Have you read the "2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report?"
Each year, Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner delivers the report, which includes data summaries of their massive survey along with his insights.
First up in the latest edition is the "Top 5 social media questions marketers want answered." Question #1:
What social tactics are most effective? Michael wrote 92% of marketers want the answers.
Reading this inspired me to roundup all kinds of answers. I did a search using the exact question (actually I added the word "media"). In the screenshot below you'll see what I found. And below the screenshot, I'll share with you the most effective social media tactics according to the highest-ranking blog posts and pages.
Will the post you're reading now soon change the results above? (Update: it did indeed.)
Create a strong social media content strategy
With high website authority, a relentless pursuit of social strategies, and no-nonsense approach to SEO, Social Media Examiner's "how to" blog posts top a ton of searches.
In "26 Tips to Create a Strong Social Media Content Strategy," social media coach Debbie Hemley reels off a generous list of tactics connecting social media and content marketing strategies. The commentary is by me.
- Develop content aligned with your marketing objectives. Your goals will shape your content development. Want traffic, audience, interaction, revenue? Prioritize.
- Observe and learn from big brands. Check out how brands like Starbucks (or a leader in a relevant market) tap the most happening channels, listen closely to their customers and create content that inspires "talk."
- Post frequently. You need to post at a steady clip. Say 5-plus times daily on Twitter and once or more on Facebook.
- Post on multiple social sites and yours. After posting content on your blog or hub, share magnetic excerpts from it across all your social channels.
- Delve into social media data to determine user interests. Be careful not to drown in social analytics, but dig into the numbers to identify relevant issues, determine user interests, and monitor competitors.
- Interact in real-time. Whether you do or don't auto-post social updates, you need to engage in real conversations, so prepare to work the channel often and actively.
- Keep up with the changes. The article's tip said to keep pace with Facebook's changes. Facebook is particularly fickle, but you need to apply the advice to each network you're working. Subscribe to reliable sources to keep your social IQ high.
- Learn from your Google Analytics social reports. Click around your Google Analytics regularly to determine where traffic is coming from and going to.
- Use hashtags to get found. Using hashtags helps with tracking promotions, targeting readers by areas of interest, and starting conversations.
- Network in all the right places. Watch how prospects and customers behave in the social sphere to identify the most relevant networks for your business.
- Share photos of yourself and your team. It'll help humanize your brand to share candid shots and your followers will identify with them.
- Ask your readers questions. You'll get more engagement and insights when you throw questions out there.
- Use a consistent brand identity across platforms. Apply a style guide of sorts to make your social profiles reflect your brand well.
- Dial-up social media at the events you attend (or host). Create event pages. Select a hashtag. Interact with attendees. Share content. Stream video. Publish content from the event.
- Have regular progress meetings with your social media team. Update each other and share ideas. If you're working solo, take inventory and update thyself.
- Use a conversational tone. Drop the corporate babble, lighten up and be yourself.
- Use great images. There are a ton of sites and services you can use to get or create images. Invest the time and/or money to create the stopping power you need to standout
- Create tips articles. Tips and tactics work. I'm doing it here and you should too.
Patel-tested and approved ideas
Neil Patel is a true heavy hitter in online marketing and new media. The high-ranking post "7 Simple Yet Effective Social Media Tactics You Should Leverage Today" features creative ideas that may not be as simple as advertised, but have been endorsed by Patel-meaning they work. Here are four of them.
- Create infographics and promote Pinterest shares. People love infographics. They love to share (and discover) them via Pinterest. Feature a Pin it button alone atop your graphic.
- Toss up a popup that asks for followers. Neil wrote a popup that reads, "Like or follow to continue viewing this article" (with a "no thanks" option) will double your social traffic in 30 days. Not sure I like that, but I trust he's right.
- Create a landing page to collect emails on Facebook. Rather than encouraging traffic to leave Facebook for your site (which seldom works), put a tool in place to deliver an offer (ebook, etc.) and collect emails on your Facebook fan page.
- Perfect your timing. Use Simply Measured's free follower analytics tools to discover when your followers are most active.
Painfully obvious tactics :o)
My friend Stefanie Grieser is a blogger, community builder, conversion smarty, and event producer at Unbounce.
We'll go with a brief Facebook-focused section now because she penned "5 Painfully Obvious But Extremely Effective Facebook Tactics Nobody Told You About." The network's inching close to 1.5-billion users, so I'm thinking you're one of them.
23. Create collages. A few social media heavyweights experimented with collages of illustrations and different style photos and concluded Facebookers like, love and share them.
24. Steal ideas from other channels. Stef says find something from your blog (or another channel) that was a hit on Facebook and turn it into a series. Brilliant.
25. Use hashtags on Facebook to link to campaigns and contests. Use hashtags to unify your posts, promote across platforms and encourage users to spread the word.
26. Use emoticons to increase interaction. Posts with emoticons get more likes, comments and shares. Go figure.
Create this stuff to achieve your goals
"Which Social Media Marketing Tactics Work Best?" from eMarketer doesn't quite deliver what it promises. The post offers research first about top social media marketing objectives, and second, the tactics respondents use most often to achieve them.
The top three objectives were improve customer engagement, website traffic, and content reach. So to achieve them:
- Create blog posts, research, white papers, and video for B2B. Runner-ups include using social sharing buttons, branding your social profiles and blog, and advertising. Basic, but smart, stuff.
- Create blog posts and video for B2C. Advertising on social networks scored much higher for B2Cers
How social must you be?
"How "Social" Do I Have to Be?" comes from Bayshore Solutions. The post delivers a social media 101 for noobs, but delivers a trio of tactics deemed most important in a Marketing Sherpa study.
