Are you too noticing your social media reach & engagement decreasing lately? Is customer acquisition going stale?
Social media’s initial aim was to connect people from all around the world in an online environment where they could share their real-life experiences. It connected people… and businesses. People meeting new people and keeping in touch with friends. And people interacting with businesses in a way that has never been done before by traditional media.
Where have the good ol’ days gone?
Social media marketing used to be a (mostly) free marketing strategy that surely paid off. But now more and more business owners are noticing their reach, engagement and followers slowly decreasing (or suddenly?!?).
Let’s not forget Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, G+, YouTube are all businesses at their core. If you need to make money, so do they.
Free social media marketing was never the goal. Smart social media marketing is.
However, spending money like crazy on social media, boosting posts and hoping for the best will not get you far. If you work smart, you don’t need to spend huge amounts of money marketing on giant social media platforms.
In today’s article I’m showing you no less than 15 ways to use social media to your advantage:
1. Organise Q&A sessions
Want to increase your page engagement? Q&A sessions can bring you more benefits than you might think.
It builds people’s trust in your brand and thus increases your brand’s reputation. On Inbound.org an “Ask Me Anything” session brings from 50 to 350+ upvotes. It’s not an incredible interaction, but a) it’s better than nothing and b) it’s a noticeable number for a platform that can’t boast with billions of users.
Through Q&A sessions you have the opportunity of establishing a connection with people who don’t know your brand. Secondly, you can toughen the relation you already have with your customers. Besides, you can let your customers know about any new services/ products or promotions you’re running.
2. Create and join groups
A study run by Social Media Examiner showed that starting with May 2013 there are more than 1.5 million groups on… LinkedIn (you were expecting Facebook, weren’t you?).
Whether you create the group or join groups that are complimentary to your business, the important thing to remember is to participate in the conversation without being spammy or too self-promotional. You can give useful information to people to start related talks which eventually can ignite users’ interest in your brand.
The next important thing to remember is to maintain the group active, even if it is a small group.
3. Twitter chats
Rather than just posting Tweets you can decide to have conversations by using the chats from Twitter. Who knew Twitter chats can be so efficient?
How exactly it is useful? With Twitter chats you can have real-time conversations with hundreds of people at the same time.
For example, in March, CoSchedule launched a Twitter chat using the hashtag #CoChat. They had only 10 participants, but a few weeks ago they organized another one and there were 52 marketers and bloggers.
Statistics show 67% of Twitter users more likely to purchase from the brands they follow on Twitter.
4. Organize social media contests
Everyone loves contests. They have become so-so-so popular. Especially on Facebook and Instagram. Contests can help you launch a new campaign, bring new customers, and build a stronger connection with your existing customers.
You can organise the contest to your own liking as long as it abides Facebook’s rules. As a super-useful tip… be clear about the conditions for participation. And let participants know how you will choose the winner: either through Random.org or by who gets the most votes.
The voting option gives you a better chance for increased engagement, while Random.org leaves things to faith and luck.
5. Answer as quickly and as accurate as possible
An intelligent move from your part is to always reply to comments. More importantly, do it as quickly as you can and as accurately as you can.
Studies have shown that customer emotions towards brands become permanent with time. They solidify. So you might want to consider taking action as soon as possible. It shows your customers that you care about their opinion and experiences with your brand and thus they can trust you.
If they see you interacting with their requests/comments/questions, chances are that more followers will start to interact with your brand. The more the merrier, as long as you can avoid a reputation management crisis…
6. Use a personal, conversational tone of voice
The way you answer your followers’ comments is also important.
Bonus tip: Address your followers using their first names. People like to feel appreciated and acknowledged.
Reply on a nice tone, using first-person verbs when you are talking from your point of view. This way they can put a face behind the comments, you sound more real and more interested in their experience.
7. Carry on with the conversations
The thing with the conversations is that you have to keep them going, if you want to increase engagement and boost conversions.
So when you are replying, try not to stick with a simple “yes” or “no”. Even if the answer is simple, try and end it with an open-ended question. Plus, you can share relevant content and ask for their opinion on it.
8. Make it easy for them to engage
It is important to encourage people to find you and follow you on social media. It is a good strategy to make them engaged in your brand.
You can have a social media button and sharing widgets on your website (by the way, check out mine to the left of the post!). A good place to put the social media buttons is at the top or left side of a web page.
