Some of the Best Social Media Marketing Methods

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There are a range of social media marketing methods that have become best practices in the last decade or so since the start of social media. Use them strategically, depending on your goals.

Creating a robust page at each social network that is a good fit for your business

There are some social networks you can consider a must, such as Facebook and Twitter. Others are optional, depending on who your target audience is.

Go where your target audience spends time

Facebook and Twitter are a must because their audience is so large. Other social sites might be a good fit because of their format and/or who spends time there.

For example, Pinterest is a highly visual site, so you need good-quality images of attractive products. Around 90% of users are women. Around 50% of people who use the site have bought something they saw there. You can create pins and publish them on your own pin boards, or shared pin boards. You can add a price and link to buy your items at the site. They will also let you turn your pin into an ad. Of all the sites, Pinterest posts last the longest and are the most widely shared, often months after their original posting.

LinkedIn is the top working site for professionals. If you are more of a business-to-business (B2B) than a business-to-consumer (B2C), LinkedIn could be an ideal place for you to promote your products.

Using all the free methods available

There are free promotional methods at the social sites, and paid ones. In terms of free, post a variety of content regularly, such as written content memes, images, and video. If you get audience engagement, that is, Likes, Comments and Shares, you can grow your brand reach naturally, often referred to as organically.

Using all the paid methods available

There are several ad methods that can help grow your business.

Promoting pages

Once you have a page at Facebook or Twitter, you can promote it in order to increase your followers. Facebook, in particular, can be a good opportunity to market your business more widely because the ads are what are termed native, that is, ads which look like regular content and are delivered in a person’s news feed, not in a separate box off to one side.

Promoting posts

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other sites all allow you to turn your post into an ad. On Facebook, it is termed boosting. Look in your Insights or Analytics area to see which posts have been the most popular. Click the Boost button to start running your ads.

Creating ads from scratch

All of the social networks will also allow you to create ads from scratch. In most cases you will need an attractive image, a good headline, and interesting content which meets the terms of service for each network.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has become a marketing method in its own right, but it has its basis in social media. With influencer marketing, you can leverage the power of other prominent users on the social networks to market your own business.

There should be several prominent figures with a large following who are working in your niche or industry. Do some research on the networks you use the most. Start to follow them, and observe the kinds of things they post. Interact with their posts in a helpful, not pushy way. Eventually, ask them if they would be willing to share some of your content with their followers.

Marketing on Instagram – Best Practices for Growth

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Instagram’s daily user base is reaching 500 million per day, so if you are not already marketing on this social network, it could be a great opportunity for growing your business. However, as with all social media sites, they have their own way of doing things, which you need to master.

Optimize your account

Optimize your account so your target audience can see who you are and why they should follow you. You should write a great biography and use a striking profile picture. Use appropriate emojis as well-they are searchable and can help grow your followers quickly.

Look for top influencers in your niche or industry

Follow top influencers and see what they are posting, and post similar content if you can. Interact with that content so you will be more visible. If you think you are a good fit and they tend to post content about products, you can then ask if they would be willing to give you a mention. Some influencers will charge money, but it will often be cheaper than a pay per click ad.

Post consistently

Steadily post once or twice a day.

Post shareable content

Post the kind of content your niche will love, such as images, memes, video, and stories. If they are shared, their connections will see them and might like them so much, they start to follow you.

Use popular hashtags related to your niche

These will help people find and follow your content. Make a list of hashtags the influencers use and rotate using them to get wide coverage in your niche.

Use hashtags in the comments sections, as well

This will make you more visible. It also makes your caption look better than a long laundry list of hashtags.

Host a contest

This will create buzz and gain you new followers. Have the winners post images of themselves with their prizes.

Ask for the follow

Don’t forget to ask people to follow you. It’s a way of reminding them they can get great content about the niche from you automatically.

Engage with others

Encourage a 2-way conversation. Don’t just keep posting and ignoring your followers or they will soon unfollow.

Create great stories

Stories can be text, images and video. Create interesting stories for your audience. Pin your best stories to your account as an introduction to your company.

