The Comprehensive Guide to Effective Social Media Marketing
The buzz has well and truly died down.
The years in which I wrote "Top 10 Strategies to Get Facebook Likes" or lines like "social media is the future of marketing!" are in the past.
We're now in the era of "Teens Are Leaving Facebook like a Sinking Ship" and lines like "Wait, Google+ is still around?"
Does social media still offer a platform for business growth?
Can you take advantage of Facebook's 2 billion users without paying for Facebook Ads?
Can you utilize Instagram's high user engagement and demographics to drive brand awareness or, dare I say it, final sales?
This article will take an in-depth look at the most effective strategies behind five leading social media marketing objectives.
Table of Contents (Click to Jump)
Effectively Use Social Media to Organically Generate Engagement
We've all heard the "woe-is-me" story of how, back in 2014, your organic reach was 20%, and now you're lucky to get 2%.
And we feel for you, we do.
But let's get over it.
Facebook isn't going back to the gold ol' days, and your business can't neglect the world's largest pool of prospective customers in one place. So let's move on and get what we can get.
Here are 3 Effective Strategies Proven to Boost Organic Reach on Facebook and Instagram...
#1. Use Live Video:
Video continues to hold sway on Facebook and Instagram with an average of 300% more engagement and 12x shares than text and image posts (combined!)
The reason behind this is simple: Facebook wants to rule world. That means competing with Whatsapp for messaging, Google for advertising and (most importantly for us) YouTube for video.
For more on marketing with Live Video, check out "How We Used Facebook Live Video to Grow Organic Reach 300% (+ 3 Bonus Case Studies)."
#2. Repost Proven Content:
Check out your Facebook or Instagram Insights to determine which of your previous posts did the best. Then, redesign and repost. Consider that even your top posts ever only get seen by (maybe) 10% of your Fanbase. That leaves you 90% who haven't seen your awesome content and are likely to be just as engaged as the audience was when you first posted.
Top Tip: If you have specialized content that’s more likely to be of interest to a specific type or demographic, use the Audience Optimization tool to choose a more friendly audience for that content.
#3. Post Engaging Content:
The Top 5 Post Types to Try…
- Create "Tag a friend” posts
- Create a quote Post
- Create a "Remember When?" post
- Be timely (always consider what your audience is already thinking about: holidays, sports, current events, TGIF, #Mondays, etc)
- Other people's content (be selfless!)
For more on this subject, check out "75 Can't Miss Tips: Build your Business with Social Media," "52 Facebook Marketing Ideas" or "200 Instagram Photos: Examples, Ideas & Resources for Your Business."
Effectively Use Social Media to Build a Community of Prospective Customers
The best way to grow your social media Following with people who have a chance of buying from you is to run a social promotion. There's just no getting around it. Here's why…
- Provided you give away a prize related to your business (your product, a giftcard, etc) the only people who will enter your promotion are people interested in your product. This is way better than random Fans, some of whom are likely bots.
- A promotion not only gives you new Fans and social engagements, but also gives you the contact information of those Fans. This enables you to email them and encourage a sale down the line.
- A promotion is the only strategy in which you can still require people to Follow your company on social media (not Facebook, but Instagram and Twitter) in order to enter.
Here's an example of a simple Facebook promotion giving away a 6-month supply of health bars:
Place your promotion page on a Facebook Tab, and drive traffic to it from your website (with a welcome mat), your newsletter, Facebook Ads and organic postings. Ads, your welcome mat and posts will drive new traffic, while your newsletter will engage with existing customers and get the ball rolling with sharing with their friends.
For a walkthrough on creating a Facebook marketing campaign, check out my article "How to Build a Complete Facebook Marketing Campaign from Start to Finish."
Top Strategies to Get More from your Social Media Promotion:
1. Use Bonus Entry Incentives to Boost your Reach:
This is especially important if you have a large subscriber base. You'll get a lot of your entries from that, but want those existing customers to share with non-customers. This will get you more social media Fans (who you don't yet have) and the contact details of people who haven't yet bought from you.
2. Use a Leaderboard to Incentivize Sharing:
People are competitive at heart. Creating a leaderboard within your campaign is an effective incentive to get your entrants to Share.
3. Use Facebook Ads Effectively:
Facebook ads are a powerful way to drive traffic to your promotion. When optimized, you can generate new Fans and prospective customers for only around 50 cents.
For more on this subject, check out "How to Use a Fan-Only Promotion to Turn Followers into Leads," "How to Create a Successful Sweepstakes (A Complete Guide for 2017)," or "How Bhu Foods Drove 35% Online Sales Growth: A Social Media Strategy Example."
Effectively Use Social Media to Build Positive Relationships
Many businesses correctly believe that social media is a place to build relationships with your prospective and existing customers. And it is.
Something lesser-known (or at least less frequently taken advantage of) is the fact that social media is also a great place to build relationships with other businesses as well.
