Statista reports that 77% of the U.S. population is on social media, yet there are still businesses without a social media presence in 2019. With proper attention, social media can have huge benefits for your company. We asked experts to share their insights on developing the best social media marketing strategies for businesses.
Here are 27 tried and tested social media tips from the pros:
1. Focus on Real-Time Content
Orly Izhaki, Co-Founder & CEO, WiseStamp
Businesses can find immense growth and engagement by sharing short-lived, daily content, which, fortunately, is also easy and cost-efficient to produce. It’s a smart, low-barrier strategy for small businesses who need to bootstrap. When it comes to Snaps, Instagram, and Facebook Stories, there is no expectation for highly polished content. Instead, think of it as “raw,” relatable content that engages your followers in the day-to-day of your business—an inside view of what goes on behind the scenes.
2. Feature People & Faces
Daniel Tannenbaum, Marketing Consultant, Bridging Loan Hub
Faces can be incorporated into posts through staff profiles, interesting stories of people in your industry or workplace. They will get that extra level of engagement and also entice the user to read more. Celebrating staff anniversaries, birthdays, new partnerships, awards, and anything to demonstrate personality is very effective on social media, and it will also generate likes and comments from friends and family of the person too.
3. Use a Combination of Paid & Organic Social Media Marketing
Lora Kellogg, CFE, President & CEO, Curious Jane
The paid aspect is easy: Buy impressions on social media platforms popular among your target customers. Facebook and Instagram will allow you to choose a “brand awareness” or “reach” campaign. The organic piece might be more work but will be just as valuable. Partner with other local businesses that target the same customers; build relationships with them and, therefore, their audiences. Share their business and events on your social pages to win new fans.
4. Plan but Still Be Spontaneous
Mike Rosenberg, CEO, Veracity Marketing
For successful social media marketing, share a variety of content types. A mix of curated (content created by others) and original content is ideal. Schedule content out one to several weeks or months and be sure to customize posts based on the network, like a business angle for LinkedIn or photo for Instagram. In addition to scheduling content, be aware of spontaneous opportunities for timely engagement. Don’t let an opportunity to interact with your audience pass just because you already have your post(s) scheduled for the day.
5. Connect with Like-Minded Marketers
Mostafa Dastras, Content Marketer, LiveaBusinessLife.com
Reach out to people who share valuable content in the niches you work in, and offer to help them promote their content by mentioning them and linking back to them. Ask them to do the same. People love free links and they would happily use link-worthy content. Remember, though, that you’ll need to keep track of the links you get using a tool such as WebCEO’s backlink checker to make sure your links stay in place and predict any changes in the anchor texts and the pages you need links to.
6. Give Referral Credits
Jessica Bruce, eCommerce Expert & Influencer, ShopyGen
Word-of-mouth is one of the most primitive marketing techniques, but it has since evolved into a stronger, more sophisticated platform with the rise of social media. A blend of word-of-mouth marketing and social media is needed when entering the ecommerce market. Give customers referral credits, exclusive coupons, and loyalty points for referring new customers to your webshop. You can boost marketing, brand loyalty, and conversion rates to a great extent with this blended approach.
7. Be Selective with Your Social Media Channels
DJ Francis, Founder, Hub & Spoke Marketing, LLC
Being selective means not trying to be on every social media channel. After all, your prospects aren’t on all channels, all the time. Determine which channels give you the best ROI. Once you know where you want to make an impact, dive deep. Get involved in this tiny community and pitch in. The best way to get immediate attention is to help others. How can you (or your company) help others? Make this your first story, so you signal your belief in the community over your own self-interests.
8. Engage with Your Audience on a Regular Basis
Victoria Merinda, Technology Expert/Community Manager, HighSpeedInternet.com
Social media is a powerful tool, but you have to put in the effort to utilize it to its fullest potential. Make sure you engage with customers on an ongoing basis. Put aside time every day to like comments on your social media posts (for example, if you post a picture on Instagram), reply to comments and messages, upload stories, and engage with your audience.
