Do you want to add something to your online marketing?
Trying new things can be fun and refreshing, for both you and your audience.
In this article I’ll share 26 ways, an A-Z guide, to improve your social media efforts.
#1: Add Audio
If audio wasn't part of your foray into social media, it may be time to embark on a new adventure.
Recording audio entails choosing your message, selecting a program that permits recording and editing, finding a microphone that fits your budget and needs and deciding where to host your finished product.
In some cases you may want to find an application or individual to transcribe the audio files for people who prefer reading.
#2: Beef Up Blogging
There are myriad ways to blog—long-form, short-form (microblogging), image-only and more.
Your regular blog is a good place to write longer-form posts when needed. To get the most out of your efforts, make sure your blog is mobile-friendly. You can test it with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Instagram is the perfect platform to showcase shorter posts for a “less is more” approach.
No matter how or where you blog, choose the option that's right for you and your schedule, then update consistently.
#3: Coax New Life Into Old Content
Evergreen content is your friend. Find your most popular posts and those that rank highly and update them as needed. Then reshare them across your social channels to draw new attention to those articles.
A good way to ensure you have the most up-to-date news is finding reliable sources of information in your industry. For example, check out what's new with Cindy King's weekly Social Media Examiner series, “This Week in Social Media.”
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#4: Draw on Your Community
It can be difficult to keep up with customer questions, especially if it's just you trying to answer. Why not let your community help?
If appropriate for your business, consider creating a forum where more experienced users can assist new visitors.
#5: Encourage Customer Feedback
If you'd like to have more customer feedback on your product or service, give your customers a reason to help you out. Incentives can run the gamut here, and most are simple and straightforward.
The key is to offer customers something of value that fits into your business model. For example, discounts and a chance to win a prize usually serve as great motivators.
Brainstorm a number of offers for the year ahead. See what works and build future incentives around those successes.
#6: Find New Photo Editing Tools
Images are an important part of social media. It can be time-consuming to create or edit original images, but luckily you have many tools at your disposal.
#7: Generate Buzz With Infographics
People have come to love and rely on infographics for explaining information clearly and concisely.
Whether you create one yourself or hire a graphic designer, be sure to include your company's name and URL. That way your work is attributed to your business as it moves across the socialsphere. For example, this infographic from InfographicLabs.com.
Ask those who share your infographic to link the image back to your site so you'll enjoy more traffic as well. When you share your infographic on your own site, make sure to include some explanatory text that deep links to previous relevant articles you've published.
#8: Harness the Power of SlideShare
Businesses have had a long love affair with slide decks. But what happens after you're done with them? The presentation you and your team slaved over for weeks doesn't have to retire to a folder on your hard drive. Upload it to SlideShare!
Once uploaded, you can embed your SlideShare in an article on your blog, share it at a conference or email the link to prospects.
For example, this wonderfully creative Sketchnotes slideshare presentation was created by Anne McColl on an iPad with the Brushes app, during sessions at SME's Social Media Marketing World 2014 #smmw14.
#9: Install the Pin It Button
If you want people to share your images, it's essential to make it easy for them. By installing the Pin It button, users who like images in your post can share them on Pinterest and spread your visual content in a matter of seconds.
#10: Join in the Customer Experience
There's a very wise saying: “You can't really understand another person's experience until you've walked a mile in his shoes.”
Have you tried actually using your product or service yourself? Have you dealt with customer service as a customer?
When you look at your business from an outsider's perspective, you'll have a better understanding of your customers' experience and gain important insights into what matters to them. Then you can decide what to do to meet their needs.
#11: Keep Learning
If you're like most marketers, in the past few years you've had to extend your reach into unfamiliar marketing terrain. Social media requires constant learning and mastering new skills.
As you find new ways to engage your audience, you'll likely need to learn something new. Venture into audio, video, photography, image editing and focused content marketing to take your social media marketing to new levels.
#12: Learn from Millennials
Millennials are digital natives. They've grown up in an online world where content is easy to access and is available 24/7.
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Given their proficiency online, they've come to expect certain features on the websites they frequent—clear navigation, fast response times and mobile-friendly options are all important.
In addition, compared to their parents and grandparents, Millennials are typically more willing to share personal information and opinions with businesses they engage with online.
Become familiar with these digital natives' expectations and behaviors, and build them into your updates, customer service and social media tactics.
#13: Maximize Impact with Visuals
Text and links are important parts of communicating online—they give context and drive traffic. Of course, they can't work alone. Visual content, especially photos, has quite an impact on audiences. Done well, images allow you to tell your story simply and quickly.
