You’re ready to take social media to the next level.
But if you aren’t building the traction you hoped for, there’s usually a reason.
Just like any industry, there are a set of crucially important tactics every successful social media strategy needs. Without these 21 tactics, your plan might fail.
In this article, I’ll show you exactly what you need to do to bring life back into your social media campaign.
Let’s jump in!
1. Get surefire content ideas
If you’re like most social media marketers, you develop a strategy based on what you think will do well with your target audience.
But instead of just guessing, base your ideas on content that’s proven to go viral.
One of my favorite strategies is to use Quora. Get started by searching for articles in your industry.
Find questions with lots of views and up-votes, or ones on the FAQ page. Those are areas to start answering, and content that will do well on social.
Look for common themes in these questions. Pay careful attention to questions you know the answers to.
Read through the answers to these questions, and provide your own response to them on social media.
If a popular story did well, tell a similar story through people who interacted with your business.
2. Cross-promote content for each platform
Every social media platform has a slightly different style and method of appealing to customers.
To target them correctly, simply refine the message for the different platforms you post on.
Let’s take a basic blog post from Zapier. Notice how they use different themes and messages for Twitter and Facebook.
You can repurpose this for different platforms like this.
- Facebook: Write a short message about the post and include a link. Facebook will automatically import the data from the link into what you share.
- Twitter: Write a short tweet with a few hashtags related to the post. Include a link, which will be shortened to a t.co URL and included with an image (if applicable).
- Instagram: Write a description of the article and include a number of hashtags. Apply a filter to the image and adjust the dimensions.
- Pinterest: Overlay text on top of the image and include a few words explaining what the post is about.
3. Use Facebook Messenger
The newest trend in social media marketing is using Facebook Messenger as a bot to interact with potential customers and interested fans.
In fact, messaging apps surpassed social networks in users back in 2015, and continue to rise, according to Business Insider.
This is something we’ll likely see growing more and more as the technology expands to other platforms.
Decide which kind of ads you’d like to use. On Facebook, you can either have a regular ad that leads to messenger or an ad placed in messenger.
If one of those works for your brand, get started!
4. Track which platforms are most popular for you
If you’ve been doing social media for a while, you may already know the most effective social media platforms for your content.
But if you don’t know which works best and you’re posting on all social platforms equally, you’re wasting your time.
Instead, you need to review which sources are bringing the most traffic to your website. To do this, go into Social Crawlytics.
Connect it with your Twitter account. Select the site you’d like to inspect.
This will tell you where the traffic is coming from. You’re looking to see which platforms are the most popular with the content you’ve produced.
Once you have an idea about which are doing the best for you, focus on these markets and stop spending time on other platforms.
5. Outsource the work
It’s no secret: Getting traffic through social media is difficult.
And if you’re working on unfamiliar ground, it will cost you countless hours.
For every hour you spend learning how to do social media and content marketing correctly, you’re throwing away money that could be used for your strengths.
Instead of spending so much time learning, you can easily outsource the basic content creation and promotion that’s critical to a successful social media campaign.
First, figure out what takes the most time and what is most frustrating for you. Estimate the time it takes you to work through this process each day. If you have an employee responsible for your social media, do the same for him or her.
Second, calculate what this costs on an hourly basis.
Third and finally, research agencies or freelancers who can provide these services for you. Since this is their primary job, they work faster and their cost per project is usually lower.
Upwork is a great place to find high-quality freelancers for affordable prices.
You’ll find that you can save plenty of money by letting someone more experienced do the work.
6. Survey your customers to learn what they want
If you want to reach customers as effectively as possible on social media, the best way to do this is by understanding what they’re looking for.
I recommend a few different ways of doing this.
First, you can send a simple message via email or social media to current subscribers. Just ask them what their biggest struggle is.
Derek Halpern has recommended this as a great way to shape a content marketing strategy, and it works just as well for social media.
Digital entrepreneur Sean Ogle has shaped his entire strategy off of asking this question to new email subscribers.
The second way is to create a more detailed survey using Google Forms or SurveyMonkey. This is more complex, but you can get more detailed information from their answers.
6. Create customer profiles
If you’ve never used a buyer persona before, you probably don’t understand the power of this tactic.
In order to effectively market to your target audience, you can create a series of characteristics that help you define exactly who is reading your posts.
To get started, find the demographics for your Facebook page. Click on Insights.
On the left-hand side, select People.
Find trends in your user demographics.
From these, build a basic profile. Create a simple slide in Keynote or PowerPoint with the details of this person.
I recommend including an image so you understand exactly who you’re targeting.
It’s also a good idea to write down the struggles, goals, and frustrations of the person you want to reach. Some basic research can help provide this, as well.
Use this to skyrocket the effectiveness of your social media campaign.
7. Repeat your best performing content
I’m a big fan of the Pareto Principle: the idea that 80% of your results come from 20% of the effort you put in.
