Social media is, without a doubt, one of the most effective outreach channels for businesses. Several companies invest a lot of money in their social media marketing campaigns because they want to target their core audience.
Yet, effective social media marketing goes way beyond drafting ads to share with your target demographic. Businesses need to look at social media as more than just a place to serve ads, but as a location to promote relationships with customers. The brands that are most creative on social media tend to stand out.
Here, 11 leaders from Forbes Communications Council discuss some of the less common yet very effective social media marketing strategies they’ve come across over their career.
1. Actively Engage With Your Followers
Social media is a two-way conversation, and a smart marketing strategy will take advantage of this. Respond to customers’ posts about your brand (both positive and negative), interact with the comments section, and repost praising mentions. Customers will build more trust toward your brand if feeling seen and heard. – Lynn Kier, Diebold Nixdorf
2. Use Conversational Marketing
Conversational marketing (e.g., using an AI chatbot in Facebook Messenger) is a creative way to get online users to engage in a much more direct one-on-one conversation with your brand. In applying your FAQs as the basis of your discussion prompts, people choose a conversation path that then allows you to provide them with more personalized content that helps them make their buying decision faster. – Christina Crawley, Forum One
3. Leverage User-Generated Content
Social media is largely a pay-to-play channel now. Most brands though have a significant amount of user-generated content that should be a major theme in the content strategy. Encourage, reward, and amplify user-generated content so that the voices of your customers do the selling for you. – Noah Echols, CARROLL
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4. Partner With Influencers
The power of influencer relations can be vastly underestimated in today’s social media landscape. By working with an influencer partner, you can market your product to a broader and more engaged audience directly from a trusted source. This creates more authenticity for potential customers as they learn about and begin to consider purchasing your product. – Melissa Rivers, Mattress Firm
5. Leverage Look-Alike Audiences
Leverage look-alike audiences to find users on social platforms that resemble your best customers. For example, on Facebook, you can upload a list of star customer emails, and then the platform can create audiences that behave similarly for you to target with your social ads. – Roshni Wijayasinha, Foxquilt
6. Get Employees Involved
Getting employees to share more about your company, products, and, more importantly, your industry (including trends and educational content) is a key way to drive social engagement. Companies that crack the code on getting regular employee social sharing will have a powerful (and cost-effective) social media program. This can be driven by education, as well as the use of employee engagement tools. – Tom Treanor, Treasure Data
7. Have A Value Ladder For Initial Offer
You need to consider a value ladder for your initial offer. This is a critical first step. From there, businesses that already have a following on social media can send out a video sales letter/email with a free offer (e.g. e-book, guide, top five tips) to hook customers. Afterward, follow-up emails can drive potential customers to a webinar or challenge. Overdeliver and you will win customers! – Marisa Salcines
8. Tap Into Real-Time Moments
Tap into culture. Seize real-time moments that get your audience to say, “Wow, they read my mind.” For example, a fashion brand has every reason to post about when the next season of “Emily in Paris” will drop on Netflix and boomerang glasses of rose clinking together. They know their design-savvy audience loves this show for the Parisian sights, high-fashion, and binge-worthy rom-com storyline. – Meghann Craig, Empower
9. Post Native Content
One social media marketing strategy that’s often overlooked is the importance of posting native content, especially when it comes to video. To get the most mileage out of your videos, upload them to each platform instead of hosting on one platform and re-sharing to others. While this route is more time-consuming, it will pay dividends when it comes to visibility and engagement. – Stephen Tarleton, LogicMonitor
10. Join Related Facebook Groups
One creative social media strategy is to join related Facebook groups. For example, if you are selling software exclusively to HVAC businesses, you should look for HVAC groups to join. I have seen people using Facebook as a business-to-business platform because it is much easier to target like-minded people within that group. – Ross Kernez, Hpone
11. Have A TikTok Strategy
Every business should ask and answer this question: What’s our TikTok strategy? In a few months or years, another social media platform will come along; but for now, businesses should have a presence on TikTok. Businesses must go where consumers are, regardless of the platform, and they need a strategy to ensure that they are taking advantage of all available platforms. – Brittain Ladd, PULSE Integration