The social media landscape has changed over the years, so if you’re starting to leverage social media today, you might be late to the game. That means you can’t leverage some of the tactics I used to boost my social media accounts because I did them when sites like Twitter and Facebook first came out.
But don’t worry, you can still get a lot out of the social web; you just have to be a bit more creative by leveraging new strategies that others aren’t using yet. Here are some simple, yet effective, social media strategies you should start using today, and some outdated social media marketing tactics should be avoided at all costs.
Let’s get started.
1. Pinterest loves infographics
I’ve already written about the exact steps you need to follow to create and promote infographics, so I won’t bore you by repeating that information. The one thing I haven’t talked about, however, is the simple trick we use at KISSmetrics to maximize our infographic traffic from Pinterest.
Whether your target audience is male or female, it doesn’t matter. Infographics do extremely well on Pinterest.
When we release infographics on KISSmetrics, we also try to get people to share it via the social web. We do so by adding social sharing buttons on the infographic page.
If you look at the image above, you’ll notice one thing in particular. We don’t add the Pinterest sharing button to our sidebar; instead, we place it above the graphic. We’ve found that this helps us get a lot more pins.
When you go into the full-screen mode to see a bigger version of the infographic, you will see we only promote the Pinterest button, and not any other.
Why do we do this? We’ve found that Pinterest drives more consistent traffic to infographics than other social sites do. Just look at how much traffic it drove in 30 days:
Although most of our customers are male, Pinterest is still an effective channel to leverage. If you follow KISSmetrics’s strategy, you should get more traffic to your infographics too.
2. Build up your fan base
One strategy that WetPaint introduced me to that you can use is asking your readers to follow you on Twitter and Facebook in order to read the rest of your content:
If the readers don’t want to follow you, they can click “no thanks” and easily get back to reading your content. You also want to cookie your readers to make sure that after they see the invitation once, they never see it again.
This strategy alone should help you double your social media traffic in 30 days. Over a course of a year, you can expect this strategy to account for 30% to 40% of your overall traffic.
3. Collect emails on Facebook, the smart way
Do you know how most companies are spending their money on Facebook? The answer is through ads that either take people back to their site or to their fan page, right?
And although you are correct, I bet you didn’t know that most of these companies are losing money from their Facebook campaigns. So what’s the best strategy to leverage Facebook?
It is to create a page within your Facebook fan page that you can drive traffic to. By using a tool like 5 Minute Fan Page, you can set up email collection within your Facebook fan page.
The reason you want to collect emails within Facebook is because it converts a lot higher than a landing page that isn’t located on the Facebook.com URL.
If you really want to get creative, an even better way to collect emails is to use Facebook Connect. Instead of putting an email field within your landing page on Facebook, use Facebook Connect to get users’ email addresses. That way you don’t have to make them enter the information. All they have to do is to click the “register” or “join” button.
You’re going to spend anywhere from twenty-five cents to a dollar per email address. If you have a good email drip sequence, you should be able to make your money back within thirty days by promoting your products and services to those users.
Plus, every time you have an announcement or a new blog post, you can promote it to that email list, which should help you drive a lot of traffic back to your site.
You can also use a similar strategy with your wall posts. Through SplashPost, you can collect emails from wall posts on your fan page.
Typically 2% to 5% of the people that see your wall post will subscribe via email if you use SplashPost.
4. Rank your social profiles
I was searching the other day for the term “motivational speaker”, and I saw this listing.
What was interesting about this Twitter profile is that the user named his profile “Motivational Speaker”, which is why he started to rank for that term.
The mistake he is making, however, is that although he has a lot of tweets, not very many of them are engaging. If he had participated in real conversations with other users and shared more relevant content, his profile would have been a lot more popular.
So, if you follow the steps in this blog post and change the name of your Twitter account to a popular keyword you are trying to rank for, you can do extremely well. This strategy works well, however, only if your Twitter profile is popular and the keyword is related to the content you tweet about. So, make sure you focus on providing a lot of value to the Twitter community.
