see if your visitors are actually converting to sales.
5. Regularly feature deals or sales. Make them social media specific offers to see how often you are able to entice your audience into making a purchase. Consider offering a “Sale of the Day” or “Deal of the Week” so that people come to expect them.
6. Track your sales. If you’re not tracking your sales over time, it’s hard to tell whether or not your social marketing strategies are having an impact. Unfortunately, social media success doesn’t always translate into sales success. Perhaps the most famous example of this is Evian. They released the most successful viral ad video of all time (it’s official – they actually hold the Guinness World Record) in the same year that sales dropped by 25%!
Only 37% Think Their Facebook Efforts Are Effective
Even though marketers selected Facebook as the most important social network, they don’t seem very certain that they know how to get it to “work” for them. Don’t forget Facebook… but don’t put all your eggs in one basket either. Newer and smaller social networks may be more effective in actually producing results for your company.
7. Share product photos on Pinterest. It’s the fastest growing social network ever – yes, even Facebook. It’s a great match for companies with visually unique or interesting products. You can also use it to share how-tos, guides, and other resources if you provide a compelling image to “pin.”
8. Do a search for niche networks. Many industries have social networks specific to their area. For example, GoodReads caters to book readers, and Dogster is for dog owners. These sites don’t have the reach that major social networks do – but if you run a bookstore or a pet store, you have the opportunity to speak directly to your audience – with less competition for their attention. Find out if there’s a smaller social media platform relevant to your business.
Almost 80% Integrate Social Media into Traditional Marketing
Have you seen success through more old-fashioned forms of marketing? Don’t reinvent the wheel, just update it a bit.
9. Update your business cards. Many people, especially from younger generations, prefer communication via email or social media to phone conversations or an in-person visit. Make it easy for customers to connect through whatever means is most comfortable for them.
10. Add social media links to your print ads. There’s a lot of talk about how the Yellow pages, billboards, or other forms of traditional marketing are outdated, but for many, they still work. Help make the leads that those methods generate even more effective by encouraging people to connect with you on social media, too, allowing you to communicate with them more regularly (and for less money).
More Experienced Marketers Spend More Time on Social Media
You may expect that more experienced marketers would be more efficient, thus spending less time on their social media campaigns. But the report shows that marketers with 2 years of more of experience actually invest more time, not less, than those who are just beginning.
11.Hire a social marketing expert. Or assign the duty to someone already on staff who has the time and knowledge to take it on. Investing time in your social media presence will help you gain more from it.
75% Reported Increased Traffic
More eyeballs on your site means more leads. Make sure that your social media plan and your website are both designed to help convert those leads into sales.
12. Be informative. Make sure you’re arming leads with what they need to know before making a purchase. This can (and should) include links to resources on your website, such as blog posts, videos, and slideshows, but it’s also valuable to offer links to third party sites, since that information can make your claims seem more legit.
13. Tone it down. Don’t make a hard sell when people first arrive on your website. Save that for product pages, cases studies, and newsletters.
14. Write guest posts. Make use of the social media followings developed by other similar but non-competing businesses. Don’t just stop there – re-tweet, re-pin, and re-post their content. Working together can help both of you become more successful.
69% Gained Marketplace Insight
Gone are the days where hiring an expensive marketing firm is necessary to learn what your demographic wants. Now you can just ask them yourself and get real-time results.
15. Ask open-ended questions. This is a particularly effective strategy on Twitter. Learn about what people really think of your products, services, website, or even your other tweets. You may be surprised what you learn.
16. Run an annual online survey. Once a year, ask your customers the same set of questions to see how you’re improving (or not) over time.
17. Allow product reviews. Many owners find it a little nerve-wracking at first since it may feel out of your control, but a testimonial from a customer or journalist is often more effective than any claim you can make about your product.
18. Stay honest. It can be tempting to delete any negative reviews or comments, or to hire someone to write positive feedback, but this usually backfires. You’d be surprised by how transparent these efforts end up becoming. Instead, respond. Find out what you can do to correct the situation, and do so publicly. It can go a long way towards building trust with your brand.
65% Developed Loyal Fans
How did they do that? It’s simple: by engaging in a two-way communication with customers and by providing value to followers.
19. Offer perks. Reward your customers for connecting with you. This can mean giving them a first look (or even better, a first chance to buy) new products, as well as special discounts.
20. Feature your fans. One of the challenges of any social media campaign is regularly producing engaging content. Why not look to your fans for ideas? It will help two-fold, showing that you value your customers and thanking individual fans for their loyalty.