9 and 3/4 Social Media Marketing Tips for Branding and Efficiency

Here are almost 10 social media marketing tips to enhance your business, build your brand, and be efficient on social media. Nine and three-quarters? Read on.

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As a social media marketer, you need to keep your finger on the pulse and always explore ways to improve your creativity, the functioning of your content engine, and the new opportunities presented by existing or emerging social networks.

Are you on TikTok yet? Will it be around next year? Does it even make sense for your brand to be there?

Social media marketing evolves at an accelerated pace, and it is sometimes important to step back and check whether there is anything you can improve. Below you will find nearly 10 tips for that purpose.

The 9 3/4 best social media marketing tips to grow your brand and increase your following:

  • Discover audience insights
  • Mine reviews
  • Map hashtags
  • Build a content machine
  • Plan your content publications
  • Post natively
  • Go live on social media
  • Exploit first-party data
  • Sponsor micro influencers
  • Always remember to seed an important…

1. Use audience insights to focus on your target audience.

Tip No. 1 is a must-do. Research your audiences and define your target market. This is true for every brand and every business out there. When you are planning your social media marketing, your target audience is the single most important thing to consider.

Sometimes brands glorify their target audience rather than looking at the data showing them who they really are. Find the demographics of your Facebook fans using Audience Insights. You can use these data to improve your persona definitions, and you can revise and improve your content strategy to fit those personas.


2. Mine all reviews to make sure you know what users think.

With a broad view of your audience established, it is time to understand how they interact with your products and services. Do they like them? What do they like about them, and what don’t they like? How do they express their appreciation?

Users leave reviews and ratings on Amazon, Google, Facebook, and in additional places. You probably look at the star ratings, but you should take the time to read through every single review you get.

Make a list of likes and dislikes and a list of words used to describe the user experience. Are you presenting your products in the same way as your users describe them? Are you emphasizing the things users like and improving the things they dislike?

On Amazon, the user experience as expressed through both ratings and reviews directly influences whether a product will be presented to the user searching for it.

A screenshot of the Facebook page of CaféZen Paris with the most helpful user reviews highlighted.

User reviews of a business reveal what customers preferred and also what they didn’t like. Source: Facebook.


3. Map out hashtags to both explain and discover your content.

Build your social strategy using the language of social media — #hashtags. For that purpose, remember that hashtags have both an explanatory function and a discovery function. One on hand, they are part of your editorial line, and on the other they are invitations to your audience to discover your content.

You should map up the hashtags you need for discovery, especially on Twitter and Instagram. They are used on more social networks and are also becoming increasingly important on LinkedIn. Mapping out your hashtags by content type and persona will help you drive higher levels of reach and engagement.

You can also create your own hashtags for branding purposes, while knowing that it will never be yours to own. They can even be picked to establish recurrency and memorability as in #CrawlingMondays, #TrackingTuesdays, or #Want-to-know-Wednesdays.

A screenshot of a Twitter post appearing in a search for #MayThe4thBeWithYou.

If your post is visible on a trending events hashtag, you will have created significant visibility for your brand. Source: Twitter.


4. Build a carefully engineered and efficient content machine.

Think of your social media content as an engine that drives your activity on social media. It needs to be carefully engineered and automated using efficient social media machinery, and you need a dashboard to keep track of your primary social media metrics.

During the FIFA 2018 World Cup, social media users could enjoy video celebrations featuring the player who scored a goal just seconds after the real event. This type of real-time marketing is only possible with a well-oiled and efficient content engine prepared ahead of the event.

Each possible outcome needed to be predicted and footage prepared for each possible goal scorer. After the preparation, this type of real-time marketing also requires efficient social media project management.

An illustration of the components of a content strategy, including themes, hashtags, personas, and social channels.

The building bricks for a content strategy can be outlined as themes, hashtags, and content that apply to your personas via your main social channels.


