18 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros
We asked top social media pros to share their hottest social media marketing tactics.
In this article, you’ll discover strategies the pros use to boost their social media marketing.
#1: Stay Top of Mind Using LinkedIn TagsOn LinkedIn, you shouldn’t send an email blast to every one of your connections. However, you can create lists of “tagged” groupings so you can send relevant and helpful information to your contacts at strategic times.
When you tag your connections on LinkedIn, you can sort/filter them by Tags and—wait for it—send a message to up to 25 people at a time.
For example, if one of your niche markets on LinkedIn is marketers who target medical professionals, all you have to do is:
- Create a tag called ‘Medical Marketing Consultant’ (they can’t see it)
- Do an advanced search on the keywords “marketing OR marketer OR consultant AND medical” (or some such)
- Sort by first-level connections
- Open and tag each connection with ‘medical marketing consultant’
- Open Contacts
- Filter by the tag ‘medical marketing consultant’
- Click on Select All
- Write your message to the first 25 folks
- Then the next 25
- Then the next 25
While you can use a different subject line to share the same tip with any number of tagged groups, I recommend creating an editorial calendar to keep track of what you sent to whom.
Use these targeted messages to create a feeling of trust and top-of-mind awareness, so that when your connections need you (or hear of someone who does) they will think of you!
Viveka von Rosen, author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert.”
#2: Post in ‘Micro-Opportunity’ WindowsHere’s my social marketing tip, ideal for B2B. For me, the people I want to reach with my social media marketing are other businesspeople, and which activity are businesspeople engaged in all day? Meetings. And when are meetings scheduled? Almost entirely on the hour or half-hour.
Based on the way meetings are scheduled and conducted, I believe many businesspeople are checking their social media accounts just before and after the top of the hour or the bottom of the hour. It works like this:
Meeting is scheduled from 1-2 pm. Meeting lets out slightly early at 1:57 pm, and attendees check Twitter on the way back to their desk. Meeting goes a little long, and that dip into social media occurs at 2:03 pm. You get the idea.
Because of this sequencing, I use Buffer to set my social media marketing to deploy most frequently in these micro-opportunity windows. I also try to pay attention to when people might be at lunch/dinner; although of course that’s a bit of a toss-up due to time zone differences. I haven’t been able to prove that this works (yet), but it makes so much sense to me intuitively that I’m going to keep doing it.
Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert.
#3: Research Popular Content From Your CompetitorsIf a type of content is popular with the audience of your competitors and colleagues, it stands to reason that a similar post will be popular with your audience.
This isn’t about copying content, it’s about crafting content around a similar topic, but with a different slant.
For example, Jeff Bullas wrote a blog post on 7 Marketing Trends You Shouldn’t Ignore, which was very popular. I used his post as inspiration to write a post titled 7 Social Media Tool Trends You Shouldn’t Ignore that was also very popular.
There are a few tools that will help with research:
Social Crawlytics does an analysis of your competitor’s content and shows you how often each post is shared across each of the social networks.
SEMRush shows you what keywords bring your competitor the most traffic so you can target the same keywords in your own content.
Ian Cleary, founder of RazorSocial.
#4: Increase Views on YouTube Using These Thumbnail Creation TipsIt’s no secret that getting more views on YouTube can greatly help grow your business online.
But with the vast majority of videos on YouTube getting mediocre results, everyone wants to know how to get more legitimate views!
One of the easiest ways to get more views is to create compelling, attention-grabbing thumbnails for your videos.
The Secret to Creating Powerful YouTube Thumbnails
You need to get three things right for creating powerful YouTube thumbnails.
Graphics: Start with a good headshot or closeup of your face to create a personal touch with your thumbnail, then add a colorful background—like a starburst—to grab viewers’ attention.
Text: Use compelling text inside your thumbnail design to tell your viewers instantly what your video is about and why they should watch it—maybe use your video title. Make sure your text is easy to read, even at the smallest display size of your thumbnail on YouTube, and that the image is on the left and text is on the right.
X-Factor: Think about how you can inject emotion into your thumbnails. For example, the expression on the face of the person you’re using can be that of shock, amazement, disgust, enjoyment… choose an emotion that will create intrigue and get people to click on the image.
To learn more about thumbnails and how to use them correctly on YouTube, check out the YouTube Playbook.
Gideon Shalwick, founder of Splasheo and author of Rapid Video Blogging.
#5: Limit Your Social Media PlatformsMy social media marketing tip for businesses today is to find three or four social media platforms where you can build the strongest presence that will be most beneficial for your business.
With countless social media platforms available today, it’s impossible to grow a strong presence on every one. Having a mediocre presence on six or seven social media platforms is far inferior to a strong presence on three or four when it comes to your social media marketing goals.
