9 Free Social Media Hacks to Fuel Content Marketing

Salman Aslam
Salman Aslam Chief Marketing Officer, Omnicore

Posted on June 2nd 2014

9 Free Social Media Hacks to Fuel Content Marketing

We are working in an Industry which is changing at such a fast pace that many can't even keep up so they just jump on the bandwagon of buzzwords and become self proclaimed experts. For instance I'm seeing a lot of Content marketers and growth hackers lately.

 Check out this tweet by Danny Sullivan:

But let's not drift away from the topic. The point that I want to make is that as marketers, we need to understand, embrace and apply the essence of marketing into our practice and not just borrow fancy titles.

I've seen a lot of individuals missing the point when it comes to content marketing, and I've said this again and again, blogging/ content creation is not content marketing; it is, but, only a part of the equation. Another part of this equation is content promotion, which gives your content the popularity and reaches you desire.

I personally believe that leveraging communities and social channels is more important than ever as your target audience does not rely on search engines today, they hangout in groups, follow hashtags and lists, like pages to consume information.

In this post, we'll share seven social media hacks which will bring additional exposure and traffic to your content and website.

Facebook Hacks


Love it or hate it, everyone uses Facebook and even if you hate it, your customers are on Facebook so you would do want  to maximize on the audience who would like to read your content.


1. Link Thumbnail Image

If you have added share buttons on your posts, and people share your content you might want to see how they show up on the news feed because for most of the websites what we see is a poster stamp size image with link and description, which is not good at all because Facebook has made some changes and what you can do is leverage that to have your post with a bigger image that will help you get more exposure and click through.

Here is an example of how a large image appears when someone shares the post from your blog.


 

What Facebook does is that it searches for the images that are present on the page and chose the display the image with the largest dimensions.

You might want to check out Jon Loomer's post on this topic, which will give you in-depth advice on how to have a larger image for which you need to have aspect ratio 1.91:11 which is equal to 1200 x 627 pixels, which shrink down to 400 x 209 pixels.

This hack allows you to get higher click through on both desktop and mobile users and eventually more eyeballs to your content.


2. Open Graph Tags

If you are into SEO than you must've heard how Google uses schema markup to understand web content in a much stronger way and structure the results based on that understanding. Recipe Snippets, Ratings, Music and events, all these are examples of how Google has used Schema markup to understand the content on the webpage and display search results accordingly.

Similar to Schema.org mark up, Facebook has built their own language called Open Graph Protocol, which shows or records actions in a structured way. Open Graph lets you integrate apps deeply into the Facebook experience, which increases engagement, distribution and growth.

It didn't make sense back then however when Facebook launched Graph search we can see it in action and how Open Graph works.

  

If you're a wordpress user, then consider using Wordpress SEO Yoast plugin which has social integration that allows you to add Open Graph meta data to your website.

Twitter Hacks

Although twitter cards have been around for a long time, my bet is that there are a lot of people who don't know about it or might have seen it but don't really know what it actually is.

Basically twitter cards like Google's schema or Facebook's Open Graph Protocol was launched to add a better user experience or a more visual experience as people because used to using the social platforms, design iteration like these helps them and business owners increase engagement rate.


3. Twitter Summary Card

According to Twitter, Twitter Cards “Make it possible for you to attach media experiences to Tweets that link to your content. Simply add a few lines of HTML to your webpages, and users who Tweet links to your content will have a ‘card’ added to the Tweet that’s visible to all of their followers.”

Twitter Card allows you to decide how you want your content to be displayed within tweets. Usually as it is a best practice that url's are shortened and what twitter card summary does is that it fetches the post Title, Author name, website and image, this allows more people to see what the tweet is about and drive more traffic to your website.

Through Summary cards users can chose to show or hide summary, image or video.

You can set up Twitter Summary Cards through the card validator.

There are three main types of Twitter Cards.

