This article was originally published on April 14th, 2016.

Social media marketing tactics provide a wonderful opportunity for your company to connect with customers, reach a new demographic and grow your client and fan base in a way that traditional brick and mortar stores and customer service hotlines can’t. Using social media as a vehicle to carry your message is not only low-cost, but it’s personal and friendly, which can help you stand out against the social noise of cat videos, memes and selfies. What is social media marketing? Read on to find out.

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is the process is gaining online attention and raising customer engagement, brand recognition and website traffic through the use of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and more. This is done through sharing engaging updates, publishing fresh and relevant content, and connecting with your consumers.

Because every social media network is set up differently, has a slightly varied audience and requires different tactics to reach customers, keep reading for seven business uses and tips for each approach.

1. To Boost Your Customer Service

Social media marketing is an excellent way to boost your business’ customer service.

Social media marketing is an excellent way to boost your business’ customer service and portray a helpful and friendly face to the world. Encouraging your fans and followers to be online advocates can be a valuable asset in increasing your company’s reach.

If you find it hard to take control of your social media pages because you’re juggling too many other aspects of your business, consider hiring a social media manager or agency who can take the load off of your staff. It’s important to have someone assigned to the page in order to identify negative feedback in a timely manner and answer customers’ questions.

While you rarely have an opportunity for face-to-face interaction with each one of your customers, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter offer a new way to connect with clients and fans. The individual nature of social networking allows for one-on-one exchanges in the form of messages and comments. It’s important to respond quickly to these types of fan engagement as users likely won’t wait very long for your reply. The average wait time customers expect (maximum) on Facebook is under 6 hours, while on Twitter it’s only 60 minutes.

2. To Increase Your Company’s Reach

Imagine you’re standing in front of a crowd of people with a megaphone, speaking about your business’ new product. It’s hard to get people to care, isn’t it? Now imagine you’re standing in front of an audience which only consists of those already interested in your topic. It’s a bit easier this time. That’s how powerful a hashtag can be when used properly on social media.

Hashtags serve to “categorize” your updates and make them visible to users searching for those terms. The above example shows how social media marketing can help increase the reach of your online footprint.

You can spread the reach of your campaign even further by hosting contests where you encourage followers to share your content to enter, maximize your organic reach with images and videos, or take advantage of promoted posts and advertising options to give the updates some extra oomph.

3. To Push Shareable Content

Did your company just wrap up a video about your community outreach efforts? Maybe you created an online webinar designed to help people learn more about your business. These types of shareable content (updates that are timely, include videos and images, and aim to educate your fans) are well-suited to sharing on social media. Use your social networks to push this content as far as it can go. A good way to increase its visibility is to use relevant hashtags and jump on popular trends.

4. To Turn Fans into Customers

If you have lots of social media fans, but are trying to increase your sales, you can use social media marketing tactics to do so! Turning fans into customers isn’t always easy, but here are several tactics you can try that will endear consumers to your brand:

  • Showcase your products or services in action
  • Provide “how-to” tips for your industry
  • Target your updates using ads
  • Create incentives in the form of flash sales or coupons
  • Share a behind-the-scenes video from your company
  • Encourage them to share their own images and videos using your products or services along with a branded hashtag

5. To Jump on a Trend

#MotivationMonday, #WisdomWednesday or #ThrowbackThursday; these are perfect opportunities to show your brand is up to date, relevant and comfortable on social media.

Knowing what people are talking about online and joining in on the conversation is an essential social media marketing tactic. Keep up with popular content and use hashtags to participate in weekly trends like #MotivationMonday, #WisdomWednesday or #ThrowbackThursday; these are perfect opportunities to show your brand is up to date, relevant and comfortable on social media. Remember to always stay positive, upbeat and open to lots of different points of view.

6. To Make a Name for Yourself

Become memorable through your social media marketing efforts by taking a cue from what these brands did in 2019:

  • Cross-Channel Marketing – Casper: According to Sprout Social, “Finding unique ways to really stand out among the competition is key to a successful digital marketing strategy. For example, their new Casper Sleep Channel is filled with soothing sounds that help their customers drift soundly to sleep. All while sleeping on their Casper mattress, naturally.”
  • User-Generated Content – Cupshe, TheEverygirl, Lush and Essie:  According Sprout Social, “User-generated content is all about sharing photos and posts that your customers have created for you. It makes your own content planning much easier and can play a large role in creating a compelling social strategy.” These brands have devoted fans that want to show their appreciation. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when using this strategy!
  • Visuals – Square Sayings:  According to Sprout Social, “Their Instagram feed is a cohesive grid of multi-colored ‘square sayings,’ and their products match each message perfectly. Each new post shares a different, highly relatable quote, and they turn their most popular posts into merch.
    Powerful visuals help sell products by enticing the prospective consumer to make a purchase. Square Sayings demonstrates the success of this by putting an emphasis on their visuals within their social content.”

7. To Tell a Story

It isn’t enough to share about your company’s value or mission on social media; fans aren’t likely to be very interested. Instead, you should craft a story that is shareable and relevant to their lives. A strong story has four elements: theme, plot, structure and characters. You can think of them this way:

  • Theme (Know Your Industry)
    • Set the tone of your story by knowing the ins and outs of your industry; every story needs a solid foundation.
  • Plot (Know Your Story)
    • Determine the main message you want your audience to take away and make sure it’s front and center.
  • Structure (Present Readable Content)
    • Present your message in a readable format; for example, if you have a lengthy piece of research, break it into main points and share it via multiple social media updates.
  • Characters (Include Your Audience)
    • All good stories have solid and genuine characters. Make your audience a part of yours by inserting them into the narrative!

Once you’ve figured out the story you want to tell, it’s time to share it! Video marketing is excellent because updates with video receive increased organic traffic. You can post customer testimonials or success stories, share behind-the-scenes footage or show how your product is made. Learn more about video marketing here.

Avoid These Social Media Marketing Mistakes

While social media marketing can be very valuable and helpful for your company to incorporate, it can also be detrimental if done incorrectly. Avoid these four common mistakes:

  • Not Having Any Social Media Marketing Strategy: Having a strong social media plan is key to success in today’s digital space. According to Social Bakers, “Thousands of businesses around the world, even some of your competitors, are using social media effectively to reach their audience and promote their products. Frankly, every brand that takes its business seriously should make the same effort and learn ‘how to do social media.’ Develop your brand’s very own social media strategy – it’s an essential foundation to everything else that follows. And having a social media marketing strategy doesn’t just mean making a certain number of posts per day, it’s quite a bit more than that.”
  • Not Tracking Your Results: You can have the best social media presence out there, but if you don’t look at and use your analytics, you may never know it. Keeping track of your analytics is key to developing a strategic, successful social media campaign.
  • Thinking Each Social Network Is the Same: New social media networks pop up all the time so it can be hard to know which one is right for your brand, but don’t assume that they are all the same. According to Social Bakers, “Each social platform is unique in many ways. Different social media channels have different strengths, features, marketing tools, and also diverse audiences with varying demographics, behaviors, and interests. So, bear in mind your updates and marketing strategies for each social network should be distinctive and tailored to the audience on specific platforms.”
  • Avoiding, Deleting, Counterattacking Negative Comments: While receiving negative feedback is never fun, you can’t ignore it either. As Social Bakers points out, “Negative feedback gives you a chance to improve the quality of your service and build trust within your brand community. When a customer is unhappy with your service and he posts a harsh, negative comment, many brands choose to ignore it, and some even try to delete it or reply with even harsher statements.”

Are you interested in using these social media tactics to your brand’s advantage? Contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation to learn how we can help your online image soar!

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