The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing
Since I’ve been involved in the marketing world for so long, there are many insights I’ve learned over the years. This is especially true when it comes to the social media world. In this quick guide, I’ll give you some of the best posts on my blog with regards to general social media marketing, which are areas related to social media marketing for which there is no specific category.
In case you were wondering, these are the additional categories related to social media marketing for which content is available on this site:
- Content Marketing
- Corporate Communications
- Email Marketing
- Facebook Marketing
- Influencer Marketing
- Instagram Marketing
- Public Relations
- Social Media and the Law
- Social Media Contests
- Social Media Lead Generation
- Social Media Tools
- Twitter Marketing
- WeChat & China Social Media
- YouTube & Video Marketing
General Marketing Advice
Before we can specialize our discussion of marketing, there are some general principles that need to be discussed. For example, everyone wants customer loyalty, because it keeps marketing costs down and profits high. And, it’s always a good idea to try and meet customers where they are. These posts fill in the details.
In marketing, a loyal customer is something beyond just the repeat customer. Whereas repeat customers might keep buying for a number of variable reasons, loyal customers feel a connection to your brand. Loyal customers are more valuable, because they will spend more and recommend you more often. Loyalty marketing is a discipline that focuses on gaining customer loyalty. I discuss two famous brands that have done it well: Starbucks and Amazon. Both have built a loyal customer base. I argue that you should try this too, and give pointers for implementation.
Joe Ruiz talks about the importance of marketing via social channels, while taking advantage of location-based customer targeting and the (then still emerging) power of smartphones for customer engagement. At the heart of this post is the fact that people tend to consult other people about products and services before buying. Long over are the days when only advertising from a company was enough. Now, you need to be conscious of review sites like Yelp and Google business pages.
Customer Experience Marketing
Do you enjoy going into a business with surly employees, long lines, and poor products? I didn’t think so. The following posts serve up some advice on how to make customer experiences the best possible. Then, your business will be free to grow.
Panera Bread is a master at customer experience, according to Joe Ruiz. Here’s how they did it. First, they listened to customers and found ways of adjusting their food offerings so that it would be more appealing. This included making options healthier, including by providing ingredient and calorie information. Second, they worked to reduce wait times at the counter. In other words, they became quick service without the “fast food” vibe. Third, they improved customer choice in how they ordered food, including mobile ordering options that reduce the wait. Fourth, they build connections with their customers through quality content marketing. And fifth, they’ve built an online community around their brand, leveraging social media. Overall, this strategy has been highly successful.
As a sales, marketing, or media professional, you need a good personal brand. This can also be said of freelance professionals and solopreneurs. Here, I have some constructive tips on how you can build your personal brand. Then, there’s a discussion about what not to do.
Karin Sebelin points out that networking is one of the most important things you can do to build your personal brand. Yet, there is so much more to networking than just getting out there and collecting business cards, or adding people to your LinkedIn. Instead, networking involves building genuine and trusting relationships. Don’t be afraid to compliment people you’ve met: they’ll like that. Be polite, and respect their time. Take the time to support others, but don’t expect anything back in return. Don’t waste time on annoying people, but do spend time on the people who are willing to give back. Lastly, don’t underestimate your weak ties: they’re often people who work in a different industry or social circle, and they sometimes provide needed perspective.
Lorenzo Brizzo gives us ways to fail at building, or worse, destroy, a personal brand. Some of them involve bad strategy, such as ignoring the whole thing and failing to define your values. Others, however, involve inconsistency, such as dishonesty and forgetting your audience. Also, if you’re impractical in the way you deal with others, this doesn’t help. Finally, don’t settle for mediocrity. Rather, be someone that others look up to and can count on for the long term.
Originally, the term “social selling” referred to either a salesman’s Rolodex, or selling things through friends and family. Now, it’s an entirely different world where we marketers post things on social media with the purpose of gathering engagement and sales leads.
Do you need help getting started in social selling? Need some pointers? If so, check out this free ebook that my colleague Craig Jamieson and I have put together. We’ll walk you through all the basics you need to get started, or up your game.
Once upon a time, employers were scared of social media. However, they’ve always believed in some form of employee advocacy. For instance, employees who take pride in their work and appreciate how they’re being treated tell their family and friends. These posts talk about how the divide between social media and employee advocacy is being bridged.
