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Social media has become a preferred and convenient method of attracting new customers for businesses across a wide variety of verticals. From those in retail to others in IT, the five biggest social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest — are still growing, and research indicates that almost three-quarters of all Americans are using at least one of these networks. Not to mention social collectives like reddit and social discover platforms like StumbleUpon are hot on the tails on of these giants as well.
Keeping these facts in mind, it’s important for social media marketers to be thorough, systematic and innovative in their methods of acquiring new customers through digital channels. This involves coming up with step-by-step strategies for all campaigns, beginning with research, tracking and promotions. The roles of a social media marketers borrow heavily borrow traits from the world of public relations, where anything and everything we say and do publicly can have a positive or negative impact on our businesses and image.
Every product or service has a target market, and the more pinpointed marketers are with descriptions of audience profiles, the better their social media results will be. The key is to understanding the demographics of each social media platform, and to gearing all marketing toward those demographics.
Of course, these are but snapshots of social media users. More thorough research should be done to delve deeper into the target audience for a marketing campaign. In order to do that, marketers must create in-depth audience profiles, always being as specific as possible. For example, a marketing team may decide to target “women in their 20s and 30s”, but without other information, such as income levels, education levels, family relationships and/or career placements, it will be impossible to determine which social media platform(s) are best.
After launching the social media campaign, marketers must consistently evaluate and track the analytics related to their campaigns. Such tracking is necessary to understand how social media posts, images, links, etc., are performing.
Each social media site has its own analytics that can be tracked, so it’s essential to know what to look for when analyses become available.
Want to learn more about hashtags? Check out how to use hashtags for better content marketing reach.
As social media continues to grow, each site will no doubt change in terms of how marketers can use data to benchmark success. Thus, it’s important to stay on the cutting edge of those changes by being active on the social media sites in either a business or personal capacity.
There is no need to reinvent any wheel when it comes to promotional tactics that have proven to be excellent gateways to garnering new customers. While it’s fine to be creative once in a while, there are certain techniques that have been shown to work for each of the five social media sites mentioned in this article.
Before diving into a fire-round of tactics below, let’s take a quick look at one growing strategy over the past few years: webinars. These are essentially just educational videos. Below, we’ll see two examples: one that uses a gateway and one that doesn’t. The trick is creating videos that answer very in-demand or highly searched topics. I’m not going to just spew “create high quality videos” – that’s not actionable.
Videos give us the advantage of targeting short-tail keywords with monstrous amounts of traffic. We always hear “go for the long-tail” but this is one of those situations where we can deviate from the most traveled path. We don’t necessarily have to compete in the SERPs and that allows us to have more topical options when planning out our videos. I found a great example of this strategy on FrontStream’s webinar library, which offers a handful of videos that help answer hot topics in our industry, such as “using social media to increase your customer base” and “mobile payments for business”:
Since we’re on the topic of gateways, I felt their particular library was an interesting example because they do not restrict their webinars – anyone can watch them. On the flip side, HubSpot puts the majority of their content behind gateways (example):
We can’t access them unless we fill out a pretty lengthy form. Both scenarios can increase our customer acquisition, but a gateway ensures we collect user information.
Some popular promotional tactics that can be used for one or more of the social media sites Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram include:
These tactics collectively work to acquire new customers from social media channels. Patience with campaigns helps, as does agility in the face of events, discussions, and hot topics.
What tactic have you seen work well on social media channels? Would you rather be sold to via social media or in-person?
About the author: Jesse Aaron is a community manager and runs Mashbout, a site for social media marketing forums and articles.
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