Social media marketing tips: how to optimize your efforts

For many businesses, marketing is a mysterious business best left to the advertising gurus who speak in code and wear hipster clothing. But that’s not reality. The truth is, marketing is potentially easier than ever for those who understand how to leverage the power of social media to communicate their brand and speak directly to their customers.

In a previous article, we talked about how Instagram could be used to market effectively. But, as we noted, it’s not for everyone. Neither is Facebook or Twitter or any other social media platform.

Instead of trying to capitalize on every single opportunity available via social media, it makes a lot more sense to think small—and strategically—to maximize your efforts and get the most out of a handful of options that make the most sense to your business model.

To get you started in the right direction, here’s a quick snapshot of the main social media avenues available to you and a few tips about how to get the most out of each of them.

Instagram:

  • Average user is 18 to 35 years old.
  • Pay-to-play options required for business use.
  • Photo posts drive best results.
  • Tailored for visual ad campaigns.
  • Not recommended for B2B campaigns.
  • For best results, post approximately 5 times per day.
  • Tip: Switch account to “business” to unlock key analytics.

Facebook:

  • 68% of all US adults use this platform.
  • Great for inspiring customer interactions.
  • Take advantage of robust analytics and paid advertising options.
  • Tailor content strategy based on which posts perform best.
  • For best results, keep posts down to twice daily.
  • Tip: Posts between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. produce the best click and share rates.

Twitter:

  • Average users vary from 18 to 55 years old.
  • Best for driving traffic to blogs, landing pages and video ads.
  • Use to share corporate news and press release info.
  • Photo and video ads perform well.
  • Perfect for mobile marketing and targeted/retargeting campaigns.

Pinterest

  • 31% of online adults use the platform.
  • 45% are women between 18 and 30 years old.
  • 100% are photo-heavy posts.
  • Use to share visual ads that link to blog posts.

Remember, it’s best to choose one or two social media platforms that make the most sense for your business based on the audience you want to reach. Start small and build momentum based on what works best.

Not sure where to start?

Take a look at what your competitors are focused on if you’re not sure about which platforms make sense. Are your competitors on social media at all? If not, this may be your chance to gain a competitive advantage. If they are, what platforms are they on? How many followers do they have? What kinds of responses—if any—are they getting? Incorporate your findings as you build your own social media strategies. Consider branching out into a platform where your competitors haven’t had a chance to establish a foothold yet.

Whichever social media platform you choose, it’s important to remember a few key best practices:

Hire a dedicated social media expert: Rather than lay the burden of managing your various social media accounts on someone who is already busy trying to do their day job, find someone who can devote their full attention to this. If you want best results, make it a priority and not a distraction.

Post often: Any social media account that isn’t up-to-date sends a negative message. If you’re not attentive to your own social media accounts, how responsive are you to your customers? Better not to have an account at all if you’re not consistently active.

Respond quickly and kindly: Social media is a conversation, not a megaphone. When people ask questions, praise your product/service or complain about your company performance your response is crucial. Keep in mind that you’re having a public conversation. Never argue. Acknowledge any issues respectfully and use this as your opportunity to be the hero. When you save the day, everyone will see your responsiveness and reward you for it.

Cross-pollinate your posts: Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms allow you to auto-post on Facebook. Take advantage of the opportunity and maximize your reach by linking those posts to multiple audiences.

Automate posts: Instead of trying to post everything live and on the run, be sure to take advantage of built-in options that allow you to pre-load your posts and schedule a campaign that runs throughout the day or week. This allows you to adjust as necessary and to plan your posts more strategically.

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