5. Plan content to provide recurring contact with your audience.

A social media content calendar is one of the key elements of a social strategy. You can find a content calendar template online, or you can build your own by simply using a shared Google calendar.

It allows you to create a posting schedule for your content so that each piece of content is published on the adequate social network at just the right time.

The recurrence of contact with your target audience using relevant and compelling content is a great way to build brand loyalty over time.


6. Post in the native format to align with social network subculture.

Social networks are subcultures. They have their own languages, codes, symbols, and customs. While there are many similarities in the form of abbreviations, emojis, or filters, each social network is also very aware of its competitors.

Perhaps that’s why they choose to reward posts that seem to have been made exclusively for their network. LinkedIn was rumored to penalize links with posts to external sites, and Facebook encourages you to post original video content rather than providing a link to a video on YouTube.

The original compressed format in Facebook will work better than the retreatment of a video already compressed with YouTube’s algorithm.

Native formats always win, and you should integrate them into your content strategy by making sure your social media posts on your primary network are in the native format. This means that you post the original image or video file from your camera.


7. Go live to interact with audiences and show your human side.

Considering how easy it is to communicate with video and live streaming, the number of companies doing this is marginally small. The barriers to doing it aren’t big but are so human: the fear of looking stupid, the danger of providing wrong information, of making mistakes, and of causing a social media fiasco.

However, by preparing well, taking social media project management seriously, doing training to avoid saying “uh” every three words, creating a bit of expectation by announcing ahead, and treating live streaming as a real-world event, there is massive opportunity in having business owners and directors go live on social media to interact directly with audiences and show the human side of their business.

A screenshot from a YouTube video in which the CFO of Royal Dutch Shell presents a quarterly report.

Royal Dutch Shell uses its chief financial officer to announce quarterly report results. Source: YouTube.


8. Use first-party data to efficiently segment your audiences.

For businesses with a need to communicate broadly and reach specific audiences for their sales and marketing, paid media campaigns on social media can be an efficient channel.

But it can also be a complete waste of money if the targeting or the messaging is off. One great way to make social media campaigns work out is to use good audience targeting.

On most social networks, it’s possible to use your own customer data as the basis for building the right audiences. The data you hold on your clients is called “first-party data.”

Using first-party data can enable social media targeting of your existing customers, customers who are similar, or to prospects who are not in your CRM database. Using first-party data actively makes way for efficient segmentation of your audiences and provides better results than other types of targeting.


9. Sponsor micro influencers to boost access to niche audiences.

In your social media strategic planning, the build-up phase is one of the most challenging periods. You may have created the perfect content for your audience and generated a high level of engagement, but it is still a challenge to get the word out to your target audience. To accelerate your growth, you will need to invest.

If you are not ready to do social media advertising, another option is available to you: the use of micro influencers. They are social media influencers who possess a homogeneous and engaged audience of a limited size. They typically have quality interactions with precisely defined target groups around a niche topic.

By sponsoring micro influencers, you can boost your reach to a number of niche audiences which are in affinity with your brand or your product. Look for micro influencer platforms to engage on a broad scale, or try reaching out to people you think could be good ambassadors for your brand.


9 3/4. Always remember to seed an important…

When Harry Potter sets off to join Hogwarts, the school of sorcerers, he takes the train from platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station in London. You may have known this from the moment you read the title of this article.

Harry Potter becomes a wizard over time. But J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, was a magician all along. She builds expectations into her writing. She makes promises to be fulfilled in a later chapter, or in a later book. To make a truly compelling brand story, always remember to seed an important...


Magic tricks belong on stage

There are many ways to reach your social media goals, and they all require hard, consistent, and recurrent work. Define your audiences, find the right content, and automate as best you can to build your very own content machine.

Free up time to engage and interact with audiences in real time. Then pick a tip to see what it can do for you. Take it all the way before you move on to the next one.

Remember, these tips and tricks can help you present a great show on social media, but the magic can only work if you have set the stage, directed the projectors, and built up a feeling of expectation in your audience.

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter and recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.