Social media marketing is about so much more than just sharing pictures of your 🐈 and updates about which bar you’re the mayor of. Social media gives companies, brands, and individual marketers a chance to connect directly with users and prospective users, and has lots of top of the funnel (TOFU) uses as well, including building brand awareness, maintaining thought leadership, and showing off your content.
Like any other part of a marketing strategy, if you approach your social media strategies from the perspective of business objectives, you better position yourself to actually promote those business objectives. This guide will give you several types of social media marketing strategies to explore alongside some tactic and measurement suggestions.
It’s important to note that posting on social media without a plan is both ill-advised because it wastes your time and it can lose more customers than it gains. Rather than posting just to get yourself on follower’s timelines, use your social media accounts for strategic purposes. This means understanding who you want to view your posts, what you want them to do when they engage with those posts, and how you hope for that engagement to affect your bottom line. Before you post, build a strategy.
As a general rule, a good social media strategy balances quality of content, consistency in how often you post, and understanding the needs of your customer. There are plenty of posts out there that will try to tell you how to make a viral video or a million-share social media campaign, but this guide will give you the basics of maintaining a sustainable social media content strategy to drive growth.
Content Marketing Strategies & Major Tactics🔖
Combine these strategies and tactics as needed to post consistently. Before you implement any of these strategies, sit down and make a plan. With your marketing team and any stakeholders, define:
- What business objectives are most important?
Some possible answers are: lead generation, increased trial sign-ups, higher revenue per customer. These business objectives will help your team set goals to measure how well the campaigns work.
- What social networks have consistently worked well in the past?
Retailers may find that visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have a long reach, while business services rely mostly on LinkedIn and Twitter.
- How many hours per week do you have to devote to social media?
Remember, social media isn’t just about posting, it’s also about crafting messages and providing content or landing pages for customers to discover when they click on your post. How much time can you reasonably spend producing that content, and how much time can you devote to crafting and scheduling the posts?
Once you’ve decided how much time you can spend on social, where you’ll focus, and how you’re going to measure success, you’re ready to pick strategies and tactics that help you achieve those goals.
It’s a little weird to designate yourself as an expert in the field, but depending on your industry and your company’s collective level of industry knowledge, thought leadership can be an effective strategy for bringing new followers to your brand.
As a strategy, thought leadership puts your brand and highly knowledgable internal authors into the industry conversations that matter most for your company. Thought leaders teach best practices, define what you know is important, call out what should be ignored, and show off deep understanding of the industry gained from real-world experience. Every industry has mission-critical topics that warrant discussion to improve outcomes, and thought leaders drive these conversations.
Think of this strategy as a form of knowledge-centered networking. In addition to publishing longform articles that show your knowledge, get out in the (virtual) world and join the discussion. Engage with other thought leaders on social media in a positive way that spurs intellectual discussion. Join a Twitter Question/Answer session like BufferChat, or start your own.
Although some have found promoting a personal brand helpful in establishing themselves as thought leaders, crazy sartorial choices aren’t necessary. Focus on insightful and informative content, and the “leadership” part will follow.
Examples of thought leadership content include:
Longform thought leadership content that lives on your site should include some visual elements that share easily on social media. Consider this your evergreen content. Once you make it, you can share it on social media over and over again. Schedule the highest engagement pieces every couple of weeks.
List of thought leaders to check out for reference:
Marketers will recognize the awareness phase of the purchase funnel as all the way at the top, or at an extreme end if you prefer the pipeline model. Unlike the nebulous thought leadership that’s effective but without definite measurements, marketers can measure brand awareness as the percentage of the marketplace that knows about your product.
Brand awareness deals with the expansion of your brand, opening it up to people who may otherwise never have a chance to experience it, and presenting yourself as a viable alternative. The Shopify blog suggests that one of the best ways to do this through social media is by humanizing your brand. Social media is all about making connections, and no one wants to make a connection with a content bot.
Building brand awareness on social media can include these tactics:
- Posting original content
- Sharing content created by others (curation)
- Engaging with customers through comments
- Native advertising
It’s important to understand what each channel can and cannot do for your brand. E-commerce, retail, and lifestyle brands do really well on Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram where visual connections really shine. On the other hand, B2B marketers may find they have better success with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, where they can have trackable conversations with business decision makers.
Fast food giant and master Twitter users Wendy’s made headlines by engaging with the Twitter user Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm), who asked Wendy’s, “how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets?”
Carter ended up getting over 3.43 million Retweets and a place in the Guinness Book of World Records before Wendy’s gave him free nuggets for a year, plus a $100,000 donation in his name to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
The wins here were:
- Promotion of brand and increased brand awareness, in addition to a specific product promotion
- Definition of brand as engaging, philanthropic, and cool
A brand awareness opportunity like this doesn’t present itself every day, but Wendy’s social media presence, humor, willingness to follow through on a dare, and general brand visibility made this a successful exchange that literally put Wendy’s in the record books. If you hadn’t heard of Wendy’s or their tasty chicken nuggets before April 2017, you probably know of them now.
May companies have amplified a successful blog, email newsletter, or marketing website by engaging in lead generation through their social media channels.
The best social media lead generation starts with a plan. As with any of these strategies, it’s important to understand where your audience spends the majority of their social time, engage with them on those platforms, and then build a plan to increase that engagement and promote lead capture.
- Define audience
On which platform do your buyers spend most of their time? Research the best social media platforms for your brand by looking for existing engagement on hashtags, topics, and groups, researching influencers in your own and adjacent fields of interest, and understanding how other similar brands use the platform to get to know customers.
Join industry groups, comment to followers, share content, ask questions, take polls. When your brand becomes active in the conversation, you can better understand the nuances of the platform and how your audience interacts with other users. Engagement is a much wider funnel than your actual lead pipeline, as many social media followers may never want to buy something from you. What we hope for is that the brand awareness may bring referral traffic from their friends who actually would buy your product.
- Hook some leads
Nothing makes potential customers run faster than an outright sales pitch. Use your social media posts to engage with users and drive them toward your lead capture pages. Those companies and industries that tend to have a longer buying cycle can trade gated content for lead information like names and email addresses.
A buy button on Instagram or Pinterest is great for retail and lifestyle brands to capture a quick sale. You can then turn passing interested parties into long-term customers through capturing email addresses at the purchase page for newsletters and future promotions.