Just as a social media promotion offers a lot of opportunity for your business to drive new Fans and social media engagement, so does a social media co-promotion offer an opportunity to generate new contacts and prospective customers.
Here's an example from a co-promotion Wishpond's running with Samcart:
Top Tips for a Social Media Co-Promotion:
- Reach out to a business that has the same target market as you. The strength of a co-promotion is in the other business connecting you with their audience. If their audience is made up of pre-teen girls, and your business sells mufflers, your relationship won't be all that valuable.
- Be equal partners in the promotion. If you're giving away a year's subscription to your software (valued at $1,088) be sure their half of the giveaway is of equal value.
- Establish how you're going to share the work and the success. If you have a design team and landing page builder, be sure the other business writes the copy. Or, if they're slightly larger than you, offer to do all the work if they'll just contribute to the grand prize.
- Save yourself time down the line. Once you've run a single campaign, use its success as a case study for your future outreach. You can also duplicate the campaign landing page and use it again (with some changes, of course).
For more on this subject, check out "A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How We Generated 1,263 New Leads (With a Little Help from Our Friends)."
Effectively Use Social Media to Drive Brand Awareness
The best way to drive awareness on social media is probably "cost-per-impression" Facebook Ads. When they're well-designed, it's possible to show your brand name to more than a thousand Facebook users within your target demographic for only a few bucks.
But we're not diving into advertising in this article, so I'll fall back on the second-most-powerful way to drive brand awareness…
Influencer marketing is a tried-and-true strategy to get your brand in front of someone with a bit more heft than your business - someone with a few hundred thousand followers or (if not that) a lot of respect. Getting in front of them often means you get in front of their network, and that network can (as it did with us when we got a Facebook share from Mari Smith) make your servers crash...
Miller’s ‘aha’ moment with Instagram came when he reached out to Instagram influencer Ruthie Lindsey, a friend with a large following in March 2017. “She had 90,000 followers and I asked if she’d trade a painting for a promoted post,” he says. “When we met up she brought a friend who had 1.2 million followers with her, and he liked my work and ended up showcasing it on his feed.”
Here's a step-by-step walkthrough for an optimized influencer marketing approach:
- Identify a list of individual influencers, or brands, who have an audience larger than yours. Be sure their audience is the same as your target market (getting Justin Bieber to retweet you is only great if your target market is 13-year-old girls).
- Determine the best way to start the approach. Engage with them on social media (follow, retweet, etc). Comment on their blog articles with intelligent questions.
- Hit them with the outreach. Email or direct message with a specific request for feedback (not sharing, quite yet). Create a piece of content which they would be legitimately interested in (research to be sure they've written or talked about that subject before).
- If no response, prompt them again with a "just wanted to make sure you saw this" email.
- Continue your follow-up until your moral compass is awakened and you have to stop.
For more on this subject, check out the "Reach Out" templates and section of "19 Proven Email Marketing Templates We Use to Sell, Nurture, Onboard, and Reach Out."
Effectively Use Social Media to Drive Sales
After all, what's the point of a million Fans and 10 milion impressions if nobody ever buys from you?
Social media is still a viable platform to drive sales, but not without a bit of thought.
There are several effective strategies for using social media to drive sales...
- Turn Fans and social media users into contacts through contests, in which you require an email address for entry. Then use email to turn those contacts into sales.
- Use the Facebook Shop (a tab that can be added to your Facebook Page) that lets you display and sell products. The coolest part of the Facebook Shop is that Facebook doesn't take any cut of your sales.
- Use a "click to buy" tool on Instagram (like Curalate or Have2HaveIt) which enable Instagram users to quickly and easily buy the products displayed in your Posts.
- Use Facebook Live Video (the easiest and most reliable way to boost organic reach on the Facebook platform, currently) to offer educational videos which also sell your products. See below for an example from Safeway.
For more on this subject, check out "How to Use a Fan-Only Promotion to Turn Followers into Leads." Alternatively, check out "Instagram Posts that Drive Sales."
Hopefully this guide to effective social media marketing has given you a better idea of how to better-utilize the platforms you're already on.
The fact of the matter is that the glory days of easy social media marketing are likely over. As each platform has gotten bigger and their organization more corporate, opportunities for massive awareness or sales are harder and harder to come by.
But that doesn't mean that you can't still drive results from the hundreds of millions of users, it just requires a bit more thought, and a bit more commitment.
If you have any questions about how your business can get more out of social media, don't hesitate to reach out in the comment section below.
- Social Media Marketing Plan: An 11-Step Template
- How to Build a Complete Facebook Marketing Campaign from Scratch
- 75 Can't Miss Tips: Build your Business with Social Media
- How to Create a Marketing Campaign (That Actually Drives Sales)
- 55 Foolproof Ways to Get More Instagram Followers
- 15 Awesome Examples of Instagram Posts that Drive Sales
- What is Marketing (+Marketing Plan Template)