- Optimize your social media sites.Take this one seriously. Revisit your profile pages and use relevant keywords to improve search engine rankings.
- Build one-to-one relationships.Reach out to bloggers and other social influencers. Be valuable to them.
- Moderate company branded social networks. We touched on this above. Brand your profile pages with great cover photos, backgrounds and colors (where possible).
The post gets into some reality checks about the time and talent you'll need to succeed in social media. The anonymous author talks about the need to respond promptly to commentators (and the dangers of not doing so). And finally...
- Bring in a strategist. Effective social media marketing requires strategy, expertise and dedication. Enlist an expert to help develop your social media marketing strategy and accelerate your success.
[Psst: I'm a social media strategist. You can bring me in if you'd like.)
Rules you can use
Somehow, with very low page authority and just 3 (going on 4) backlinks, Judy's Business Blog managed to land on the search results page with "21 Most Effective Social Media Marketing Tactics."
Lucky us. Judy presents an infographic, "21 Rules for Effective Social Media Marketing Strategies" from SocialMetricsPro, which makes many great points:
- Invest your time. There are no shortcuts. Social media marketing takes time, energy, creativity and above all, commitment.
- Contribute value. People will only care what you have to say if you consistently contribute something of value.
- Position yourself as an expert. Earn the trust you're after.
- Keep the noise down. The infographic advises you say meaningful stuff or nothing at all. That's too black and while for me. I propose you can goof around now and then, but don't be a relentless noisemaker.
- Offer concise morsels of advice. Rambling's a no-no. Get to the point.
- Don't overdo the self-promotion. You'll be labeled "spammer" and cast into to social media purgatory.
- Keep it real. Be authentic and draw from your experiences, knowledge, and sense of humor.
- Give followers an opportunity to speak up. Like any conversation, if you want to make friends, you can't monopolize it. Listen and converse.
- Keep up with topics and trends. Things move and change fast online. Try to keep up and adapt.
- Follow-up with new connections. When someone does you the favor of following, follow-up. Express your appreciation. (I love this tip.)
- Mind your manners. People may disagree with you or send an abrasive comment your way now and then. Chill. Take the high road.
- Be patient. Results can't be rushed. Think long-term and be a nurturer.
- Ration yourself. "Don't be an obsessive joiner," says the infographic. Joining groups is a good thing. But spreading yourself too thin is not.
- Have fun. If you're not enjoying social media, it's not for you.
Thanks Social Metric Pros
Here's where search let us down. In eighth place is a Quora Q&A: What social tactics are most effective? But it's a dud.
The inflated listing probably traces to the site's very high authority and the near-perfect keywords match. I haven't even included a link because as of now, only three responses have been written. The best one said:
- Run polls and surveys. They're among the most effective ways to encourage activity.
Business growth tactics
"5 Best Social Media Tactics to Grow Your Business" is a good post written by part-time employee/student/intern Maureen Lenehan, who's managed to collect and express some big ideas in the early days of her professional career.
- Monitor and respond. Monitor mentions of your brand to find good feedback to share, bad feedback to mediate, and new business prospects.
- Run contests and giveaways. Make things exciting for your fans. People love to compete and strive for the prize.
- Offer special deals to your followers. Nice idea. Showing your followers members-only love will build loyalty and invoke word of mouth.
- Work as a team. The post suggests an "all hands on deck" approach across marketing, sales, customer support, and product designers (if you have them) makes for a more effective approach to customer communication.
- Schedule sharing. The fifth tip is a five-pack of tips on sharing:
- Do some advance planning
- Share a fair amount of blog posts you found valuable
- Create a steady stream (not a flash flood)
- Promote your blog
- Repurpose blog posts for SlideShare
How to acquire fans and followers
MarketingProfs pulled in at number ten with "The Most Effective Tactics for Acquiring Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers," by Ayaz Nanji. Ayaz regularly provides research-based content at MarketingProfs.
In this post, Ayaz presents findings from survey of digital marketers done by ExactTarget. Respondents were asked to identify the tactics they use to grow their Facebook and Twitter fan bases and then rate how effective they consider them.
Effective tactics for Facebook listed were:
- Engage in conversation. 58% do it 67% rated it effective.
- Work with influencers and bloggers. Only 33% do this. Do you?
- Ask for user content for contests. 54% of the respondents reported Facebook contests requiring fans to submit content are effective.
Here are more underutilized tactics with perceived high effectiveness:
- Run Facebook ads. This study goes back two years, so it wasn't as well known then as it is now that money talks on Facebook.
- Answer customer service questions. Seems wise. 69% say it's effective. (34% use, 69% rate effective).
And now we move on to Twitter:
- Force follows. Product/prize giveaways with "follow" required (20% use, 57% rate effective).
59. Repeat your Facebook tricks. Work with influencers. Answer customer service questions. Tweet how-to content.
Thanks @ayaznanji and @marketingprofs
Why so much Facebook and Twitter?
As you gathered, a huge chunk of the tips and tactics I dug up referenced Facebook and Twitter. It's fair. They're the two most commonly used social media platforms.
Still, there are several other important networks.
Most commonly used platforms, from the Social Media Industry Report.
Linkedin comes in at a strong #3 with 71% usage among the survey participants. Here's a heap of advice for making the most of Linkedin:
We'll have to skip down a few spots now, but I really want you to understand how powerful SlideShare can be to your content and social efforts. Here's a recent post I wrote for KISSmetrics:
Are you a social media marketing beginner?
My advice is to join the conversation-now. And I have all kinds of advice for getting started. Here's a how-to, The Absolute Beginners Guide to Social Media Marketing. It's a post on The Point at Feldman Creative and also, a free eBook.