If you’re anything like me, then you’ll always be on the lookout for the latest social media tips and techniques to help you get ahead. In what’s become a wildly competitive digital space, experts are constantly finding new ways to maximize exposure and engagement.
Whatever the size of your business, using social media effectively can give your brand the boost it needs to reach your target audience. It’s important to remember that social media is accessible to all – no matter your budget.
If you can deliver interesting or amusing content to your users’ social feeds, the battle is half-won. Many small businesses have gone viral because of their ability to think outside the box – and to sometimes cheat a little.
With these 13 social media hacks, you’ll be well on your way to making your social media marketing a success.
Find top content to publish
When it comes to what you’ll publish on social media, you want to tune into what’s on your audience’s mind right now. Go after the popular ideas and topics.
A great place to start is by using a tool like Post Planner, which is not dissimilar to the likes of Buffer and Hootsuite. However, it has one crucial difference – it helps you to find content (Feedly is another great tool for this purpose).
Post Planner identifies content that is proven to boost engagement and drive traffic to your site. In essence, it removes the guesswork. Use this handy tool to find to highest-performing content within your chosen niche, and post it directly to your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest feeds.
Find top people to follow
As you start growing your social profiles, one of the first things to do is start following relevant ‘power users’ in your field of business. When you follow these influencers, you put yourself on their radar. In some cases, you may find they follow you back.
Of course, you should have standards. Don’t follow absolutely anyone – targeted respected voices within the industry. Spam following may have the opposite effect to the one intended.
A good trick is to use your Twitter feed to auto-tweet the RSS feeds of the bloggers and influencers you like most. This will not only help you to build a relationship with them, but means you’ll be providing a steady stream of fresh content to your followers, which you know will high quality.
Cheat the 140-character limit
There are certain tools that can help those of us prone to long-winded tweets – but the problem is that they take the reader away from Twitter to a separate website. Most scanners prefer to stay within the Twitter platform, rather than being directed elsewhere.
Instead, you can hack the system to enable you to write as much as you want, all within Twitter. To start, compose and send a Tweet as usual, ending with … or some other sign that the statement is ‘to be continued’. Some choose to number the tweets, e.g. 1/5.
From here, you simply reply to your own tweet, from your own stream. I suggest removing the @mention, or it’ll look like you’re talking back and forth to yourself.
Now, when visitors come across your first tweet, it’s easy for them to see the whole thread by clicking ‘view conversation’. And so you have overcome the tyranny of the 140-character limit.
Steal competitors’ traffic
This is very cheeky, but very effective. Any savvy business owner knows that to get ahead, you have to know what your competitors are doing, and be willing to adopt some of their strategies to gain customers.
Facebook ID Scraper is a useful tool that you can use to extract user data from your competitors’ Facebook pages, or even niche industry groups. Use the in-built convertor to gather email addresses – and you can then create targeted email marketing and Facebook advertising campaigns to reach out to these valuable prospects.
Another great tool is Sniply, a social media conversion tool which you can use to conveniently snip links, and leverage third party content to drive traffic to your website.
Make contact with influencers
With the help of influencers, you can turn a mediocre social strategy into a viral powerhouse. As discussed above, the first step is to start sharing their content, followed by tagging them in your own posts.
Another approach is to utilize the direct message function, and send them a personal message asking to share your content. Make sure you emphasize the benefits for them, e.g. relevant, valuable content for their readers.
There are a lot of influencers out there, spanning all kinds of different niches. It’s important to find the right ones to represent your business within your chosen industry. Here are some top considerations:
- Start by discovering the big names – keep them in mind
- Look at the comments – are they getting a good amount of engagement?
- Scale back and find those with mid-size audiences – they may have more time for you
- Begin a dialogue and emphasize the mutual benefits of working together
- Get on the influencer’s radar beforehand by interacting with their posts
Save time by connecting apps
When it comes to cheating your way through social marketing, it really is all about finding the right tools. With Zapier or If This Then That (IFTTT), you can connect your social apps together so that when you post on one platform, it appears on every platform, saving you a considerable amount of time.
For example, if you’re posting a photo to Instagram, you can use either one of these tools to automatically post the image natively to Twitter, Facebook, or both. This saves you from having to repeat the same task more than once.
Magically distribute (and redistribute) your posts
In a similar vein to the above, save time when sharing your posts by setting them up to publish on social media automatically, the moment you publish them on your blog. Again, this can be accomplished using Zapier, or even within WordPress.
