Social media is the place to be if you’re looking for a sure way to reach your audience in 2020. According to the Pew Research Center, 72% of U.S. adults use at least 1 social platform, so there’s a good chance that much of your target audience is somewhere in the mix. You just need the right social media marketing tips to find them.

If you want to strengthen your social marketing plan, here are our top tips for how to market on social media.

1. Find Your Identity

No longer is the customer experience confined to the 4 walls of a brick-and-mortar shop. Because customers interact with brands on so many different channels, it can be challenging to create a consistent experience. That’s why it’s more important than ever to define your brand identity.

Your brand identity is more than the products you sell or the look of your website. It’s your “voice”—the tone you strike when you’re communicating with your audience. Your brand’s vibe might be:

  • Peppy, yet classy
  • Clean and bright
  • Goofy and offbeat
  • Personable and down to earth

Whatever it is, your voice has to match everything about your brand and be consistent across all social media channels.

It’s important to find your identity before you launch several different social media pages. Use your target-market research to ensure you know your audience. Have a clear understanding of the tone that will resonate the most, and remain consistent with that tone across the board.

2. Choose Your Platforms—And Use Them

You don’t have to use every social media platform to be successful at social media marketing. You just have to choose the best ones for your business and stick with them. In terms of traditional social media, Facebook remains the best option for the largest possible audience. According to the Pew Research Center, 69% of U.S. adults use the site, which boasts billions of active users every day. If you’re only going to engage on one platform, consider Facebook.

YouTube doesn’t have quite the same style of audience engagement, but it’s second to Facebook in active users every month and is a great option for businesses that use a lot of video in their marketing. Instagram is the outlet of choice if your audience values an image-forward brand experience, and Twitter is great for real-time communication.

These are just a few of the many choices. What’s important is that you choose the handful of social media platforms that fit your brand, and limit your selections enough so that you can stay actively engaged. Creating a social media page only to let it sit idle looks unprofessional and could drive away potential customers.

3. Do More Than Sell

You’re on social media to increase your sales, but that doesn’t mean that everything you post should be promotional. According to research from Sprout Social, here are just a few reasons your customers might be following you:

  • To learn about products or services: 50%
  • To be entertained: 48%
  • To be inspired: 36%
  • To be educated: 35%

If your customers’ expectations are that diverse, then make sure your content delivers. For every promotional post, throw something else in the mix to entertain, inspire, inform or educate. For example, for every “Grab this deal now!” that you post, add in a “Here’s one of our hard-working team members!” or “Did you know XYZ about our product?” If everything is sales-driven, you risk much of your audience tuning out.

4. Think Multimedia

Your followers have different preferences when it comes to taking in information, so it’s best to mix up the types of content you post. Don’t only share links to your latest blog post or company news updates. Post pictures, videos, images, polls, employee stories and more. Many people prefer video over text-based posts, and it’s fairly easy to pull off quality videos with a smartphone. Facebook’s and Twitter’s live features are great for this.

If you’re short on ideas for what to include in your social media mix, here are a few suggestions. Choose a few and see which types get the most engagement from your followers.

  • Contests and giveaways
  • Guest takeover posts
  • Gifs and memes
  • Polls and surveys
  • Infographics
  • Animations
  • Market data

5. Understand Important Metrics

As with any marketing initiative, it’s important to evaluate your results and adjust your social media efforts accordingly. Before you evaluate the results, though, start by understanding a critical front-end metric: the best times to post.

Keep in mind, the best days and times can vary depending on the subject matter, type of content you’re posting and specific platform. That said, below are the general top times for each major social media channel, according to Sprout Social.

  • Facebook: Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and 1–2 p.m.
  • Instagram: Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and Friday 10–11 a.m.
  • Twitter: Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m.
  • LinkedIn: Wednesdays 8–10 a.m. and noon, Thursdays at 9 a.m. and 1–2 p.m., Friday at 9 a.m.

Beyond that, the most important metrics for you to watch will be the ones that connect to your business goals. Direct engagement with your posts might be your most important metric. Or you might be looking at other factors, such as your total impressions or conversions.

Each platform has its own built-in analytics tools for tracking engagement rates, reach, conversions and more. Many of these in-app tools are free, but you may want to pay for more robust software to dig deeper into the numbers. First, though, decide on your social media marketing goals, then choose the metrics that help you evaluate success.

Graphic of business professionals using laptops are seated on a mobile phone amid chat message icons.

6. Use Links

Don’t make your followers work to find your website or get more details when they’re interested in your social post. Use links within your content to guide them toward blog posts, promotional landing pages or your web store. These links provide natural next steps for people who want to engage with your content. They also generate analytics for you to use when you’re assessing your marketing efforts.

You can see which posts generate the most click-throughs, which landing pages lead to the most sales, or which social platforms are best for driving people to your blog, for instance. Most platforms, even Instagram, now make it fairly easy to include links in your posts.

7. Stay Engaged

Another simple reason that people follow your brand on social media? For at least 20% of them, it’s to connect with your brand, according to Sprout Social. These are your active followers, and they want a conversation. Don’t simply throw content on social media and then retreat. Engage with customers as they respond. Watch for comments and reply quickly. You’ll build rapport and create some of your most devoted customers.

This goes for positive and negative comments, too. There are different ways to respond to different situations. Instead of ignoring or deleting negative feedback, respond to criticisms. Show your customers that you’re listening and you’re eager to make things right when you fall short. Don’t ignore positive comments, either. Those are great opportunities to thank your customers for their business—and for taking the extra time to give you some public support.

8. Have Fun

Show your followers that your company has personality and give them something to look forward to. Post silly videos, gifs, memes and lighthearted pictures of employees. Choose a day of the week for goofy posts, whether it’s Throwback Thursdays or Flannel Fridays. If your employees are polling each other about their favorite place to get avocado toast, why not invite your customers to participate on social media? Of course, you should do this in a way that fits your audience and brand identity. But letting your audience see the human side of your brand can be a great way to spark additional engagement.

Your Audience Is Waiting

Marketers everywhere are using social media to boost their businesses. In fact, almost 90% see it as at least a somewhat important, if not critical, part of their marketing strategy, according to social media management provider Buffer. Nowadays, there are few better ways for brands to reach their audiences. Follow our social media marketing tips and you’ll be well-positioned to connect with yours.

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