When most social media experts offer up best practices and other tips for small businesses, they assume the people who run these businesses are fairly new to social media. This is why all day, every day, we see tips like, “Be human!” “Engage” and “Share valuable information from social media influencers!” These are all great reminders, but there are plenty of people who are looking for next-level tips.
Thousands of small business owners and managers have been using social media as a marketing tool since Facebook first opened up for businesses — in 2007 (or maybe even since the early days of LinkedIn, in 2003). I happen to be one of those people. I even built the ShortStack.com platform around social media but I still keep an eye on what marketing pros are saying about social media trends and best practices, and I’m always looking for tips aimed at the more seasoned user.
Advanced, actionable tips aren’t always so easy to find, but I’ve rounded up a few tips that I bet a lot of you social media veterans will find valuable.
Tip #1: Use Your Social Media Accounts to Collect Data
As an advanced social media marketer, you should be using your social profiles to collect data from your followers. This includes discovering what makes your customers excited. Do you know what makes them buy? What keeps them loyal? The best way to discover these nuances is to run a variety of campaigns, focusing on collecting one data point at a time.
One member of my content team recently analyzed the data we pulled from nearly one million forms that were built with ShortStack.com. From the results, were able to learn the type of data that brands are collecting and what it says about today’s marketing industry. It’s a great resource if you’re having a hard time determining the most valuable information to collect from your audience (if I do say so myself!).
Tip #2: Act on the Data You Collect
Advanced marketers know that following up after a campaign is just as important, if not more important, than the actual campaign. Long gone are the days where a large social following is valuable in and of itself. Any business can have a big presence on social media, but advanced marketers realize that conversions are what counts.
One of the most effective follow-up strategies for any social campaign is email marketing. According to HubSpot, companies using email to nurture leads generate 50 percent more sales-ready leads — at a 33-percent-lower cost. What’s more, these so-called “nurtured leads” on average, produce a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities compared to non-nurtured leads.
How do you nurture leads with email? By making your lists as targeted as possible and having an individual strategy for each list. If you’re a realtor, your lists may consist of people ready to buy, first time home buyers, and shoppers. Your message, and the information you provide to each person on these lists, may vary greatly but each is a potential sale.
Tip #3: Make Your Campaign — Not a Particular Social Channel — Your Hub
Most of my tips revolve around turning your social audience into targets for sales and conversions. To do this you need to constantly have a social marketing campaign in place. Several years ago businesses would use Facebook as the hub for their social promotions. This was because their main goal was to increase Likes.
Since then, most companies’ goals have shifted and marketers are now looking for ways to collect valuable contact and demographic data. That’s why it’s important to make your campaign your hub and use your social networks to talk to your audience wherever they are. That way you can brand your campaign to fit with your business and you won’t be constrained by social platforms’ rules and other guidelines. In addition, you won’t have to worry about catering to each of your separate social audiences, and instead can focus on your one goal and drive traffic to your campaign from everywhere online.
Tip #4: Have a Mobile-First Strategy
In April, Facebook released quarterly user numbers. The data told us that out of their 1.44 billion daily users, 1.25 billion of them are accessing the platform from mobile devices.
This means that the chances of your audience seeing your posts from a phone or tablet is more likely than having them see if from a desktop. For this reason you should have a mobile-first strategy whenever you create a new campaign, and be sure and test your content across multiple channels and devices.
I recommend having a few test pages for each social network so you can make sure the information you’re posting is user-friendly for your visitors no matter what device they are on or where they’re coming from. Your test pages can be private pages that only you (and maybe your key employees) have access to where you can test your posts before they’re published to your public-facing pages.
Marketing professionals recognize the true power of social media. A large audience can be valuable but simply posting updates to your social profiles is no longer enough. The real value lies in the information you can collect from your followers, and insights you can gather.
While it’s important for small businesses to remember the basics of social media: posting at the right time, being transparent, sharing valuable articles, not chasing the algorithm, etc. I’m seeing more and more savvy marketers taking advantage of data-driven campaigns which give you the power to learn what makes your customers tick and ultimately result in more conversions and sales for your business.