Let me start by asking you a question: How much time do you spend each week on social media? Does it amount to what you would describe as either "too much", or "more than you'd like to"?
Unless you outsource your social media, I'm guessing you answered yes.
Breathe a sigh of relief, there's a better way.
Ever since businesses started noticing that social media marketing delivers big results, gurus, experts, hackers and strategists have been hunkering down to put together some pretty awesome tools and tricks to help business owners like yourself save precious time and energy.
Take a look at the following tips even a complete idiot could follow (and we know you're not an idiot, so just imagine how easy these will be for you!).
1. Social Media Calendars
This is the first tool you're going to want to get your hands on. Gone are the days of pulling out your phone every time you want to publish a tweet from your business account.
Nowadays you can use a variety of tools to schedule out your posts in advance.
Implementing this will be a boon for your:
You'll also often want your social media marketing to align with the release of your blog posts, and the best way to do this is with a calendar.
When it comes down to which social calendars are best, Buffer and Hootsuite are widely regarded as being at the top of the pack.
As to which one you ultimately decide upon, that'll be a matter of personal preference. But they both have robust feature sets that go far beyond simply scheduling posts and both have built in systems for link-shortening (Google Analytics will thank you).
Here's a comparison to help you pick which will be right for you.
2. Use Images!
You might have noticed that images are currently a pretty big deal. It's no surprise given the degree to which we are a visually stimulated species. But take a look around and you'll start to see that pictures and photography are a more important part of engaging your audience than ever before.
In fact, if there were only one hack I could teach you to growth hack social media, this would be a top contender.
In the age of Instagram, SnapChat and Pinterest, images are king. People have shorter attention spans, so it's only natural that we need to work harder to grab it right away. There are few better ways to do this than with a perfect image. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words right?
The data backing up the important of images is figuratively staggering. Tweets are far more likely to be retweeted if they contain images. [bctt tweet="One study even found that on Facebook, 87% of shared posts contained images!"]
EIGHTY SEVEN PERCENT! That's just outrageous.
There's no doubt that including images in your social campaigns is one of the easiest ways to increase engagement and grow your following. If you need help with image creation you can always to go fiverr.com or 99designs.com for more complicated work.
No excuses! If you want to do the work yourself (or have no money to spend), learn to use Canva. It's an incredibly powerful tool and there are tons of tutorials that can help teach you how to get the most out of it.
Cross promoting content is one of those things that many will advise against, but that's only because many people utilizing this method will fail to follow #15 (optimizing posts for each platform).
Using the right tools it's more than possible to cross-post and keep content appropriate and styled properly for multiple outlets.
Using tools like Buffer, If This Then That (IFTTT) and others, you can make your life a whole lot easier, and increase the volume of your social posting without making yourself crazy.
IFTT in particular, is extremely versatile. It's a simple and user-friendly platform on which to build "recipes" around the age-old "if this, then that" system. Trust me, it can automate plenty of otherwise annoying and time-consuming social media activities.
Ever tried to get Instagram photos to automatically post to twitter in native image format? I have. It's why I'm the proud owner of a shiny new keyboard. One that distinctly lacks the fist-shaped-crater-look my old keyboard was sporting.
Here are some pretty cool recipes to look over.
4. Don't Overlook Google+
Hi there. Are you a software developer? If not, let me guess: you don't use Google + much. Well, believe it or not, Google + is actually still alive and well and you should consider using it for your business.
It's a testament to the failed initial marketing of Google + that using it can be at all considered a hack, but honestly it just didn't take off like the big G would have hoped.
Despite all of this, it's a veritable goldmine for marketers. Time and time again, reports show that audiences on google+ are among the most engaged social media users anywhere on the web.
Doubt you need me to mention that more engaged followers should be a top contender for any business's social marketing North Star metric.
5. Pay Attention to Keywords
Here's one you might not have considered, and it can make your social ads a whole lot more effective.
When you're targeting keywords on social media, pay attention to the fact that people write differently than they do when making a google search query. It's usually more conversational and in their own personal voice.