Summary Cards

This is the most basic Twitter Card type. By creating a Twitter Summary Card, you are telling Twitter your title, description, thumbnail and Twitter account attribution. The summary card allows a person to show or hide a Tweet summary.



Summary Card Preview Example

Photo Card

This card allows you to specify the photo you would like delivered with your Tweet. The Photo Card allows you to show or hide a photo within a Tweet.

Photo Card Example

Player Card

This card allows you to send a Tweet-sized video/audio/media player card. It allows you to show or hide a player in a Tweet.



Player Card Example

Google+ Hack

Google+ is not just a social network, it has an increasing role over search engine results and ranking and the communities on Google+ are very active, which is a great sign. They've introduced interactive posts, which aim at providing rich user experience and high engagement for publishers.

4. Interactive Posts

Interactive posts on Google+ are similar to basic shared posts with an added call-to-action button, functionality and additional page interaction statistics in Google+ page dashboard. This is one of the greatest features within Google+, but rarely utilized due to implementation complexity. Here are some notable examples of interactive post use:

 

Interactive posts allow users to bring people they care about to your app for a specific purpose. Users can send posts asking people to sign up, write a review, buy an item, check-in, listen, or whatever your app calls for. There are over a 100 buttons that you can chose from which takes the users where you want them to go e.g Your Post, Product Page, Podcast Show on iTuens etc.

If you're looking to set up Google+ Interactive post on your website, check out this plugin by Dejan SEO with step by step instruction on how to set it up on your website.


Pinterest Hacks


Pinterest has really taken off in last few years but in 2013, it really pulled off and joined the league of the Top Social Media channels i.e Facebook and Google.

Pinterest is the highest traffic referral source for many websites, and the average ROI of pinterest users is much higher than traffic from Facebook or Twitter and we suggest taking your brand to Pinterest

5. Use rich pins

In May 2013, Pinterest introduced rich pins: that is, pins that include more information that just a picture. Just like any other hack we discussed above the purpose of this update was to provide better user experience to users who are navigating through the images.

 

If you are a Chef who is sharing exciting recipes or a retailer who is using product images to drive sales, Rich Pins are a must for you as this Infographic shares how Pinterest delivers Higher ROI as compared to traffic from other social media channels e.g Facebook or Twitter.

We've applied for Rich Pins ourselves and now our pins come with post Title, Favicon, URL and Meta Description at the end of the image.

There are five types of rich pins, you can identify which one will work best for your business and apply for it right away.

  • Article pins include the headline, author, story description and link.
  • Product pins include real-time pricing, availability and where to buy.
  • Recipe pins include ingredients, cooking times and serving info.
  • Movie pins include ratings, cast members and reviews.
  • Place pins include an address, phone number and map.

Rich pins come from specifically validated sites, but you can apply to add rich pins from your own website as well (handy if you’re selling products).

6. Re-order your boards to match changing seasons

Just a recap as we move forward, the purpose of this post is to tell how you these small hacks can help you utilize these social media channels effectively through which you can promote your message and content effectively whilst providing a good user experience to the audience.

It’s worth remembering that you can re-order your Pinterest boards. If you have boards that aren’t always relevant, you can rotate them as the weather changes (summer recipes aren’t quite the comfort food we’re looking for in winter) or as your business focus changes or if you want to promote any particular feature, offer or any product launch.

 

P.S Make sure you apply for a Business account on Pinterest to unlock Pinterest analytics which you can use to monitor your reach.

Instagram Hacks

In the last few years, the use of Instagram has sky rocketed and with millions of users, it gives a business opportunity to target their audience and use it for marketing purpose.

What started as a simple picture sharing app with filters with no market value, it has turned out to be an effective marketing channel for brands to reach new audience in a way that audience doesn't mind being marketed to with visuals and short messages, in fact, they love it.

Let's take a look at few Instagram hacks that you can use for your content marketing efforts.

7. Photo Map Labeling

This hack was shared by our friend Andrew Macarthy for businesses who don't have a physical location but still want to Geo-Tag their photos.

