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Social media isn’t just for teens anymore. In the last five years, social channels, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have grown into engagement tools for businesses to connect with their target audiences.
Social media platforms provide access to a vast pool of consumers looking for products and services exactly like the ones you’re offering on your website. The question is how do you leverage social media into an effective marketing tool and capture the attention of potential customers? Tweet, post, and gram your way to a bigger market share with these ten tips.

1. Host an online contest to build followers.

In 2014 the National Tree Nut Council (NTNC) increased its Twitter engagement by an impressive 1,549 percent by offering social followers the chance to win a $100 Whole Foods gift card to raise awareness about the health benefits of nuts. As part of the group’s multi-channel campaign, it also boosted Facebook and Pinterest numbers dramatically — 1,886 percent and 1,020 percent, respectively.
According to Motion PR, the Chicago-based marketing agency credited with designing the campaign, NTNC garnered 729,000 impressions with 6,400 interactions by 5,700 unique users.

2. Design a mobile coupon campaign.

Complement in-store specials or holiday promotions with a coupon campaign on social media. Discounts and flash coupons are very attractive to followers and generate shares and retweets. According to CoupSmart, which has delivered and analyzed millions of coupons for its customers, Facebook has the highest coupon claim rate (25 percent) and a 92 percent conversion rate with a one-click opt-in process (as opposed to filling out fields).

3. Create recyclable content.

Content creation is one of the most important aspects of marketing online, but who has time to generate fresh content every day for every channel? Very few people — unless you repurpose. Repurposing content is essentially getting more than one use out of each piece of content and will help you deliver highly desirable information in varied formats across all your social sites. So you could publish a blog post, then turn it into a chart or image with a great quote for Instagram, a podcast for iTunes, a live-stream webinar for Periscope, an email series, an infographic for Pinterest, a video for YouTube, and so on.

4. Plan an effective social media posting schedule.

Valuable content drives consumer engagement, but you won’t draw in the crowd unless you have a strategic social media posting schedule fine-tuned for each platform and audience behavior patterns. Here are the most recent statistics from Hubspot about social engagement schedules for four of the top platforms:

  • Twitter: Weekdays between noon and 3 p.m. and Wednesday evenings 5-6 p.m.
  • Facebook: Weekends between noon and 1 p.m., 1-4 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, and 3-4 p.m. on Wednesdays.
  • Pinterest: Always more active during evening hours and predawn (2-4 a.m.). Aim for 5 p.m. on Fridays and 8-11 p.m. on Saturdays.
  • Instagram: Since Instagram serves a plugged-in crowd, anytime you post will probably gain attention except between 3 and 4 p.m. If you’re looking for high volume, skip Friday through Sunday.

Follow the research on Hubspot and other sites, but don’t forget to use your own analytics to gain insight into your website visitors’ behavior.

5. Respond to every social media and blog post comment.

Consumers want to be heard, especially when they have a question or a complaint. Show them that they have your ear by giving them a personal, informative response. If they’re posting a positive comment, thank them for being a loyal customer. In this day and age when brands are so accessible, go that extra step by personalizing your business.

6. Be relevant to your audiences.

Make sure you’re posting relevant content across all channels. Those in their sixties don’t want, or need, the same content that millennials crave. Single males on Reddit probably don’t share a lot of common interests with a stay-at-home mom on Pinterest. Assuming that you know your audience or that they’re all the same faceless “brand persona” is a big mistake. Profile your target demographic subgroups and then post valuable content to each of them on the social channels where they hang out.

7. Test paid advertising.

Sometimes it pays to hire a marketing professional. You can also invest in paid content promotion on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which makes it easy to target a very specific audience. It’s quite affordable (on Facebook Advertising, for example, you decide how much you’d like to spend on a campaign) and can generate a good ROI.

8. Follow social influencers.

One of the easiest — and most effective — ways to generate buzz is to connect with well-respected bloggers and industry experts. Don’t be afraid to share other brands’ content (and tag them) if you feel that it will resonate with your target audience.

9. Leverage your website.

Use your website to help visitors connect to your social sites. When you build your site, make sure to add recognizable buttons for Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. You can add these social icons above the fold, on the sidebar, or at the bottom of the screen; just be sure that they’re easy to spot. Embedded icons also make it easy for site visitors to share your blog posts.

10. Remain consistent.

Frequency is a vital component to attracting and retaining consumers. Many experts recommend posting once a day. Other small business owners have had success posting several times a day. The key is to set a schedule that your website visitors can count on.

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