Paid methods

Instagram offers ads through the site itself, and as part of the Facebook ad network. If you create an ad in Facebook Ads Manager, you can cross-post it to Instagram and see reports on its performance.

For an ad, you need to start with a high-quality image that is representative of your business and is less than 20% text. Next, you need an attention-grabbing headline.

Then you will need a description, something that will make them click the ad to learn more. When they click, they will be taken to a particular URL. If you make the URL a Facebook or Instagram page, you will get more prominence in the ad network than an ad that takes them off the site.

Once you have created the ad at Facebook or Instagram, select your audience. Who are you targeting? It should be 18-30 year olds, the lion’s share of the users at the site, and a particular niche like dogs or fashion. Audience selection will be key to your success, so track and test your results and adjust your ad as needed.

Organic vs Paid Engagement

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Social media is one of the best ways to grow your sphere of influence. There are different methods to grow your number of followers, but the two most important are organic (free) versus paid.

Organic

Organic, or natural followers, connect with you as a result of your activities on the network. However, it does take time to execute to see the results of your efforts. The number of followers you can get using these methods can deliver slow but steady growth.

Paid

Paid engagement costs money, but you can see instant results. Set up your ad once, and it will keep on running until the stop date, or when you manually pause it. You can gather hundreds of followers in one day, as compared with growing your following organically over weeks, months or even years. The drawback is that it will cost money. However, social media ads are usually highly targeted, and cheaper than Google Ads. The systems are also easier to use than Google, and there is less of a steep learning curve.

Organic methods

Organic methods are easy to implement once you have built a page on the social network of your choice and optimized it to make it look as attractive as possible.

Shareable content

Produce a range of content that will be of interest to your target audience. The content should include:

  • Brief written content
  • Images
  • Memes
  • Infographics
  • Video
  • Free ebooks
  • Free handouts

The free items can serve as an incentive to get people to sign up for your email marketing list.

Remind to share. Tell your audience to feel free to pass the information along to others who might be interested.

Brand each piece of content you would like to share by including your URL. In this way, those who receive it from others online will know to go to you for more information.

Hashtags

Hashtags (#) are a useful way to join in trending conversations and encourage people to interact with you. If they click on the hashtag, they will be able to see all content published about that topic.

Paid methods

Most social media site ad systems are similar to one another, and will allow a few basic ads.

Page promote

Promote your page in order to get people to like it, so you will get more followers.

Post promote

Promote a popular post to get even more people to see it and, hopefully, like your page as well and begin to follow it.

Ads from scratch

You can create an ad from scratch using an image, interesting headline, useful content and a URL to send them to for more information.

Goal-based ads

On Facebook, you can create an ad from scratch in Ads Manager using one of the goals they have set. It will then give you a template to help you create an ad that will meet your marketing goal.

If you have a budget, start with Page promote and goal based ads and see what a difference it makes to your traffic.

Why Market Your Business on Instagram?

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Instagram has over 800 million registered users. Around 500 million visit the application every day, with the largest demographic being 18 to 30-year olds, then 31 to 45-year olds.

Having been bought by Facebook, it has been growing even more rapidly than before. Now that the founders of Instagram have resigned, some big changes have occurred with some even bigger changes for the near future.

If you are not already on Instagram, now is the time to start marketing there. 

Some Key Factors:

  1. More than 33% of users buy products through Instagram – Instagram allows you to create a store so you can sell directly to the people who see your content; an excellent way to connect with your target audience.
  1. Around 75% of Instagram users take action – for each post that has a call to action, 75% of Instagram users follow it via visiting a website, clicking through to subscribe, and so on.
  1. Instagram is part of the Facebook Ads system – these ads can be cross-promoted to Instagram, cutting your work in half. Facebook targeting is much more precise than Google Ads and other PPC ads. Their ads are also cheaper, giving you a greater conversion rate for your investment.
  1. Different ad formats – Facebook offers different ad formats based on your own campaign goals. When you click to create an ad from scratch, Facebook Ads Manager will ask you what your goal is.
  1. Re-targeting – different pages you visit drop cookies on your browser to track what you do. If you purchase a product the cookie turns off at the order confirmation page. If you navigate away from the page the cookie will remain and each time you are on a site that is in an ad network, the cookie will trigger a re-targeting ad. This stay active until you buy, or until 30 days have passed. Re-targeting is successful about 75% of the time.
  1. Market using stories – stories can be a combination of images, video and text. They last 24 hours from the time it is posted, unless highlighted to your profile. A story can be a great way to keep your account fresh and interesting, and showcase all you have to offer. 

