Social media marketing (SMM) has become a huge part of SEO over the past year. In 2016, it is looking to become even a bigger influencer as brands try to find their target audience in the vast pool of social media outlets.
In order to help you guys improve your social media marketing efforts in 2016, I decided to ask 37 marketing experts for their best tips for SMM in 2016. Here’s what they said.
2016 SMM Tip #1: Be Original. Be Authentic.
Gabriella Fonseca, the Online & Social Media Manager at BOOST&Co, basically said that you need to keep it real:
Be original. Be authentic. You are not as innovative as you think if you are just doing what everyone else is doing. Say less “I”. Say more “you”.
Be genuinely interested in your community and in solving the issues that they might have. Your reputation is the most valuable asset your business has.
2016 SMM Tip #2: Engage People Who Are Talking About Your Brand
Use Twitter search to find individuals who are talking about your brand, and don’t just retweet, engage! Whether the comment is positive, negative or neutral, find a way to engage.
Thank them for their kind words, help them resolve their issues or respond with a little humor. It could result in a retweet, favorite or even a follow.
2016 SMM Tip #3: Stop Trying To Be Everywhere
Ricky Shockley, the Owner of Shockley Marketing, said that u need not be everywhere in order to do good SMM:
A common mistake of businesses and marketers is trying to be everywhere. Having presence on every social media channel under the sun can be detrimental to your social media success.
Invest your time, energy, and budget into the 1 – 2 channels that are the best fit for your audience. Be proactive, engage, and stay active with the channels most likely to make a difference for your business.
2016 SMM Tip #4: Mix Up Manual & Automated SMM
Thomas Wooldridge, a Marketing Consultant at Relamark.com, urged marketers to mix it up:
It’s important to create a mix between manual and automation social media marketing software. Many businesses are relying on too much automation and making their online brand look way too robotic.
Start the engagement process manually and speak to your customers directly. Reach out to the community and bring more value to them. Your loyal customers will love it.
2016 SMM Tip #5: Don’t Sell
Dan Moyer Jr., the National Director of Social Media at Closet Factory, said that your focus should not be on selling:
That’s what your company’s website is for. The reason your audience follows you on social media is because they enjoy the content you post.
But as soon as they catch a whiff of a sales pitch, they tune out, and you’re forced to work that much harder to win their attention.
Ultimately, social media can become the most cost-effective way to qualify leads. If a person isn’t willing to follow the educational path of content you’ve created for them online, they probably aren’t going to be a great lead.
However, if you do post engaging content regularly on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram, you’ll be able to close a customer simply by affirming what they’ve already been lead to believe – that you’re the authority at what you do.
2016 SMM Tip #6: Graphics!
Javed S. Khan from EMpression, said that you need to catch people’s eyes on social media:
Posting videos on Facebook is extremely popular on this social media channel. They grab people’s attention and put them at the middle of the action.
Create and share videos that provide viewers with the experience of being wherever you are. Give them a behind the scenes, show them how something works or share a success story.
Photos aren’t used by everyone on Twitter, so including a photo or a video iwll help get your tweets noticed.
Word images work well on Pinterest. Take an image, and write a description in text next to it. Create a quote image with a popular or relevant quote overlayed on a bright color or an interesting image.
2016 SMM Tip #7: Take It Offline
Pete Tan, Director of Silver Spring Inc, said to not be afraid to take your SMM efforts offline:
Take it offline – online communities are a double-edged sword. It’s easy to create an online community, but the problem is that it’s online.
Online communities rarely have the strong weave of offline communities. Arrange MeetUps, TweetUps and other in-person events with your social media communities to deepen relationships and increase the value of your social media engagement.
That depth is noticeable online, and draws more followers, likes, and friends. Rinse, wash, repeat and let the flywheel spin.
2016 SMM Tip #8: SMM Is Not Really A Function Unto Itself
Samuel Scott, Director of Marcom at Logz.io, said that you need to realize this one thing about SMM:
Realize that social media marketing is not really a function unto itself. Social media, like the telephone, is merely a communications channel.
