From year to year, there are subtle changes in the way marketers interact with customers through social media, and following those changes could mean the difference between winning new customers or losing them to much savvier competitors. If you're feeling behind the times in 2016, here are a few things you can do to win the social media marketing game.
With Facebook's custom audiences tool, you can target your marketing messages to reach exactly the right audience. Since so many businesses are now utilizing this tool, marketers who aren't personalizing their outreach are having more difficulty getting their messages read. For best results, find ways to customize messages as much as possible on each of the social media platforms you use.
2. Grow Your Followers
One prevailing problem for many social media users is followers. High-quality followers who actually read your posts and interact with them are essential to growing your online presence. Make an effort to expand your online networks by following others within your industry. Share their most interesting posts and reply to them when they post something that merits it.
3. Go Visual
The growing popularity of Instagram has only increased the demand for visual content across all social media platforms. In addition to adding still images to your posts, consider incorporating GIFs and videos, which will stand out as users scroll through thousands of posts.
4. Master Emojis
At some point, emojis became a part of everyday conversation in text messages and social media updates. Brands can take advantage of this by using the emojis built into both the Windows and Mac operating systems. Go beyond smiley faces and hearts and use some of the more creative emojis like those specific to food, travel, or fashion.
Here's a great tutorial on using emojis.
5. Implement Social Commerce
Many Bbusinesses still don't have the social media buy buttons that they've been told about for the past couple of years, but that doesn't stop social media from influencing buying decisions. In fact, social media platforms have officially surpassed retail websites in their influence over consumer buying decisions. Post photos of your products and make it easy for customers to click over to your website and make a purchase.
6. Offer Customer Service
Social media's role in the business environment has gone beyond its use as a marketing tool. Savvy brands monitor mentions and respond quickly when a customer service issue arises. It's important to not only know when your business is mentioned but to have a procedure in place to respond, whether the comments are negative, positive, or neutral.
7. Optimize Content
While SEO was always a part of marketers' social media strategies, improvements to search on these platforms will make it even more important. Facebook and Instagram have both improved search functionality, although the feature still isn't perfect on either platform. To stay ahead of the curve, learn as much as possible about search on each of these sites to ensure you optimize your content so that users can find you.
8. Measure Results
Social media analytics are playing an increasing role in marketing with each passing year. In 2016, brands will find their competitors are measuring everything they do, then adjusting their activities based on what they learn. There will be a brief learning curve as brands continue to learn how to accurately measure activity and put that information to use in the most productive ways.
9. Tell a Story
Underlying everything your business does on social media is the story you're telling. Your most loyal customers buy into your brand culture, from the helpful people who resolve issues to the people who work behind the scenes to get products to consumers. Focus on sharing those stories with customers instead of merely promoting products and services.
Social media marketing continues to evolve, but brands who're able to keep up with changes will remain competitive throughout. These strategies will not only help businesses successfully launch campaigns in 2016, but they'll likely work in 2017 and beyond, since many of these changes are only the beginning for social media platforms.