March 16th, 2019
The key to effective social media marketing is the exact same as the key to effective content marketing: providing value. Unfortunately, this is something that a huge number of businesses have absolutely no idea how to do and that results in some very poorly managed social media.
Take a look at the social media pages of your typical local B2B companies and you will find that they tend to post some rather uninspiring and vapid statuses and posts.
You’ll see things like:
“Find out why our contact management solution is the best in the business!”
“Order our EPOS system today to start serving your customers better!”
This is just self-promotion and not even interesting self-promotion. Ask yourself: why would anyone be interested in following that? What are they gaining by reading your posts? One of the single most important questions to ask when looking at your social media or your content is: would you read it? If not, then you need to do something to make it more interesting!
Follow these tips below to be more effective with social media:
Tip #1 – Provide Purpose for the Viewer
Social media posts need to provide some kind of purpose for the viewer. It should be interesting, be entertaining, useful or solve a problem or it should be inspiring. Inspiring social media can work particularly well. An example could be Instagram. On Instagram you’ll find lots of accounts filled with people wearing stunning clothes, posing to show off their rippling muscles or even just showing off their wealthy lifestyle.
Then there are travel accounts with lots of pictures of beautiful mountain ranges and sunsets. These type of posts work because people see those channels and they feel inspired – they live vicariously through them and they enjoy daydreaming about having a life like that! They know that if they follow that account, then they’ll be shown many more similarly inspiring posts and they can continue to live the dream. And guess what? When you later promote a piece of clothing or an ebook on how to get fit, they listen.
Examples of popular Facebook pages are things like ‘IFL Science’, which posts links to articles with some really eye-catching titles and gets tons of likes and tons of shares as a result. The best Twitter accounts are the ones run by personal brands that let fans feel as though they are really getting to know them with insights into their daily routines, with jokes or with insider tips.
Want to make a splash on Pinterest? Then how about creating a board to show off life hacks? Or to demonstrate great outfit choices? Or workout inspiration? The aim again is to provide real value and the way to know if you’re doing this well is to ask yourself: would people be disappointed if you stopped posting to your account? Not just your blog – but your social media channels? These are examples of social media posts providing something for their readers. Not just selling.
Tip #2 - Provide Stand Alone Social Media
Social media posts need to be able to stand on its own two feet and be something that people enjoy in their own right. That’s how you gain followers and shares and that’s how you get people to visit your site and buy your products. Once again, the key is to post regularly and to be consistently on-topic.
For example, don’t create a blog on fitness but continuously post on social media about your love of gardening or people will get tired and they’ll leave. How frequent should this be? Ideally, the more frequently you post the better. Several times a day is generally recommended, especially since sites like Facebook will only show each post to a small percentage of your followers.
Tip #3 – Provide Value to Your Audience
How do you provide entertaining, engaging value when you run a website about life insurance? What could you possibly do on Instagram or on Pinterest that would be appropriate?
The answer is to think not about the service directly but rather about the value it provides and the audience. Your aim is to post things that will be interesting to the same demographic and that will be relevant. It doesn’t have to mean that never post directly about life insurance!
One example of this might be to make an Instagram account all about ways to spend time with your family and take care of them as a Mom or Dad. This has a very broad appeal, but it is also directly relevant to life insurance – because life insurance is all about looking after your family once you’re gone.
People who want to be better Moms and Dads can follow your Instagram, which will be in the same spirit as your business, and once you have their ear, you can recommend life insurance policy X.
Likewise, you could do something similar with a Pinterest account. How about making this all about ways to save money as a family? You could show money-saving hacks, budgeting tips etc. and then use that in order to promote your life insurance as the best financial option, or your website as the best place to learn about life insurance.
Tip #4 – Target Specific Audiences
Another important tip is to think about your audience and who they are. If you want people to share your posts (this is the best way to ensure that they reach the maximum number of people), then you need to be sure that you are targeting your audience specifically. This is important. If you are trying to reach too wide an audience it will ultimately mean that you don’t specifically appeal to anyone.
This is the mistake that a lot of people make with their posts on ‘How to Get Abs’. They think that they need to appeal to everyone and thus they end up with very safe and very generic content. But content performs best when it is targeting a specific type of person. This all relates to the psychology of sharing. Why do we ever share content? There are two simple reasons: to express ourselves or to communicate.
We communicate by sharing things that we think will appeal to someone we know. If you see a post on ‘How Working From Home Turns Your Brain to Mush’, then you’re going to share that with your friend Bill who works from home as a cheeky joke, as a way to help them work from home better, or perhaps just as a way to show you’re thinking of them.
If you work from home yourself, then you might post it to express how you feel about working from home and to help others to understand you better. But notice that in both these scenarios, the post only works because it applies so specifically to people who work from home or have a dream to do so.
While being very specific might appear to exclude potential customers, it makes it much easier for you to market to particular types of people who are likely to buy from you. And to make this work you need to spend some time profiling what that person is like. How old are they? What gender are they? What are their hobbies? What websites do they spend time on?
Tip #5 - Make a Strong Brand
Once you’ve decided how you’re going to provide value, through sharing your blog posts or by posting images, you then need to make sure that you have a strong brand that will have good visibility and that will tie your social media channels neatly to your website. It’s important that when someone sees a post from you, that they know it’s from that same website they saw the other day.
You should make sure you have a good logo and use that as your profile picture or your cover image on each account. Likewise, use the same name wherever possible. Another tip is to integrate your social media and your website as closely as possible. It will take a while to build up momentum on your social media but one thing you can do to help that along is to add social media buttons to your website so that people can check out your Facebook directly from your website.
Ideally, you will gain new followers each time someone goes to your website and that way, they’ll be more likely to see your future posts and share them, bringing in yet more visitors who can subsequently become followers!
Tip #6 – Ask Your Viewers to Follow You
It is also important to simply ask people to follow you on social media. This is particularly effective in videos – so if you have a YouTube channel, then don’t be shy to simply ask the people watching to follow you on Twitter and to give them some good reasons to do so!
Similarly, at the end of a blog post why not just ask your readers to share the post with their friends using the handy sharing buttons you provide? It’s also a good idea to integrate your different posts to save time and to ensure that you fill each channel with as much content as possible. For example, you can make it so that you post all your Tweets on your Facebook page, or so that each new YouTube video is automatically shared on Twitter.
Tip #7 – Interact and Engage
Don’t forget that social media is still primarily a communication tool. One of the best ways to ensure that people are engaged with you is to interact and talk with them. You could do something as simple as just follow people or like their pictures.
If you have ever used Instagram, then likely you’ll be familiar with how pleasing it is to find that someone has started following you – especially if they look like a professional brand! Likewise, it’s great when they comment and say, “nice pic!” This will then motivate you to check out their channel and in many cases, to follow it! So just spend some time posting and of course be sure to actually respond to people.
Tip #8 – Run Contests and Survey Your Audience
Running contests and surveying your audience can also be a very good way to increase engagement and to get a better idea of what your followers want to see from you! A good example of a contest is to award a follower with a free gift if you get ‘over X number of likes.’ This can help you to build more shares and likes as well as being a great way to thank your fans!
These are just a few simple tips to help you be more effective with your social media strategy and plans.
Go Get Social!