9. Focus on Building Relationships Instead of Self-Promotion
Natalie Athanasiadis, Founder & Head of Growth, Ormi Media
Social media marketing is about strengthening relationships with existing customers and reaching a new audience. Have restraint when it comes to selling; obey the 80/20 rule where only 20% of your posts are self-promotional. Any more than that and you run the risk of getting ignored by your audience
10. Make Your Content All About Your Audience
Timothy Grider, Founder, The Creator Factory
Focus on the viewer, and make content that is meaningful to them. You are not the “You” in YouTube, your face is not the “Face” of Facebook, nor are you even worth a gram to Instagram or any of their users. If you find your account growth stagnant, try rethinking who, what, why, and how the viewer is consuming your content, and make changes that enhance their experience and not your ego.
11. Know Where Your Audience Lives
Jacob Dayan, CEO & Co-Founder, Finance Pal
Focus your efforts on where your audience is most present. There are some great tools around the web to find out some key demographics and psychographics about many major social media sites. Keep your eyes open for industry-specific forums and pay attention to the advertising opportunities there. Most forums will not let you post for free, but they are a great way to reach a rich target audience that will be more inclined to purchase your goods/services.
12. Be Focused, Consistent, & Visual
Jeromy Sonne, Managing Director, FirmFuel
Think about where your audience is, and focus on the top one or two platforms. Consistency shows your audience that you’re active, and builds brand recognition over time. Use visual elements. Showing, rather than telling, in many cases is a more powerful way of communicating, and oftentimes is easier to integrate into your normal workflow.
13. Make Storytelling Part of Your Strategy
Gennady Litvin, Attorney, Moshes Law
People hate impersonal brand spam content that’s just there to hoard likes and comments. Stop chucking promo links in all your posts. Social storytelling doesn’t have a bunch of promo links and CTAs in them. They’re there to push meaningful interactions. So focusing on creating this kind of content will make your audience and the algorithm happy.
14. Create a Social Media Calendar
Daniela Andreevska, Marketing Director, Mashvisor
Create a social media calendar. It doesn’t have to be complicated; a simple calendar with the intended dates of sharing posts on your social media outlets is enough. This visual tool will help you distribute your social media marketing content well throughout the month or the year. You want to make sure that you don’t pile up all your posts over a short period of time and then have nothing for the rest of the year. Plan something special for all major holidays and events, both nationally and locally, depending on the location and scope of your business.
15. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
Damien Buxton, Director, Midas Creative
If you’re a small business starting out using social media, I would really suggest that you only stick to a couple of platforms to begin with. This will allow you more time to focus on providing great content in your posts that your followers will love. It will also mean that you’re more able to analyze what’s working for you and what isn’t. Spreading yourself too thin by using many platforms at once will make it much harder for you get an in-depth understanding of what your followers are actually responding to. As your understanding grows, you can slowly add more platforms to the mix.
16. Make Your Contact Personal & Interactive
Ketan Kapoor, CEO & Co-Founder, Mettl
Personalization and prompting user response can go a long way in the success of your social media marketing. Use a tone or language that your target buyer personas can relate to, and convey messaging with elements or characters that already have a place in people’s heart. You can take a cue from popular flicks, books, or even trending topics on news. Make sure it’s interactive and clearly states the actionable steps for implementation post watching the video.
17. Position Yourself as an Expert in Your Niche
Steve James, Freelance Marketing Consultant, Small Biz Big Biz
Drill down to what your history shows you are best at and what your prospects want. You can then concentrate on that within your prospect/customer community. Use social media to show you are part of your community, are a real person, and that your knowledge can help your prospects’ lives.
18. Plan, Schedule, & Adjust
Nataliya Lee, Digital Marketing Coordinator, Leadpages.net
Plan out at least two weeks’ of high-quality social media content that best interests your audience. Then schedule posts using a scheduling app (Hootsuite, SproutSocial, etc.). Avoid scheduling your posts at random; instead, look at your data to find out when your users are the most active. Planning ahead and scheduling your content gives you room to explore new trends and gives you the opportunity to adjust any content throughout the two-week period.