There are no such things as “telephone teams” and “telephone jobs”. Rather, people should use social media networks in their existing functions and roles.
Publicists should use social media to do publicity. Advertisers should use social media to do advertising. Customer support representatives should use social media to do customer support. And so on.
2016 SMM Tip #9: Share Content Consistently
Courtney Reimers, a Marketing and Operations Intern at StudySoup, urges you to be consistent in your 2016 SMM efforts:
My top social media marketing tip is to share content consistently. The easiest way to manage this is by creating a detailed social media marketing strategy and schedule, detailing what you post and when to post it.
If you can weave in ongoing campaigns or themes as a part of this strategy, it adds to the creative flow and brand identity. This helps you, as a social media marketer, give your audience unique and varied content throughout your channels, keeping them engaged and wanting to come back to read more.
2016 SMM Tip #10: Use FB Boost Post & Bypass Twitter’s Character Limit
Lysa Miller, Founder of Ladybugz Interactive Agency, said that you need to do these 2 things with Facebook and Twitter:
Facebook: Use boost advertising to measure the success of your Facebook posts. Create posts with unique content and engaging news, then try boosting them on Facebook to see what users mostly respond to.
Once you find out what content people like, you can start to create content based on what people like to and increase engagement on the world’s largest social network.
Twitter: Use photos and bypass the 140 Twitter character limit. According to Twitter itself, Tweets with photos get 313% more engagement than tweets without. Get around Twitter’s 140 character limit by posting extra copy over your photo or graphic for maximum messaging.
2016 SMM Tip #11: Use The Power Of Moving Pictures
Chelsei Henderson, a Content Marketing Consultant at Chelsei.com, urges you to take advantage of the power of moving pictures:
Social media is powerful because of it’s one-to-one capability. But don’t just send text like everyone else.
Kick it up a notch further by using Twitter to reply to people with a quick, 10-second video. Instagram video DMs and Snapchat are also places to use this tactic.
2016 SMM Tip #12: Focus Heavily On Influencers
Ricky Garvey, a Social Media/PR Specialist at RickyGarvey.com, urges marketers to focus on influencers as much as they can:
Put a heavy focus on influencers. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean celebrity endorsement. Find individuals who are influential in your market.
When you create content, include a quote from them. When the time comes to upload your blog, let them know through the social media platform where they are most active.
Social media has become saturated, so the more endorsements you can get with your content (even a simple RT or reply will work), the more you and your brand will stand out.
2016 SMM Tip #13: Campaign Around Something Cool
Joe Goldstein, the Lead SEO at Navolutions, had an interesting tip to share with us:
One of my favorite emerging social media marketing tactics is to build a Twitter campaign around a fictional character or inanimate object.
NASA’s Curiosity Rover, Hotels.com’s Captain Obvious and Baltimore’s Mr. Trash Wheel are all great examples of why focusing on engagement first and brand exposure second makes more sense than the other way around.
2016 SMM Tip #14: Save As Much Time As You Can
Kent Lewis, President & Founder of Anvil Media, said that you should automate as much of your SMM efforts as possible:
Social media doesn’t need to be a full-time job. A small business with limited budget and resources can develop a meaningful social media presence on 15 minutes a day. While automating social media isn’t ideal, it is a reality for many brands, and tools like Hootsuite make it possible. Social media management platforms allow you to schedule posts well in advance and measure the impact.
2016 SMM Tip #15: Respond Directly To Customers On Twitter
Michelle Zakarin from Regents Review, said that she and her company directly reach out to clients on Twitter:
For example, if a parent tweets about test anxiety, we will tweet directly back with a message about how to study and we offer to help. It becomes more personal and people often like and retweet these comments.
They also will follow our page and sometimes ask us questions through Twitter. Since it is a platform which only accepts a limited number of characters per tweet, we can be terse and still get our message out there – we can help people excel on their exams.