5. End your YouTube videos with another video
One of the best ways to get more video views is to end your video with another video. If you aren’t sure what I am talking about, check out the image below:
If you want to see a live version of it, scroll to the 8:42 mark.
You will have to get a video editor to do this because it requires some production work, but it is well worth it. Just look at Mike’s YouTube Channel. Not only does he have millions of video views, but he also has 1.9 million subscribers.
If you combine what Mike is doing with these tips, you should have a popular YouTube channel.
6. On your website
- Run a blog (and update it more than once a month) – The fastest way to beef up your social media marketing campaign is with frequent blog posts that your readers can share across their own social networking profiles.
- Respond to comments on your company’s blog posts – To encourage social sharing, you’ll want to start by building a community atmosphere on your blog. Responding to comments on your posts demonstrates your willingness to engage with your audience.
- Post new blog posts to your social media profiles multiple times – Use tools that automatically add your posts to your social media profiles, but also use tools like Buffer that enable you to post your links multiple times. This is especially important on Twitter, where updates can become buried quickly by the stream.
- Add social sharing buttons to the top and bottom of your blog posts (or use a scrolling option like Digg) – Some readers will share your posts as soon as they land on your pages, while others will want to wait until they’ve read everything before sharing. Accommodate both styles with social sharing tools found in multiple places.
- Maintain a good balance of business, personal and promotional content on your blog – Business blogs shouldn’t be too dry, but they shouldn’t be overly personal either. Use the “5:3:2 Rule” for best results.
- Encourage readers to share your posts on their social networking profiles -Don’t expect that all users will take action to share your posts without your explicit prompting. Ask, and ye shall (maybe) receive!
- Advertise your social media profiles wherever you are online – If you send out an email newsletter, post to industry forums or engage in any other type of activity online, you should be advertising your social media presence whenever possible.
- Use your Google Analytics account to identify possible post topics – To come up with content topics that your readers will want to share, take a look at your top content pieces and top keywords within Google Analytics and use this information to create future posts.
- Practice creating viral content – Monitor the performance of your blog articles and try to find commonalities between the posts that do best. Use the lessons you’ve extrapolated in future posts to increase your likelihood of going viral.
- Set social media goals and monitor your ROI – Take the time to determine what specific benefits your social media marketing campaigns offer and compare them to your investments to understand your overall marketing ROI better.
7. On your Facebook page
- Offer free, unique products on your page – People love free stuff, so make something interesting available on your Facebook page, and your followers are sure to share your profile with others.
- Set up your Facebook vanity URL – To make your page as easy to remember as possible, set up a custom URL that reflects your business name or tagline.
- Customize every graphic option available on your Timeline profile – Within your page Timeline, you can customize your cover photo, your profile image and the icons associated with all of your page’s apps. Modify each element to create a consistent visual brand on your page.
- Use Featured Events to highlight your company’s milestones – Use full page-width Featured Events to recreate your company’s story and engage readers. For your reference, here are seven examples of companies doing this well.
- Encourage fans to ensure your updates show up in their News Feeds – Recent Facebook changes mean that not all users who have liked your page will see your updates in their News Feeds. Encourage them the take the following actions to make your posts visible.
- Follow up with reader comments – Any time someone posts on your organization’s page Wall, take the time to follow up. Nothing reflects worse on a company than a series of unanswered comments or questions!
- Post engaging question prompts of comments to your timeline – Take advantage of Facebook’s social nature by getting people talking! Asking question prompts like, “If you were stuck on a desert island, what five items would you want to have with you?” is a fun way to engage readers and keep them checking back.
- Create a custom branded Facebook app – If you have the budget, custom branded Facebook apps can add memorability and functionality to an otherwise plain fan page.
- Use apps that allow you to offer special discounts to followers who Like your page – If you do decide to go the app route, pay particular attention to programs that allow you to exchange premium content for page Likes as these will help build social proof.
