Social media is no more a nice-to-have strategy for businesses these days. It’s become a necessity. And why shouldn’t it be?
Customer Engagement. Leads. Conversions. Google Rankings. There’s so much riding on social media’s shoulders these days. There’s so much at stake.
Not surprisingly, both big and small businesses are punching above their weight to make the most of their social media campaigns. As per the 2018 Sensis Social Media Report, small businesses would be spending 42% more on social media marketing this year than they did in 2017 – which is staggering.
So, if anything, there’s a good chance that all your social media activities might get drowned out in all that noise. And, in case you happen to be a small business owner, things could prove more fatal, given the kind of money you need to pump in for your paid social media campaigns.
That is why figuring out new, low-budget strategies that might help you fuel your social media marketing strategy, in terms of reach and conversions, has become so critical.
The tips I’ve outlined here are common for both big and small businesses, regardless of their sizes and shapes and the circumstances they are in right now:
#1 Cast your Customers as Heroes
Yes, businesses have the power to turn customers into heroes, overnight.
Simply shoot a Facebook Live Video, or an Instagram Video displaying their purchases from your store and then start promoting them on your Facebook and Instagram business pages. That’s about it!
Now, sit back and relax.
In no time you will see your customer garnering recognition, praise, and attention.
Punchline: Casting customers as heroes will entice them to post more and more about your company and product. The cycle will feed itself leading to an enormous spike in social media traffic for your business profile page and website.
#2 Crowdsource Opinions about Product Changes and Other Stuff
As it turns out, connecting with customers and solving their queries is just one part of the social media story. You could even proactively engage social media followers and solicit their opinions on your existing or new line of products before the latter makes its way to the marketplace.
In fact, you could even turn your followers into first-time buyers of your product to gain better insights about product mix and product constitution. This practice creates a two-way relationship with customers that enhances and strengthens relationships.
Coffee giant Starbucks, created the @MyStarbucksIdeas campaign on its Twitter page and gathered 300 ideas directly from the campaign for its new and existing range of flavors. It’s not that the giant coffee maker would have faced flak if it had gone ahead and launched the flavors on its own, without taking into account customer opinion. But then, they wanted their customers to feel valued and part of a brand that strives to be inclusive.
Andrea Beltrami, of thebrandedsolopreneur.com fame, solicits opinions from her followers in terms of what would be the best name for her new workshop or webinar.
Punchline: Crowd-sourcing of opinions shouldn’t just be restricted to products. You could even use it when it comes to revising company logo, organizing events and so on, which could make your followers’ customers feel valued.
#3 Leverage New Features to Propel Your Social Media Presence
It’s good to experiment with new social media features as soon as they are launched. Be it Instagram’s Shoppable Posts, Snapchat’s On-Demand Geofilters for businesses, or Facebook Live Video. All these new, powerhouse features could take your business to the next level.
Now, to ensure that you don’t lose out on the latest social media updates, set Google alerts for new social media features that will keep you in the know. And as soon as you hear something that’s worth your time, effort and energy, start brainstorming about them. No worries, if you don’t fetch positive results, you can always jump ships.
Punchline: Stay trendy and ahead of the pack by jumping onto the new feature bandwagon right away and sharing content on these platforms.
#4 Host AMAs (Ask Me Anything) On Your Social Channels
One of the coolest features that keep Reddit so much in fashion is their AMA sessions. For starters, an AMA session allows you to pick-the-brains of the person hosting the session.
Even former President Barack Obama did a Reddit AMA when he was running for re-election in 2012. It’s not that the AMA won the re-election for him, but then, as a matter of fact, AMA did help Obama connect with a lot of voters on a personal level.
Today, you could conduct an AMA on Twitter, Facebook, Quora and YouTube too.
Gary Vaynerchuk is said to have built an amazing business by hosting AMAs on YouTube.
Punchline: To build higher engagement on social media, AMA could prove to be the right tool for you.
#5 Keep the Conversation Light
Talk to your followers as if you are conversing over a cup of coffee. Keep the tone conversational and informative. Avoid promotional stuff. Completely. According to Sprout Social, of the 86% social media users who follow one or more brands, 60% reported feeling unhappy because of too much promotional content.
And in case you are not sure about the nature of the content, drown the promotional part a bit, to avoid sounding like an infomercial.
Punchline: Keep your social media posting light and entertaining – the rest will take care of itself.
#6 Follow the 70/20/10 rule
Good if you could hire professional services to strategize your social media posts and campaigns. If not, you could start reading up on various social media marketing practices being applied by different companies and see what could work for you.