2016 SMM Tip #16: Speed!
Meredith Brandt, the Head of Social Media Marketing at Pure Visibility, said that 2016 SMM will be all about speed:
Facebook’s Instant Articles nip load times in the bud, Instagram offers quick accessibility between accounts, Twitter’s new timeline is all about adding relevancy to their fast-paced platform.
Only two months into 2016 and we can see that social media networks are concentrating their efforts (and will continue to do so) around an ultra-fast user experience.
Advertisers on these platforms will have to follow suite if they want to be successful, when creating ad copy, always ask yourself this: will consumers digest this “quickly”?
2016 SMM Tip #17: Share Shareable Content
Andrew C. Belton, the Owner of Symmetrical Media Marketing, urged marketers to share content that would in turn be shared by viewers:
One helpful tip that I like to share is that when you are looking to schedule posts for social media, try to share content that will make your viewers look good to share. This will help to increase your social shares and visibility.
Two hashtags is the optimal amount of hashtags to use on Twitter but hashtags on Facebook have actually been shown to decrease engagement.
Slideshare is an authority website which is very well optimized and is a very popular B2B marketing platform.
2016 SMM Tip #18: Leverage GIF Animation
Anastasiia Demydenko, the Marketing & Product Manager at Bonapick, said that animated GIFs are the way to go:
It’s not a secret that visual content is taking over the text during the last few years. Image and short video apps are rapidly gaining popularity and reaching millions of users every day.
Posts that include images and infographics have higher engagement when compared to plain text. In this case, GIF animation is a splendid visual tool.
It gives more information than just an image does and is not too long to bore viewers. GIFs are usually played automatically in the news feed and don’t require users to click the play button.
Moreover, these few second animations are played in a loop, so your social media followers will see your messages more than once.
Most popular GIFs are funny, cute, or impressive real videos or animations. However, brands can also use them as a short instruction or description to their product or service.
2016 SMM Tip #19: Use Hashtags
Jesse Harrison, the CEO of Zeus Pre Settlement Lawsuit Funding, urges you to use a lot of hashtags:
Want your message to be more effective and hip? Use hashtags as much as possible. In the past, people would use unnecessary capitalization to make a word important. Now, it’s all about the hashtags.
2016 SMM Tip #20: Become More Efficient With Your SMM With These 4 Steps
William Peery from LoSoMo, shared his best 4 tips for SMM in 2016:
- If you’re an SMB, you should respond to almost all consumer comments about your brand on social media. Only 20% of consumer comments on social media brands get a response.
- After you’ve created a good piece of content, use Twitter’s Flock to Unlock program. It lets businesses give content to people who retweet their tweets.
- Think before you tweet. IHOP’s recent pancake joke was unnecessary and negative attention hurt their brand.
- Don’t post to social media more than 1 – 2x a week. Peak content is real and people appreciate brands that only communicate their most interesting and important ideas.
2016 SMM Tip #21: Run No Less Than 10 SMM Campaigns Per Year
Jim Belosic, the CEO of ShortStack, said that you need to run at least 10 SMM campaigns per year or you will miss out on a lot of engagement:
Run a minimum of 10 social media marketing campaigns (contests, giveaways, data-collection landing pages, etc) a year. A recent study of more than 500 businesses and 25,000 marketing campaigns revealed that businesses that run a minimum of 10 campaigns a year see a 70% increase in engagement.
Yet most businesses still only average three campaigns a year. A marketing campaign doesn’t have to be a contest or promotion, it can be a coupon download, an RSS feed, a contact us/book now page, or a landing page for new products/features.
2016 SMM Tip #22: Social Media Is All About Chatter
Max Cron, the Creative Strategy Director at Online Optimism, said that social media is all about chatter:
What’s trending, how it’s relevant, and who is sharing it. Connecting with social media influencers is more important now than ever.
Creating conversation, especially ones started or fueled by influencers creates clout behind a brand. People look up to influencers and follow in their recommendations, suggestions and ideas.
Take advantage of people’s desire to belong and market to influencers who will have exponential impact on the way your brand is interpreted on social media.
