Have you joined the bandwagon and begun using social media to market your small business? If so, that’s wonderful! However, as you know, what constitutes effective social media marketing is variable. It’s dependent on various factors including your audience, your goals, and current trends. These factors determine what your strategy—or plan of action to achieve a certain goal—should be.
So what should your game plan for social media marketing look like? Consider 5 time-tested strategies that are almost guaranteed to work, along with 5 up-and-coming strategies that can keep you ahead of the curve.
The strategies below are tried and true and will likely continue to be used successfully well into the future.
It can be easy to find yourself only posting pictures to Instagram, only posting short tweets to Twitter, and so on. Yet, on most popular social media platforms, you can and should post various types of content including blog posts, videos, photos, infographics, and more. Why?
For one thing, producing the same content type endlessly can bore your audience, which would keep you from reaching your goals. The same outcome could come if you produce a content type that only resonates with a portion of your audience or, worse yet, that doesn’t resonate at all.
By varying what you post, you can determine the best content types for your target audience and more easily appeal to all subsets of it.
Regardless of what your goals are, providing education is almost always the best foundation to help you reach them. If you provide valuable information and/or practical advice, people will look to you as an authority and, in time, may become loyal customers.
You can educate your followers directly on social media or by using your accounts to direct interested ones to educational resources such as blog posts, white papers, webinars, and the like.
Taking the educational approach means doing more teaching than selling. Storytelling is not much different and, in fact, can be educational in nature. However, the power of storytelling lies not in teaching people things they didn’t know, but in relatable characters and situations, or at least characters and situations that evoke emotional responses. Such responses spur action, often much more effectively than shameless and constant self-promotion on social media.
Partnering with respected and well-connected influencers is a wise idea for several reasons. Two of the main benefits are as follows: It boosts your credibility and it gives you access to a wider audience, both of which can make your social media marketing strategy infinitely more effective.
Powerful in their own right are your most loyal customers, which have the potential to become brand advocates. They can increase awareness of your brand and provide powerful social proof, helping other consumers to build trust in your business far more quickly than they otherwise might.
Social media is an excellent tool when in the hands of motivated brand advocates. But, of course, it’s up to you to do the motivating. You might try:
These are just a handful of the options available to you.
As illustrated above, many strategies used in the past can still be effective in the upcoming year. Yet, you must acknowledge that, as trends and technology evolve, the implementation of new strategies is a must. So what social media marketing strategies might you put into your arsenal?
Immersive experiences are becoming more and more appealing to consumers. As a result, both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are increasingly being explored as marketing tools. Either through complete immersion experiences that shut out the physical world (VR) or through digital elements added to a live view (AR), several brands are increasing audience engagement.
Leveraging mobile cameras in this way can allow your potential customers to understand and experience your products, services, and so on as they would in reality. With what result? You could directly influence their buying decisions, which would have obvious benefits to your business.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to seriously consider how you could incorporate AR and/or VR into your social media marketing strategy to reach your goals in 2019.
Admittedly, live streaming has been on the scene for a couple of years now. Yet, it has a rightful place on this list and deserves more of your focus. Why? Upwards of 80% of brand audiences prefer live video to blog posts and social posts. As video, in general, continues to rise in popularity, you can be sure that that preference will only grow stronger. So now is the time to get started with, focus more heavily on, and master live streaming.
Many social platforms are now placing emphasis on vertical videos since we use our phones vertically most of the time anyway. This latest focus goes hand in hand with something else that’s on the rise—social TV.
At the forefront of this trend currently is Instagram with the recent release of IGTV, which allows users to create channels and post long-form videos there. Youtube TV and Snap Originals are also similar forms of social TV, although they are not currently available to the masses. Even still, vertical and long-form videos are still worth your time to create, especially if you market your business through Instagram and are willing to give IGTV a try.
People respond strongly to people. By humanizing your brand on social media, you can make your marketing strategy that much more effective. How can you go about this? Of course, you should interact with followers as much as possible by responding to comments, using user-generated content, and the like. Those things have long since been encouraged.
Yet, it’s now more imperative than ever that you spotlight your team members and their stories, sign off on your social media posts, and connect each SMM effort back to your unique brand story.
Also along the lines of humanization is the use of chatbots, which will no doubt become more widespread on social media in the coming year. These bots can be used to start conversations, encourage unlikely sales, answer questions, and provide individualized customer service and support.
By implementing this social media strategy while still relatively few are using it, you can dramatically boost your appeal and your SMM results.
Did any of the above strategies—old or new—spark your interest? If so, do your homework to ensure that you choose the right strategy and can execute it successfully to reach your goals. You may even choose to explore how you can combine two or more of the ideas above cohesively into one powerful game plan. Whatever route you think best, start planning now so that you can get a strong start!