Published 29th September 2016 | Social Media Marketing

6 Social Media Strategies You’re Still Using and Shouldn’t Be

Social media has been around a while now; it’s no longer the new kid at school unsure of what to do and where it belongs. It’s grown up, and while it’s still evolving (and given to moments of complete change of direction!) it’s definitely earnt its place at the grown-ups table when it comes to core marketing practices.

As it’s developed, the way we interact with it to get the best results has had to change too. Some of the tactics that we used way back when, no longer work as effectively as they once did. To hold onto the child analogy for just a paragraph longer, it’s akin to trying to get your child to do something by promising them a trip to the park, great for a 5-year-old, less effective when they’re 17!

Many of us now have years of experience navigating social platforms and their unique best practices, but they’ve matured and we need to change some of our habits to reflect this.

In this article we’re going to look at some of the strategies that were working for businesses a few years ago but could do with an update in 2016!

6 Social Media Strategies That They’ve Outgrown

1. Automatic Direct Messages on Twitter

Back in the day an automated ‘thanks for the follow, check out our products’ Twitter message was passable. However, users quickly realised these were automated and added little value, with many regarding them as spam.

While you may be able to trick a few Twitter newbies into thinking it’s a real message, many know better and will unfollow you because of it.

Some automation is fine. Scheduling content to be shared later adds value to users, you can be more consistent and post things when your audience is online. But when it comes to connecting with your followers, it’s important to like and retweet their content if they mention your brand. Send them a reply with a personal touch and if you have any automatic DMs set up, please stop them now!

Yes, this strategy requires more time and energy than an identical, automated message going to every new follower but, as with so many things in life, you get out what you put in.

2. Hashtag Stuffing on Twitter

We know hashtags help with engagement and reach on Twitter. Twitter’s own research into hashtags confirms that there is significant advantage to using them, with individuals potentially seeing a 100% increase in engagement and brands seeing a 50% increase.

Evidence also shows you want to be using 1- 2 hashtags. More than this and your engagement actually drops by an average of 17%.

Back in the day using a simple hashtag like #Marketing was enough, but as Twitter has grown (it currently has around 313 million monthly active users sending more than 350,000 tweets per minute) these generic hashtags don’t work as effectively.

Instead, spend some time looking into specific and niche hashtags that your potential followers are using, these will get you (and your content) in front of real people (not bots) who have an interest in your topic.

(While we’re talking about Twitter, it’s worth noting they recently announced changes to their iconic 140 character limit. Learn more about how that affects you in How Marketers Will Soon Be Able to Maximize All 140 Characters.)

3. Relying On Images to Increase Engagement

It’s common marketing knowledge that social media posts with images get more engagement than those that are just text, but have you seen the figures around the difference adding a video makes?
HubSpot reported: adding a video to a landing page may increase conversations by roughly 80 percent, enjoyment of video ads increase purchase intent by 97% and 59% of executives would rather watch a video than read text.

Not only that, but 25% of consumers will lose interest in your brand if it doesn’t have video!

Syndacast predicts that 74 percent of all Internet traffic in 2017 will be video and, with more video content uploaded in 30 days than all three major US TV networks combined have created in the last 30 years, it’s important to get it right.

“Video style is changing to short, texted videos that grab attention quickly and have an emotional angle.” Nic Newman, Reuters Institute (Source: Econsultancy)

While it’s possible to repurpose the same videos across each platform, ideally you’d create customised content for each one. With Facebook, for example, videos are silent as many people watch videos in their feed rather than clicking through, so incorporating captions or having it so no words are necessary works best. Whereas having audio on YouTube is essential for engagement.

4. Depending Solely on Organic Reach

Increased users on social media means increased volume of posts. More than 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month. Therefore, to ensure your posts are being seen, you may need to invest some of your marketing budget on adverts.

This is particularly true for Facebook, who recently changed their algorithm to ensure posts by family and friends are seen above posts by pages (i.e. businesses).

5. Connection Collecting on LinkedIn

Gone are the days that having a thousand plus LinkedIn connections made you look like a social media rock star (and hopefully so are the days that anyone refers to themselves that way on their bios!).

If you’re asking strangers to link and they see you already have a plethora of connections you could be perceived as a serial networker, connections collector or even a spammer!

It’s better to not connect with complete strangers on LinkedIn (it violates LinkedIn’s user agreement). If you’re sending connection requests to someone who might not remember you then give some context in your request message so they see you as adding value rather than spam.

6. Social Buttons Galore

We are constantly told how important it is to make your content easily sharable. A quick way to do this is by adding social sharing buttons to your website. In the early days, marketers were active on a range of different social sites and so an abundance of social media buttons were added to pages with the idea that more buttons meant more social sharing.

But, as is often the case, less is actually more and too many social buttons can hurt your traffic…

“I tested placing 3, 4, and 5 different social media options on Quick Sprout. When I reduced the button count from 5 to 3, I was able to increase my click-through rate by 11%” Digital marketing expert Neil Patel of Quick Sprout

Pick three sites that your audience are most likely to be on. Research suggests this is likely to be Facebook, Twitter, and one other social site. TrackMaven examined nearly 2 billion social shares; the results showed that 38.6% of social shares were on Twitter. Facebook “likes” and “shares” accommodated for another 60.3%.

(Not sure which social channels you should be on? Check out our article ‘Which Social Media Channels Should You Use For Your Business?’)

Also, think about what pages you put the buttons on. People share blog articles so it makes sense to have them on these pages. However, as people are unlikely to share a product, having it on a product page could actually decrease conversations due to ‘social proof’ (you can read more about ‘social proof’ for social media buttons here).

Takeaway

Social media is an ever evolving landscape and keeping up can be tricky. If you’d like to have a chat about updating your social media marketing strategy, we’d love to help.

Call our friendly team for a chat on 01763 877110 or click this link.

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