How does your company or cause use social media? Do you use social media to engage prospective clients, donors or volunteers? Is social media a key tool for spreading company news and sharing relevant third-party content? Is social media marketing part of your organic SEO strategy?
These questions don’t have a one-size-fits-all answer and effective social media marketing is far from one-size-fits-all. In addition to being an extension of your brand, social media is a critical audience engagement tool for many organizations. This means it is a living, breathing, real-time marketing tool – i.e. this isn’t “set it and forget it marketing.”
To succeed with social media marketing, clarity, consistency and creativity are key. Companies and causes alike need to find unique ways to package their content into easy-to-digest, bite sized pieces that will delight everyone from the smartphone Facebook checker to the desktop Twitter feed follower.
Here are six quick tips to help you achieve social media marketing success:
- Listen first, talk second. Effective social media use requires careful listening. You wouldn’t walk into a cocktail party and start contributing to conversations without taking the pulse of the room and the same should be said for social media. Look for natural conversation starters in the content your community members are already sharing and take it from there. Listening also means having your radar up for relevant third-party content to share. Google Alerts and Talkwalker Alerts can help by delivering ready-to-use content straight to your inbox.
- Spark conversation. Thank people for retweets, respond to Facebook comments accordingly and show gratitude for kudos and accolades. Ask questions of your audiences and conduct a poll here and there. Think of social media communities as online focus groups
- Less is more. Focus on developing a rich, dynamic and engaging presence on a few platforms rather than having a “pop up” presence on every platform. When choosing platforms, opt for those used most widely by your target audiences as well as those whose natural features are best-suited to your content. For example, if your content tends to be long-format consider a blog – if your company or cause is inherently visual, Instagram may be the best way to go.
- Tailor your content to suit the platform. Don’t sync lengthy Facebook updates to Twitter, as they won’t display correctly. You don’t want the most important news ever to get cut off mid… you get my point. If your Facebook audience responds best to company culture and lighter news but third-party data is what engages your Twitter followers, then plan your content calendar accordingly.
- Be creative. There is A LOT of content shared across each and every social media marketing channel each and every day. Make your content stand out from the crowd.
- Share, share, share. This applies to both relevant third-party content and your own news. While how you present the information may differ by platform, some news is made to be shared in multiple places. Feel free to share evergreen content on more than one occasion, as well – just don’t overwhelm people with too much of a good (or the same) thing.
Also, don’t forget these other best practices:
- Be brief– to the point and with fewer words (less is more, really)
- Be current– timeliness matters
- Use humor– who doesn’t love a spoof, joke, or a funny take on something
- Be specific– clear, concise and grammatical
- Make it actionable – as we’ve said on other occasions, tell people what you want them to do with the content they are consuming
Social media marketing is a great way to engage online audiences and stay top-of-mind amongst one’s target audiences. Whether you are a Facebook ninja, a Twitter novice or an Instagram pro, consider how social media can help to strengthen your organization’s existing marketing program.
Looking for more social media marketing tips? Co-Communications’ social media toolkit is a great resource.