Social Media Marketing in 2019: Best Practices

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Social media has been around since 2007, and promoting a business on the top networks has grown into a whole new marketing area that small companies struggle with.

Social media marketing is a moving target. Networks are constantly changing, evolving and growing – often in unpredictable ways. What’s trending one moment can vanish in the blink of an eye.

With that being said, a lot of social media marketing practices have emerged that should work well into 2019 and beyond.

Influencer Marketing is on the Rise

Some influencers are celebrities who have tens of millions of followers. Others can be “micro-influencers” who focus on a particular topic, niche or industry. They might not have more over 1 million followers but have built up an audience that respects their opinions and are eager to hear from them.

Business owners can leverage influencers in a number of ways. Following and engaging with their content. If they have sponsored posts, it never hurts to reach out and see if they are willing to work with your brand. Some influencers will charge to do so, but this “ad” can give you a good return on investment because the audience is so targeted.

Knowing Your Audience

Know where your target audience spends its time; is it only Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or a combination of two or all three? Then get to know how users behave on those sites.

Snapchat and Instagram has been very popular with the 18 to 30 demographic, but a growing number of 35 to 45-year-olds have started using Instagram as well.

81% of 30 to 40-year-olds check Twitter once a day, 76% of Facebook users (about 1.5 billion people) visit the site daily and 35% of individuals check Instagram as many as 11 times a day.

Latest Trends

Tools like BuzzSumo allow you to see what is trending and with this you can start engaging with and publishing similar content. You can also set alerts via Google or through third parties such as Newswire’s Media Monitoring feature to ping you on specific keywords, competitor analysis, mentions of your brand, and more.

Trending Hashtags

Hashtags are a popular way to find content and to classify your own content. Branded, unique hashtags allow you to differentiate yourself but also engage with others in your industry.

Go Live

Going live is becoming hugely popular and is the perfect way to interact with your audience. It’s fun, interesting and allows you to give your audience them a behind the scenes look at your business or product creation. Let them ask questions and if anyone misses the live broadcast, you can always save it as a highlight and they can watch it later.

Paid Ads

With startups and small businesses, it’s hard to have a large marketing budget but consider re-investing into paid social ads. These ads are much more ttargets than Google Ads in terms of choosing your audience. You can also cross-promote the ads on thte different social outtlest to get a broader reach.

Finding Influencers to Promote your Business

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There are a number of ways to find social media influencers to help promote your business. It can take time to do the research, but the results can be well worth it in terms of growing your traffic and subscribers, and ultimately making more sales.

Who are social media influencers?

Social media influencers might be celebrities with a huge following, or individuals with a large following who focus on one particular niche or industry. Influencer marketing can help you tap into your target audience in a whole new way, and quickly, too. If you’ve been struggling to get traffic, subscribers and sales, the potential audience size could help you grow your business strategically without spending hours creating and publishing content.

Successful influence marketing starts with finding the right influencers.

Doing your research

Top influencers include niche bloggers and micro-influencers, those who focus on a particular niche. In terms of bloggers, think of the blogs related to your niche that you visit regularly. Do they publish information and/or reviews about particular product and services? Do they accept guest blog posts? Is it a high-quality site that is well-maintained, with fresh new content on a regular basis?

If you answer yes to all these questions, note down in a spreadsheet the URL and contact information of the site owner.

Next, see if these sites or owners have a strong presence on social media. If they do, check their follower numbers. Start to follow them.