To illuminate, let's look at an example: Say you have a trip planned but don't have anyone lined up to care for Mr. Bigglesworth. Before you go to Google to look for a pet-sitter to hire, you might throw a line out to your friends on Facebook or Twitter. "Hey guys, can any of you help watch my cat when I go away soon?! He's super sweet just like me... really, I promise!".
If you're running a pet sitting company, you could target the keyword "watch my cat" on twitter and run an ad that has a catch line "Going away soon? Leaving an animal at home? Instead, leave it to the professionals (that's us!)." Or something like that, you get the idea.
On the flipside, if you were to target standard search queries, you might aim for keywords like "pet sitter" or "cat sitter".
It's one of those common sense things that you might not think about beforehand, but when you do, you might face-palm realizing how silly it was to have ever overlooked.
This one is pretty easy to follow (especially if you take the time to make a flow-chart) and can deliver huge results.
You know how when you go look at a pair of shoes on amazon, you'll go to facebook and see an ad for that SAME pair of shoes? That's remarketing. They know you were interested, now they just want to remind you. "Hey... these shoes... they're still here... free 2-day shipping... could be on your doorstep by Wednesday... think about it ok?"
How many times has this worked on you? Here's your chance to be on the other end of this highly effective technique.
Remarketing is a great use of your time as it generally provides a strong ROI. That's due to a little something called cognitive biases. A fascinating topic for another article, but its application in this circumstance can be summarized as such:
- You've been targeted for remarketing
- You begin to see the ad everywhere
- You begin to believe the brand is prolific
- You believe prolific brands are great brands
- You're more likely to buy from great brands
Holy shit right?!
7. Paid Advertising and Post/Page Promotion
This is so basic. So simple. But I bet you'd be surprised by how many businesses still forget to do it. Are you among their ranks?
Well, don't be ashamed if you are. Everyone starts somewhere. Let me explain why you need to run paid advertisements on your social media platforms of choice.
Facebook and Twitter both offer such incredibly robust targeting that you can run an effective advertising campaign, directly to your potential customers, for literally a few dollars a day.
It just doesn't get any better than this, so what are you waiting for? This never would have been possible 20 years ago. Take full advantage of the proprietary tools that social platforms offer, they are well worth your time and often prove to deliver better results than any other tactic.
With a small up-front investment, you can also get your content promoted to potentially interested parties on social media. And so begins the snowball effect. This can turn into a gift that keeps on giving. This exponential growth is the secret sauce that will allow you to truly growth hack social media.
If you get just one share, that content is then promoted to all of that person's followers at no additional cost. It's almost too good to be true. It's for this reason that #8 is a total no-brainer and requires very little work or in-depth understanding on your end.
All you have to do is create highly shareable content! Then spend a little and see where the roller-coaster takes you!
8. Run a Giveaway
Using Rafflecopter to run a contest can help you make a ton of headway with both your business objectives and your social media growth.
Just listen to this testimonial from a Rafflecopter client...
"(Rafflecopter) helped fuel engagement and acquire 40,000 new Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Additionally, OnePlus saw a 20% growth in their already substantial mailing list..." - Josh Couper
Rafflecopter ran a webinar themselves that does a better job of explaining it in detail than I ever could. Have a look at it when you have some free time or if you're on the fence about running a giveaway yourself.
Truth be told though, the glory of Rafflecopter is in its simplicity and its affordability. You can run a contest for as little as $7.99. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better deal than that.
9. Learn to Read and Use Data
There's an old business adage that you're probably familiar with. "You can't improve what you can't measure." While I think a lot of us have deciphered that the truth is more complicated than that particular declaration allows, there's still some wisdom to be garnered from it.
When it comes to social marketing (and marketing in general), data collection and interpretation is crucial. And trust me, it's not going anywhere. The only way for us to know if our marketing is working is to keep track of the results and iterate upon our successes.
At first glance, big data looks pretty intimidating.
Luckily, you don't have to do all of the grunt work yourself.