Coca-Cola follows the 70:20:10 rule. The 70% stands for low-risk posts, which includes email newsletters, daily social posts etc; 20% of the posts focus on big paid social push, special newsletter campaigns and so on; the final 10% focuses on high-risk and high-reward campaigns – this could be untested but sort of revelatory when it comes to connecting with consumers.
For the 10% principle, you could emulate Pretzel Crisps’ example. The company delivered snack samples to the offices or homes of those who were talking about salty or sweet snack foods in their Twitter chats.
This is how Pretzel targets new customers, conducts product trials and even raises brand awareness.
Punchline: Hit the right balance in social media messaging with 70:20:10 rule.
#7 Get Good with Newsjacking
Tinkering with current events to highlight your ideas or business angle will definitely give your business mileage on social media. Be it holidays, movie releases, political issues or anything that’s regarded as breaking news, you could play with it a little and use it to your advantage.
Here’s an example of Zomato that playfully uses current events to promote its brand:
Punchline: Newsjacking is one of the evergreen strategies that brands could milk to maximize their social media gains.
#8 Make Social Media Posting a Daily Affair
If you think you can just post once or twice a month and then you are done with your social media activity for the month, think again. You need to carve out time every day, I repeat every day, to post, reply, and share conversations.
If you think posting on social platforms is a time-consuming and a tedious exercise, then better not to have an account at all. Nonetheless, how much to post and how often to post on social media depends on the platform you are focusing on.
Okay, there are no limits to tweets you could post each week; however, you shouldn’t be posting more than 5 times a week on Facebook, according to HubSpot.
Punchline: Consistency is the operative word here. Messaging once in a blue moon will only get you once in a blue moon leads.
#9 Narrow Down the Platform in Keeping with the Audience Segment
That is if you are trying to connect with 18-24 year-olds, then you need to invest in Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter. And if you are targeting college students you should direct your attention to LinkedIn, as per the data offered by the Pew Research Center.
Likewise, you need to focus on your message as well. How do you plan to present yourself before your targeted audience? Whatever the case, make sure your management’s ideas and your overall social media strategy are in perfect alignment. If you are still unsure of your social media marketing strategies, you could always hire the help of top social media marketing agencies that offer effective SMM services to businesses.
Punchline: Choosing the right platform in keeping with your audience segment could make or mar your social media campaign prospects.
#10 Follow the Canvas Strategy
As the marketing guru Ryan Holiday says it in his book, “Ego is the Enemy:” Find canvasses for other people to paint on. Simply put: Help people grow, and they’d help you grow, too.
Some people avoid sharing tweets and even other’s content because they believe that they might lose fans and followers in the process. That’s not the right approach in the social world.
On the contrary, you should use your Twitter page as a canvas to paint a pretty picture of other people. Social media is all about people. It’s all about providing information to people and helping them solve issues.
Sharing other people’s content could help build trust and authority among your fans.
Punchline: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
#11 Make Giveaways and Gift Coupons a Daily Affair
I repeat this: Make giveaways a daily affair. No doubt organizing contests backed by giveaways on a weekly/monthly basis might help businesses generate repeat customers and in turn, generate leads for the same. However, the magic really happens only when you make contests a daily affair. It would simply mean your social followers are sure to return to play over and over again, thereby accelerating your overall traffic and engagement.
If you think it would mean too much of an investment, think again. The investment involved will be minuscule to the number of sales you’d generate over time.
And yes, of course, not just physical products. You could even offer tips and tricks as daily freebies. That won’t be much of a headache, right?
Honda company grew its social media buzz by 1221% during its month-long social media competition.
You can check out these 6 tools for running social media contests.
Punchline: More giveaways mean more followers for your business.
#12 Share High-quality, Authoritative Content
To enter the good books of Google, you need to generate diverse, high-quality external links. You could easily achieve this by sharing high-quality, authoritative content on social media platforms.
However, don’t forget to use hashtags for visibility purposes in the initial stages, and also try to weave in content into your existing threads and discussions. This will not only build your reputation as an authority in your chosen domain, but will also build up your external link source, which is crucial from an SEO perspective.
For further inputs on social media and SEO tactics, go ahead and check out GoodFirms’ latest, in-depth research paper: SEO strategies, techniques, and trends or seek support from top digital marketing companies, globally.
The secret to success on social media is unstoppable customer engagement. Put the above-mentioned strategies to use to keep your customers engaged and happy and, more importantly, drive conversions at the same time.
If you know about other amazing strategies that could drive customer engagement on social media, do let us know in the comment box.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.