Is your HR department still paranoid about what employees say about your company online? They may want to lighten up. According to Venkatesh Raman, employee advocacy is critical for the modern brand. That’s because studies show that consumers turn to their friends for information about companies, brands, and even job openings. As a result, if someone loves their job and gushes about how they’re treated at work, you can expect to have an easier time attracting quality job applicants. People also love to shop at businesses where their friends work, among other things. The bottom line is that if you aren’t using employee advocacy, you’re missing out.
Turning statistical data into practical takeaways, Raman continues to tell us why employee advocacy is important. For one thing, it increases your social media presence. Getting to know employees as your employees means that consumers see a human face to your brand. Employees tend to be more engaged at work, and start being regarded as thought leaders, both of which imply increased morale. Finally, employee advocacy fosters brand loyalty, the gold standard in marketing.
For this free ebook, I partner with PeopleLinx to help people understand how to implement an employee advocacy program. You’ll learn how advocacy works, how to set it up, and how to measure results. If you’re looking to jumpstart your social selling through employee advocacy, be sure to pick it up.
(Social Media) Marketing Books
Want some great reading? Check out these posts about books to consider.
Every now and then, I like to dive into the world of marketing books. After all, once in a while it’s nice to read something that teaches us something new. More than that, there’s nothing like reading a good book while on a business trip. “Please shut off your electronic devices,” anyone? Some of the books I discuss here are brand new, and a few are a bit older but still good. If you’re looking for inspiration, you’ll find it here.
For more specific brain fuel, I’ve compiled this list of excellent social media marketing focused reading. I’m always updating it with new books and taking off some that are no longer relevant. My strategy for choosing the best is also detailed, so you know what you’re getting.
Social Media Marketing Conferences
Conferences are one of the best ways to learn new things and expand your network. Here are a few to consider.
If you love conferences like I do, here’s a plethora of quality options for this year. I’ll even tell you which ones I was scheduled to appear at. Unfortunately, with the pandemic a number of them have been cancelled. Nonetheless, check out this post for a listing, because many conferences are recurring. You never know if you’ll find your next favorite this way.
Social Media Marketing Podcasts
Want to learn something on the go? Think about podcasts, which you can just download and enjoy on a variety of devices.
What’s your impression of podcasting? Nowadays we know that this once geeky medium is both growing and highly effective. In fact, half of Americans listen to podcasts at least occasionally, and they’re available in many foreign languages too. Increasingly, podcasting is becoming an important medium for advertising, because people like to experience products they’ve heard about from podcasts.
Once upon a time, I didn’t like listening to podcasts. After all, they had a young-and-hip image that didn’t necessarily suit me. However, after listening to a number of great episodes, I’ve become a believer in this new medium. A podcaster myself, I’ve found this is a great way to reach out to my followers and teach something new. It also allows for a change of pace from my blog. So, to share my experience with you I have compiled a list of 10 great podcasts that you can try. What a great way to take advantage of downtime, such as that provided by train and airplane rides.
Social Media Strategy
There’s no such thing as social media success without a strategy. Here are some tips for forming an effective one.
As a marketer, it’s important to ensure that your social media involvement is strategic in order to boost its chances of success. Here are some tips. First, know your audience, because it will help tailor your postings. Second, pick and choose which platforms to use based on your audience and needs. Third, make content an important part of your strategy. Fourth, get some social media management software so you can automate many of the tasks. Finally, find and engage with influencers within your industry. This is especially crucial if you want to integrate them into your marketing strategy.
If you’re going to engage in social media marketing, you need a plan. After all, the only way to ensure you’re being effective is to measure it against the goals you’ve set. Furthermore, it’s unlikely that you will succeed if everything is being done somewhat randomly. Therefore, I’ve listed 11 things that successful marketing plans need to contain. Briefly, these are branding, content, curation, channels, frequency, engagement, listening, campaign, influencers, brand ambassadors and employee advocates, and finally crisis management. Each of these fit together to ensure that your plan is both comprehensive and sustainable.
Social Media Marketing Advice
This is a broad category of advice that my guests and I have given over the last few years. Feel free to pick and choose what is useful to you.
