Lecture 3.2: evergreen practices for SMM platforms

Source: BTC Business 127

9 Smart Social Media Tactics to employ in your strategy

 (Links to an external site.)by Brent Barnhart
SproutSocial – 2018

Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles of social media for brands is the pressure to “keep up.” Platforms come and go. User behavior changes.

As a result, the way brands approach social media has to change too. Heck, looking at a guide on how to “dominate” Facebook from 2010 feels like reading hieroglyphics today. Rewind back to as recently as 2017.  Consider how much the social landscape has already evolved.

  • Drastic shifts in Facebook algorithm
  • The introduction of Twitter’s 280-character limit
  • The rise of LinkedIn for influencer outreach
  • The explosion of live video via Facebook and Instagram

1. Master the Art of Social Storytelling

Blasting promo link after promo link is a far cry from an effective social strategy anymore. This rings true for pretty much any social platform, especially if you’re looking to score more followers.

In short, people are sick of spam and impersonal brands alike.

This is why storytelling content is all-the-rage right now. Oftentimes lacking any sort of concrete CTA or accompanying link, story-based posts are meant to drive discussion rather than clicks.

This LinkedIn post from Backlinko’s Brian Dean is a shining example of social storytelling in action. Debate-driven posts like this not only get a lot of love in the comment section, but also give you a chance to show your brand’s vulnerable side.

Storytelling is one of the most important social media tactics for 2018

Meanwhile, popular Instagram accounts such as Humans of New York  (Links to an external site.)thrive almost exclusively through emotional, storytelling content.

Why is storytelling content to popular, though? The benefits of these types of posts are two-fold:

1) Followers view them as positive, meaningful messages rather than marketing spam.

2) In the wake of algorithms demoting promotional, link-heavy brands (Links to an external site.), these posts have a better chance popping up in your followers’ feeds.

The takeaway? Not everything you post needs to be a promo, nor should it be.

2. Fine-Tune Your Facebook Presence

Speaking of algorithm changes and promos, we need to talk about Facebook.

Facebook’s recent announcement to deemphasize brand content (Links to an external site.) has sent some marketers into full-blown panic mode.

While the specifics of the update aren’t crystal clear and it’ll take some time to see the changes take effect, Facebook themselves have provided advice for brands (Links to an external site.) hoping to weather the new algorithm storm (Links to an external site.).

Stop Baiting

Facebook is explicitly putting their foot down on social media tactics they see as “engagement bait (Links to an external site.).” This includes excessive “tag-a-friend” or “like this post if you ____” content, which Facebook sees as little more than a cheap attempt to game their algorithm.

As part of Facebook's new algorithm, "bait" posts are being punished

Rethink Your Links

To piggyback on our first tactic, brands should strive to post fewer links pointing back to their sites if they want to realistically show up their followers’ feeds.

Facebook is actively encouraging brands to post video content, for example. Meanwhile, the popularity of text-based question posts, storytelling posts and memes serve as an alternative to link-based posts.

Experiment With Ads

Given that content labeled as promotional is being actively demoted or hidden, brands have even more of a reason to start experimenting with Facebook’s ad platform (Links to an external site.). Rather than be totally frozen out from the feeds of would-be customers, creative ad types such as carousel ads (Links to an external site.) may very well be your best bet for getting discovered.

Facebook are stepping up their ads to appeal to marketers

 

3. Repurpose Your Best Content

Based on our findings on the best times to post on social media (Links to an external site.), it’s clear that brands today need a ton of content to fill up their social calendars (Links to an external site.).

We’re talking multiple posts per day across multiple platforms.

If you’re running on a tight schedule or resources are thin, finding ways to repurpose your content (Links to an external site.) is an absolute must-do to squeeze the most out of your social strategy. For example, some modern social media tactics for stretching your content include:

  • Turn quotes and stats from blog posts into share-worthy graphics (there are dozens of free image creation tools (Links to an external site.) to help you do just that, too).
  • Use data from a case study to drive a debate or discussion on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Take tips from a listicle (“12 Ways to X…”) and outline them as a series of scheduled tweets.
Brands can squeeze more out of their social media content by repurposing it on Twitter

With these tips in mind, a single blog post could account for dozens of posts across Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Rather than treat your content as a one-and-done affair, rethink the ongoing sharing potential of your blog posts.