2016 SMM Tip #23: Budget Your Social Media Marketing
Simon Slade, the CEO of SaleHoo, said that doing free SMM is a thing of the past:
Free social media advertising is no longer enough. It’s time to create a budget for your social media marketing. A global Web Index study found that the paid advertisements that appear in a Facebook user’s news feed are as effective as TV commercials.
And Facebook isn’t the only place you should put your advertising dollars – Instagram has Shop Now ads, Pinterest has Buyable Pins and Snapchat has Brand Stories. Social media has a wide reach and to access that you need to pay up.
2016 SMM Tip #24: Hold Contests & Giveaways
William Bauer, the Managing Director at Royce Leather, said that you need to compete people and then give them something in return:
Few things churn up the kind of buzz that’s created by giving away free stuff, so consider some friendly competition among your followers.
2016 SMM Tip #25: Be Aware Of Social Media Evolution
Roger Huang from Springboard, said that you need to go with the flow and in order to do that, you have to know where the flow is going:
My best social media tip is that you should look to new mediums of content to see where social media will evolve.
Right now, we live in a flat space where text and images dominate – the effect of video on social and live streaming has already been huge. Look for augmented reality and virtual reality to start rearing their head, and look for social media to follow.
2016 SMM Tip #26: SMM Self-Promotion Is History
Cindy Readnower, a Consultant, Author and Publisher at CynthiaReadnower.com, said that you shouldn’t sell on social media, only educate:
Blatant self-promotion is out. There is so much content floating around social media that people don’t want to be sold to, they want to be educated or entertained.
People buy into why you are doing something, whether it be your business, a program, a book, etc. They want to know what makes you tick.
They don’t want to be just a number on your sales ranking chart. If you continue to showcase your product over and over, it is very easy to just click through your posts. Get creative and become an expert in your field first so your followers want to see what you have to offer.
2016 SMM Tip #27: Video Is King
Maggie Kravchuk, the Social Media Marketing Manager at Rubenstein PR, said that you need to look for new technologies and trends emerging in the SMM field:
One of the most exciting new technologies that I’ve recently gotten a chance to experience is the new VR (Virtual Reality) headsets from Samsung and I think there’s definitely potential for marketers to tap into something here.
More and more companies are focusing on VR and I think that marketers should see what opportunities there are with this medium. Some have already seen success with Facebook 360, which is quite an improvement on what Photosynth was attempting to do.
This new platform has unlimited potential as the technology continues to develop and as so, provides a new arena for marketers to get creative.
2016 SMM Tip #28: Get Coordinated
AJ Fountain, the Co-Owner of Dr. Squatch Soap Co., said that you need to get an “SMM compass”:
Coordinated campaigns that engage, delight, and resonate. Whichever social media platform can adapt to have the most user friendly idea sharing and interactive interface, so a company and the customer can connect on a deeper level, that will be the Holy Grail of social media marketing in 2016.
2016 SMM Tip #29: Offer Value
Nathan Barber, a Digital Analyst at seoWorks, said that you need to actually provide some value with your posts:
Ask for your leads to like, comment, and or share the post, and enter them in a raffle or some sort of contest. If the reward is worth it, you will see an exponential increase in your social media presence.
Think of social media as a reciprocal way to engage with your audience. An adaptation of John F. Kennedy’s speech, it is not all about what your customers can do for you, but what you can do for your customers. The winner of your contest will likely be loyal for life.
2016 SMM Tip #30: Don’t Rush The Call To Action
Alan Magliocca, the Owner of Affiliate Academics, said that you shouldn’t hurry up and place the call to action:
Deliver value before creating a call to action. People approach social media for entertainment, not to buy a product. If you can deliver interesting value in a unique way to your potential audience, you won’t ever need to “sell” them anything.
In most cases, especially when you’ve branded yourself or your company properly, your audience will buy products from you because of the brand, not because of the product.
Give them clear and specific reasons to choose you over your competitors by delivering incredible value to them before they ever buy from you.
2016 SMM Tip #31: Build Solid Relationships
David Mercer from SME Pals, said that you need to be careful with the relationships you build through social media:
Social networks have given us the ability to communicate with anyone at any time, but they have also put a layer of technology in between us.