As a popular conference speaker and college professor, I do a lot of public speaking. And when you do this, you’ll eventually end up with quotes that are unique to you. In this blog post, I give you some of my favorites, accompanied by the pictures I use to showcase them on Instagram. Along with them, I tell my readers what’s meant by each quote. In addition, you’ll get a look into my travels through the pictures.
We marketers don’t often give holiday posts the respect they deserve. After all, to many of us they seem like fluff that we just have to put up because if we didn’t, we’d be ignored. However, holiday posts are a great way to build emotional appeal. What young man in love doesn’t like to give presents to his sweetheart for Valentine’s day? And winter holidays are common to many faiths, often accompanying some form of gift giving. You need holiday posts to capitalize on these trends. Not only that, but they’re easy to make and readily shareable. Don’t overlook them.
Debbie Miller gives us some insight into why businesses might experience a high bounce rate, which is the percentage of visitors who leave a website shortly after arriving. Unfortunately there tend to be widely divergent bounce rates between social media-driven traffic and that from other sources. However, nowadays Google analytics are starting to give us the bigger picture. In order to lower our bounce rates there are a number of steps we can take to boost engagement. These steps are somewhat industry-specific, but they all involve reaching customers where they are.
Mike Dane gives us some useful tips for increasing website traffic using social media. Because people spend so much time on social media, these networks are great tools for building your brand. To do so, make posts that increase your brand recognition, relevance, and credibility. Associate with influencers of all sizes, and pay careful attention to your SEO efforts. Engage potential customers by posting surveys, contests, and offering incentives for people to check you out. Finally, use great content to boost sales, and chase after customer loyalty. Do these things, and your site traffic will increase. Have a great product, and this should increase sales.
When most of us hear the term “style guide,” we often think of publishing instead of social media. However, as Courtney Ramirez points out, style guides are important for business social media, as well. This is true, because your “style” is part of your branding. To make one, consider who you are as a brand, and who your customers are. This will help you tailor your posts. Consider brand voice, and goals for customer engagement. Lastly, know how often you will post on each network. Each of these considerations will allow your company to know what it is going to post, as well as how and when. With consistency comes familiarity from customers, and then more sales will follow.
Like a business suit worn to that important job interview, for companies a social media profile is intended to make a great first impression. For that reason, Lana Miro offers some tips on making your social media profiles visually appealing. Her first tip is to have a professional-looking branding pack for all your social media accounts. User generated content is awesome, both for its engagement value and as something to help build ads. Show your company’s human face by showcasing company events through high quality visuals. Don’t be afraid to use infographics, but be sure and proportion them properly for social media posts. Location data and custom hashtags help ground your business’ relevance. Landing pages are out, but social remarketing is in. Have a branding bundle, and don’t neglect YouTube…ever. Finally, live broadcasts and giveaway posts are both excellent ways to get both eyeballs and engagement.
If you’ve ever wondered about the psychology of capturing people’s attention on social, check out this article by Wade Harmon. He tells us something really interesting: on average, you have about 8 seconds to capture someone’s attention after they look at your post. This is a result of a phenomenon called convergence. So, if you want to keep someone’s attention, ask one of the “5Ws:” who, what, when, where, why. Curiosity will hopefully hold their attention much longer this way. Then, he gives us another pointer: think about what keeps you interested in a social media post. Chances are that your target audience thinks similarly.
One of the things that differentiates platforms for marketing purposes is that each requires a different style of post. Some of them, like LinkedIn, are word heavy, while Twitter has a strict character limit and Facebook can pretty much go either way. Courtney Ramirez gives us some of the differences. It’s OK to use the same basic content but you need to “tweak” them to fit each network. For Twitter, keep it under 90 characters if you can, use relevant hashtags, and make the headline clickable. Facebook gives you more room to customize to your audience, and allows you to encourage discussion. Don’t forget the nice picture. LinkedIn is very formal. As with Facebook, tailor it to your audience and stimulate discussion. However, you’ll want to be sure and highlight some actionable insights as well.
The Business of Social Media Marketing
Like everything else, social media marketing is an important part of business. For some people, it’s also their principle business. Here are some tips.
Since not all competition is bad, I thought I’d give people my tips for starting a consulting business. First, make sure you’re a credible source of information. Second, make sure you have marketable experience. Third, show you can build an online brand by doing it yourself. Fourth, be sure to produce and share plenty of your own content. Fifth, expand your network of professionals, both online and in person. Finally, learn by doing. Literally. Start with pro bono work and then use some of that (with permission) as a portfolio to get paid clients.
