If you’re a social media manager who’s been at it for some time, you’ve probably tried all the tricks and strategies going around, and have maintained those stable few that have lead to optimal results for your brand. But with the landscape changing so quickly – both in terms of on-platform offerings and consumer expectations – every now and then you need something new, something fresh, a different approach to get your stats spiking and maintain the ideal levels of audience engagement and response.
The following is a list of quirky and, dare I say, fun ideas for that social media marketing breakthrough you’re looking for.
And if you’re the new marketing kid on the block, here are 5 good tools to get started with, along with an explanation as to why you might want to try them.
1. Serve it hot
4 millions posts find their way to Facebook every minute of every day. Because of this influx, finding the right sources of news and information, those which are most relevant to you and your interests, can be tough. While the amount of content flowing through the internet continues to rise, our capacity to consume media does remains stable, which can be overwhelming for some.
That’s where you come in – the super helpful industry enthusiast who finds and serves the freshest, most useful content that there is in your niche.
But of course, doing this yourself can be hard – as noted, there’s a huge amount of content being posted every day and sifting through is no easier for you than it is for others.
So how do you do it, how can you locate the best, most relevant info to share with your audience and establish yourself as a leader in your field?
You need to use a combination of apps, your judgment and some smart personal touches to effectively curate content.
Here’s one option – you can set up keywords related to your industry and/or topics of interest on DrumUp, a content curation platform. You can also integrate RSS feeds of blogs and sites you like with the app, providing you with a filtered list of relevant material.
From there, you simply pick the most relevant articles from your feed, click on share and type out your own description. And this last element is important – while sharing important news and updates can help your audience, by adding your own insights, you’re also working to establish your expertise in this area, rather than just parroting the latest headlines. Why is this latest development important to your audience? Share your thoughts and ideas on each.
You can also use the hashtags from DrumUp’s recommendations, then you can schedule shares across all your social accounts.
It’s an effective way to curate relevant news and build your presence on social platforms.
2. Tweet Tweet
Twitter is like a large community in conversation, and it moves incredibly fast.
Being a part of this pulse-quickening rush of information has its advantages. You can locate and touch base with all the people pertinent to your industry and product in seconds. And if you have the right content, and can match that with the right moves, you can drastically improve your lead generation efforts using the micro-blog platform.
What are those right moves? Here’s Twitter marketing aficionado Madalyn Sklar’s secret sauce for Twitter success –
“Tweet everyday (2/3 times a day), respond to every notification, use advanced Twitter search, Twitter lists and engage, engage, engage.”
You should also consider participating in Twitter chats. This is something Sklar does extremely well herself with her own #TwitterSmarter chat.
Twitter chats are essentially highly concentrated assemblies of people with a common interest. Catch the chat that discusses your niche’ and you may just catch your audience.
And while Twitter chats run quite well on Twitter, it can be easier to manage and host your own using a Twitter chat platform like Nurph.
Nurph lets you send the invitations, schedule and manage the chat, and gives you post chat statistics so you can analyze who the most active, influential participants were so you can direct the chat better the next time you host it (and thank active members for their participation also).
Alternatively, Nurph also allows you to locate and join conversations that are important for you.
3. Stun with captures
Visuals can increase your social media engagement rates dramatically, but many people are still wary of including images because of copyright concerns, while creating their own is often too time consuming and/or difficult..
Visual creation is definitely a challenge and designers can certainly accomplish a lot more with visuals than untrained people can, but that shouldn’t stop you from attempting it yourself.
There’s a heap of tools that can help you convert your concepts into visual representations that have the potential to catch so much more attention than simple, flat text.
Canva is one such option, which simplifies image creation by providing an easy to use drag and drop interface. You can create your featured image using this (like I did with mine for this post).
Piktochart is another graph-based visual platform that lets you turn pre-existing templates into graphs and infographics depicting your studies and concepts.
4. Keep your eyes open
Remember how back in your school classroom there was always one kid that didn’t study too much but still did quite well without seeming to put too much effort into it? Those kids were able to succeed by relying on their powers of observation – working smarter, rather than harder.
It pays to be observant because you see what no one else does, and that’s a window into added advantages over everyone else.
Social listening tools give you some of that ability, but a good analytics tool completes the picture.
Which of your advances on social are more effective? Which blog post titles should you ideally use? Who should you follow on Twitter? Who should you engage with?
While Brand24 gives you sentiment analysis on shares, Rival IQ lets you monitor your campaigns and measure them up against competitors, and Shareaholic Analytics helps you understand the kinds of content your audience is most receptive to.
Deploy your feelers on social and map your actions to results so you can re-hash and alter your social strategies to best serve your audience.
5. Volunteer and Participate
The definition of social, in itself, refers to groups of people, organizations and gatherings, the need for companionship. One of the consistent trends across social platforms is engagement of the like-minded. People seek out other people who they have things in common with. Of those connections, communities are built and exchange of communication takes place.
As a professional in your industry, you need to seek out communities that discuss topics related to your area of expertise. Volunteer information to help people, and participate whole-heartedly in conversations on community pages. By doing this, there’s a good chances that when people are ready to invest and make that buy, your brand will be what comes to mind. This concept, which is referred to as ‘Top of Mind Marketing’, is one of the most organic and powerful ways to build a loyal following of people who could be potential leads.
Begin with communities like Quora, and groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus and then progress into independent communities that are built to solve problems in your industry.
Social is all about give and take – rather than pushing out content, locate content that’s genuinely useful to your audience. Instead of promoting yourself, find situations where your product can actually be useful to people. And do that with the right social tools for efficiency.