social media marketingSocial media marketing is an ever-evolving tool, allowing brands to interact directly with consumers. By engaging with these consumers on social media, brands often see more website traffic and will increase visibility. However, social media continues to change. Brands must understand the ways in which consumers use various platforms to achieve social media marketing success. Different demographics, attitudes, and behaviors affect which social media platforms consumers will use, how often they check them, and how engaged they are on them. Know your target audience and which social media channels they use – and how – to shape your social media campaign for success. Unfortunately, it’s not always quite that simple. As social media is constantly changing, so are consumers’ behaviors.

The following tactics are key to stay ahead of the curve with social media-based marketing:

  • Show off: As social media evolves, visual elements will continue to be vital to success. Whether a brand’s goal is to introduce a new product or explain contest rules, imagery will grab viewers’ attention. It’s also an important tool if any step-by-step explanation is needed – how to sign up for a membership, how to follow a recipe, or how to process product returns. Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest are clearly image-driven, but don’t forget about Twitter or Facebook. Posts on Facebook that include photos receive 104% more comments, 84% more click-throughs, and 53% more likes – stats that cannot be ignored. Turning text-heavy content into useful infographics or other visuals will help your brand stay ahead of the coming trends.
  • Be diverse: Last year alone, 93% of marketers used social media for their business. In 2014, marketers will need to branch out and target several social media platforms to remain visible to consumers. Instagram and Pinterest are great visual advertising tools, as mentioned above, but platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn allow for paid advertising. Paid advertising enables brands to reach a much larger audience more frequently and directly. LinkedIn is also a very important tool for industry news; it’s a strong outlet for content that can help your brand get noticed by other brands. Videos also continue to grow in popularity, with functionality to post directly to both Facebook and Instagram.
  • Be on the lookout: Monitor your social media networks as part of your daily routine. Consumers are impressed by quick responses from Tweets to a brand – and will often tell their peers about this high level of customer service. Don’t let Facebook wall posts, Instagram comments, or LinkedIn group activity go unnoticed. This is especially important as users look toward social media for support over a phone call or instant message. Keep a responsive social network presence to ensure your brand stays on consumers’ radar and receives positive feedback.
  • Stay informed: Know what is going on in your industry and what your competitors are doing. This is key to social media marketing success. As platforms shift and expand, it’s critical for brands to know whether their target audience is engaged or not. Read industry blogs, watch YouTube videos from brand peers, and stay current on competitors’ social media channels to stay up to date on brand activity. Don’t forget – the easiest way to stay updated on social sites is to use them yourself. Be active and use a range of these social media platforms in your personal life to gain a better understanding of your customer’s experience.
  • Engage employees: Where are some of your best customers? Inside your office. Most employees are passionate about the brand they work for, yet not many of them share company content or news. When employees shared their brands’ content on their own social media sites, the reach could be even greater. Expand your social sphere and encourage employees to be active on social media, in order to increase the attention your brand seeks.

Social media marketing will continually evolve as more networks are added, revised, expanded and changed. Social media will continue to grow in popularity as more people become active. How your brand takes advantage of these changes – or doesn’t – will shape the success of your marketing efforts in the year to come. To learn more about marketing to your audience via social media, download our free white paper.

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