- Some helpful tactics
Promotions or coupons, polls, discount codes, and promoted gated content can all help drive leads to your site. All of these tactics direct users to share more information so you can segment according to their interests and needs and move them down the lead pipeline.
Many consumers use social media to contact brands because of the immediacy, transparency, and human aspect of the medium. These users have high expectations that you’ll address their needs quickly and with a human response, not an automated message like they often receive through email or when leaving a phone message.
With these high expectations comes great responsibility on the part of brands. Maintaining a consistent tone, responding within a reasonable amount of time, and answering questions completely go a long way to build user trust via social media.
- Check your messages
Most users assume that if they’re on social media, you will be too, so be ready for messages at any time. And because customers believe you’re awake, they also expect a near-immediate response. Reply to customer inquiries as quickly as possible. It’s up to you whether you turn on notification that may wake you at 3 AM or outline availability expectations on your social platforms.
- Watch the mentions
Not all social media posts will directly @mention your brand, so search for your brand and related topics on the platform to ensure that you don’t miss an opportunity to engage with a client in trouble or one who wants to share a win.
Once your social media presence really takes off, you may have to determine which posts require a response and which should be ignored as noise. Generally, you want to prioritize existing customer needs over those of potential clients. Come up with a priority plan for the types of roadblocks your customers experience. An inability to login to an account might take precedence over running a report, and responding directly to customers is more important than engaging with other thought leaders.
- Take it private
It’s a sad reality of social media, but negative feedback pulls a lot more attention than positive. For ongoing issues or particularly frustrated customers, open a private conversation or send the customer an email to take that conversation off the public platform.
- Collect and analyze
To better understand your social media customers and how you can support them, collect data on the number, type, and sentiments of the posts on your platforms. For example, if you’re answering a lot of FAQ questions, maybe you should make your FAQ link more prominent on the social page or website. Your social posts and engagement can also tell you a lot about how customers use your product. These high-engagement users may be perfect interview and user story candidates.
Content curation involves reading and sharing the work of other thought leaders and brands within the industry. Content curation is specifically choosing which recent industry news you think is important and sharing that news with your followers.
Curation shows that you know the latest industry news and trends, which helps to establish you as a thought leader, in turn increasing your overall brand awareness. As a social media strategy, content curation should work in concert with other strategies, and curators should be in it for the long haul. It takes time for people to recognize you as a meaningful curator who shares the really good stuff.
Tactics here include:
- Sharing impeccable and newsworthy content on social media
- Engaging with the authors via meaningful comments on content
- Building an internal content repository where customers can access longform content from around the web in a weekly newsletter or monthly blog post
- Sharing really good content in email newsletters
Content curation is an indirect tactic, as it doesn’t directly promote a brand. In order to personalize social media posts, put the content curation behind the face of a thought leader like the CEO of the company or another executive. You want readers to access your brand by gaining confidence in its thinkers. You want readers to think, “Who’s this guy sharing all this news? Oh, he works for that awesome company, their product must be good if they’ve got such a smart guy working for them.”
According to the 2016 Social Media Examiner Report, 74% of all marketers include visual elements in their content marketing strategy, which is up 4% over the previous year. Visual media has a higher overall response rate because the brain processes images faster than text.
Many brands find their highest engagement metrics come from multimedia marketing. That’s why so many brands have invested in videos and infographics–because they get clicks. While you should add images to your blog posts to make them more enticing on the social feed, those are still blog posts, which require consumers to have the time and inclination to read.
To spice up your content mix, try adding in some of these options:
- Interactive content including surveys, Twitter polls
- Webinars and online courses
- Videos (maybe you can repurpose what you already do with webinars?)
- Slideshare presentations
Just like all the other strategies here, consider combining multimedia postings with a couple other strategies to get the most bang for your buck. When you record a podcast, share the episode with a summary of the topic in a blog post. Share an image from your infographic as the featured image for a blog post that gives some background to the post. Use multimedia strategies as hooks to funnel your readers back to your anchor texts or down the pipeline toward your high-converting landing pages.
This is the content marketer’s wheelhouse, right? Maybe. Longform content (like this guide! How meta.) digs deep into industry topics, often involves research, and is meant to be highly informative. Build this kind of content as the reusable and foundational base to your other types of posts. Because of its depth, longevity, and importance to your overall site, longform content is also known by several names: epic, pillar, and evergreen.
Longform content is by its nature SEO-friendly because search engines love in-depth coverage of topics. When you do most general searches, Wikipedia ranks pretty highly in the search engines in part because it specializes in deep encyclopedic coverage of one subject per page. It also ranks really highly because it has a vast amount of user-generated content and extensive internal linking in its favor, but that’s beside our current point.
As a content marketing strategy, longform content can be a huge time commitment, and requires employing talented writers who can sustain detailed writing on in-depth topics. The payoff, however, comes with increased thought leadership (because you share the heck out of that content), increased brand awareness with buyers and researchers, and better SEO rankings that can turn into better leads.
Examples of longform content:
- Research reports generated from customer surveys
- E-books (and audio books)
- Online guides
- Download content
- Webinars and online courses
Don’t be afraid to use your longform content as a farm for multimedia content. Really informative multimedia posts generated from longform content can have the same or more click-driving effect as shorter multimedia elements. Repurpose as much as you can to increase your posting velocity. and Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with tone and voice in these; just because it’s long doesn’t mean your content has to be boring.
Outreach in social media marketing aims to increase brand awareness and thought leadership quotients by connecting to new customers through existing channels. Think of it like digital networking.
You’ll want to build relationships with:
- Content partners
- Influencer customers
- Client advocates
Good outreach marketers search keywords, hashtags, and influencers in their industry or adjacent verticals to define the types of content that share well in those industries before they define their plan. Marketers should also research the optimal days and times for sharing within the industry
A good-fit publisher, author, or influencer will have high engagement and sharing from keywords and topics you hope to do well in. Think of this like a Venn diagram of your product/industry/interests and theirs and ensure there’s significant overlap. A lawnmower company who wants to target middle-aged suburban dads would waste its efforts by partnering with a teenage makeup vlogger as the target audience doesn’t overlap. The same lawnmower company might instead find greater success with a vertical-adjacent influencer, like a garden-to-table food blogger.