But lots of the marketers I see don’t use this sort of gauge for their effectiveness. Instead, they keep working at the same things regardless of whether or not they’re actually working.
The primary tactic behind my success has been constantly testing everything I do.
To get started, look at the social media campaigns you’ve run in the past. Use Twitter Analytics to discover what’s working well, and focus on doing more of that.
For example, you can see which tweets are most successful for you. You can also find the most active followers you have.
Look for patterns in the Tweets and followers that Twitter recommends, and find ways to extend those strategies.
If your most retweeted update was a case study, can you find and publish more case studies like it?
If your biggest follower is interested in one sub-topic of your business, can you reach out to others who might be interested in that sub-topic as well?
By looking at Twitter Analytics every month, you can keep moving forward with your social media campaigns.
8. Redistribute old evergreen content
The content you create isn’t dead as soon as you publish it, but a lot of marketers treat it that way.
Instead, you should take some of your older posts, give them a quick update, and re-post them to social media.
As you continue to grow your following, you’ll find that many of the newest readers haven’t even seen the earlier posts you produced.
By using this strategy, you can engage new readers with content that’s been proven to be successful. Plus, it’s a lot easier to update old content than to create something new!
To get started, go to your WordPress blog’s post list. Click on Date and sort by the oldest published pieces.
Find a post that you published six months ago or longer. Fix anything that needs updating, and include new screenshots if applicable.
When you’re finished, click the Edit button next to Published on.
Change it to a different date. Click OK, then Update.
The article will now show a new publication date!
Repost the link on social media. So as not to confuse your older followers, mention that you’ve recently updated an older post from the archives.
9. Live video and updates
One of the fastest-growing segments in social media is live video. According to Facebook itself, viewers watch Facebook Live videos 3x longer than those that aren’t live.
Facebook’s current algorithm places live videos at the top of the feed for most of your subscribers.
Live videos are a great way to promote your company in an interactive and visual way.
Most Facebook Live videos have a purpose, so make sure you set one in advance. Here are the most common uses for Facebook Live video.
- Live-stream an event. If you’re giving a presentation or attending a conference, you can live-stream the content for others who can’t attend in person.
- Q&A session. Facebook Live allows you to interact with users in real time, so offer to answer any questions users have about a topic in the comments.
- Offer advice or explanation. If you have a short piece of advice or a suggestion for users, you can easily create a live video from it. Just record yourself explaining the idea, and respond if viewers have questions.
10. Optimize your profiles
Most people set up their social media profiles and forget about them.
But more and more often, our personal and business brands are being recognized by our those profiles.
A subpar social media profile can easily turn away people who would otherwise be interested in what you have to say or sell.
Instead of a set-it-and-forget-it mentality about your social information, choose to improve your information on a regular basis.
Consider testing different approaches to your profile and experiment with what works best. Here are a few of the most common things to change:
- Profile image. Look for professional-grade photos of you looking into the camera.
- Cover photo (if applicable). Choose something that represents your personality without being too promotional. A picture of you doing something you enjoy is a great place to start.
- Description. Make it short and to the point, but include something notable to spark interest and discussion.
11. Create a written posting schedule
One of the biggest problems I see marketers making with their social media is inconsistent posting.
There are constant debates about how often you should post for best results, but the simple truth is that you need to be consistent.
Whether you post 2 times a day or 20, create a written plan of how often you’ll post. Have deadlines for each post and assign those posts to the people who are responsible for creating them.
Trello can be a helpful tool for your editorial and social promotion calendar, whether you use a team or write everything on your own.
This example from Trello’s website shows the articles across multiple stages of the publishing and promotion process.
It sounds basic, but this simple tactic will pay huge dividends over time. The simple act of making your social media strategy into a written document makes it more likely to happen.
And when you consistently act on the strategy you have in place, you consistently enjoy the benefits.
12. Use hashtags
Hashtags aren’t new, but they’re not going anywhere, either.
Hashtags are more effective on some platforms than others, but you can try them out in any type of post.
To get the best tags, do some research to find out what’s most relevant for your article.
Use the tool Hashtagify. It provides you with a visual representation of the relationship between different hashtags.
For example, if you run an Etsy jewelry shop, you can quickly see what’s related to phrases like #etsyjewelry.
If you click on one of the spokes linked to that hashtag, you can quickly see related tags that you may want to use as well.
13. Share candid photos of the people behind the business
Businesses aren’t nameless, faceless organizations.
Besides, most people want to see the authentic side of your organization. Instead of presenting corporate speak, include photographs of what’s going on behind the scenes.
Post group photos from a recent retreat, examples of the daily working environment, or funny things that happen in the normal course of business.
Social media management software Buffer does a great job of providing candid pictures on their Facebook page.
Keep the tone lighthearted and friendly, and be sure to stay honest. Social media users are carefully attuned to what’s fake or showy, so focus on relating openly with your followers.