 


The above images show how the Photo Map is traditionally used by brands. When a photo has been geo-tagged, the user taps on the name of the location, which takes them to a map showing them where it is, as well as a gallery of other photos geo-tagged to the same location. A further tap opens the map in full, where users can get directions and reviews.


Now all of this is great but what do you do if you don't have a physical location? Check out this Hack by Puma

 


When you choose to geo-tag a photo, you are given the option to "create" a location anywhere in the world and give it a name. Since Puma doesn't have one single physical location, it uses the space normally given to the "location" of the geo-tag to label its photos.

 


Of course, when you click on the geo-tagged "location" in the above example,  all you get is a random place chosen by Puma - Frankfurt in Germany, in this case.

So, if your brand has no fixed physical location (perhaps just office space that you don't want customers visiting, or a web-only presence), why not use the Photo Map feature of Instagram to label your content? Best of all, the label is positioned at the top of the screen, so it is the first thing that a user sees, where otherwise, they might have to scroll down to read the description for more information.


8. Upload to Instagram from Mac or PC


One thing that I've witnessed is that Quotations and Images tends to do well in terms of  engagement, especially on Facebook, and they've changed their algorithm  forcing brands not to use text updates and will devalue it.

So what you should be doing is to create images and repurpose that and spread it to other social media channels.

Now, I know folks who are active on Instagram and use their mobile camera to take pictures and upload it but now they can create images and upload it directly to Insgram through this app called Gamblr.com

1. You can Download the program from Gamblr.com for PC or Mac.

2. Install and enter your Instagram login details and press login. (Note: It might take a few seconds so be patient)

3. Browse the image you want to upload and press Upload. As instructed by Gamblr, make sure your picture is in exact pixel size of 650 x 650, it can be bigger but the ratio should be consistent.

4. Enter Caption, Hashtags and press "Save Caption" and Vola! You're done.

5. Your photo goes live on Instagram which you can check from the app or through the links provided by the app, which also gives embed codes if you want to embed the picture on your website and share buttons for Twitter and Facebook.


Linkedin


LinkedIn is the leading social media network for professionals, and if you're in an Industry or business which doesn't involve teens, then LinkedIn is where you should be hanging out to generate leads for your business.

9. Call to Action Images inside Post

We are using Linkedin to share our content from our blog with our marketing professionals and getting a lot of leads so you're missing out on a lot of opportunities if you're not sharing your content on LinkedIn.

When you share a post on LinkedIn, it automatically pulls the featured image from the post which shows up in the left side in the preview box. Now, unlike Facebook, we only have this small are for visual content so the hack is to add a call to action image in the post which will then show in the preview box.

Here is an example of how a post looks like without call to action image:

 

and this is how a post looks like with call to action image:

 

You can see that the feature image which pulls up by default doesn't make any sense, offers to value and most certainly that update will be missed out as any other update we see on the LinkedIn homepage when we login so what happens is that when you share content on LinkedIn Status or group with the CTA Image, it increases the click-through rate and drives more traffic and eventually more people reading and sharing your content, which basically gives legs to your content.

We'd love to hear what other hacks have you implemented in your social media strategy that has helped your content reach wider audience.

Picture Credit: Flickr

Originally posted at http://www.omnicoreagency.com/content-marketing-strategy/.

Salman Aslam

Salman Aslam

Chief Marketing Officer, Omnicore

Salman Aslam is co-founder and CMO of Omnicore™, a full service Digital Marketing Agency focused on performance growth for Startups and Small to Medium Enterprises through ROI focused Internet Marketing Services. He regularly contributes at Omnicore's Digital Marketing Blog. You circle him on Google+ or follow him on Twitter @salmanamughal

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Comments

Salman, Nice explanation. I love this article. Thanks! 

These tips are really very useful for blog marketing. Developing community is the key aspect. You have shared all important points