Once you’ve found appropriate partners, start communicating with the intention of adding value to their brand. What can you offer that they want? This may be a product, service, or custom-built content. How can you work together to share targeted content to both existing audience bases.
Outreach marketing combines a little networking, a little bit of word-of-mouth referrals, and a lot of brand awareness. You want to establish a confidence in your brand as a leader in your industry but also in your ability to produce quality content. Build relationships with your partners, and they may start sharing your content on their own.
Because outreach marketing requires you to establish and nurture customer and partner relationships, it also means that this kind of marketing can quickly devolve into spammy practices. As SproutSocial points out, “Sending dozens or hundreds of direct messages to people you’ve never interacted with and asking them to share your blog post isn’t outreach. It’s spam.” Have genuine conversations with other marketers and influencers, provide valuable content, and keep your cool.
Content creation for social media is a little different than it is for most other strategies, because most social media platforms restrict the character count on timeline posts. The restrictions come in a couple of forms, whether it’s Twitter’s 140 character limit or a “see more” link on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, but all will cut off a lengthy post. These restrictions mean that you will need to plan ahead when crafting your content and its accompanying post copy.
Social media also gives your team a chance to showcase your brand in a novel way: through visual content. Social posts can show off your brand’s personality, whereas many other types of content marketing force you to tell audiences what you’re like. Use this show>tell format to your advantage by strategically planning what your posts look and sound like, and thinking about how individual posts fit your brand messaging before you post.
Thankfully, content creation on social media is much simpler than other formats, because a lot of time you post existing content. You can also link to deal-related landing pages, promote special offers and events, or share new content.
Follow these guidelines:
- Build the content on your publication platform
- Craft images and multimedia content
- Build a tracking-ready link
- Compose a compelling call to action (CTA) that will appear on the social media timeline within the network’s character limit.
Your CTA needs to capture the scroller’s attention and drive them to click into your content. If you prefer to post a longer message with your content, make sure that first 90 characters or so engages the audience to make them read on.
Keep in mind the “see more” and character restrictions on the platforms, as these should help you contain the length of your posts.
Choose what you want to say in your post by first understanding the post’s purpose:
- If you want people to read longform content, consider highlighting the value to be gained from that informative content
- For blog posts and medium-sized content: consider pulling a quote or interesting fact.
- Videos, webinars, podcasts: why should they watch/listen/engage? What will the viewer learn? Quotes from the session work well here too.
- Highlighting a new product? What are the most interesting/helpful/beautiful features?
When composing a social media post, have your CTA, image/multimedia piece, and your shortened link handy, maybe in a spreadsheet. As you write the post, you might want to add your link to the post before going back and adding in your CTA to ensure you have enough space above the “read more” cut-off.
We cover this topic more in other sections of the guide, where we give you best practices for writing blog posts, building Slideshare presentations, and creating video content. The following are general guidelines to help you write solid content that your social media posts link back to.
Whether you’re part of a giant media conglomerate or a one-person marketing team, you need to plan and post with intention.
A smart content marketing strategy will:
- Drive business objectives
- Target marketing goals that inform the business objectives
- Define the types of foundational content that will achieve marketing goals
- Define supporting content that funnels traffic toward foundational content
- Be flexible enough to pivot according to changing marketing goals
- Reflect the pain points and aspirations of the target audience
- Understand how, when, and where the target audience consumes content
Social media content usually lives in step 4 with other promotion tactics like ads, as most marketers use social media to promote foundational and multimedia content.
As with all parts of your content marketing strategy, build your foundational content with intention. Posting to fill a blog confuses customers, dilutes your message, and leads to poor search engine visibility. Take a professional view of any content creation by asking yourself which business objective the content promotes, and cut any content that doesn’t fit neatly into one or two boxes.
If it’s within your budget, use trained copywriters, editors, and strategists to plan and create content for your site. These professionals will make important choices regarding tone, grammar, and appropriate media that advance your marketing goals.
If you’re going it alone, plan carefully and re-read often. Many writers use a tool like Grammerly to proofread their work, but fresh human eyes can help expose inconsistencies and writerly tics. Ask for help, because even the best writers need someone to look over their work.
Humans are incredibly visual, and we’re also pretty lazy. Our eyes are drawn to images, and we love for people to summarize information. That’s why the quote + image combination does particularly well. If you use social media at all, you’ve probably noticed the proliferation of posts that feature an image with some sort of quote on it. These posts have gained in popularity because they tend to drive engagement. A 2013 study by Buffer showed that Tweets with an image were Retweeted 150% more often than text-only Tweets.
How do you gain this sort of engagement juice on your posts? First, find a quote from your content or an inspirational (yet business-related) quote that you want to share. Open up your design tool and place the quote on an image, and share like you would any other post.
Here are some design tools to try:
- Photoshop and Illustrator: These Adobe products require a subscription, are complicated to use, and were built for designers. That being said, if you have the time and the expertise, you can make some really great quote images here.
- Canva: Free and Premium plans will help you build social media images and quote images. They have plenty of pre-loaded images and fonts, or you can upload your own.
- Pablo: This free tool is provided by Buffer, and helps you build simple images with text for your social media posts.
- Stencil: Formerly Share as Image, this tool provides free and paid tiers, with plenty of features. Choose from thousands of background images, hundreds of fonts, and a plethora of preloaded quotes.
- PicMonkey: A paid tool with a free 7 day trial, this tool comes with image storage, templates, and image editing tools.
- Quotes Cover: Formerly QuoteMaker, this free tool helps you build shareable images. Start by choosing from tons of quotes or enter your own, and Quotes Cover will guide you until you get a shareable image.
- Quozio: Enter your quote in the free online tool or download the bookmarklet that will make a quote from highlighted text. The templates will match font and image for a well-designed image.
Each of your posts should contain a visual element that draws the scroller’s eyes as they make their way through their timeline. Use unique images that you generate in-house, and make the images relevant to the content at hand. GIFs of adorable puppies may attract a lot of attention, but if they don’t drive your business objectives, then find something more relevant to share.
Pulling images off the internet at best is sketchy behavior and at worst could get you in trouble with licensing agreements, so don’t rely on image searching tools. Take the time to generate images, animations, photos, or screenshots from your videos and presentations. Make these unique images the featured image on your posts for sharing or manually add them to the social network post when you draft it.
When creating your images, make sure you use the correct image size for each social network.
