You’re thinking it’s about time to launch a social media campaign, or if you’re already in the social game, you might be thinking it’s time to expand your reach and experiment with some of the new social platforms everyone’s talking about.
Choosing the right social network
When it comes to social media marketing, most companies go straight for Facebook and Twitter. That’s not a bad idea, but there are countless other social networks, some of them with impressive user bases, that can be viable marketing platforms for business.
Don’t stick with just one social network. You can stretch your time and budget out over a few platforms to reach a larger audience. And don’t select social networking sites based on your own preferences; look to the social networks your customer base is using most. Here are 25 tips to help you select the right networks and maximize the results of your social campaigns.
The Social Media Effect: This infographic by Social Reflexion shows how content shared via social media can have an impact on search results.
Demographics can pinpoint the right networks
Taking a look at the demographics of users of each social network can help determine where your customers are spending the most time. There are dozens of resources with robust statistical analyses of the user bases of various social networks. Here are just a few of the basic stats.
- Facebook has the most active monthly users of any social network (901 million monthly active users, 526 million daily active users), according to Digital Trends. The average age of a Facebook user is 38 years old. More females use Facebook than males by a small margin (58 percent female to 43 percent male).
- Men are the predominant LinkedIn users (63 percent male, 37 percent female users, according to Pew Internet), and the average age of a LinkedIn user is 40 years old.
- The average Twitter user is 33 years old, and the majority of Twitter users are female (64 percent female, 46 percent male).
- LinkedIn users are more likely to have graduate degrees (38 percent of users), while most of Facebook’s user base has a high school education (26 percent of users), some college or trade school (34 percent) or a bachelor’s degree (20 percent). Fifteen percent of Facebook users have graduate school degrees or have attended grad school.
- According to HubSpot, Google+ has 170 monthly active users as of April 2012. The largest user groups are college students and software developers.
- As of February 2012, Pinterest has 10.4 million users. Females encompass 80 percent of Pinterest’s users. Thirty percent of users are females between 25 and 34 years old.
- Four million YouTube users are connected to other social networks and auto-share their favorite videos, according to Search Engine Watch. The video-sharing site boats 490 million unique visitors per month.
- YouTube’s users are split almost perfectly in half in terms of gender, with 52 percent females and 48 percent males. More than half (51 percent) have had at least some college education. The age of users also skews slightly higher, with the largest percentage (28 percent) falling into the 35 to 49 year age group.
Strategies for engagement
- If you’re using Google+, Facebook or Twitter, spruce up your brand pages with some savvy design. Facebook and Twitter currently offer the most customization options, but you can create an image banner on Google+. When posting, include images and video to boost interest.
- Facebook Page Post Targeting will soon be available to brands. LinkedIn already has a post targeting feature.
- Incorporate the Google +1 button on your website. HubSpot reports that websites using the +1 button generate 3.5 times the number of Google+ visits than websites not using +1.
- HubSpot reports an 80 percent increase in engagement when pin descriptions on Pinterest include a call to action.
- Participate in Twitter chats to engage other users in conversation surrounding a particular topic. Or, start a Twitter chat yourself to create dialogue surrounding industry-related topics.
Customizing your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ profiles will make your page look more interesting to users.
Tools for managing your campaign
- Use social media management programs, like HootSuite or Postling, to manage your campaigns from a single interface.
- Use tools like Ping.fm and Dlvr.it to syndicate your posts across networks.
- SproutSocial is a social media management tool offering a few more customization options for reporting than HootSuite, but it also costs more per month.
- TweetDeck is a widely used management tool, although it doesn’t offer integration with as many platforms as its competitors.
- Schedule your posts in advance. It’s impossible to sit in front of your Twitter feed all day to post interesting tweets throughout the day. Fortunately, most campaign management tools have built-in scheduling capabilities. Facebook also offers post scheduling capabilities as well, although this was possible previously using HootSuite and other apps. However, using the new page post targeting feature may have to be done from within your Facebook page until apps get on board with the capabilities to set targeting preferences.
HootSuite’s dashboard allows marketers to manage multiple social networking platforms within a single interface.
Producing share-worthy content
- Social media posts have link juice. You’ll get some SEO value when you post links to your own blog posts or articles, and the more times your content is shared the more weight it carries.
- Produce share-worthy content: Content that’s so engaging – or entertaining – that your audience is compelled to share it with their networks.
- Use resources like Google Trends or Twitter Trending Topics to pinpoint hot-button topics that will resonate with your audience. Tying your content into current news can increase engagement and result in more shares and re-tweets.
- Ask questions and don’t be afraid to call out other users in a positive way. Re-tweeting other users’ content will often lead to mentions, re-tweets and follower growth.
- Make your content digestible. Don’t post a book to your Facebook status. Instead, post an interesting lead-in to a larger piece of content and link to it.
Google Trends is a useful tool for finding topics of interest, which are more likely to be shared.
Making your cross-platform campaign cohesive
- Use Facebook landing pages to drive traffic to special promotions or offer a free download to build your email marketing list.
- Repurpose your content. Use presentation slides to create a video using voiceover – post it to YouTube. Upload your ebooks and slides to SlideShare.net and DocStoc.com. Then link to those documents on your social channels accompanied by an engaging post that compels readers to click.
- Host a Google+ hangout. Your hangout can function like a webinar and it will be published on YouTube for anyone to see.
- Use Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook to promote events. Events don’t have to be live.
- Use social media to expand the reach of your content. For instance, if you’ve created an ebook, write a blog post about it and issue a press release. Link to your release and your blog post on your social networks, creating a link sequence that directs back to your site.
Use cross-channel marketing for maximum results. Create a Facebook event to invite friends to a Google+ Hangout or Twitter chat.
Monitoring your campaigns
- Facebook Insights shows you how many people you’ve reached and who’s talking about your posts.
- Your Klout score is a measure of your overall reach and influence. Monitor your Klout score for evidence that your campaigns are working. If you’re engaging your audience and growing your follower counts, your Klout score should increase. The more frequently your content is shared, the greater your reach and your Klout score.
- Integrate with Google Analytics to monitor your traffic generated and conversions.
- Management tools, like HootSuite and SproutSocial, offer the ability to create customized reports monitoring your activity, engagement and results from your social campaigns.
- Remember, it’s not about follower counts and numbers of connections. It’s about how many targeted prospects you’ve reached with your campaign, and how engaged your followers are. Growth is great, but generating leads and starting conversations around your business are more important in the long run.
Facebook Insights is one example of a social network’s built-in reporting functions that shows total reach and gives information on which content is shared.
Managing a comprehensive social media marketing campaign doesn’t have to be difficult, even if you’ve never done it before. Choosing the right social networks to participate in is the key to kicking off a successful campaign, but it’s imperative to familiarize yourself with the tools your chosen networks offer and tactics for using each platform to its fullest capabilities for the most benefit.
If you’ve never run a social campaign before, it’s wise to start off with one or two social networks until you familiarize yourself with the platforms and know how to use them well. At that point, it’s easy to add on additional platforms to expand your campaign without overwhelming your marketing team.
What’s been working for your social media campaigns? Is social media marketing working for your business?