Pinterest is a niche marketing platform that mostly appeals to younger, educated women. If you think your business can benefit, read on.
For companies in the right niche, Pinterest is a marketer’s dream. Statistics show that Pinterest is full of younger women with plenty of disposable income, and that they use the platform to plan vacations and craft projects, or decide which clothes or accessories to buy this time. Men are starting to move in too, with topics like model building and vacations. Pictures posted on Pinterest often lead to purchases, as people go there to find something new. Even better, the people who use Pinterest for product discovery and ideas buy things that are featured fairly frequently. Check out the post to see specifics.
If you want to be successful marketing on Pinterest, there are some very specific rules to follow. For instance, content goes stale very quickly, so you need to keep posting. Next, if it isn’t interesting, chances are people will ignore it, because they’re looking for something new and exciting. Third, be sure to showcase the value of your product through original ideas. Fourth, incorporate your branding in each post, so it retains its identity even when pinned several times. Play to the algorithms, and use a scheduling tool for best results. Lastly, take advantage of Tailwind Tribes to showcase your content to like-minded people.
Like Pinterest, Reddit is more of a niche network. However, in this case it appeals more to lower income young men. With that said, there are some great opportunities.
Reddit isn’t the first place we marketers think about when considering a new forum for marketing. However, it’s a useful tool for introducing other Redditors to your products and services. To help you get started, there are a number of tips that I’m sharing. For instance, Reddit has its own etiquette, and you’ll want to familiarize yourself with it before beginning. Furthermore, Reddit is quite different from other social networks, so you’ll basically have to relearn a lot of your usual techniques. Carefully weigh when you need to stay completely anonymous, and when to reveal your role (but not personal info). In an anonymous community, things work very differently, so you’ll need a totally different strategy. The rest of my tips help you do that.
Jesse Aaron shares with us the ins and outs of subreddits. In short, these are niche forums that cover a particular topic, and the rules for posting in one are strict. For instance, if you put a sales pitch in a related subreddit that isn’t sales related, it will get deleted. In order to be effective, you need to not only know which subreddits are relevant to your brand, but what types of posts to place in each. Moderators strictly enforce the “rules,” so not knowing them is a recipe for disaster. On the other hand, if you know what you’re doing then Reddit generates some great branding opportunities.
Aaron continues his discussion of subreddits by teaching you how to make one that’s tailored to your needs. There are a few reasons to do this: startups can use them as a great way to build brand recognition, while larger brands can leverage them for feedback and ideas. Another use is to stage contests, which are wildly popular on Reddit. Making one is easy: there’s a button on your Reddit account’s homepage that simply says, “make your own subreddit.” Click on this, choose the customized options, and create a theme. You can do the latter either with a program like Naut, or manually. Aaron gives basic instructions for manual customization.
TikTok is so new to the West that we don’t know a lot about how it will behave in the US market long term. However, I do have some guest posts that weigh in on the subject.
Tony DeGennaro guest posts on my blog to talk about TikTok. This Chinese import is becoming a big hit in the US and other countries, and business isn’t quite sure how to leverage it yet. For one thing, it is fairly controversial due to child protection and data collection practices that weren’t quite up to Western standards when it launched. However, TikTok is a clever app, because it allows users to record short videos of themselves and let other people share in the fun. Also, revenues are rising. In essence, DeGennaro says that we can’t quite be sure if this platform is going to be a big thing for marketing yet. However, it does show some promise and is something to keep a close eye on.
Lorenzo Brizzo tells us how he uses TikTok for personal branding, and how we can do it too. First, he points out that China changes so rapidly that we need more than one network to help us understand the young Chinese market. It’s great for personal branding, because you can showcase your talents in short video bites. In fact, millennial audiences will teach you as much about themselves as you teach them about you. Not only that, but it’s a great stage for artists, and personal branding can be turned corporate, as well. Overall, TikTok is more versatile than it’s given credit for in the West.
So there you have it! Your complete guide to social media marketing! If there are any topics that you are interested in that you don't find here, please use the search bar or category drop down menu on the sidebar to access additional topics. If you still can't find what you are looking for, please contact me!