If you are still trying to figure out how to get the most from your social media, you are not alone. Consider the following tips that will knock your social media efforts for your small business or personal accounts out of the ballpark.
1. Content is king. Create rich and engaging content for each of your social media outlets, and do it every day. This content does not have to be long or drawn out, even 50 words with great images (that’s next!) will do the trick. Depending on what you do, you can be creative. This Forbes.com article has some great ideas you can easily incorporate into your social media.
2. Use imagery. Use both still images and video to give your content some pop. If you haven’t tried some of the emerging technologies, such as augmented reality, this article on Mashable.com will introduce you to the concept to get you rolling. You could join sites like Shutterstock, or use Google’s free images – some are great.
3. Write longer posts on sites like Google+, Medium, and LinkedIn. These articles should be dynamic and meaningful to engage your audience. In our company we develop content for our clients (and they range from lifestyle to health teach with everything in between) to use in a myriad of ways, including thought leadership articles for major publications; this is a great tool for social media engagement.
4. Make it personal. While many firms advocate for sites like WhoSay and Hootesuite, the truth is that these are not great platforms to rely on. They can be good for what I call “filler content” (refer to tip #1), but you should take the time to identify colleagues or customers who are in line with your brand, or who would likely be a good customer base. Follow them, and then reach out with ideas and comments they will appreciate. Tag them, message them directly, just do it with them in mind as opposed to a mass group-think message.
5. Include content from diverse sources. Example: DrumUp mines content across the web and suggests articles and posts that will work for your site, be it business or personal. You may also find content you like from other small businesses or individuals; ask the author if you can share their content with the note that you will credit them in your posts.
6. State opinions, ask questions, and be willing to take risks. You wont be loved by everyone, but that’s okay because many will agree with what you are saying and really, those are the customers and colleagues you want to hear from and engage with. Your passion is what counts here, don’t be afraid to express it.
7. Re-purpose content you already have. We once had a client who, each year, would re-post a Forbes.com that featured him (our agency secured this on his behalf – am I bragging?). This article got tons of engagement every time he posted it, no one really ever looked at the date, people thought he was just profiled on Forbes.com, which is impressive.
8. Create actionable hashtags. There are a lot of great examples of well crafted hashtag campaigns, but here are two we love at Astonish: Red Bull #PutaCanOnIt where the company found an image posted to Twitter where the photographer is holding a Red Bull can above a Mini Cooper making it look like the can is on top of the car – a Red Bull trademarked car at that. Red Bull was so smart, they re-posted it with the hashtag, and people around the world copied the idea and created clever images with Red Bull cans on top of…whatever. #OreoHorrorStories was an all-time Halloween winner where Oreo created Oreo-themed parodies of popular horror films using Vine. My favorite is the The Exortwist.
9. Cultivate influencers. The term “influencer” has been getting a lot of scrutiny, and for good reason: it is hard to tell what makes someone truly influential on social media. However, if you do your homework (looking carefully at their social media engagement, verifying followers, and digging into their reach), you will be able to identify the true influencers to align your business with. Tag them in posts you think they would be interested in, reach out directly with genuine compliments (or to let them know you mentioned them), and include their website in your posts. Over time, they’ll share your content and include you in their posts too.
10. Be patient. This is a long-term investment and your race for great social media, engagement, and ROI will not be won overnight. Take the time to do it right and you will have success!