This article has been contributed by Megan Ritter.
With the rise of social media quickly becoming a primary means of communication, there are still plenty of businesses out there struggling to develop an effective social media marketing strategy.
With the number of different platforms available, as well as the specific etiquette that goes with them, many businesses find it difficult to find and share content that appeals to their audience. Not only do they need to consider what the audience wants to see, but marketers need to also consider what kind of content will boost overall branding, clicks, and conversions.
There are a few general strategies that businesses use when they peruse social media, but there are a few that fly under the radar that businesses should start using—and here are some ways to shake up your social media strategy.
1) Use Long Form Content on Social Sites
Despite the era we live in, where most attention spans rarely last longer than 15-20 seconds, a longer post may actually work to grab the attention of your followers (with the exception of Twitter). By sharing longer, but digestible, social media posts with your followers, it could very well help boost brand recognition, as well as lead to more engagement and interaction with customers.
Sharing excerpts of articles (not just titles) within posts and linking to the rest of the content is another excellent way of getting the attention of your readers, encouraging them to click on the link and read on.
Earlier this year, consultant Mike Alton shared a rather lengthy Google+ post covering how to make the perfect Linkedin profile. However, Alton did much more than just reshare an image. Flowing well over 250 words, the post itself has received more than 180 +1’s and over 160 reshares. With numbers like this, it’s clear to see that it’s well worth the time to craft very shareable content via social media rather than just on a blog.
2) Use A Unique Strategy For Each Network
Some companies post more frequently on one social network over others—it depends on what kind of customers you want to have. Each social network has a key demographic that businesses want to engage with, but it never hurts to stay active on at least the most popular social networks (Facebook, Twitter, and Google+).
While there is no single method for promoting your campaign that will guarantee you results, you’ll want to reach your audience where they are most active – and in the digital age, that’s everywhere! Whether you reach your audience best through email newsletters, your blog, at a tradeshow, or on other social networks, always keep in mind that the way your message must reflect the medium you’re using.
Take Taco Bell’s social profiles, for example. Well-known for their hilarious updates, this food chain is a master at tailoring to their audience. While their Facebook tends to be more reserved for sharing images of items on their menu, their Twitter feed engages their customers in a very different way:
3) Skip The Script & Have Fun
While it’s important to know what kind of content is appropriate for each social network, it’s necessary to think outside of the box at times. Several businesses decided to toss a curve ball to their customers, shaking off the idea of a straight-laced corporate image.
Take Netflix for example. An employee from Netflix customer service, rather than following a customer service script, went into character and started communicating with the customer as if they were both in space stations. This recorded conversation later went Viral on Reddit.
A company that can connect with its customers using a good sense of humor can win greater admiration from customers—and possibly help the company go viral and gain customers from places they wouldn’t expect it from.
4) Try User-Generated Content, Vine, Hyperlapse, Snapchat
A lot of brands overlook the latest media technologies and strategies such as user-generated content, Vine, Hyperlapse and SnapChat.
Major companies started adding Vine comedians to their payrolls, serving a double purpose—connecting with their customers using the power of humor and keeping the attention of the ever-shortening consumer attention span, as Vine videos are only six to seven seconds long. You can also engage users via long form condensed content using the recently release Hyperlapse.
5) Using Positivity – Turn That Frown Upside Down
Negativity in social media is all too commonplace—people complaining about politics, the weather, other people—people want to hear good news for a change. Businesses should take an issue that is important to its audience and say something positive about it. If a company brands itself as a positive force on social media, doing so will not only help attract more followers (and of course, business), but help change the atmosphere we live in today as well.
A perfect example of this would be the Red Cross and Dogfish Head Beer incident on Twitter. Thinking she was tweeting from her personal account, a Red Cross social media specialist accidentally tweeted “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer…. when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzered.” on the official Red Cross account.
However, rather than causing an outrage, the Red Cross handled the mistweet flawlessly. After removing the rogue post, the Red Cross responded with “We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys” (throwing in a little message about drink driving while they were at it.)”. And to top it off, beer company Doghead Fish helped the situation even more by encouraging Twitter followers to donate to the Red Cross using the hashtag “gettingslizzered”.
Business As (Un)usual
We’re always encouraged to think outside of the box to come up with a solution to a problem, and it seems that the same mentality can be applied to social media posts. You don’t always have to employ the usual social media strategy—try mixing it up a little and see what kind of results you get. It may seem kind of risky to toe the line, but if done right, you can see fantastic results from these little tweaks.
Megan Ritter is an online entrepreneur and business journalist. You can find more of her writing here.