Another option is to source your images from dedicated stock photography sites that handle licensing for the photographers and designers. These sites give you subscription, per-license, or free access to millions of photos and images that you can use or modify depending on the type of license. Pay special attention to the licensing options of any of these image aggregation tools.
Some respected stock image sites:
Image Editing Apps🔖
If you build your own images or pull a stock photo from another location, be sure to reference the section below about social network image sizes. Designers and photographers like to make images as large as possible, but content managers and editors will need to make sure they have the right dimensions to share appropriately on social networks.
Use these tools to edit and resize your images:
- Illustrator: an ideal tool for creating images for social media, because it supports vector image formats. Unlike raster images, vector images can be resized and altered without losing any clarity. Vector based images are perfect for easily tweaking images for different networks.
- Photoshop or Pixelmator: using vector images isn’t always practical, especially if you’re using photographs. The best raster image editors are Photoshop and Pixelmator.
- Canva: great for non-designers. Use templates, provided images and fonts, and automatic resizing to build social media and content marketing-ready images. Canva is a free tool with paid tiers that unlock extra features.
- Pablo: a free, fast design tool provided by Buffer that helps anyone build images specifically for social media posts.
- Fresh Paint and Paint 2: Microsoft’s Paint, now called Fresh Paint, comes standard on any Windows computer, and Paint 2 is a free download for Mac. These free tools have their limitations, but use them to resize images or do basic editing.
Before you share your images or post them, optimize the images. An optimized image is simply one where extra data has been removed. This data can be anything from location and date metadata on photographs to extra pixel data that our eyes wouldn’t see when the image renders on a web page. Stripping this data from your images means faster load speeds for web pages and smaller image files that social networks will accept for posting. Use an tool like ImageOptim, TinyPNG, or Compressor.io to properly optimize your images without a lot of unnecessary data loss.
Social Media Image Sizes🔖
Each social media site has its own specifications for optimal image sizing. However, with the exception of Instagram and Pinterest, the recommended Facebook image size for Open Graph (OG) – 1200px x 630px – can also be used for Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. The OG image is the primary image that is used when sharing blog posts and articles on social networks.
It’s unnecessary to match the image size for every conceivable display option. Instead, create the largest version – typically 1200px wide – and each social network will automatically resize it without losing any clarity. If you have concerns about automated cropping, try to keep the focal point of your images in the center.
Image Sizes for Social Media
|1200px x 630px
|1200px x 600px
|1200px x 733px
|1080px x 1080px
|1200px x 600px
|800px x 1200px
|1000px x 1000px
|828px x 315px
|1500px x 500px
|1584px x 396px
|1080px x 608px
Cheat Sheet for Social Media Images
We’ve created a Cheat Sheet for Social Media Images that you can download and print.
Publishing and Promoting🔖
Publishing and promoting your social media posts involves so much more than just posting a link on your Facebook page. Smart marketers pay just as much attention to the posting process as they do to the act of writing the content they link to.
Before you start posting, make a plan. This may require organization in a spreadsheet or a process document (you should probably do this for any strategy you employ) that defines each step of the process, the tools you should use to complete these steps, and a timeline for each post.
The marketing team should come to a consensus about how frequently the team posts. Your timeline should take into account how often you can produce new content. If it takes you a week to craft a blog post, you may only want to do one of those a week, but reshare existing content and sprinkle in some curation to round out how often you post. Look for consistency without overwhelming the audience’s feed, but you also don’t want to get lost deep in the timeline.
Your plan should also include information on what times of day and which days of the week get the most engagement. Research this and write it down, and don’t be afraid to update and experiment.
Tracking and Measuring🔖
Consider how you measure success. Without goals and metrics to guide your strategy, how will you know which strategies work and which you should stop using? Go back to your content marketing plan where you outlined the business objectives and marketing goals and familiarize yourself with the major areas of focus. As these marketing goals probably include visits to and conversions on your website, you’ll probably define page visits, purchases, demos, trials, or other on-site metrics as your yardstick. Your job now is to set up the goals and metrics within your marketing stack that tell you how well your strategy is working.
These tracking and measurement tools are a good place to start:
- Google Analytics Campaigns and Goals: in the next section we’ll talk about how to set up links to share on the networks that feed data back to Google Analytics. In addition, you’ll want to set up goals in Google Analytics to ensure that the posts you make drive traffic to the right place. Goals count conversions, including clicks, views, video plays, and purchases on your website. Set these up within Google Analytics before connecting to an outside reporting tool.
- Google Tag Manager: The Google Tag Manager tool gives you deeper insights into the actions that users take across your website, and lets you add and update tags on your site without coding. You will first need to set up a Google Analytics account and then install Tag Manager on your site. Once you define tags and triggers on your website, you’ll begin receiving granular data regarding user movements across your website. Tag Manager classifies user movements with categories, actions, and labels that you can then use to track events within Google Analytics. If you set up goals in Google Analytics before turning on Tag Manager, you’ll need to go back and reset those goals according to the events that you define (but the information will be so much better, so it’s worth it).
- Facebook pixel: The Facebook pixel lets you track user behavior on your website and use that data to help you better target audiences on the Facebook social media platform. If you have Google Tag Manager installed, installing the Facebook Pixel will pull your Tag Manager data on user behaviors to help you better target Facebook users with your ads.
- Short URLs and CVs that provide campaign, source, medium, and extra information about where users found your link (more of that in the next section).
Setting Up Your Links🔖
Links carry users from the social network to your content, wherever it lives. Building good links can provide you with a lot of user data that would otherwise get lost to the internet. Campaign Variables (CVs) – aka Campaign Parameters – are the standard for building data-rich links.
Some third party social management tools will build links with CVs for you, but you should know a bit of background on the kinds of information those links can pass. No linking system is perfect, as humans will inevitably share CP links on other platforms or over untracked systems like SMS, but CVs help clarify some of the murkiness around where your traffic comes from.
CP give you the power to designate attribution for each link that you send out to the web. While Google Analytics is pretty powerful, it doesn’t know the details of referral traffic unless you specify it with CVs.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of CVs:
- Source: designates the source the link was found on, including search engines (for ads), email newsletter, or social media site name. (required)
- Medium: this is the type of media the link is found in: email, cpc (paid), social,
- Name: what you call the campaign internally: spring-sale, demo-drip, marketing-newsletter
- Term (Optional): specific keywords that you target for this campaign, usually in cpc ads (if you have Adwords auto-tagging set up, it will define this for you.)