- Experiment with Facebook Ads for Likes – Similarly, if you’re having trouble attracting followers the old-fashioned way, running Facebook Ads for Likes can help quickly boost your subscriber base.
- Monitor your Facebook Insights – Facebook’s Insights program offers tons of valuable engagement statistics, so pay attention to the information displayed in this area and use it to structure your future campaigns.
- Respond professionally to negative feedback – Occasionally, you may encounter complaints on your Facebook page. Handle these instances professionally and appropriately without letting your emotions get the best of you!
- Create follower groups and segment your status updates – To make sure your status updates are as interesting as possible to your followers, experiment with some of the segmenting features Facebook offers.
- Determine the commercial value of a Facebook Like for your business – Having more Likes may increase your sales…or it may not. Take the time to determine what impact Facebook promotions have on your bottom line in order to understand how much emphasis this tool should receive in your social media marketing campaigns.
8. On your Twitter page
- Make sure your username is memorable – Experiment with different variations until you find a memorable username that’s both available and meets Twitter’s character limits.
- Use a headshot instead of your logo for your profile picture – Twitter profile pictures aren’t large when displayed on the site, which means that logo detail can’t usually be seen. Headshots or pictures of faces are much more appealing to site users.
- Customize your Twitter background – With the number of free tools online that can be used to create custom Twitter backgrounds, there’s no excuse not to take this important branding step.
- Split-test your bio – Change your bio frequently and track which versions result in the most new subscribers.
- Post controversial content – Twitter makes it easy to share interesting content, which is why controversial opinion pieces often get spread around like wildfire.
- Monitor Tailored Trends within your industry – Instead of monitoring Twitter trends by geographic region, use the social network’s new Tailored Trends tool to monitor topics of interest within your industry.
- Get “best of Twitter” updates in your inbox – Using Twitter’s newest notification features can help you track trending topics within your industry if you aren’t able to stop by the site frequently.
- Be personal – Twitter users want more personal information than followers on any other social network, so break down the barriers a bit here and share more details about your life on this site (just don’t go too crazy – save your drunken musings for your personal Facebook profile!).
- Follow users that follow your industry’s experts – To find new followers (and, consequently, boost your perceived authority on Twitter), go through the follower lists of experts in your field and follow as many new people as possible. Many will follow you back automatically.
- Use Twitaholic to identify and build relationships with power Twitter users – Creating and leveraging relationships with power users in your industry is a great way to get your own content seen as quickly as possible.
- Use Buffer to pre-load your Twitter stream with helpful content – If you can’t be on Twitter all day, the Buffer tool (linked to above) can automatically release pre-loaded messages at certain times in order to build your perceived presence.
- Post inspirational quotes and sayings – No matter how cheesy or repetitive they may be, tweets based on popular or inspirational quotes tend to be shared on Twitter more often than other types of content. Use them sparingly however!
- Try Triberr to amplify your follower reach – Triberr enables you to team up with a network of friends to automatically share each other’s tweets, making it a great way to increase your online reach and quickly build exposure.
- Use industry hashtags appropriately – Keep an eye out for hashtags that are popular within your industry but use them carefully. Tying your content to hashtags will increase your exposure, but plenty of businesses have been burned by using these tools inappropriately (see: Kenneth Cole).
9. On your LinkedIn profile
- Pay attention to SEO keywords when creating your profile – Doing so will help your profile be more visible to users who search within LinkedIn for people with your specific background.
- Adjust your settings to “Full View” to increase your visibility – Setting your information to be displayed publicly will help your profile appear more frequently in the natural search results.
- Expand your bio section with case studies and information – The more information you can include in your bio, the better (whether you’re trying to attract clients, enhance your perceived reputation or increase your odds of appearing in the natural SERPs).
- Join LinkedIn Groups within your industry – Participating in groups is a good way to “see and be seen”. It will help you build your brand while providing helpful information to others.
- Start a group if you can’t find one that meets your needs – Alternatively, if the existing Groups in your industry aren’t a good fit, start your own. Just be sure you bring something unique and valuable to the discussion.
