In a few short years social media has become an integral part of marketing worldwide and it’s not hard to see why. Social media provides the opportunity for direct contact with customers, and it’s a free, easy way to reach out to millions of new ones. But one of the most interesting things about social media is just how dynamic it is. It’s constantly changing, and notoriously unpredictable which makes predicting which new social media trend will take off next a little tricky. That said, there are certain ways to stay one step ahead of the game. One of the best ways to do this is to follow the example of successful individuals, those who are doing it right. Here are some of the top social media secrets for this year, any year – even.
1. Embrace New Media and Networks
Social media is not about being everywhere. Different networks are used for different purposes. Focus on your favorite media sources and be active with them. You don’t need to be on every social media network available, in fact you could spread yourself too thin. Be where you are with good presence and good reason.
That being said, continue to be educated with social media and when you find one that would benefit you go ahead and jump aboard. A few new social media networks that could be beneficial are Vine and Google+. Vine, similar to instagram but with 6 second videos is a fun little social media tool that can greatly impact your presence in the social scene by giving movement to your brand and voice to your company.
Google+ is a social site secret that many individuals don’t use because they don’t understand the “behind the scenes” when it comes to internet search positioning. This nifty little tool can have a big effect on your business. The reason is because most people use Google to search the internet and since Google is the biggest and baddest search engine out there it has a sophisticated system to retrieve results it thinks are most relevant. Google “crawls” the internet constantly, but it can take some time for new content to be crawled and indexed. Interestingly enough, Google will crawl Google+ much quicker, (not biased at all, right?) which means those who take advantage of Google+ will potentially gain better positioning on google searches than the other guys. By being flexible and ahead of the curve you will significantly increase your presence and position in social media.
2. Have a Real Conversation
People use social media to connect with others, and for good reason. In today’s fast-paced world social media may be the only interaction some have with others all day. A great social media secret is: Make fan engagement an everyday habit. Build a relationship with your followers through real conversations. Friends trust friends because they give and take in contributing to a conversation. Nobody likes a know-it-all and nobody likes to be sold to. A friend that only talks about himself or always tries to sell you something probably won’t be your friend for long. Lesson here: treat your social media like a good friend. Respond to their concerns and comments immediately and be careful about trying to push your product before building rapport. Selling before relating could cause you to quickly burn through your fan list. Remember, you are at the mercy of your followers. They have the ultimate power and with a simple click you could be removed from their follow list.
3. Don’t be Greedy
Another key secret about social media is: don’t cheat your way to the top. Big mistakes happen when companies and individuals alike try to find thousands of fans quickly and automated. Social media is there to connect people and to build communities. Many social campaigns are unsuccessful and fail miserably, simply because these businesses focus on getting more instead of taking care of the people who are already there. Be sure to treat people like people, not numbers. Create a community where they can post, comment, tweet and spread the word about your brand. Listen to them and engage in dialog just like you would a real friend. Want to get more followers? Be better. Create better content and work hard to keep it fresh. Build relationships and take care of them. Companies that capitalize on focusing on their fans by listening and respond quickly and appropriately to their comments and concerns have the upper hand on this social media secret.
4. Know Your Audience and Deliver What They Want
Graco is the name of a company that manufactures strollers. Yet if you were to visit their Blog, you might wonder why they barely even mention their product. Instead, Graco, being very aware of their target market has dedicated their site to creatively appeal to their audience. Their focus is to deliver fun and helpful content that their customers can not only relate to but also use. Even though finding the right babysitter may not have anything to do with strollers, Graco knows that customers who purchase strollers will probably need a babysitter at some time -so they write articles about choosing a babysitter.
Give your customers content that they will enjoy reading or viewing . This secret will help you build reputation and visitation to your site. Is there something that you could write about that is related to your product but not directly aimed at selling your product? Give it a try, people tend to trust people and websites that are fun, helpful and dynamic. This will give you an edge and separate you from your competition.
5. Use Social Media to Find out Exactly What People Want
Social media is a powerful tool that can let you know exactly what your customers are thinking. But often times people are talking about your company or product without tagging you or posting directly on your page. This means that critical information could be slipping through the cracks and could literally build or burn your business. There is a way, however, to tap into important conversations that you are not directly tagged in. Social media sources such as Twitter can offer specific searches that can lead to these compelling findings.
Search.twitter.com, for example offers a great little gem, that can open the world for your business. By searching for words like “wish, love, hate, fix, change” etc. before your brand name. (e.g. wish pepsi) you will start to see what people are liking, disliking or merely just talking about in reference to your product or website. The stronger your social presence, the more people will be talking about you. Another good reason to be active on social sites.
6. Timing is Everything
Another reason why people use social media is to keep up with current events—whether it is world news, local events, popular culture, entertainment, sports, or even just your own friends and family. So in order to generate the best kind of social buzz, timing is everything. Oreo did this in the best way, when they capitalized on the blackout at this last year’s Super Bowl, with this hilarious and instantly viral tweet, accompanied by this picture:
Be familiar with what is going on in the world and talk about it. Respond to other people’s comments and start developing stronger relationships. Many people see your influence even though they may not comment. By being vocal (especially at the right time!) and active you are creating a fan base that could really magnify your brand.
7. Social Trends can be Used in the Right and Wrong Ways
Be warned, there is a right and a wrong way to use trends and it can be very dangerous to try to hijack a trending topic if you are out of the loop. Far too many companies have learned this the hard way. One infamous example is the clothing store Celeb Boutique, who posted this insensitive tweet in the aftermath of the Aurora theatre shooting:
However, on the other hand the Harlem Shake phenomenon took the web by storm and those who jumped on this wave were able to ride it for a while. Lesson? Check the reason behind the trend before you decide to join it.
8. Publicize Your Blog Content
Social media is the easiest and possibly fastest way to get your content out to the public. You can cause a big ripple by posting fun and interesting content that others will want to share. The more compelling the information the faster it will spread. Few people will directly be navigated to your blog through simple searching, but if you deliberately hand it to them through big name sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc., you will encounter a lot more traffic to your site. Pinterest, for example has exploded lately due to its creative structure and ease of sharing. Smart social media experts have used this powerful site to their advantage and so can you. By creating shareable content you are making social shares and free publicity that much more available. Other less known sites such as Reddit or Slideshare allow you to optimize your content and increase the possibility of “going viral”.
9. Make Big Social Connections
Actors, athletes, and popstars have incredible influence in social media. Though it might be a little tricky to get Taylor Swift to endorse your personal page or product you can still create relationships with big names in the industry that can boost your social media appearance. Whatever your niche find someone who is bigger and better and create a relationship with them. An easy and effective way that you can do this is by asking to post articles on big websites and having their readership link back to your page. Since your material is relevant to the host page, the audience will share a common interest and hopefully become your customers too. Other ways to develop influence is by offering product to people with influence. Natural beauty care company Burt’s Bees sent out a series of personalized lip balm to various celebrities and high profile blog owners, which the naturally excited personalities promptly posted about online for millions to see.
10. Fun is Contagious
More often than not, people use social media to pass time when they are bored, searching for something fun or entertaining. Here’s another social media secret: be the one that gives it to them. Michael Dubin, CEO of the Dollar Shave Club is a perfect example of a company that has hit a homerun while delivering fun. Facial razors for men doesn’t seem like it would have much room for fun but with a hilarious video and solid marketing plan, the product went viral. Case in point: The more fun you have the more fun your audience will have which translates directly into social shares and visits to your site.
About the Author:
David Glenn is a freelance writer who specializes in home improvements, involving home automation, and DIY home improvement techniques.