Also, check to see if they have a related Facebook Group. If they do, apply to join.

Set a goal

There are a few questions to consider before trying to promote your brand or business through influencer marketing:

Who are you trying to connect with/impress? Think of the ideal customer in your niche. Where do they spend time and what influencers are they connected with?

How can you measure your success to determine whether or not you are getting a good return on your investment?

Some goals that are measurable:
  • Traffic
  • Subscribers
  • Sales
  • Followers

You can look in your various reports to see how the numbers go up.

You might also have less measurable goals:
  • Build brand awareness so your target audience starts to get to know who you are
  • Grow your company’s credibility within your industry, and your client base
  • Grow your own authority as an expert in your niche

Decide who to target

Different social networks have different audiences. Facebook and Twitter are good for older age groups, Instagram and Snapchat with the 18 to 30s. Pinterest is almost 90% women. LinkedIn will connect you with professionals. Decide who your target audience is and plan an influencer campaign on the best platforms.

Use the right tools

There are a number of tools that can help you find the right influencer to work with. They include:

  • Buzzsumo: This tool shows you what is trending and also has detailed influencer data. Try their 7-day free trial to see how useful it is.
  • Followerwonk: A free tool that will help you find Twitter influencers.
  • Hootsuite: This tool is known for helping users post content to all their social media accounts from one single dashboard. But it is also useful for influencer discovery and management. Once you have found influencers and started to work with them, it will offer you reports on your results.
  • Google Alerts: Set alerts related to influencers, your niche, your products and your brand. Each alert will send you links to appropriate content so you can see what’s going on in terms of your marketing and locate more influencers.

Social Marketing Plan

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Social media marketing is an essential tool for modern business because it can generate so much traffic, for subscribers and sales. But there is a lot to do, and it is important to make the time and effort count. That’s why it is important to have a plan in place to make the most of the opportunities available.

Here are steps to help you get started.

1-Begin from where you are

Evaluate your current situation. Which networks are you on? How robust and detailed are your pages? Would they impress someone in your niche who saw them for the first time? If not, be sure to build out your pages with as much useful detail for prospective customers as possible.

Also, take a good look around the page. Facebook and other social sites are adding new features all the time. If you have not updated your page recently, you could be missing out on some useful promotional opportunities.

2-Look at your metrics

Which sites are currently bringing in the most traffic? Who are your followers and what are they doing in terms of engagement? Look at Facebook Insights and other available reporting and use the data to start planning similar popular content, and ads if you have a budget for them.

3-Create a profile of the ideal customer for your business

This profile, often referred to as a marketing persona, helps you target the right people with the right messages. In terms of free traffic, the goal would be to create posts that were highly shareable. In terms of paid traffic, the persona will help you choose the right audience for your ad. This should lead to more clickthroughs and conversions into subscribers or sales. It can also result in more sales if you are using one of the social media sites that allow direct sales, such as Snapchat and Instagram stores within their interfaces.

Include the following in your persona:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Income
  • Marital Status
  • Children?
  • Hobbies and Interests
  • Pain Points related to your niche, that is, problems that your business can solve
  • Which networks they use

4-Set goals

Once you have your personas, you can set social media marketing goals. Examples can include:

Getting X number of new followers each month

Signing up Y subscribers each month

Attracting Z viewers to your next live video event

Increasing sales by X% each month

These goals can all be measured, so they can be easily tracked using your various reports.

5-Save your current reports

This will help you track your success as you move forward with your goals. For example, note down the number of followers you have when you start your new campaign, then check again at the end of the first month to see if you have met your goal.

6-Match the marketing methods to the goal

Once you have decided on your goal and are ready to track it, you can select the best methods to reach that goal. For example, if your goal is to get more followers, you can encourage shares with the varied content you post. You could also boost your page on Facebook and Twitter if you have a budget. Invite people to like your page, a few every day.

7-Create great content

Content will drive engagement. Create written posts, and use images, memes and video to make them more shareable. When you post something new at your blog, let the networks know. When you are launching a new product, make sure you have a social media campaign for it.