If you’re publishing a post that contains a lot of graphics or photographs, you may want to share it via Pinterest for maximum engagement. In this instance, I recommend using the Pinterest Automatic Pin plugin, which will neatly pin all of the images to your Pinterest account when the blog post is published.
Likewise, should you have lots of of evergreen content lurking around – which is certainly worth investing in – try the Revive Old Post plugin to set up regular times to reshare this content, without having to think about it.
Make the most of ‘social listening’ tools
There’s an ocean of information out there in the social media world. And while we are always told that ‘content is king’, it’s useless if it fails to inspire some good old-fashioned human interaction.
Social listening tools are designed to track conversations happening on the web to determine whether you should jump in and get involved. In this way, you can start to build organic relationships with prospects, and position yourself as an authority in your niche.
Based on these conversations, you can also discover the hot trends being covered in your industry, and use these to form the basis of your content marketing strategy. After all, much of being successful on social media comes down to being current.
If you manage marketing for an online store, then tracking unfiltered conversations around your primary keywords and phrases can give you a whole range of feedback that you may not have come across otherwise, including indirect complaints about your company, or 100% honest feedback.
Some of the best social listening tools to look into include Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Buzzsumo, and Conversocial.
Leverage current events
While it’s very popular to use social media to interact with brands and businesses, it’s important not to forget that social mediums are also used to catch up with the latest news and gossip. If you’re able to bring the two together, then you have a good strategy for your business.
Start my keeping tabs on the hashtags that are trending on Twitter. These change from day-to-day – even hour-to-hour. Where possible and relevant, use these trending hashtags in your own social media posts, as they will help you to become part of a larger conversation.
There are several powerful hashtag tools you can use to join conversations: try Hashtagify, Keyhole, and RiteTag.
Another tip is to look for common themes on Google Trends or Facebook Trending Topics. Using these themes, you can start to come up with content ideas that will resonate with the subjects your audience cares about.
Schedule as much as you can in advance
If you’re spending a lot of time posting on social media – and as a social marketer this is undoubtedly the case – then you’ll find it a great time-saver to schedule as many posts as possible ahead of time. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite enable you to do this with ease.
While Buffer and Hootsuite are fairly different, both give you the ability to pre-write and schedule your posts, as well as include any links, images, GIFs, or videos. There are free versions of both, but if you’re going to be using them a lot, then it’s worth investing in a plan that will give you more freedom and functionality.
Get into content curation
Anyone familiar with blogging or content marketing knows how long it can take to research, write, and edit a great piece of content. That’s before you even get started on rich content like videos or infographics.
Content curation enables you to keep providing quality content on a regular basis for your audience. You can make the most of the rich content created by others, reducing the pressure on your team to produce new content all the time. Curation is a great way to pad things out, especially if you want to keep up with big brands who are posting something at least once a day.
The key with content curation is to maintain the same high standards that you have for your own in-house content. Focus on the industry names that you really respect, remember to tag them, and add your own insights when you re-post. Naturally, any content you share should be in-line with your own company values.
Creating contests on social media can be a great way to foster engagement and grow your following. If you decide to go down the contest route, always include an incentive for sharing, such as the chance to win something in return for sharing a post or liking your page.
There are lots of ways to start a contest, whether you solicit votes, start a sweepstake, or create a photo contest using a branded hashtag. Referral contests can be effective too, as they improve the user’s chance of winning if they refer a friend.
Once you’ve set up your contest, it’s a good idea to start promoting it using paid social ads, if you want to get maximum interaction. This is particularly important if your present following is quite small. Target people based on specific demographics to ensure you reach the right audience.
Counter angry comments
We’ve all seen how heated the comments section of a website or social media page can get. It’s easy for conversations to spiral out of control online, so consider how much you’re willing to let this impact your business if it’s taking place on your channel.
If your audience has a tendency to get riled up, consider adding common ‘offending’ words to your Page Moderation list. When you do this, the poster of the ‘banned’ word and their friends will still be able to see their comments, but they will not be visible to anyone else.
Obviously every page and comment is different, but there are some common troublesome words you may wish to ban right away, such as swear words, offensive words, and use of ALL CAPS or multiple exclamation marks!!!
These are just some of the hacks you can use to supercharge your business’ social media marketing strategy. Get on board, and you will soon find that your reach, engagement, and ROI start to improve.
Ultimately, there is no better social media hack than truly understanding your audience. If you can achieve this, and tailor your content and social media plans accordingly, you can hope you enjoy a lot of success online.
Victoria Greene is a freelance writer and digital marketing expert. She runs her own blog at victoriaecommerce.com, where she dispenses advice to brands and marketers looking to boost their popularity online.