Social media gives businesses large and small an unprecedented opportunity to build community around their business. Learn to leverage these tools to maximum effect with these 7 advanced social media marketing strategies. Advanced strategies go a step (or several) beyond simply showing up in the social media sphere to introduce and then reinforce marketing messages that prompt users to take desired actions.
#1 Defining Your SMM Philosophy
It’s incredible how many SMM managers will leap to advanced strategies before tackling the basics, which is why we’ve placed one of the fundamental and most overlooked basics of SMM first in this list of advanced SMM strategies.
Just as your business operates around a focused, defined mission, so too must your social media marketing revolve around a centralized SMM philosophy. To define this philosophy, take a look first at your market, your audience. Most often, this audience will actually be comprised of many smaller, sometimes overlapping market niches, or segments. Identify these segments and divide your audience accordingly, so that you may tailor your messages to each of these segments individually.
Next place yourself in empathy with each of these market segments, identifying each of their needs, desires, fears, hopes, dreams, etc. And ask yourself how you can add insight and promote action toward fulfilling their desires, abating their fears, and above all prompting action. Finally, make sure that your SMM philosophy authentically represents you and promotes honesty and transparency in all your SMM messages.
#2 Optimizing Platforms
Social media platforms are the different networks where social interaction occurs (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). The audiences for each of these platforms is different, as are the interfaces and the methods or types of interactions taking place on those platforms. This means your Facebook messages and your LinkedIn messages, for example, should not be the same, but rather custom tailored for maximum visibility and positive effect on each respective platform.
Once you post a message in social media, that’s not the end of it; on the contrary, your work on that message is only just beginning. Optimizing platforms means adapting your messages to best suit 1) each market segment, and 2) each social media platform. It also means staying on top of the performance of your messages. To accomplish this, determine your key performance indicators (KPI) for determining this positive effectiveness of your messages and then track each message accordingly. Likewise, track new and evolving platforms to see which ones could benefit you or your market.
#3 Refining Your Voice
You are not your business. And your business is not like every other business in your industry. That means the way that you speak about your business should be unique to your specific business. Your voice should reflect your mission and your SMM philosophy, and build rapport with your audience.
Start by listening to how your audience speaks and listens to each other. Then refine your voice to sound sweetest to their ears. Make sure the words you use, the syntax and cadences, are relevant to their expectations. And be consistent in how you present yourself.
Determine whether your business would best be served by utilizing a single voice or multiple voices. And minimize the amount of automated posting and cross-posting that you do in order to avoid sounding like a robot. Rather than being an evangelist for your business, try being a brand manager instead.
#4 Using Multimedia
When they say “Content is King” they’re not kidding; but don’t fooled into believing that content is purely textual. An original, unique and high-value article based on your observations and analysis of goals and trends that incorporates relevant references is worth its weight in…kilobytes(??) But so is an equally stellar audio podcast, YouTube video, or Powerpoint presentation. Look at the near-instant popularity of the relatively recent arrival on the SMM scene – Pinterest – to see just what we mean. Truly, an image these days is worth 1,000 MB.
What to create multimedia about? Besides your products and services (360 degree images, tutorials, troubleshooters, etc.), you might also benefit from giving your audience insight into your company culture. Give a video tour of your office. Post photos of office events (and if you don’t have any office events, create some for just this purpose).
#5 Integrating Online & Offline Advertising
One of the greatest and most underused assets for online marketing is offline marketing. All too often, marketing managers segregate their online efforts from their offline efforts, and never the ‘twain shall meet. But with social media comes an effortless way to merge these efforts seamlessly. Why? Because social media is all about community. And community building existed LONG before the advent of the Internet.
So how do you do this? Integrating online advertising with your offline advertising is as simple as including the URL for your blog or Facebook page, for example, to your print, radio and cable ads. You can even add incentives for people to visit those sites (see more on Incentivizing below). This provides what’s called “social proof” for your business; that is, it shows people up front that you indeed have a sizable community surrounding your business already. People always want to hop aboard a hot, fast and forward-moving bandwagon, and this presents them with just that opportunity.
Consider that SMM isn’t all about making sales or conversions. Sure, that’s the ultimate goal, but perhaps not always the initial one. Wouldn’t it be even better than making a sale right now to get a new member to join your community first who then later on makes multiple sales?
#6 Incentivizing Messages
We just mentioned incentivizing your SMM efforts, so we might as well get into it next. By incentivizing we mean giving back to your customers as a Thank You for taking some sort of simple (usually free) action. A person may not be so quick to send you money for a product or service, but they may have no aversion to Liking your Facebook page, subscribing to your YouTube channel, Following you on Twitter, etc. Especially if they get a reward for it.
All these actions cost your audience nothing, and unlike in the rest of the consumer world, with incentivized SMM they actually can get something for nothing. What do we mean by incentives? Discounts on products and services or contest/raffle entries, to name just two.
Other actions you can incentivize in this manner include Sharing posts or articles, or even commenting on them. If you can manage to hit on the right incentive rightly presented at the right time, your incentive itself can go viral.
#7 Going Local
The Internet bestows all users with a global reach, but some of your best leads and business opportunities exist right in your own backyard (or front!). And the fact of the matter is, the Internet can help you reach out to those leads closest to you just as easily as it can help you reach across the planet.
What are your geographic demographics? Even if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar element of your business, that doesn’t mean you don’t still have specific geographic locales where your business is most relevant, most needed. Typically, this area is right where you run your business from: in the same area as your headquarters.
You already know to find groups, communities, forums and other such social networks online that are focused on your specific areas of expertise; now do the same for your specific geographic areas of influence. Join these communities, and if they don’t exist, consider starting your own. Discover the online directories that your competitors use and link yourself up with them too.
And if there is a brick-and-mortar component to your business, then make sure you’re listed as well in Google Maps and other popular mapping/GPS sites. Maximize your visibility on these sites by providing all your contact information and a direct link to your own website (or Facebook page, etc.).