4. Always Tag Influencers and Brands in Posts

Tagging others has become integral to just about every social network and is a guaranteed tactic for scoring more exposure for your posts.

Much like how posts with hashtags receive more engagement, (Links to an external site.) tagged posts tend to earn more attention too. Whether it’s a big player in your industry or someone’s audience you’re looking to tap into, tactical tagging takes almost no time on your part.

And if you’re looking for a who’s who in your industry to tag, start by digging through relevant keywords or hashtags. You can also use an influencer marketing tool such as Buzzsumo (Links to an external site.) to clue you in on potential influencer targets.

5. Mingle With Micro Influencers

As a side note, don’t let someone’s follower count define their worth as an influencer (Links to an external site.). In fact, oftentimes targeting niche audiences can actually work in your favor.

According to data by Izea, people trust smaller influencers (Links to an external site.) more than they do accounts with 100,000+ followers. AdWeek similarly notes that influencers with fewer followers (10,000 or less) actually have a higher rate of engagement (Links to an external site.)–the ratio of likes/comments versus followers.

In other words, just because someone doesn’t have a massive following doesn’t mean they’re not worth your attention. The boom of influencer marketing is actually putting more power into the hands of those with smaller audiences.

6. Tap into Geotags on Instagram

Among the most important social media tactics for brick-and-mortar businesses, geotagging on Instagram (Links to an external site.) is a fun way to build your local following.

Tagging your business’ location on Instagram not only signals yourself as part of the local community, but incentivizes customers to show you some love.

Geotagging is a great way for local brands to get noticed

 

 

If nothing else, the ability to curate customer photos through geotagging is an awesome form of social proof (Links to an external site.). People know at a glance that you’re a real deal and get a better sense of your brand’s personality.

7. Go Live

Although the popularity of video content is no secret, brands are looking to push the boundaries of live video in 2018.

Facebook has explicitly advised brands to take advantage of Facebook Live (Links to an external site.) in the wake of their algorithm change. They note that real-time videos get six times as many interactions (Links to an external site.) as regular videos.

Meanwhile, live videos via Instagram stories (Links to an external site.) continue to spike as well with over 300 million (Links to an external site.) Stories users as of October 2017.

Live videos are compelling because they’re presented as must-see unlike a YouTube video or clip you can simply brush off for later. Meanwhile, the raw feel of a live video is refreshing for viewers bored of polished video content.

 

8. Build Your Army of Advocates

With so much competing content and the need for brands to stand out, sometimes your not-so-secret weapon is the people who are part of your network.

Brand advocates such as employees and customers should play a pivotal role in your social media strategy. For starters, having your teammates promote your social ensures its reach goes beyond your brand account.  (Links to an external site.)

9. Stop Hiding Your Personality

Lastly, don’t neglect the importance of showing off the personality behind your brand.

The days of “safe,” suit-and-tie branding on social media are over. Brands that shine today aren’t afraid to take the occasional risk to remind followers that there’s a person behind their account.

Case in point, the popularity of memes and humorous content. Brands such as MoonPie (Links to an external site.) have carved out a niche on Twitter because they refuse to take themselves too seriously.

Sometimes your best won’t be good enough but that doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough

We could easily imagine an alternate universe where such an account would be treading water. However, MoonPie’s posts receive insane amounts of engagement because of their unique voice.

Finding that voice isn’t all about being funny, either.

Based on Sprout’s own data, two-thirds of consumers (Links to an external site.) want brands to see brands take a stand on social and political issues. When brands get real, so to speak, followers have more incentive to show loyalty in response.

where consumers are most receptive to brands communicating positions on social issues

This doesn’t mean that brands should strive to be inflammatory or controversial, but rather not afraid to speak out on issues relevant to their audiences.