- Content (Optional): distinguish between different ads or content that points to the same link. This is helpful for a/b testing your ad campaigns or the efficacy of a CTA.
During the planning stage, it’s helpful to build a spreadsheet that details naming conventions for each of the parameters. Once you’ve designed how those parameters should be named, you can plug your naming conventions into the Google Campaign URL Builder, which will build the link for you.
The resulting link will have your provided URL + a question mark + the parameters separated by ampersands (&). For example:
This link tells Google Analytics that the reader found the post on Twitter.
This link tells Google Analytics that the reader found the link within the marketing newsletter email for April.
Those CP links can get pretty long depending on how granulated you make your tracking, and you don’t want an ugly link to take up your entire post. Twitter now treats all links as 23 characters max, no matter the size, but that’s still a significant chunk of your 140 characters.
There are many link shortening tools out there that will build a short link for you, including Google URL Shortener, Buffer, Hootsuite’s Ow.ly, or Bitly, just to name a few. You can also host and fully control your own URL shortener with YOURLS.
Social media platforms vary widely in medium, reach, and usefulness for marketers. Before you begin posting all over the web, take a moment to research and plan your strategy. Think about the following as you plan:
- What are you trying to accomplish with your posting? Possible answers might be
- Where are your competitors posting, and where do they have the best engagement metrics? You don’t want to copy their strategies completely, but this is a good clue as to how the marketplace discovers content like yours.
- What social networks do you understand the best, and which successful brands or individuals do you admire on those networks? Start with where you’re comfortable engaging, and begin adding some new networks as you test and update your plan, and as you have time.
These are the most-used social platforms (in the US) for reaching businesses and consumers. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but you’ll see the big hitters here. You’ll also notice we give some advice on best practices to get you started.
Facebook is the most widely used social media platform, with 2 billion users as of June 2017, doubling YouTube’s meager 1 billion users. Brands and individuals use Facebook because of its popularity and its ease of use. Use a company page, a Facebook group, a personal page, or even the chat app Messages to connect with other Facebook users.
- Status: the most simple of posts, which can include text and images. A status update will show to those who like your page and will be visible on your Page activity timeline.
- Photo/Video: upload a photo or video to show to your followers
- Offer/Event/Milestone/Question: These specialized posts take different forms to stand out on your followers’ timelines.
- Post a Job: Publish an open position to your business page, which will then show up on your followers’ timelines. You must have Messaging turned on for this feature to work, as individuals will send you their resumes through Messenger.
- Facebook Ads: Design and publish paid ads directed at targeted audiences with single or carousel images, video, text, links. Facebook adds new features all the time, so keep checking back for updates. A great place to start is the Facebook for Beginners page, which gives you guidelines and suggestions on how to start your first campaign.If you choose to use images in your ad, be sure that they adhere to the Facebook Ad Guidelines. The most important of these guidelines refers to the amount of text included in each image: text cannot take up more than 20% of any image.You can run your ad across all 4 Facebook properties:
- Facebook: ads will show to targeted audiences you select when you set up the ad. These ads will show up as a post in a feed, an instant article, a right-side column ad, or an in-stream video.
- Instagram: place your ad in a feed or story.
- Audience Network: shows your banner, interstitial, native, or in-stream video ad on apps, sites, and other devices outside of the Facebook-owned apps.
- Messenger: Set up your ads to start a conversation in Messenger when the user clicks on your CTA from a Facebook or Instagram ad.
- Boosting: a paid feature that shows an existing post from your business Page to a targeted audience. Set your daily budget and audience targeting for these posts and Facebook will spread the word.
Twitter is famous for its 140-character limit for all posts, but they recently made a few exceptions. As of September 2016, Twitter relaxed the 140 character mandate to exclude all elements outside of text characters, links, and emoticons. This means that adding images, polls, videos, or quotes won’t take up your full character quota.
- Post: A post on Twitter is called a Tweet. Tweet a message to your followers by clicking the “Tweet” button at the top right corner. On the mobile app this icon looks like a box with a quill pen in it, also in the upper right corner. Add your message, your links, images, gifs, and videos here (there are helpful icons for the non-text extras).
- Reply: Replying to an existing Tweet starts a “thread.” Other users who click on the original Tweet can see all replies below the original, and can reply to the other replies in the thread.
- Retweet: Like something someone else has said on Twitter? A Retweet publishes a Tweet someone else has written to your followers in its original format, giving the original poster credit for their thoughts.
- Quote Tweet: A Quote Tweet lets you add your own Tweet comment on a Retweet. The resulting Tweet will show up as a nested Tweet-within-a-Tweet.
- Ads: Compose ads on Twitter to target specific audiences. Set your bid amount, your audience type, and Twitter will promote your ad or account to users who show interest in similar content. Twitter provides analytics on a variety of metrics to improve your reporting and help you understand how well your ads perform.
- Promoted Tweets: Build your audience by sharing your high-performing content to new users with Promoted Tweets. These Tweets act just like regular Twitter posts, but can reach users outside of your normal following audience.
This information is meant to give you an overview of the types of free and promoted posts you can use on the LinkedIn platform. See this article on the TapClicks blog for a more detailed explanation of the content marketing you can do on LinkedIn.
- Share an update: You’ll find an option to share information publicly or with your followers at the top of your LinkedIn timeline, which is also the home page. Type your message, share a link, or add an image or video. You can choose whether you want to share this link publicly or with just your followers, and you can even tweet this message from the post.
- Publishing: LinkedIn also provides a blogging platform called Publishing where you can share your longform ideas to followers or publicly on LinkedIn. Access the Publishing platform by clicking the “Write an Article” button in the bottom left of the share box on your timeline. You will be automatically redirected to the Publishing platform where you can draft your new post.
- Individuals with free or premium LinkedIn accounts can publish to the Publishing site, whereas businesses are limited to updates and link sharing.
Ads and promoted content on LinkedIn come in several forms. View analytics and metrics for your existing campaigns within the LinkedIn Campaign Manager, or connect to your analytics tool to see your data in context.
- Sponsored Content: choose your best-performing content to boost to new audiences on LinkedIn. This works best for highly informative posts.
