You know that social media is crucial to your business’ success. You’ve got a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account, and you post to them all regularly. But what can you do to make those profiles more effective? Here’s seven tips on how to kick your business’ social media marketing up a few notches. 

1. Run Giveaway Contests To Engage Consumers

While this might seem counterintuitive to the goal of, you know, making money, giving away your product in social-media-focused contests is an excellent way to market yourself. Not only will it help you build exposure with new consumers and get people excited about your brand, the winner of the contest will immediately become a brand evangelist, telling all of their friends about the product they won.

There are a few guidelines for running a proper contest. Most importantly, make sure that your prize is exciting. Great examples from Shopify include giving away one of everything in a product line (every watch you sell, for example) or offering a unique or limited edition version of your most popular product.

A good contest will ask participants to take a small action that, when done by thousands of participants, can accrue significant benefit to your business. The most common tack is publishing a post that @-mentions the brand or uses a specific hashtag while providing some sort of positive anecdote or comment about the brand. “Tweet the adventure you’d take in your new Subaru using the hashtag #wherewilllovetakeme to enter to win a new Subaru Outback!” is a hypothetical, archetypal example.

Finally, even if you have a favorite or best-followed social media account, make sure to cross-promote the contest everywhere. This includes email campaigns, as well as your website.

2. Team Up With Influencers

“Influencer” is a term, like “millennial,” or “moist,” that might make your skin crawl. As trendy as it can sound, influencer marketing is a worthwhile investment you can make to spread your brand and increase your social media reach among your dream customers. It’s just like teaming up with a celebrity pitch-person, but without the celebrity-level expense. You can even carefully target your audience, since you can get an immediate sense of who follows any influencer on Twitter or Instagram.

Find the social media personalities that your customers respect, and reach out to them to ask about partnering. If you’re not sure who your customers might like, try to build up a more detailed profile of your ideal customer. To generate ideas for influencers, focus on what kinds of sports, television, music, and clothing your ideal customers like, what kinds of jobs they have, and what kind of person they respect. Still at a loss? Reach out to the folks that influence you.

3. Tailor Your Ad Targeting

Don’t waste money: spend the time to target your social media ads properly. Facebook in particular offers a microscopically granular set of ad targeting tools, allowing you to go far beyond targeting the basic demographic information that most businesses limit themselves to. One such technique is using “life events” to find consumers that are newly qualified for your product.

For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, your prime market is the recently engaged. Using Facebook’s ad targeting tools, you can run ads that specifically target users that have announced their engagement on the platform in the last three months, six months, or twelve months.

Just don’t fall into the trap of over-doing it. Setting hyper-specific ad targets is even worse than setting overly-lax specifications. Resist the urge to imagine your perfect consumer and layer targeting condition upon targeting condition in an attempt to reach exactly that person. All you’ll do is lower your impressions and tank your return on investment.

4. Create a Strong Visual Brand

We all know how valuable images are to our marketing messages. Presentations that use supporting imagery are rated to be 43% more effective, and articles with images get 94% more views than articles without images. So you’re obviously including photographs and graphics in all your social media posts, but if you’re not thoughtful about your imagery, you’re only accruing some of the benefit.

Strong consumer brands have clearly identifiable visual identities. And it’s not about logos; Apple’s logo is instantly recognizable, but you don’t need to see the mark to recognize images from their campaigns.

Maybe you’re not a visual person, but to accomplish this, you don’t need to be. The goal is to use stylistically consistent imagery across your various digital platforms platforms, including your website and emailers. If you or someone you know has an eye for design, that’s an obvious perk, but a lack of that skill shouldn’t stop you from consolidating your brand’s use of imagery.

5. Create Video Content

It might seem costly or time-consuming to produce video content, and while it can be, it certainly doesn’t have to be. Consumers respond exceptionally well to video, with citing a 300% increase in inbound links from posts containing videos.

These don’t need to be slickly-packaged videos, but a thoughtfully-produced explainer video is a great way to both share your expertise with potential customers and increase the effectiveness of your social media accounts.

6. Produce High-Quality Content and Get Retweeted

Well-connected social media mavens always need content to share. If you take a look through the past posts of some of the influencer accounts in your field, you’ll probably find that a good portion of those posts are links to insightful, well-written, or witty commentary.

If you can create and publicize content that fits that bill, you run a strong chance of getting that material picked up and rebroadcast by well-known social media accounts. And if you don’t think you’re up to creating that sort of content, team up with someone who is. The payoff in this technique is entirely dependent on the quality of content you create, but with the right stuff, the payoff can be huge.

7. Always Build Your Audience

Even if you have a respectable number of followers on your social media accounts, you should always be working to increase that number. Of course, you don’t want to do anything shady, especially since unethically-obtained followers are useless, but there’s a few basic tactics you should always be exploring.

Apart from making funny, entertaining, informative, and/or thoughtful posts, you should be publicize your social media accounts everywhere. This includes your website, advertisements, business cards, guest blog posts, your own blog posts, emailers… everything you can think of, as long as it’s not tasteless.

Engage with your followers and share an appealing brand narrative. Use appropriate hashtags and look to your most popular posts as inspiration for your next. Finally, share original and relevant content that your followers will be interested in checking out.

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