Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are, without doubt, the Big 3 of social media. They are important avenues for building brand engagement and influence. If your company has a presence on all of them, you’re on the road to creating a name for yourself on social networks.
Social media software firm Awareness has researched best practices for these dominant networks. 5 Killer Strategies to Dominate Social Media’s Big 3: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, a new white paper from the company, looks at the 3 social media platforms and examines 5 strategies marketers can use to grow brand awareness, foster brand advocacy, and generate leads and sales.
The report explores specific examples from companies leading the way in social marketing success and drills down into the key elements of their strategies to show social media marketers how to apply these key principles for their own organizations. It examines brands that have turned Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube into unique and interesting spaces for their customers by invigorating traditional pages with creative design, strategic incentives, and authentic, high-quality content.
I encourage everyone to read the white paper and learn about the specific tactics that major brands have successfully used to achieve critical mass on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Here are the 5 essential goals that marketers need to address for best results:
1. Increase social reach
Social Reach is about having a targeted base of customers and prospects across all social networks you can market to — if you don’t have reach, you don’t have traction. The first step is to find your customers. Join the conversations your prospects and customers are having on those social channels to grow awareness of your brand.
- Complete your profiles and update regularly. Show the most current version of your brand to your audience so they have a sense of who you are and what you do.
- Use your top keywords. Use the keywords that you want to be known for and integrate them into your social profiles to reinforce SEO efforts and make it easier for search engines to find and serve your content to a wider audience.
- Show you are social. Make sure that relevant “non-social” marketing mix channels point to your social platforms. Add social icons and links to your website, email signatures, advertisements, business collateral, etc.
- Help spread your content. Add sharing buttons to encourage people to share, embed, tweet, and email to help your content gain social traction.
- Make friends. Identify influencers in your industry. ‘Like’, follow, and share their content whenever it’s relevant to your brand or message, and interact with them whenever possible.
- Be human. When people comment on, share, or interact with your brand, show them there is an actual person behind your brand’s social identity.
2. Increase fan engagement with quality content
Engagement is the enduring effect of content to motivate an audience to do something — the “actions, reactions and transactions you can shape and steer,” says Brian Solis, author of Engage!. “This is why we are no longer merely engaging with an audience, but instead, a sophisticated and connected audience with an audience of audiences.”
- Publish at least once a day.
- Check engagement statistics via your Facebook Insights. The posts with significant traction are pushed into other fans’ News Feeds.
- Write content in a way that is proven to engage fans. Ask questions or solicit opinions without directly asking for comments or likes.
- The richer the media, the deeper the engagement. Fans are more likely to respond to videos, photos, or links.
- Engage with other Fan pages. Facebook allows brands to post comments as a Fan page, which can encourage users to visit.
- Create fun content and be consistent. Brands see an increase in followers when they come up with fun ways for people to engage with them over Twitter.
- Run contests. Use content creatively and include hashtags.
- Explore funny, unique or interesting ways to show your brand character.
- Don’t be too promotional. Focus on showing the various use cases for your product or service. Show, don’t just tell, your audience how to get the most out of your products.
- Keep videos short. Break longer ones up into a series, and number the series in the title for easy discovery.
- Create playlists around common themes and ideas.
- Encourage your audience to submit ideas and content for future videos.
3. Identify and engage influencers
Influence is defined as a brand’s ability to affect or prompt an action among its key constituents. Influence, both internal and external to your brand, can be leveraged to spread awareness and fuel word-of-mouth for brand advocacy and sales. It has many facets, encompassing perceived status, reputation, authority, and rank.
- Use tools like Kred and Klout to research experts by topic area.
- Monitor open discussions to identify frequent contributors.
- Participate in groups to uncover topic experts.
- Use tools. External tools like Listorious and those embedded within the social platform will help you find influential people by topic.
- Once you have identified influencers, use Twitter’s “Similar to this person” feature to grow your list.
- Create a private list of your influencers to easily monitor their content.
- Browse the video categories for top users within the topic that makes sense for your company.
- Subscribe to user channels offering content relevant to your brand.
- Monitor for updates on your homepage where all the activity from your subscribed channels is displayed.
- Engage influencers in campaigns where they post videos or reviews of your products, or develop campaigns that solicit video submissions.
4. Increase lead generation
Lead generation on social channels is different from traditional lead generation – it’s rarely appropriate to simply push a sales message. Often, it’s a more subtle relationship-building opportunity between seller and buyer. The more you position yourself as a resource for your customers, the more they will keep you top-of-mind and choose your products over those from your competitors.
- Practice active monitoring by performing searches on demand-based queries like ‘need,’ ‘can someone recommend’, ‘looking for’, etc. This allows you to respond to a pointed request and be helpful.
- Serve valuable content to your potential customers. It’s important to ask the question, “Why are my customers looking at my social media profile?” and focus on building a relationship with them over time, talking to them rather than at them.
- Know your competitors, your employees, and your customers. Monitor feedback and responses from your customers, employees, and competitors and adjust your efforts as necessary to stay relevant and top-of-mind.
- Mix paid and unpaid promotional tactics to ensure that your campaigns are optimized with a satisfactory cost per lead.
5. Apply analytics to know what works
Use analytics to measure success by social channel and content type. This will help you understand follower growth, whether your content is engaging, if external influencers and brand advocates are supporting you, and if you’re driving leads and sales. It’s important to measure each and every campaign to continuously optimize the return on your efforts.
Google Analytics has some great tools to help marketers understand how their tactics are working:
- Social Insights increases visibility specifically into activity driven from social channels.
- Social Sources help you understand how visitors from different social sources behave on your site.
- Social Value helps you measure conversions that resulted from social referrals.
- Conversion Reports show the amount of goal conversions influenced by social marketing efforts, displayed in visual charts that plot out the estimated monetary value.
- The Google URL Builder is a great tool for tracking performance at a campaign level — custom URLs can be made by channel and by post.
Pixability’s Online Video Grader analyzes your video marketing effectiveness, including your ability to rank within Google search results and the effectiveness of your YouTube channel.
Check out the infographic below for tips, tools, and examples for improving your Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube presence. And don’t forget to read the full white paper from Awareness!