3 Surefire Ways To Up Your Social Media Game

2016-06-13-1465815449-6667036-people749564_960_720.jpg

Today, being active on social media is key to an effective marketing strategy. It's an easy, free way for brands and publishers to market themselves to hundreds, thousands, or (if you're really good) millions of potential consumers. Still, social media marketing is a delicate game -- tweeting random posts with irrelevant hashtags at inopportune times is not going to help. In fact, it might even hurt your reputation.

So, whether you're new to the social media game or you've been in the game a while but are just looking to learn a few new tricks, read on to see how you can quickly grow your audience and boost engagement rates.

1. Create And Share Interactive Content


It goes without saying that creating and distributing quality content is a essential in social media marketing. But, in addition to sharing relevant blog posts, infographics, and videos, consider creating and sharing interactive content. This includes: quizzes, polls, calculators, brackets -- anything a user can literally interact with. Interactive content stands out, engages the user, pulls them into the story, and because there are sharing buttons, is a natural fit for social media.

In 2013, for example, The New York Times' most popular story was a quiz called "How Y'all, Youse and You Guys Talk." This speaks volumes! It wasn't a breaking news story, an eloquent narrative, or a contentious op-ed -- no, it was an interactive quiz that eager users shared millions of times. It was successful because it was fun, enjoyable, and easy to share. (It pinpointed me to my exact hometown! I shared it on Twitter, Facebook, even LinkedIn.)

Of course, there's no reason you couldn't create and share engaging interactive content, as well. Apester, for example, is a digital storytelling platform that enables brands and publishers to create and embed quizzes, polls, and videos into their content -- making content more sharable and enjoyable while also redirecting traffic to your site.

This Apester quiz, created by Clorox and Huffington Post, garnered 10,600 shares, a 72% click-through rate, and over 5,000 readers who engaged with the poll continued on to read other Clorox-related articles on HuffPo's site.

2016-06-13-1465814679-7930356-apester.JPG

2. Provide Great Customer Service


Social media today is not just about marketing or branding, it's also about connecting with your target audience and providing them with top-notch, reliable service. Whereas early on businesses were afraid that social media would provide a platform for customers to complain about faulty products and less than stellar customer service, by coming up with a viable customer service plan with social at it's core, you can combat the negative risks and solidify relationships with customers.

Customers nowadays want to connect with you, especially if you are targeting millennials. So providing the means for them to easily reach out through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram makes your service offerings more well-rounded and proactive. Furthermore, since the social customer has now evolved and matured, they are no longer drawn to publicly calling out brands on social pages. Instead, they want to connect with you on private channels such as Facebook Messenger to resolve all queries one-on-one.

The key to it all is being responsive. By responding on social quickly, customers see you as more helpful and reliable. Take advantage of tools such as Conversocial for customer service and Percolate and Synthesio for engagement to be sure that you are utilizing social to the utmost.

3. Use and Create Hashtags


Hashtags make it easier for people to find and follow discussions about your brand, a topic, or an event. But, understandably, incorporating hashtags into social media marketing can be a bit overwhelming. Which do you use? How do you track them? Can I use them on Facebook too? You get the idea.

On Twitter, experts recommend that you use just one or two hashtags per tweet. In fact, tweets that use more than two hashtags actually decrease in engagement by 17%. Rather, tweets with just one or two increase in engagement by 21%.

Instagram is another story. An Instagram post needs about 11+ hashtags to get a high engagement rate!

And, Facebook -- well, let's just say to avoid hashtags here. They have zero positive effect on engagement or audience reach. Actually, posts without hashtags perform better than those with.

There are a few things you can do with hashtags. Either, create and promote a unique hashtag of your own or repurpose others and sprinkle them throughout your tweets. Of course, you can do your own research and see which hashtags are most popular in your industry by looking at influencers. Or, you can use tools to help you out. Hashtagify.me and RiteTag are two well known platforms that help social media managers discover, track and analyze hashtags.

I hope these tips and tools help, would love to hear your feedback!