- Syndicate your blog to your LinkedIn profile – Plenty of plugins and software add-ons enable you to sync your blog posts to appear automatically on your LinkedIn profile.
- Post press mentions to your profile – If you or your business receives positive press mentions, be sure to link to them from within your LinkedIn profile.
- Monitor LinkedIn’s Q&A section for opportunities to provide helpful advice – Offering advice isn’t just a good way to give back to your community. It’s a great way to make connections and build your perceived authority as well.
- Use shared connections to expand your network – Periodically browse mutual connections within your LinkedIn profile for opportunities to expand your personal and business networks.
- Attend LinkedIn Events in the real world – Some communities host get-togethers for nearby LinkedIn users. If these events occur in your area, give them a try in order to deepen your online connections.
- Make connections amongst your LinkedIn contacts – Good karma comes back around, so take the time to introduce members of your network who you feel could benefit from new contacts.
10. On your Pinterest account
- Optimize your website content for Pinterest sharing – Plain text blog posts aren’t good candidates for Pinterst sharing, so optimize your presence on this network by including aesthetically pleasing images and graphics inside your website articles.
- Target micro-demographics – Although Pinterest is primarily dominated by young to middle-aged women, look for sub-groups within this demographic to appeal to. As an example, pinning content specifically for work-at-home moms of kids between ages 1-5 could help you build more meaningful connections than trying to reach all women at once.
- Create instructional pin boards – Help Pinterest followers to get more out of your content by creating pin boards that instruct viewers on how to complete multi-step tasks.
- Build themed pin boards based on industry trends – Pin board topics should be relatively narrow (for example, retro-styled home appliances versus kitchens), and monitoring industry trends should give you some great ideas to work from.
- Experiment with alternative pin board styles – Watch your industry for Pinterest users who are creating innovative new pin board styles that provide an exciting alternative to standard boards.
- Use business keywords in your Pinterest pins – Plenty of Pinterest followers use the site’s search bar to find content that interests them, so be sure your pins contain the necessary information to be found in this way.
- Make use of all three Pinterest linking opportunities – Each Pinterest pin gives you three opportunities to link back to your website. For best results, make sure your URL is correct in all of these fields.
- Space out your Pinterest activities – Don’t flood the Pinterest stream. Instead of pinning twenty new pins in one hour, add one new pin every hour for twenty hours.
- Practice regular Pinterest link reclamation – As pins are passed around, the information contained within them may change. For this reason, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of seeking out pins that contain your products or images and asking owners to correct URLs if this occurs.
- Re-pin content responsibly – Before re-pinning other people’s content to your boards, make sure the pins are still functioning correctly. No one likes to click on an interesting pin, only to be taken to a 404 page!
- Follow top pinners in your industry and ask them to follow you back – As with traditional social networking websites, Pinterest has power users as well. Building relationships with these participants can be incredibly useful as one pin from a Pinterest authority could substantially increase your on-site presence.
- Avoid Pinterest copyright issues – As a business owner, you’ll need to be especially careful not to violate copyright ownerships when posting content to Pinterest. Take a look at Mashable’s guidelines for avoiding potential legal claims.
- Be a person, not a business! – Pinterest users are highly skeptical of overly-promotional content. So, while it’s fine to be a business using Pinterest, make sure your pinned content reflects your personal sensibilities -not just the latest product you’re trying to pitch!
11. Obsolete tactics to avoid
Do not waste your precious time with obsolete tactics that are outdated and aren’t effective anymore. Here are 7 strategies to avoid:
Obsolete tactic #1: Posting whenever you’re free
Posting daily or whenever you have time isn’t ideal. Why? Because your followers may not be online when you are posting.
That means no one is going to see the content you are promoting.
Simply Measured has some free tools that show you when you should be posting. It will analyze your user base and tell you the days and times the most optimal for engagement.