- Sponsored InMail: Send an email within the LinkedIn platform to increase engagement for webinars, promotions, downloads, or promoted content. Strict frequency guidelines mean that recipients aren’t hit with a lot of spam right beside your message.
- Text Ads appear in the right-hand column of the desktop app. Choose your message, logo, and targeting options, and daily budget for increased engagement.
- Dynamic Ads: These desktop ads pull images dynamically from targeted accounts to increase ad engagement. You can choose your messaging, targeting, and bidding, and these ads will show up on the right hand side of the home page.
- Programmatic Display Ads: These ads allow more flexibility with images and content, but must be purchased from outside vendors.
This platform is great for companies and brands that lend themselves to visual media, including consumer, retail, or lifestyle brands. Share single images, galleries, or video on this platform. Instagram is now owned by Facebook, and so many of the Business features run through the Facebook for Business tools.
- Posts: Instagram posts include a single or multiple images and a caption. The most well-known feature of Instagram posts is the filter, which can make photos looks more professional. You can add hashtags and @mentions to your captions, which do not have a character limit, but links can only live in your profile bio.
- Stories: Similar to the video story feature on Snapchat, Instagram allows users to upload or take videos. The images and videos include text, drawing features, stickers, and filters, and only appear on your profile for 24 hours.
- Live Videos: You can share a live video with your followers. Unlike the Stories that last 24 hours and Posts that last forever, live videos disappear when the feed ends. These make for great quick pop-up consumer marketing engagement.
- Ads: You can build an Instagram ad through the ad creator, Power Editor, or over the API in the Facebook Ads app. You’ll need to sign up for a Facebook Page before making your Instagram Ads. Like Facebook ads you can choose targeting, budget requirements, and you can schedule your ads. You can also upload a single image, multiple images, or a video for your ads. You can build your Instagram ads right alongside any Facebook ads you build, just ensure that you check the Instagram box on the Ad Preview page before going live.
- Snaps: Snapchat lets you take static pictures or short videos directly from the app and share them to individuals or groups. Each image or video you share is called a Snap, and disappears after the recipient views it. Users are notified when the recipient takes a screenshot. Some fun features of Snapchat include the ability to draw on your uploads, add emoticon stickers, and add filters. Filters are probably the most popular part of Snapchat as they add a little augmented reality to your images with filters that add flower crowns, super-impose dog ears on faces, or use image manipulation to turn you into a doe or a cat, for example. These sorts of special filters rotate, and Snapchat works pretty hard to keep these fresh.
- Stories: Share your Snaps to all of your followers and build a timeline of several snaps throughout the day by adding Snaps to your Story. Stories are visible by followers for up to 24 hours.
- Geofilters: Build a filter for a special occasion or promotion. Design and build your filter in Photoshop or with the Snapchat template, upload to the Snapchat website, choose your date range, and submit to start Snapping. Geofilters are subject to all other publishing policies, so make sure you read those carefully before you submit.
- Snapcodes: You can share links to websites through Snapcodes. In your settings open the “Snapcodes” and “Create Snapcode.” Enter the URL you want the code to redirect to, add an image to live behind the ghost, and save. You can then share the Snapcode as an image on other platforms.
Snapchat offers several types of advertising, either through Snap Ads or sponsored content.
- Snap Ads: The basis of the Snapchat advertising model is the Snap Ad. The ad is a vertical video that runs up to 10 seconds long. Build your Snap Ad first, then choose the type of content you want your ad to link to:
- +Article: add an article to your Snap Ad that users can access with a swipe on your Snap Ad.
- +App Install: users swipe the Snap Ad and are greeted with your app install page.
A single click starts the app downloading in the background.
- +Long-Form Video: Use your Snap Ad as a teaser and users can swipe to see a trailer or longer video.
- +Web View: Users swipe on your Snap Ad and load your site within the Snapchat platform.
- Sponsored Geofilters: These image overlays help drive brand awareness by adding a branded visual element to a snap based on a location. Add a geofilter to your store or an off-site event.
- Sponsored Lenses: These filters allow users to play with your sponsored visual settings. Interactive lenses that change when the user moves and stimulates the user to be more playful tend to drive engagement with brands.
Posting on Google+ is easy. Sign into your account and go to your Home page. Click the red circle icon in the bottom right corner. A box will pop up in the middle of your screen where you can type your text, share a link or a video, create a poll, or share your location. Click on the icons at the bottom of the window to share these specialized posts. If you paste a link into the text box, Google+ will upload a preview of the page’s featured image, the image you link to, or the video you link to.
The best way to promote your Google+ page is to join communities and conversations. Networking through Google+ will widen your exposure beyond your followers and help to establish you as a thought leader. Google no longer provides ads through Google+, although you can add local business information to your Adwords ads through Google My Business.
- Sign into your Pinterest account and download the Pinterest Save button for your browser.
- When you find something interesting out on the internet, click the Save button and Pinterest will pull up possible images for you to pin to your page.
- Choose the image you want to share, pick or make a new Pinboard to post it to, and type your message.
From your iPhone:
- Download the Pinterest app and sign into your account.
- Browse the internet until you find something you want to share.
- In Chrome, tap the three vertical dots in the top right corner, tap the share button (box with an arrow pointing up). The iPhone will bring up a list of apps you can share to. If you don’t see the Pinterest logo, scroll right until you see the More option. Scroll down until you see the Pinterest app and toggle the button to on. Click Done and choose the Pinterest logo from the Share to options. Choose the image you want to share, pick or make a new pinboard to post it to, and type your message.
- In Safari, tap the share button (box with an arrow pointing up) in the footer navigation. The iPhone will bring up a list of apps you can share to. If you don’t see the Pinterest logo, scroll right until you see the More option. Scroll down until you see the Pinterest app and toggle the button to on. Click Done and choose the Pinterest logo from the Share to options. Choose the image you want to share, pick or make a new Pinboard to post it to, and type your message.
Lens: uses AI to match photos you take with your phone (or have saved on your computer) to existing Pinterest posts. Like image match but gives you tons of options of related images, topics, or products.
- Access Lens on the phone app by tapping the search icon (magnifying glass in the footer).
- Next to the search bar at the top of the page you’ll see a red camera icon. Tap this.
- The next screen will show a circle view from your camera lens (enable Pinterest to use your phone for this feature) surrounded by a white background.