If you like, you can even include videos of individual employees sharing their thoughts on different aspects of the business.
14. Share the best content from other sources
If you’re only focused on self-promotion, your social media followers will grow tired quickly.
Instead, be sure to include content from other platforms, as well. The best way to do this is to subscribe to the content feeds of others in your network.
A great tool to use for this is Feedly. Click Get Started for Free.
The easiest way to sign in is through one of your social media accounts.
Once you do, you’ll need to select a few topics or sources that interest you. You’ll be sent their articles once they publish.
If you use a tool like Buffer, you can easily schedule this content to be shared at predetermined times.
By opening your feed to share content from others, you provide helpful resources for fans and build relationships with others in the business.
15. Test and perfect your timing
I’ve written before about the best time to publish on social media.
But the reality is that there is a time that works best for you, and you need to do testing and understand exactly when it is.
I’d recommend using a tool like Tweriod to find out when you should Tweet.
Based on the recommendations of Tweriod, focus your attention on those times, or even schedule them for your most important updates in a program like Buffer.
This simple tactic won’t increase the number of posts, but it will increase the effectiveness of what you post.
It’s a great way to be more effective with the limited time you have to engage on social media.
16. Run giveaways
One of the quickest ways to build your following on social media is by running giveaways.
You should never buy fans on platforms like Facebook, as it will only hurt you in the long run.
But if you’re willing to shell out a little money and be creative, you can acquire a raving number of social media followers.
To use this tactic in a way that increases the presence of your business, choose a product of your own that you can easily distribute.
If it’s a digital product, your delivery costs are zero, making this the best method.
You can even offer bragging rights by choosing someone to represent the brand, as Dove did in their “Real beauty should be shared” campaign.
A month (or year!) of the premium level of your software or a coupon to acquire a book or course for free are great ways to encourage interest in your social media following.
If you end up using a physical product, be prepared to deal with the added hassles of shipping.
17. Offer “open office hours” to help people at specific times
If you feel confident on camera and want to provide tremendous, consistent value to your audience, consider a regular “office hours” chat with your fan base.
To do this, set a time each week (or even each day) to interact live with fans.
This is best done with live video, but it can be managed in other ways, like with Twitter Chats or Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA), if you like.
Personal development blogger Steve Aitchison has acquired a Facebook following of millions with this type of technique.
Every week day, he goes live, explains a recent article, and answers any questions his fans have.
18. Offer special deals to followers
There’s a reason national brands often post coupons on social media. It’s a tactic that works!
If you have an e-commerce site, you need to offer your fans a reason to follow your updates. What better way to do this than with special deals?
When you have an exclusive deal, announce it on social media first.
It’s also a good idea to explain on your Facebook page that you regularly post promotions, coupons, and deals.
This can be a highly effective way to not only relate with and engage your current fans, but to also drive new traffic to your page.
19. Choose engaging images
If you’re using stock photos in your social media updates, it’s time to move on.
Today’s social media users are savvy enough to recognize a stock photo when they see one.
What you lose in professional quality, you more than make up for in authenticity. Instead of generic images, snap a few photos yourself.
It’s-It Ice Cream has a Facebook page with plenty of photos taken by employees, which gives a sense of homegrown honesty to the brand.
If you must use stock photos, choose images with a captivating subject or compelling visual appeal.
Sometimes, the best images aren’t photographs at all. Look to Canva for an easy way to design custom graphics you can use for featured blog images.
20. Craft a brand voice
Every brand has a specific voice, and that carries over to social media.
A great example of how brands communicate online can be found in the airline industry.
While most of the premier airlines focus on professional speak geared toward business clients, Southwest makes a point of being friendly and casual.
If you haven’t decided on a brand voice, get started.
Instead of having a voice that changes depending on who’s posting on social media that day, you can craft a compelling message that speaks directly to your target audience.
Write down a short list of characteristics that should be communicated in each social media post, and share it with everyone on your social media team.
21. Appeal to related niches
As interesting as your industry is, there are more potential customers outside of your niche than in it.
If you only focus on content that appeals to your inner circle of fans, you’ll struggle to find new groups of people who would like to engage with what you have to offer.
To solve this problem, go outside your normal sphere of content.
In this post, Folger’s Coffee doesn’t only appeal to coffee drinkers. The photo shows a robot made from recycled antique Folger’s containers.
By posting this, they appeal to fans who are interested in antiques as well as those who are interested in recycling.
Those users might share the post, increasing their reach and helping them acquire new customers.
By appealing to other niches like this, your brand can quickly multiply the effectiveness of your social media strategy.
If your social media strategy is flailing, you’re probably using the wrong tactics.
By comparing your strategy to the examples detailed above, carefully consider how your projects compare.
Are you meeting people on their platforms, understanding what they need, and testing what works best?
These strategies can be game changers for increasing traffic and conversions through social media.
Which tactics will you use in your social media strategy?