19. Be Open to Trying New Ideas
Michelle Faulds, Co-Owner & Social Media Manager, SlyFox Digital Media Marketing
Don’t assume that your customers want to see text posts explaining a special offer every day. Also, don’t assume that they want memes and viral content every day. Try using a social media planning calendar where you mark in a post style (e.g., Viral Content, Product/Service, Industry News, Giveaway/Offer) for every day of the week. Next week, switch them up to other days for freshness. At the end of the week, boost the post with the best organic engagement. At the end of the month, use the best performing post as inspiration to design an ad for a Facebook or Instagram Ad campaign.
20. Share Your Business’ Media Coverage
Michelle Garrett, Social Media & PR Consultant, Garrett Public Relations
I advise clients to share any and all media coverage generated through public relations on their social media platforms. This amplifies the earned media and helps them get more visibility and mileage out of their PR. I suggest crafting a unique post for each social media outlet.
21. Post Engaging Memes to Build Your Community
Tom Corson-Knowles, Founder, TCK Publishing
Whether the memes include movie quotes or pictures of cute babies, they work wonders when it comes to getting fans to like, comment, and share posts. By all metrics, posting memes makes a huge impact on social media marketing.
22. Connect with Your Local Community Online
Avinash Chandra, Founder & CEO, BrandLoom Consulting
Geotag your posts and promote your offers keeping the local population in mind. Target local holidays or events and encourage local people to engage with your brand in novel ways that ensure they come back for more. Respond to comments fast to make sure you keep the conversation going and create your story. Give your customers that personal touch so that they feel like they are cherished. This ensures their continued participation in your brand story.
23. Stay Professional
Chrissy Bernal, Marketing & Creative Partner, Author, Speaker & Trainer, chrissybernal.com
Do not immediately DM someone who follows your page/profile with a message pitching your services or products to them. That’s one of the easiest ways to turn off your new connection. Also, do not play the “Follow/Unfollow” game (when a business account purposefully unfollows an account once they follow them back), and be sure to reply to both positive and negative reviews and comments. This is a prime opportunity for you to demonstrate that you truly care about your customers and want to make things right.
24. Don’t Rush Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
Alaina Stevenson, Business Analyst – Social Media & Direct Marketing Research Lead, Clutch.co
Take the time and effort to run each social media channel. Create and schedule your content to make sure you regularly post content. Simply setting up a channel and then posting on one or two channels will not cut it.
25. Be Aware of the Timeliness of Your Content
Megan Carriker, Marketing Director, Potlukk
Be savvy about the lifespans of your posts across channels. The lifespan of a Facebook post is somewhere around three hours, whereas a Tweet is somewhere around 25 minutes, although this changes as platforms keep changing their algorithms. You need different cadences for different channels and to be mindful of those different audiences (a post on LinkedIn at one time of day will reach a very different group compared to a post on Facebook at another time of day).
26. Forge a Truly Irresistible Offer
Adomas Baltagalvis, Founder, AdomasBaltagalvis.com
Before anything else, every small business should create an offer that is so unbelievably good that people would feel bad for not grabbing it. If you’re a restaurant owner, have a buy one, get one free offer for lunch. If you run a local gym, offer a free month of access and upsell your private training sessions to recoup your initial advertising costs. The key here is to create a truly irresistible offer that would attract and convert completely cold people into customers.
27. Develop a Solid Brand Identity
Chandler Prohl, Director of Design & Development, The Monkey Creative
Make sure you have a brand identity in a place that clearly communicates what your business has to offer to ensure you stand out in the social media crowd. Pay attention to the basics, like a strong logo and website design, as well as the more personal details, such as the language you use on the copy for your website and how you respond to customers interacting on social media.
BONUS: Use Chatbots within Facebook Messenger to Engage Users
Joel Fu, Consultant, Conversion Hub
Chatbots remain fairly new but are increasingly becoming popular with brands. Form a marketing perspective, some marketers have reported seeing an open rate as high as 98%. From a social perspective, Chatbots provides a personal connection that consumers crave for while freeing you from the burden of these time-consuming tasks. This allows you to focus on serving your customers in ways that matter more.
As easy as it is for anyone to join social media, marketing your business and nurturing your brand online can also be overwhelming. Follow our list of expert-approved social media tips to build a following and get your brand in front of your audience in no time.
Did we miss out on your favorite social media marketing tips? Share them with us in the comments.