It is the year 2016, and social media is only getting more powerful, it is not going down anytime soon.
Consider this: about 64% of marketers are using social media for six hours or more weekly and 66% of marketers plan to increase their use of Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn in the future. (Source)
Now, how can you stand out among the millions of businesses that are joining new social media platforms everyday and expanding their presence even as you are reading this article?
Aggressive marketing is not going to help you, but strategy will – smart, unconventional and innovative strategies, to be more precise.
In this post, I list out some suggestions you can use to come up with that ultimate magic strategy to help you nail social media marketing this year.
1. Go offbeat more often
Most people would suggest that you stick to your area of business while marketing on social media. I say different. While this is a good idea, it plays too safe and in a way cuts off your legs. I suggest that you branch out, not branch out as in, a software company talking about diamond jewellery, but branch out reasonably.
Of course, when you decide to branch out, you have to invest more time than usual; right mixture of social media automation and creative social media content generation is the key to deriving maximum ROI in this case. Use the time you save via automation to generate more offbeat content.
The only true question you have to ask yourself is this, ‘Is what I am writing relevant to my readers?’. It doesn’t matter if you are a software company; if you know that majority of your audience love football, post about football every now and then.
Here are some tips you can try:
- Talk about social issues that are close to your company. For example, if you are an organic cosmetics company, talk about testing on animals.
- React to current social trends like #noshavenovember, #Ilooklikeanengineer etc.
- Post your thoughts and suggestions on generic, yet useful topics like self-improvement, life coaching, personality development etc.
- Talk about business trends.
- Instead of staying relevant to a field, stay relevant to the platform. For example, on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, you can post about just anything, but on LinkedIn you must exercise a little more restraint, as it is a professional network.
2. Click on ask-the-audience option
Crowdsourcing for your social media campaign is a social media campaign in itself.
Take for example some e-commerce companies which are posting pictures of their customers instead of models on their shopping websites. This is an example of crowdsourcing and trust me, you can get wildly creative with this.
Welch organised a ‘pass the glass’ social media campaign. The food and beverage company created a vine campaign by asking its customers to record a vine of receiving and passing a glass of juice, and then by merging all these vines into a wonderful campaign. An amazing idea, isn’t it?
There are many more crowdsourced campaigns and most of them have been widely successful. With such campaigns, you not only get closer to your customers, but you add immense value to the title of your company and also, expand your influence.
So, next time you want to design a new logo for your company, or rename your company, try crowdsourcing for ideas.
Also, people in general will love such campaigns because you as a company are sharing a bit of your fame and dedicating it to your customers.
3. Cross channel promotions
I am sure, you already know that social media is not just about Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There is a lot more under that umbrella! Vines, vlogs, blogs, YouTube, podcasts, Pinterest and many more. This is good news, really!
For those of us who don’t already have a great following, the existence of several platforms boosts our chances of reaching out to more people.
You can use your expertise/awesomeness in one platform to promote yourself on the other. For example, let’s say you are a particularly good vlogger, you can use your vlogs to promote other platforms.
Here are some more examples of what we like to call ‘Integrated social media marketing’ :
- If you are already well established on Twitter and just starting off as a Youtuber, tweet about your videos.
- If you are running an online campaign, take pictures and put them on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
- Tweet about your podcasts and post about them (or get linkbacks) on Facebook and LinkedIn.
4. Harness the power of social experiments (experiential marketing)
Honest tea conducted a brilliant social media campaign. According to the brand director, Ami Mathur, “Honest Tea is doing a social experiment, in cities all across the US, to see how #RefreshinglyHonest consumers in each city are by giving them the opportunity to donate $1 when they take a drink from our pop-up Honest Store.”
This campaign was a huge success and they used the power of experiential marketing in sync with social media marketing, by spreading the influence of a local event online and thereby, spreading the impact to the online world as well.
Many companies are resorting to revolutionary social experimentation campaigns and are using the emotions captured during these campaigns, like videos of audience reactions, opinions and spreading the influence online.
5. Be modest. Leave it to the experts
Let’s admit it, not all of us are cut out to think creatively and well, social media marketing is indeed all about creativity. If you want your name to shine, you gotta be creative enough to grab your customer’s attention. Of course, like any other skill you can learn to be creative and develop it, but until you are ready enough to lead and design an entire social media campaign, I suggest you leave it to people who are experts at doing that.
Here are some reasons why you should consider outsourcing:
- Most social media engagement happens on weekends. Expecting your employees to attend to that on weekends is not reasonable.
- Social media marketing is done more effectively by teams, rather than individuals, and hiring an entire team at a small company is unrealistic.
- A small mistake can take your campaign south pretty quickly, and once you damage your reputation online, it isn’t easy to make a comeback. So, best leave it to experts.
If you are worried that an outside company cannot capture the essence and the soul of your company, don’t worry, it is rectifiable.
Instead of taking yourself totally out of the picture, work in collaboration. Take some measures where experts from the company sit in on your meetings, experience your company, your employees and the stories they have to tell and more.
Let’s face it, everyone has a presence online these days and that sure makes it tougher to make a dent in the world of social media, but I don’t think the solution is finding more and more platforms to exploit. Instead, we must use smart strategies to maximize the impact of the presence we already have.
About the Author
Niraj Ranjan Rout is the founder of Hiver (hiverhq.com), an app that turns Gmail into a powerful customer support and collaboration tool. Niraj works on programming, customer support and sales, and also contributes to design and UI. He’s a fusion music aficionado, loves to play the guitar when he can.