Useful Tip: The key is to have a limited number of social media buttons. It is never a good choice to add too many buttons, or very few.
Extra Tip: As long as the sharing widget is concerned, you can place it on a landing page after a customer leaves your opt-in or e-commerce page.
9. Sharing is caring – be an example for your followers and share other content or comments
Did you know that 80% of marketers share 3-rd party content? This strategy allows you to increase your company’s visibility.
We all love something interesting to read, see or hear. You can ask other companies to share your content in exchange for you sharing their content. You can choose companies in the same industry as yours: share infographics, quotes, and charts that are complementary to your business, not competitional.
10. Reward sharers or commenters
Because people like being rewarded for their actions, you have an open window to increase social media engagement on your pages.
You can find a way to reward your loyal customers and at the same time increase your posts’ reach & engagement. It is a simple way to make them feel more inclined to keep sharing your content and posting comments.
Many companies use recognition programs to focus on tenure and they reward their audience for staying around.
11. Have a saying in the social issues
Nowadays, the world is confronted with social issues on a daily basis. Sharing contents on this matter shows that you care about what is happening with the world, it shows that you support a cause, it shows involvement.
It will bring more trust among people and eventually they will engage with your brand. Take for example Oreo. Each year they pick a day to release a relevant image of a cookie adapted to the events that occurred during that day.
Attention! Getting involved in comments and shares about social causes can be tricky. This is why smart reputation management strategies should be put in place prior to your sharing of this content. Whatever causes you decide to support, don’t go overboard: after all, you are a business and your clients are more interested in your products/services.
12. Don’t forget about #hashtags
The popularity of hashtags has increased considerably in the last year since Facebook has also embraced the idea. Most people use hashtags for fun, but they are a useful way of navigating for relevant information on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram.
By using hashtags users can identify your content; it is a wise strategy to boost social media engagement. Before choosing a relevant hashtag for your campaign make sure you research it; you don’t want to misuse it. To make an impact, it has to be a good hashtag, meaning relevant and unique.
13. Emoticons and images
Did you know that, according to Buffer, sharing images on Twitter helped boost the number of retweets by 150%? Visuals are everything!
It is far more easy to look at an image to like it and share it than it is to do the same with text-based content.
What you need to remember is that you should combine text with images (charts, screenshots, and infographics).
Post one image on social media for every 75-100 words.
Did you know…?
- On Twitter you have 78% more chances of you post being liked & shared
- On LinkedIn you get 98% more comments on image-based posts
- Emoticons increase comments by 33% and likes by 57%.
Images and emoticons show a side of playfulness and positive emotions.
14. Timing matters
Timing is everything on social media. If you want users to see your posts and eventually increase engagement you have to publish posts at the right time of the day. Do it at the wrong time of the day and you have wasted your time and money. Think about it: if your audience is online between 9am to 5pm, what’s the use of posting outside this time frame?
There are certain tools that can help you determine which time of the day would be the best for posting, like for example Tweriod. For Facebook the best time to post is at 3 PM on Wednesdays, 1-4 pm on Thursdays and Fridays, and 12-1pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Read more about what studies say about the best times to post on social media here.
Bonus tip: 5pm appears to be the best time for retweets.
15. Posting should be consistent and frequent
Timing matters. Alright. But does it matter more than the number of posts you’re launching? The problem is, you don’t want to be spammy, but you don’t want to be forgotten. No, you and your business are unique, so the world needs to know about it!
CoSchedule plan their posts by having a social media editorial calendar which helped them grow their social media traffic by 3,150%. Talk about social media marketing and planning now!
Inconsistency of your posts will eventually make you lose followers. Besides, you don’t always need to share new posts; you can re-share some of your old ones, from a week/month ago.
Keep in mind that Google keeps track of a Freshness Score, which means that if you post new content more frequently, Google will give you better search rankings.
Now back to you…
- How much time are you spending planning and implementing your social media strategy?
- Why do you think Facebook decreased the organic reach of posts? Were they too spammy or is Facebook trying to draw the line between quality content and bulk content?
I’m really curious to find out your thoughts, so don’t hesitate to leave your comments below… Thanks for sticking with me until the end of the article – I hope you got some really good golden nuggets from it, and that you are going to implement them asap.