Why spend time on social media platforms where your audience might be hanging out when you could be spending that time on social media platforms where you know your audience will be hanging out?
To find out if your target audience spends most of their time on one platform over another, join online groups within those platforms that focus on your industry or niche. If you find that the members are really active and engage on the topics you’re focused on in your business, there’s a good chance that a presence on that platform will benefit your business.
John Lee Dumas, founder and host of EntrepreneurOnFire.
#6: Find Work With Twitter’s Advanced SearchOne of the great challenges for business owners is being “top of mind” exactly when prospects either want the product or service you offer, or have a problem that your product or service can solve for them.
Think about the billions of dollars spent on billboards, television and radio commercials, print advertising, etc., just to be in the right place with the right solution at the right time. There has to be a better way, right?
What if I told you there was a tool that could put you personally in touch with a new prospect at the exact time they desperately needed you for FREE! Interested?
I’m talking about the Advanced Search function on Twitter.
Let’s say you are a handyman in New York City and you need paying customers today. Simply log into your Twitter account, go to Advanced Search and type in the word or phrase that somebody might use when looking for what you have to offer in the geographic area where you work.
In the example below, we are going to see who is “looking for a handyman” in “New York City.”
Ready? Here comes the magic……
There’s your next customer. Imagine how shocked Regan is going to be when you send her a tweet telling her that you’re a great handyman and you just happen to be working in her area today.
So all the people who say you can’t do anything meaningful in 140 characters—certainly not anything business-related—need to rethink that position.
Twitter search is the mother lode for live leads that can create sales for you and your business!
Kim Garst, CEO of Boom Social.
#7: Grow By Giving Away Your Best StuffForrester Research found that over 90% of purchasing decisions begin online. Having quality and relevant content allows your prospects to learn about you and the products/services you offer.
Many people are worried about giving away their best content for free. They are concerned it may prevent people from taking the next step and investing in their products/services. I understand this fear, but it is truly unfounded.
When your prospects see the high quality of your free content, they will be much more confident in paying for your services because they already know the great value you deliver.
When you create content, you want to think about the problems your ideal clients have and solve them with blog posts, articles, infographics, free reports, webinars, teleseminars, podcasts, etc.
Additional benefits you’ll receive include:
- Evangelists who will recommend you to others
- People will share your content, which puts you in front of a much larger audience
- A strong reputation as a trusted authority and expert on your topic/niche
- Additional opportunities such as speaking engagements and interview requests from the media
- Improved SEO rankings of your website with quality content
Melonie Dodaro, founder of Top Dog Social Media.
#8: Connect With Twitter’s Mobile UsersThere are two easy things you can do to improve the impact of your efforts on Twitter. The first is to do a promoted post that targets people only on smartphones. A lot of people don’t realize that you can target promoted posts just for smartphones (or just for iPhones, or Android devices, etc.).
By targeting people while they’re on their mobile devices, you catch them while they’re out and about and, hopefully, near your business. It’s a great tactic that takes context (where people are located) into consideration when you connect with them via Twitter.
If you’re not ready to spend money on a promoted post, that’s okay, because you can try another technique. My estimates are that about 30% of the people using Twitter are self-promoters, which is a no-no. About 60% are simply retweeters, which is not the most efficient way to use Twitter. And about 10% are conversationalists, which is the best way to use Twitter.
Shift to a conversationalist strategy and have a dialogue with your followers to keep prospects and customers engaged with your brand. This deepens your relationship with them, which, over time, turns into customer loyalty. Customer loyalty = more revenue for your business.
Long story short, if you’re not going to do promoted posts targeting smartphones, then try being more conversational and watch your results change overnight.
Jamie Turner, founder of 60 Second Marketer.
#9: Find Prospects Online With TwitterTo truly prospect with social media, you need to understand where you’re most likely to find prospects online—what I call your Propinquity Points. Twitter is an excellent resource for this.
First, create a private Twitter list called Prospects. Then search for relevant keywords for your company or competitors. Find tweets where folks are obviously talking about your company, product category or competitor in a way that convinces you they are true prospects. Next, add each person to the Prospect Twitter list. Do this every day.
Now, create a column in HootSuite or whatever Twitter client you use and populate that column with the Prospect list tweets. Lastly, filter the column so that you see only tweets with links. Create a spreadsheet to track all of the links you find, and note when multiple folks share content from the same site.
Over the course of a few months, you’ll have a pretty solid list of online destinations frequented by your target prospects. This shows you where to make comments on existing content—or better, where to contribute your own content.
Tom Martin, author of The Invisible Sale.
#10: Easily Connect With Your Email Subscribers on LinkedIn and FacebookEmail is critical for notifying subscribers of new posts and generating repeat visits to your blog. However, the latest Gmail Promotional tab addition by Google means that most of your notification emails are routed to the promotional folder where they can be overlooked by your readers.