- Point your phone at an object and tap the image to find suggestions. Click on any of the floating suggestions to see pins related to the object.
- You can also use Lens for images saved on your phone. Choose the image icon in the top right of the Lens screen, choose your image from your camera roll, and tap an object to see suggestions.
Promoted Pins: Use the Pinterest for Business auction to promote pins that already do well to a wider audience. These pins will be labelled as “promoted.” A business account can only add Promoted Pins to their Pinterest Ads Manager from an existing account, so make your pins first and see how well they’re shared before diving into ads.
- Choose a goal for the campaign
- Set campaign details
- Build an ad group by choosing how long you want your promotion to run and setting a budget for that time. If you run a continuous ad, you’ll set a daily budget
- Set your audience targets via keywords, locations, devices, and languages, amongst other metrics
- Set your maximum bid
- Choose your Pin from your existing account
- Set up billing
- Save your ad for review. This can take up to 24 hours, and must be repeated any time you add a new Pin to an existing Campaign.
If you’re in the US, you can also promote a Pin directly from your profile by selecting the Pin and choosing the “Promote” button. You’ll still need to set a bid, targeting, and billing information. All of this can be edited later in the Pinterest Ads Manager.
Buyable Pins: connect your Pinterest account to your eCommerce platform (Shopify, BigCommerce, or others) and submit your shop for approval. Your shop must abide by the Advertising Standards, the Terms of Service, and the Community Guidelines for approval.
YouTube is famous for viral videos of pets doing cute things, but it’s also a fantastic medium for really informative video content. Use YouTube to feature your thought leader interviews, webinars, product demos, and more.
- Sign into your YouTube account
- Click on the Upload button at the top of the page
- Choose your video from a saved location on your computer.
- While YouTube uploads your video, set your title and basic description to help users find your video.
- If you use the YouTube Content Manager and would like to set parameters for your content’s use, choose the Monetization setting that fits your product.
Editing Videos via the YouTube Editor: If you don’t have video editing tools on your computer, you can use the YouTube Video Editor to customize your videos. This allows you to edit, clip, and combine existing videos, and add cool effects or music.
YouTube Ads via Adwords: Any video you upload to YouTube can be used as an ad, either in-stream, as a promoted listing, or beside search results. Navigate to Adwords for Video, choose the video you’d like to use in your promotion, set your bids and targeting, and submit to Adwords for review.
Posting to Tumblr gives you the option to upload any of these types of posts:
- Photo (image)
On your home screen, click on the type of post you want to make. The window will expand for a text box. If you’d like to add more elements from there, click on the small icons in the top right for image, video, audio, etc. If you’d like to make your post searchable by hashtags, add those in the “#tags” section. If you’re not ready to post immediately, you can add your post to a queue, post privately, save as a draft, or schedule for later.
Tumblr provides several ways for brands to promote their products and services on Tumblr. The platform suggests that brands join Tumblr with the intent of creating content and contributing to the community, and then choosing one of these methods for gaining visibility:
- Sponsored Posts: Promote new or existing high-engagement posts to targeted audiences. Tumblr also has connections to Yahoo for syndication to increase the reach of these posts.
- Sponsored Video Posts: These dynamic ads act just like video posts, but they play immediately and the video will pop out during scroll to continue to play.
- Sponsored Day: Take over the Tumblr platform with a sponsored day. This promotion pins a logo and tagline to the top of the dashboard for 24 hours, and links to the Explore Tab, where you can place sponsored branded content.
Reddit is a community messageboard on a grand scale. Write a post, join a subreddit, up and downvote existing posts from other users, and comment on threads to engage. While much of Reddit is human interest, there’s still room for some thought leadership and engagement from brands.
- Subreddits: These are communities organized by interests and topics. Best practices for the platform suggest that you research communities most closely associated to your product or service before posting.
- Post: On your home page, log in to your account and click the Submit button. This lets you upload a link, or build a text post. Warning: titles are permanent, but all other text can be edited later.
- Friends: Friends are other users who you follow. Click on a username to see the user’s profile and click the “+ friends” button to add as a friend. The friend will be notified you’re following them, and will have the chance to follow you back.
- Comment: When you’re signed in, you can comment on posts, which makes a thread. Format your comments to show line breaks, build tables, and more.
- Voting: According to Reddit’s documentation, “On reddit your vote means, ‘I found this interesting,’ not ‘This should go on the front page,’ or ‘I agree with this.'” Upvote anything you want to see more of, and downvote anything you’d like to see less of. All votes count equally, and content with the most votes go to the front page.
- Self-Serve: You can start an ad campaign on Reddit for as little as $5. Choose your creative, your targeting, and your bids, and get started. This system uses an auction to decide which ads show where.
- Managed: If you’ve got $30K/quarter to spend on Reddit ads, the platform will assign you a dedicated account manager and run ad campaigns to increase your visibility. Contact Reddit for more information.
Quora is a question and answer site that moonlights as a blogging platform. Professionals and experts of all stripes go here to ask and answer questions.
Ask a Question: At the top of the home page, you’ll see an “Ask a Question” bar. This acts both as an internal search for the platform and lets you ask your own unique question. Choose from the suggested questions, or submit your question for others to answer.
Answer: Add an answer to any existing question by clicking the “Answer” button underneath the bold question. This will show your name and basic profile information that informs your expertise on the topic.
Advertize on Quora: Start with a Quora business account, and then build your native ad. You can target based on topic, location, and platform. For more information, view this Quora thread: https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-advertise-on-Quora
The language of social media has evolved significantly since the early days of MySpace. It’s helpful to know these terms and tactics as they’re used across many social platforms.
- Hashtag: A hashtag is a term that tags your content and makes it searchable with other similarly tagged content. For example, if you will run a back to school campaign, you should research hashtags around that topic. Possible examples would be #backtoschool or #back2school. On Twitter you can find topical hashtags by entering your information in the search bar.
- @mention: Want to notify an individual or another company that you’re talking about them? Include their Twitter handle or platform screenname with the @ symbol. This works for many platforms, although some, like Facebook, have internal search engines that suggest Friends who match the name you enter.
- Trending topics: Find out what the rest of the world is talking about by searching through the current trending topics. On Facebook these can be found in the upper right corner, on Twitter find them in the upper left corner. Other platforms put their highest voted or trending posts under Explore and Search tabs.