There are a bunch of great social metric monitoring services out there. I won't tell you which one to use, but take a look at Simply Measured, Sprout Social, and Followerwonk.
They aren't cheap, but if social media management is going to be important to your bottom line, subscribing to one should pay for itself in short order.
10. Put Real Time and Effort into Your Cover Photo
First impressions matter. You've surely heard people advise you to never judge a book by it's cover enough times to be all set for a few lifetimes. The reason people constantly reiterate this is because so many of us continue to do it despite all the well-intentioned warnings!
I'd be willing to bet you do it as well.
You need to wow potential customers with your first impression. What they see when they open your twitter page, is largely going to determine whether or not they stick around to follow you or not. We published an article showing exactly how to do this a few weeks ago, check it out here.
Great example above. Simple branding, and the image draws your attention to a right-aligned message about what this company is all about. Well-done!
Keep it simple, and be consistent with your overall branding. Use the same color pallette as your logo and stick to your most successful messaging, you know the drill!
11. Complete Your Profile!
This one is so simple that it hurts. You'd think this wouldn't be a problem, but for whatever reason, businesses will often fail to actually complete their profiles.
For the love of all that is holy, please don't perpetuate this problem. Step up to the plate and do yourself (and your brand) a favor... complete the profile.
- About section
- Profile picture
- Cover photo
- Address and other basic information
There's really not much to be said here other than the fact that the more information you make available to customers the better. It conveys your purpose more clearly, and it's a critical piece of your business's discoverability in local search.
You should of course, take this a step further, like the page yourself, get your friends to like it, and ask some customers to leave reviews. The more information and content on your page the better.
12. Have a God-Forsaken Call-To-Action!
I can't tell you how many times I come across a business on facebook or twitter with no discernible call-to-action. As a marketer, it's beyond frustrating to see in this day and age.
This is especially true when it's a product or service I'm interested in either learning more about or outright purchasing, and I have to give up because I can't figure out a way to do it easily and quickly. Call me grumpy, call me a stickler, but the truth is I don't like having my time-wasted.
I'm not alone in this either. There's a reason CTA's are so ubiquitous. It's because they're downright necessary.
Have a look at this breakdown of what makes an effective CTA.
When you do start A/B testing CTA's, make sure to be creative and think about how to engage the people viewing your ads. Your goal is to make your visitors think about themselves, your brand, and the emotions your product or service can evoke.
13. Automate Twitter to Repurpose Old Blog Posts
As your social following grows, you'll get new audience members that haven't read some of your older content. But that doesn't mean they wouldn't want to if you put it in front of them right?
Sharing older content from you blog is a great way to share your expertise and the breadth of your work with newcomers, and it keeps your feed busy and varied.
There are a few WordPress plugins designed to do specifically this, and they'll make your life quite easy. Revive Old Post is my favorite because put simply: it works.
Don't miss out on this opportunity to get extra blog traffic and to continue spreading the word about content that you may have forgotten is still worth sharing.
14. Embed Testimonials from Twitter and Facebook on Your Website
Regardless of what industry you're in, word of mouth will always be one of the most important tools in your lead-generation arsenal.
There's some powerful psychology at work here: it's even been theorized that the development of our ability to gossip is partially responsible for the success of our species here on earth!
Either way, seeing real reviews and recommendations is hugely important when it comes to building a report with a new visitor. They're far more likely to follow you if they see stellar reviews and confirmation that you're good at what you say you are.
Take the time to get a few reviews and you'll find your social following will experience a big boost.
15. Optimize Your Posts for The Platform You're Posting on
It's important that your posts be specifically formatted and angled for the particular social outlet you're going to be posting on.
For instance, when you post on Twitter, you're going to want to make sure that images are in native twitter format. If they're not, the image won't display in people's feeds. Instead they'd have to click on it.
As you might remember from above, images are a critical key to social growth so this would be a real problem.
Take the time to use the right tools, and to optimize your posts for each outlet instead of just dumping them out there and/or ignoring potential cross-posting issues.