Tackle this problem by connecting with your blog update subscribers on LinkedIn and Facebook. Simply download and install Rapportive, a social CRM tool that displays social network connections in your Gmail sidebar.
Next, export a list of your blog update email subscribers. Compose a new email in Gmail, and paste 10 addresses from your list of subscribers into the To: Box.
Mouse over one of the addresses and you will see Rapportive offer a Connect button for LinkedIn or Facebook (if the subscriber has an account). Click on the Connect button and customize the invitation to connect with you on the selected platform. Repeat the process for all of your contacts.
When you publish a new post, update your LinkedIn or Facebook to increase the chance that your Gmail subscribers will see your updates on LinkedIn or Facebook.
Stan Smith, founder of Pushing Social.
#11: Find Content to Share Using Platform SearchesWhen business owners or marketers begin to use social media as a part of their marketing strategy, they often focus on getting the right profile image, when the best time of day is to post or what scheduling tool is best. While it’s important to consider these things, there is something very valuable within each platform that is often overlooked.
Networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest each offer a search feature.
The search feature available on each of these networks can help businesses better serve their customers or clients by providing insight into what the users of each platform are interested in. Search can reveal if there is even a place for their business there.
For example, at a recent conference where I was speaking, I was asked to provide an example of an investment banking business using Pinterest.
After a quick search, we discovered that there were only two investment banking accounts on Pinterest. However, when we switched from searching for pinners (accounts) to searching for boards about investment banking, we found several.
This discovery shows that there is an interest in investment banking among the Pinterest audience and the two accounts currently on Pinterest with investment banking in their name were not active. This presents a big opportunity for an investment banking business to become the go-to source for information on Pinterest.
Earlier this year, Facebook introduced Graph Search. In Graph Search, you can refine your results down to pages, groups and events. Inspiration for future blog posts or even new products or services could emerge from the search.
Twitter offers an Advanced Search feature where you can perform a very specific search, but the option to search for tweets with questions is most helpful. How better to serve potential clients or customers than by answering their questions?
Cynthia Sanchez, writes and podcasts about all things Pinterest at Oh So Pinteresting.
#12: Make Your Podcast Easily Consumable on MobileSmartphones have changed social media in some amazing ways. Perhaps most exciting (for me, at least) is how they’ve helped podcast consumption explode. More and more people are listening to podcasts on their smartphones—and they (and the podcasters) are better for it.
When someone clicks on a podcast from a blog, most smartphones open a new window and start playing the content. It just works. A simple link to an MP3 will “work” on most blogs for a media player and a number of podcasters are fine with that.
Install a simple HTML5 audio player on your blog that doesn’t open a new window, but does, in fact, give a similar (in-screen) experience to what listeners see on the desktop. This lets the listener read your content while listening to your podcast.
Which experience below do you want your audience to have when they’re listening to your podcast, the first or the second?
Paul Colligan, director of content marketing at Instant Customer.
#13: Think of Social Media as a Publicity Engine and Distribution ChannelThe best social media marketing strategy I’ve found (and have used for years) is to think of social media as a publicity engine and distribution channel for content. Even back before Facebook and Twitter, content was the fuel for traffic back to our web properties from social media news sites like Delicious and Digg.
Now there’s content, and then there’s content that functions as marketing. After all, no amount of traffic from social networks means anything unless a portion of that traffic converts into customers and clients.
The content you create must attract your ideal prospect, not random traffic. To do that, you discover the problems and desires your ideal prospect has, and then create content that addresses those problems and desires at an introductory level. Once these prospects visit your site, you must entice them to follow your content over time by email, which is still the highest-converting online sales channel (by far).
The reason content works as a social media marketing strategy is that people not only want valuable information, they like to share it as well. This results in an amazing word-of-mouth effect where new people are exposed to you and your brand each and every day via those in their own networks.
People don’t want to be pitched directly via social media. They do seek out and share content though, and if that content is fine-tuned to appeal to your perfect prospect, you’ll develop a social media marketing strategy that works for you night and day.
Brian Clark, founder and CEO of Copyblogger.
#14: Include an Original Photo in Your New Piece of ContentThe best social media marketing network most businesses still ignore is Pinterest. Too often, we hear, “Oh I don’t have anything visual to show” so they ignore the fastest-growing network. But here’s the deal: Sixty-five percent of human beings are visual learners. That means they’d rather look at pictures or watch videos than read text, yet most of us still use text as our main method of communication.
Let’s say you run a professional services firm or a manufacturing company or a software-as-a-service business. If you are creating content for your business, include an original photo and you have something to pin to Pinterest.
First, create a board for your content. For instance, I have one on my personal page called Spin Sucks.