8-Automate the process

Use a scheduler like Buffer or Hootsuite to post your content, and cross-post it to several social networks at once.

Creating a Social Media Marketing Campaign

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Every modern business should have a social media marketing plan. Within that plan, you should create campaigns throughout the year. You might formulate a campaign to help promote a new product you are launching, or to create a seasonal campaign to help you cash in on the holidays.

No matter what the reason for the campaign, you can create one easily, provided you follow a few simple steps.

Decide what to promote

Choose a product or service to focus on so you can match the message to the correct audience, and be able to start gathering useful content for your social media posts.

Decide why you are promoting it

If it is a new product, the reason why will be to help launch it successfully and start earning money from it right out of the starting gate. If it is a holiday sale, try to tie in the product to the holiday in some way, such as end of year resolutions your product will help them with.

Set your goal

The goal of any campaign will ultimately be to make more sales, but you might first wish to start with getting more engagement, or signing up more subscribers to your emails. In this way you can connect with your audience more closely and therefore be able to market to them more effectively.

Setting a goal that is measureable also helps you to track your progress to see if you are achieving it.

Gather your content

It should be based around the product and take various forms, such as:

  • Blog posts/written content
  • High-quality images
  • Memes
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • ebooks
  • Cheat sheets or other useful handouts
  • Audio files
  • and so on.

In this way, you will be offering a range of content that should speak to the needs and preferences of your target audience.

Match the content to the goal

If your goal is to get more subscribers, an ebook or useful handout will be the incentive for them to sign up. If your goal is to get more sales, images and a video of your product in action, with a downloadable quick start guide on how to use it might be ideal.

Brand the content

Be sure the content has your URL on it. Brand your images, ebooks, and so on.

Make sure the content is shareable

The reason for branding the content is that you want it to be shared as widely as possible. Branding it will tell people where that great meme you created originally came from and point them back to you, for more traffic.

Create a new, unique hashtag for the content

This can help you track the success of the campaign.

Use automation tools to deliver your campaign’s content

Use a program like Buffer or HootSuite to queue up your content at each of the social networks you are active at, so you can post regularly, and cross-post. It’s too much work to do manually on the fly every day. Automation will make your life much easier and your campaign more successful because it will be consistent.

Dare to go live with your video

These are becoming increasingly popular on social media. They are a great way to engage with your target audience and get to know them, while they get to know you. Worried no one will turn up? Do your best to market the video prior to going live, but remember, they can always watch a recording of it after the broadcast if they’ve missed it.

Track your success

Use all of the analytics reporting available to see what your winners have been during, and at the end of each campaign. Make a note of the “winners” and see if you can re-use them, or re-formulate them for a new product launch or other campaigns in the future.

Advertising on Instagram

Advertising on Instagram is easy. The best way to do so is through your Facebook advertising account Ads Manager.

1. Log into your Facebook account

2. Look down the left-hand navigation links until you see Ads Manager. Click on it.

3. On the next page, you will see the reports for your most recent ads. Above Campaign Name, you will see a green button that says +Create. Click on it.

4. On the next page, you will see Quick Content Creation. If you want to create the ad from scratch there, you can. Or, click on the button on the top right for Guided Content Creation.

5. Choose your marketing objective. The objectives are grouped into Awareness, Consideration and Conversion. The three objectives have different ad formats underneath.

6. Imagine you want to grow your email marketing list. Gaining more subscribers or potential customers is known as lead generation. Therefore, you would click on the lead generation link to start creating a Facebook lead ad.

In addition to getting subscribers, you might want:

  • Awareness-people can’t do business with you if they don’t know you exist.
  • Traffic-this is important for any website trying to sell products and services, or make money by running ads.
  • Reach-people getting to see more of your content
  • Engagement-Getting more Likes, Comments and Shares can make your company much more visible on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Video views – it takes a lot of time and effort to create a good video. Make the most of this opportunity by promoting each video you create.
  • Conversions – This format will track what potential customers do, such as making a purchase at your site.