The net result is that it is easier to build bad relationships. Make sure you invest time and effort into a proper influencer marketing campaign to keep your business visible in 2016.
2016 SMM Tip #32: Think Of Your Customer, Not Your Business
Danielle Bedin, the Digital Marketing Executive at Receptional, said that you need a shift in focus:
Stop thinking of your business and think of your customer. You are nothing without them, focus on giving them content and information that they will find useful.
Use video to break down the structured barriers of traditional marketing. Give them cute animal filled GIFs, give them awe inspiring imagery – take their breath away and never stop doing that. Make them happy and your social media efforts will be a success in 2016.
2016 SMM Tip #33: Focus On Real-Time Updates
David Bakke from SparkCharge Media, said that SMM is moving towards real-time and so should you:
Social media in and of itself is already an up to the minute type of medium. You can get info faster on Twitter or Facebook quicker than you can with using Google.
This year, however, I think that this will be taken to the next level, and marketers should take note. Snapchat and Instagram are already well-ensconced in that niche, but the newer social site Periscope is certainly an up and comer.
Therefore, marketers will want to focus more on real-time updates, and may even want to revisit their pre-scheduled posting strategy in order to remain competitive.
2016 SMM Tip #34: Track Every Single Thing You Do
Erin Wasson, VP of Marketing at UrbanBound, said that you should always know what you have done and what it resulted in:
The #1 marketing tip that I have learned over the years is to track every single thing that you do. Marketing has transformed into an extremely data and analytical drive industry, so people need to use that to their advantage.
Whether you use an online marketing platform or an excel spreadsheet, find some way to track your marketing efforts (and make sure everyone in your department is adhering to your procedure).
Track your social media visits, followers, website traffic, blog hits, and any other brand building tactics that your company uses and then use that information to grow. See what different correlations you can find and then adjust accordingly.
You have to understand the why and the how behind your marketing efforts – otherwise you are doing your job with a blindfold on.
2016 SMM Tip #35: Are You Listening To Your Target Audience
Someshwar, a Digital Marketing Analyst at Orchestrate Technologies, urges marketers to listen on social media:
Your target audience is on social media. They are sending you messages continuously. Are you listening? Invest in social listening. Engage with them not to sell anything but to build a rapport.
Collate the data for actionable insights. It saves brands millions of dollars annually when social media marketing is done right. Creating an atmosphere of trust and understanding helps to connect with your audience.
The nuances of inbound marketing ensure that soon your audience is opting in to enlist for your services. The pinnacle of social media marketing is reached when your audience becomes your brand advocate.
2016 SMM Tip #36: Your Clients Should Be a Part Of Your Social Media Family
Ajay Prasad, the President of GMR Transcription, said that you need to make your customers a part of your online family:
If you haven’t already, you need to make your clients a part of your social media family. Follow their pages, like their posts and engage with their content.
If a client just recently signed up with you, create a personalized social media post thanking them for choosing your service. A strong, personal connection to your clients and customers can go a very long way.
2016 SMM Tip #37: Livestream, livestream, and livestream
Ben Risinger, a Community Relations Specialist at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, said that we now live in the age of livestreaming and you need to not fall behind:
Figure out what’s important to your audience and do a quick-and-easy series of interviews, how-tos or comedy or satire pieces.
Facebook, Periscope, Meerkat, Google Hangouts – the robust list of options will only continue to grow. At Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hostpital, we’ve hosted live Google Hangouts with success, despite that this tactic is considered unusual for a health care organization.
The recording feature allows you to share, promote and push the content out to your audience even after the fact.
So there you have it. 37 social media marketing tips that will boost your efforts in 2016. In a few words, your SMM should focus on providing value to your target audience while at the same time subtly promoting your products/services in the end.
Also, don’t shy away from emerging social media platforms, but still stay focused in your sharing efforts. Real-time social media is here and you need to be a part of it otherwise you will drown in the depths of the vast ocean of social media posts.