#14: Nurture Content Sharing
Whether your social media marketing department is comprised of a single person or a staff of 10, you don't have to figure out meaningful company content on your own—ask for help from other departments. Who knows the current projects and goals better than the people who work with them daily?
For example, customer service can share success stories or ways they meet customers' needs. Sales can tell you what was particularly hot this season. Product development can give you updates on new releases.
Tap into those resources as much as possible. Not only will you make your job easier, you'll be sure to share the most important information.
#15: Offer Added Value
Want to keep your business top of mind and meet customers' needs? You can do both—and become a trusted resource—by offering added value.
For example, offer free webinars, downloadable ebooks, free consultations or discounts to demonstrate the benefits of your products and services, while giving customers immediate assistance with something they've already identified an interest in.
#16: Participate in Conversations
If you want to connect with prospects, you have to engage with them. And to do that effectively, you need to know where they're engaging most frequently on social media.
When you know where your prospects hang out, start connecting with them. If they're on Twitter, add them to a Twitter list. Add Google+ users to a circle. Reach out to leads on LinkedIn. Read and listen to their content, and comment when you have something to add.
#17: Question Social Ads
Organic reach has experienced a nosedive, especially in the past year. Businesses now have to pay to play. It's time to assess where to spend your precious ad dollars.
Facebook ads have dominated the scene for a long time, but they aren't the only game in town these days.
Don't dismiss options like Instagram, LinkedIn and SlideShare.
You'll want to consider a number of factors—potential reach, pros and cons of platforms, price differences, etc. Do your homework to determine the best placement for your social ads.
#18: Ramp Up Online Reviews
Reviews significantly influence consumers' decisions about whom they want to do business with. Are your customers telling others about their experience with your business?
Explore review sites and online listing platforms that are relevant to your business (e.g., TripAdvisor or Yelp) and ask your customers to leave feedback on those sites. Be sure to respond—your response tone and enthusiasm say just as much about you as the reviews.
#19: Share on Instagram
Sharing brand photos and videos on Instagram is a powerful way to capture people's attention. By using tactics like showcasing products and services, featuring clear calls to action and including popular (and relevant) hashtags, you can quickly improve your presence on Instagram.
#20: Tap Into Snapchat
Snapchat, the photo/chat messaging app where photos disappear and chat messages can be cleared or saved, provides an exciting environment for businesses to engage with users, raise awareness and share a story or business announcement.
#21: Use Vine
Vine's short looping videos have won the attention of businesses and fit the bill for a cost-effective and innovative way to promote products and services. To get your own creative juices flowing, check out how other businesses have been using Vine.
#22: Visit Your Social Media Strategy
No matter how long your business has been on social media, it's always prudent to review your goals, assess your success and make any needed changes. Pulling back from one platform and switching it up on another may be just the thing you need to freshen up your presence and become more effective.
#23: Wrap Your Head Around Twitter
Who should you follow on Twitter? Is it better to favorite or retweet? Should you include a hashtag and/or a URL? If you're not sure, Twitter has suggestions for businesses and a helpful glossary of terms.
I suggest learning more about Twitter cards. Consider the benefits of including photos and albums, live video, product details, lead generation and landing page information to your tweets.
Why pour money and resources into campaigns that aren't effective? A/B testing (or split testing) is the best way to find out what's working and what's not.
You can use Google Analytics to run a test to discover which social media tactics are working best. Then you can run further tests on your most popular platform to see whether images, links or text affect click-throughs and comments. For example, are your Facebook ads doing the best they can?
#25: Yield Results With Geolocation Offers
Many people share their location with retailers. Knowing where your customers are can help you reach users with timely targeted mobile messages.
Marketing Land has an excellent article explaining how customers are using geolocation to find bargains while shopping, find the best place to eat nearby and more.
#26: Zero in on YouTube
Creating brand awareness with quality videos posted on YouTube has been a go-to social marketing tactic for a number of years.
Marketers should keep in mind, though, that YouTube is more than a platform for sharing video footage. It's just as important to develop a channel that is in keeping with your brand identity (e.g., using consistent imagery, thumbnails, colors and graphics within your video and your channel page design).
As you're designing your look, be sure to review and adhere to YouTube’s cover specs.
Social media marketing has come a long way. There are many new avenues to explore and places where businesses can stand out.
What do you think? How will you spice up your social media marketing in 2015? Do you have a few ideas to share? Please leave your comments and thoughts below.
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