A best practice for a new piece of content is to include an original photo. When you publish the content, you’ll want to pin it to the board you’ve created specifically for the business. Click the “pin it” button and get it saved.
Do this every time you publish content for a month. Then go into your Google Analytics and see what kind of traffic it’s driving.
Even if you don’t have anything to sell online, it’s a quick and easy (incredibly easy) way to bring new visitors to your site. And now you have a huge opportunity to capitalize on that new traffic!
Gini Dietrich, founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich.
#15: Allow Employees to Advocate for Your BusinessOne of my best social media marketing tips, and probably the one that is most underutilized by businesses, is employee advocacy.
You’re a business engaging in social media and creating content, but you’re only sharing that content from your company’s account. Wouldn’t it be great if all of your sales and marketing people also shared your content? It would help your company reach more people and help your sales and marketing folks better brand your company in social media.
The recent Edelman Trust Barometer reported that 41% of people believe company employees rank higher in public trust than a firm’s PR department or CEO. With the advent of social business, every employee can and should play a role in your social media efforts, and there are now a handful of platforms like GaggleAMP (you can join my own Gaggle here to see what an employee would see), Addvocate, PeopleLinx, Dynamic Signal, Expion and SocialChorus that make it easy for you to both facilitate and measure your employee advocacy program.
Your social selling can also be helped by employee advocacy. Prudential Financial embarked on an employee advocacy program, which encouraged their employees to get connected. Now each of their 15,000 employees has an average of 160 connections, meaning that as a company, their message—through their employees—can potentially reach 2.4 million LinkedIn users! It’s time for companies to wake up and unleash the power of some of your most passionate, but often forgotten, brand advocates: Your employees!
Neal Schaffer, president of Windmills Marketing, author of Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing: Understanding, Leveraging and Maximizing LinkedIn.
#16: Attend Live EventsLive events are where you experience firsthand the energy and enthusiasm of other like-minded people who share your interests and business objectives.
In addition to building meaningful relationships, you walk away with abundant ideas for invigorating your social media marketing. I’m still mining ideas from my experience at Content Marketing World a couple months ago, not to mention being better connected with industry colleagues.
One of the challenges of social media is translating our weak connections into stronger relationships that can potentially lead to mutually beneficial outcomes. The solution is to literally get out of the office to meet the people with whom you’re connected online, and make new connections that you can bring to your social networks. When you integrate the two, you enhance the effectiveness of both.
A few years ago, it was predicted that webinars and other digital events would eventually replace live events, thereby putting professional speakers and trainers like me out of business as we know it. It turns out we are now experiencing a resurgence of live events, and the reason is somewhat surprising.
Now we are more connected than ever as a result of social media and people want to meet their connections in person to further develop their relationships. The community and energy of live events adds richness and depth to your social media relationships, and makes a positive impact on that illusive metric—your social media ROI.
Jeff Korhan is a small business marketing expert and the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business.
#17: Build Authority Relationships With Google+ Reverse Image LookupNetworking for link relationships has taken on a bit of a popularity feel due to Google’s emphasis on authority when it comes to content.
Links from sites that Google ranks highly have always been important, but now individuals inside of Google+ carry a great deal of weight as well.
It’s important to build relationships in your industry with those authors whom Google already thinks highly of. I’m not talking about stalking, I’m talking about discovering the most valuable relationships and finding ways to build value within them.
Find those authors in your industry who appear with an author box in common searches with your industry and do a Google reverse image search to find where they contribute content currently.
- Find an author whose image shows next to highly indexed content
- Navigate to their Google+ profile, right-click their profile image and copy the image URL
- Paste the image URL into a Google Search by Image box
- Scan the results to find a great deal about their contributed content landscape
- Create a plan to build relationships based on value
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
#18: Actively Use SlideShare Pro to Acquire SubscribersA subscription strategy is critical to any social media and content marketing professional. I’m astounded that more marketers aren’t actively using SlideShare to acquire subscribers. If you’re not familiar, SlideShare was purchased by LinkedIn and sees about 100 million visitors per month. Simply put, SlideShare is the YouTube for PowerPoint presentations (and so much more).
A SlideShare Pro account starts at $16 per month and lets you collect leads and/or subscribers. Also, SlideShare can be integrated with most marketing automation systems.
At Content Marketing Institute, we’ve been using SlideShare Pro for two years now, and it’s our number-two overall source for new subscribers. We’ve done nothing different with deploying content on SlideShare, but now we actively drive new leads.
The images below show one of our presentations on SlideShare.
The second screenshot shows the SlideShare Pro subscription popover that appears near slide 10 of a presentation. The popover can easily be skipped so viewers can access the full content, but on this presentation alone, we’ve collected over 500 subscribers with no additional work.