6. Follow the instructions for the ad format based on your objective: You will need a high-quality image, an interesting headline, words for the ad, with a description of what you are advertising, a call to action, and an URL for them to visit or a page to click through to.

In your wording, make the value clear—they should click through, for example, in order to get a free special report they can download in exchange for their email address. This is the lead generation format.

For the image, make sure that it only has 20% writing on it. A book cover would be a problem under this rule, for instance, but as a small part of a whole image, it should be all right. More than 20% may be the reason for Facebook to reject your ad.

7. Check the wording carefully: Make sure there are no errors and the ad and any other pages, such as the signup page for subscribers, looks the way you wish.

8. Publish the ad. Wait for it to be approved.

9. If it is not approved, make the suggested changes and try again.

10. Once it is approved, check your ad campaign results reports, also referred to as analytics or metrics. Check how well it is performing on Instagram. Click on the name of the ad you are running. Look on the far right of the page for something that looks like a bar graph.

Click on it. A new window will slide open to the left. On it you will see three tabs across the top:

  • Performance
  • Demographics
  • Placement

Click Placement.

11. On the next screen, you will see a bar chart that shows how many people have seen the ad and how much you have spent. The bars are:

  • Facebook
  • Audience Network
  • Instagram
  • Messenger

12. Check the devices if you wish

On the far right, you can see Device Type. The default is Mobile and Desktop. Toggle to Mobile or to Desktop only to see who your audience is. For Instagram, you will expect Mobile to be higher than Desktop only.

13. Refine your ad based on your reports.

Free vs Paid Marketing on Instagram

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There are a number of ways for marketing on Instagram, both free and paid. Both are effective means of gaining more followers and potentially making more sales.

Free Marketing

Getting free followers, also referred to as organic or natural followers, does not cost anything, but it can take time to build them up, in the same way it takes a tree to grow. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to market for free on Instagram. Using all these methods can help you boost followers and sales.

A Customized Page

Set up an impressive page on Instagram that is fully customized to show who you are and what your business is all about.

Shareable Content

Produce a range of content that will be of interest to your target audience.

This can include:

  • Written content
  • Images
  • Memes
  • Infographics
  • Video
  • Stories

Don’t forget to remind them to share with others who might be interested.

For your images, brand each piece of content with your URL so that as it gets passed around, those who see it will know where to go to find similar content.

Stories

Stories are highly visible because they are above the news feed. They can be a combination of text, images, video, stickers and more, for an eye-catching presentation that will last for 24 hours unless you pin it to your account feed.

Hashtags

Hashtags (#) are a way to get in on the latest content trends and make yourself more visible. Use popular hashtags related to your content. If a reader clicks on the hashtag, they will be able to see all the content published about that topic, including yours.

Custom Hashtags

Create your own catchy hashtag related to a product or your company so you can track its popularity.

Stores

You can sell physical products right in the news feed.

Paid Marketing

Most social media ad systems are similar to one another in terms of format. For Instagram ads, you first need to have an ad account at Facebook and can then cross-post.

Promoting Pages

Click to Boost or promote your page in order to get people to like it, so you will get more followers.

Promoting Posts

Click to Boost or promote a popular post to get even more people to see it. If they like it, they might click through to follow you and/or buy products.

Ads from Scratch

You can create an ad from scratch rather than a page or post. You will need:

  • An image
  • An interesting headline
  • Descriptive content
  • An URL they can go to for more information.
Ads Manager Objectives

You have three main options:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Conversion.

Each of the three objectives will have options underneath as well, such as Traffic and Lead Conversion. Choose carefully, because your choice will determine which template they will create for your ad.

You will follow the instructions provided for that template.

The most important part of this process will be your audience selection. Who do you want to see the ad? Instagram followers tend to be 18 to 30, so that would be a good option, and then keyword related to the niche you are working in.

Influencer Marketing

This can be free or paid. Find people on Instagram working in your niche who have a large following. Get to know them, and eventually ask them if they would be willing to give you a mention in their posts. Some will charge money for it. A halfpenny to a penny per follower is a typical starting price.