- DMs: DM stands for Direct Message, which is a great way to engage on social media, but it’s often abused. Use Direct Messages sparingly to reply to customer questions or direct queries, as overuse can get you banned for spam.
- Upvoting: Upvoting and its companion, downvoting, shows your interest in a topic or your confidence in the quality of a post. Generally, one does not up/downvote their own posts (that’s cheating). Also, these should be used in earnest, as no one can tell if you sarcastically upvote a comment.
Scheduling and Rescheduling🔖
Scheduling your posts in advance gives you more control over the amount of time you spend in the social platform, but you can always push each post individually. Some platforms give you multiple posting options that let you batch your posting duties into just a couple of hours every week, rather than several times a day. Because they reduce the spread of the social media marketer’s workload, social media posting tools have become widely popular with marketers of all levels.
Want to experiment with scheduling posts, or aren’t ready to commit to a social posting tool? Here’s what you need to know about scheduling posts to the major social networks:
- Facebook lets you schedule Page posts in advance
- Twitter for Business lets you schedule posts/ads in advance
- Instagram does not allow scheduled posts
- Pinterest allows scheduled posts through posting platforms
- Snapchat lets you schedule through other tools
- LinkedIn allows scheduling through 3rd party tools
- YouTube lets you schedule a video to publish later
- Google+ lets you schedule posts through other tools.
Buffer, Hootsuite, PostChron, and other social scheduling tools will let you schedule posts for multiple platforms and queue up posts for several months, which is a huge time saver when you start scheduling evergreen content.
Assuming you set up your Google Analytics tracking and shortened URLs correctly, performance reporting will show you exactly how your hard work has paid off with visits to your site, increased engagement with your on-site content, what your social reach looks like, and how you can improve.
Common Metrics include:
- Impressions/Reach: An impression is how many times your post shows up on a user’s timeline. For Facebook, this metric is also called Reach.
- Views: Views most often refers to the number of times a user watches a video post. A view indicates that a user either clicked to view the video or paused long enough for a video to begin playing.
- Clicks, CTR: Clicks count the number of times a user clicks or taps on one of your links or posts. Click through rate (CTR) is defined by the number of clicks on a particular post divided by the number of impressions of that post.
- Shares: How many times your post was passed on to other users via the social network. On Twitter this is Retweets, but most other social networks use the shares metric to indicate that a user published your post to their personal network, thereby extending the post’s reach.
- Followers: The number of users that receive your updates on their timelines. Facebook calls these Likes when they’re connected to Pages, while LinkedIn calls them Connections for Personal Profiles and Followers for Business Pages.
Common KPIs include:
- Referral Sessions by Network: See how many users click over to your site from each of the social networks. Check out the report at Acquisition>All Traffic>Referrals, add secondary dimension “Default Channel Grouping” to pinpoint your social traffic.
- Landing Page: Landing pages tell you where users enter your site. This is a good metric to understand which of your posts captures the most attention on a social network. Find this metric at Behavior>Site Content>Landing Pages.
- Campaigns: You set up your CP links, and now it’s time to analyze those metrics! Check out Acquisition>Campaigns>All Campaigns to see a list of your CP-specified (including the CVs that Adwords prepares for you) campaigns. Click into any of those campaigns to see the metrics broken down by source/medium. Use the secondary metric tool to further separate your data.
- Bounce Rate: Although it doesn’t look great, a high bounce rate can mean many things for clicks from your content. A bounce is counted when a user clicks onto your site but does not trigger another request to the Google Analytics server before ending the session. Basically, a user comes to your site, maybe reads the content, and leaves. Bounces are single-page sessions that have a time on page of 0, because there are no other actions recorded to help Analytics time the session. A bounce rate is the number of single-page sessions divided by total sessions. A higher bounce rate can mean a couple of things:
- The user doesn’t find what they need when they come to your page
- The user does find what they need when they come to your page, but doesn’t find any reason to click onto other pages on your site
Either way, it’s a good idea to see if you have an unusually high bounce rate from the social channels, which may indicate you should implement better CTAs on your on-site posts or improved navigation through your site.
Thought Leadership Reports🔖
Measure gains in thought leadership by examining how far your content reaches. This can be counted in a couple of ways, but look an increase in these types of metrics:
- Shares – Retweets, Engagement
- Mentions – Included in blogs and social posts
Brand Awareness Reports🔖
Measuring brand awareness requires that you calculate your brand’s position within the larger market and your followers’ interest in your brand over time. Watch these metrics:
- Brand Equity
- Brand Fans = Fans + Subscribers + Followers
- Brand Engagement = Total Engagement / Brand Fans
- Twitter mentions = @yourcompany
- Twitter Share of Voice = @yourcompany mentions / Competitor mentions
- Awareness = Addressable reach
- Favorability = (Likes + (+1s) + Favorites) / Brand Fans
- Consideration = (Comments + Replies) / Brand Fans
- Favorability = (Likes + (+1s) + Favorites) / Brand Fans
- Amplification = (Shares + Retweets) / Brand Fans
- Favorability = (Likes + (+1s) + Favorites) / Brand Fans
- Index = Positive Comments / Negative Comments
- Positive Rate = Positive Comments / Total Comments
Lead Generation Reports🔖
Lead generation efforts rely on well-defined metrics that are fairly easy to follow once you define the goals. Decide upon business goals in your marketing strategy, and then use your marketing analytics tools record progress toward those goals.
- Goals – Signups, emails, downloads, website clicks, video views
Client Success Reports🔖
Measure client success by calculating the percentage of positive feedback.
- Index = Positive Comments / Negative Comments
- Positive Rate = Positive Comments / Total Comments
- Support Desk Ratings – Zendesk or Desk.com-style support desks, social-related tickets
Best Reporting Software🔖
Google Analytics has a limited amount of social data it can report. In addition, many of the KPIs – Shares, Follower, Likes, Mentions and pixel-based Conversions – are proprietary to each social network. The result is virtual separation of social data, which makes it difficult and tedious to create cohesive and comprehensive performance reports.
That’s why social media marketers need a reporting platform like TapClicks. TapClicks has access to over 170 data connectors, including Google Analytics, Adobe Marketing Cloud (Omniture), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and much more!
Using TapClicks, savvy social media marketers can create and automate reports.
You can create your own social media marketing report right now.
Published on May 21st, 2017 and last updated on September 6th, 2017