Here is an example report for Instagram:
Once you figure out the ideal days and times you should be posting, sign up for Buffer (free), and start scheduling your posts.
Facebook posts are the exception. If you schedule them, you’ll see your share and like counts drop. Instead, you’ll have to post on your Facebook profile yourself and schedule posts through Fan page by clicking the clock icon.
Obsolete tactic #2: Selling directly to your audience
Once you have a big following, you’ll want to start convincing them to buy whatever you are selling. But just posting a link, telling your followers to buy your book, product, or service, won’t do much for you.
The only time I’ve seen it work is when a sale or a discount is offered, which isn’t an ideal scenario.
What you need to do is drive your social media fans through a funnel. First, collect their emails, and then offer your products or services through email.
He then launched a webinar course for $499 dollars, and within 24 hours, he made $12,974 in sales. When he promoted his webinar product directly to the group, he didn’t even generate $1,000 in revenue.
The reason this works is because you are getting your fans to make micro commitments. Eventually, when you ask them to make a purchase, they are more likely to say yes.
Obsolete tactic #3: Trying to game your follower count
I’m continually seeing people follow thousands of users in order to build up their accounts on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Some people even go as far as buying thousands of fans. The big numbers may make you look cool, but they will eventually hurt you.
Why? These social sites are getting smart at analyzing how many of your followers are actually engaging. And if the ratio is poor, your content won’t spread much, which will cause you to get less traffic compared to having a smaller fan base that actually engages.
So, instead of trying to game the system, start looking at your competitors. See what types of content they are posting that causes engagement. Test posting similar types of posts. And avoid posting content that doesn’t get likes, comments, or shares.
Obsolete tactic #4: Sharing without optimizing
Sharing content from your site isn’t as simple as copying and pasting your URL on a social site. If your website code isn’t optimized for social media, you’ll notice that when you share your content on these sites, no images appear:
When you optimize your code, social sharing will look more like this:
So, how do you ensure your site is optimized? You add social media meta tags to your content.
The difference is huge. When I implemented this on Quick Sprout, my Facebook traffic went up by 174%.
Obsolete tactic #5: Being self-promotional
I started participating on social sites because I wanted to grow my brand, traffic, and sales. I didn’t really care about anything else, and people saw it.
People started to unfriend and unfollow me, and I wasn’t getting any social traffic. But once I started sharing other people’s content, answering questions, and just helping people out, I quickly noticed that I started to build a loyal following.
The loyal following eventually converted into traffic and sales once I started to build a funnel similar to Josh Flagg’s. But when I was just being self-promotional, I didn’t generate one sale.
Make sure you help people out, answer their questions, and share content from others within your industry. You don’t have to promote competitors, but you should be promoting news and content sites.
Obsolete tactic #6: Linking directly to someone’s site
When you share someone else’s link, you are driving traffic to their site and generating no traffic in return. That kind of blows.
What if I told you that every time you promote someone else’s site, you can actually drive more traffic back to your site?
There is a cool social tool called Sniply, which puts a promotional box on any site you share.
When you drive traffic to others, there is a chance that some of those visitors will come back to your site.
Obsolete tactic #7: Adding one too many social sharing buttons to your site
If you want people to share articles on your site, what do you do? Add social sharing buttons to your site, right?
But did you know adding one too many social buttons to your site can hurt your traffic? I tested placing 3, 4, and 5 different social media options on Quick Sprout. When I reduced the button count from 5 to 3, I was able to increase my click-through rate by 11%.
So, instead of treating your site like Nascar and promoting every social site out there, focus on just 3. Pick the sites that resonate most with your readers. Chances are it is going to be Facebook, Twitter, and one other social site.
Social media is alive, well and growing fast. There is a lot of traffic to be had from social sites, but you have to get creative.
What worked a few years ago in the social media space doesn’t work anymore.
You need to adapt your approach and avoid the obsolete tactics everyone else is leveraging.
By staying up-to-date on social media algorithms and trends, you’ll be able to maximize your social traffic and sales.