These 19 Actionable Tips Will Make You A Better Social Media Marketer In 2019
Social media has been central to successful marketing strategies for over a decade. It’s an ever-evolving and fast-moving field, and with so much to learn and do, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
To help you stay on top I’ve pulled together this list of things you can implement right now to increase your effectiveness and lead you closer to success in 2019.
1. Review Your Social Media Strategy
Start the new year with a review of your strategy to see if it’s still on track to reach your online marketing goals in 2019.
When using social media for marketing purposes, you need to understand that social media is more than just creating social accounts and posting updates once in a while. You need a solid strategy guiding your social media tactics.
Take Action: If you haven’t already done so, create a strategy to focus your social media marketing over the coming year. Use this six-step process to guide you.
2. Optimize Your Social Profile For Success
Your social media profile should be considered a key element of your personal brand.
Now is the ideal time to perfect your social profile to convey a professional, consistent and recognizable brand image across all social platforms.
Review each of your existing social profiles with these questions in mind.
· Is it time to update your bio with new information?
· Should you use a more professional image for your avatar?
· Are your header images clear and compelling?
· Are you making good use of keywords?
· Do you need to include a new call-to-action?
Take Action: Complete all sections of your profile and schedule a review date every month or two to check your information is still current.
3. Create a Social Media Style Guide
A social media style guide helps build trust with your audience through steady and consistent brand messaging.
A social media style guide will help you present a consistent style of communication across all social media platforms.
Whether you are a team of one or have multiple staff posting to your social media accounts, you should create a style guide that outlines exactly how posts look and read.
Your style guide should define:
- the tone and voice of your brand’s social media presence;
- the writing style of your posts — consistent format, spellings, etc;
- the colors, logos, and fonts you will use;
- how you will use hashtags and emojis.
4. Get To Know Your Audience Better
Make 2019 the year you gain a deeper understanding of your audience’s needs and interests.
Develop what Ann Handley calls “pathological” empathy for prospects and customers, to create real value for them.
Pro Tip: Copyblogger use a process they call empathy mapping. At the foundation of the exercise is this statement: “Our ideal customer needs a better way to ____ BECAUSE ____.”
The key here is to really know your audience and their pain-points. Start speaking their language when it comes to the problem you’re solving for them.
Take Action: Creating audience personas is a crucial part of designing your social media strategy and truly understanding whom you’re trying to reach.
5. Conduct A Content Audit
An audit shows how close you are to achieving your content marketing goals.
Look back at your most recent ten pieces of content — blogs, images, videos, etc. Ask yourself if it’s immediately clear what value they provide to your audience. If it’s not clear — then it’s time to rethink your content strategy.
Do regular content audits throughout the year — update any outdated information, add new research, refresh images, etc. Recycle your best performing content using these suggestions.
Don’t be afraid to kill your darlings. If something’s not working then it’s time to ditch it in favor of a new type of content which generates more engagement.
Take Action: It’s not enough to create a beautiful interactive piece; when you’re investing in high-value content, make sure it’s optimized for a key action like email signups. This comes straight from the playbook of Newscred.
6. Research Long-Tail Keywords
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine so good keyword research is critical for your content marketing.
Identifying the terms people are searching for will determine the kind of content you create and the way you will optimize it.
Long tail keywords are keywords or key phrases that are more specific — and usually longer — than more commonly searched for keywords (50% of search queries are four words or longer). They get less search traffic, but will usually have a higher conversion value, as they are more specific.
Take Action: Use a tool like Keywords Everywhere, a Chrome extension which returns a host of long-tail phrases based on what people are searching for using specific keywords. The Google Keyword Planner within Adwords is another useful tool to find ideas for content based on keyword search.
7. Put A Good System In Place To Collect Ideas
With a good system in place, you should never run out of ideas for content to create and share on social media.
Use a tool like Feedly to keep up to date with news and opinions on topics of interest. When you find relevant links add them to an excel spreadsheet, Google Docs, or another note-taking system to store your notes and ideas for future posts.
Take action: If you don’t already use it, I recommend giving Evernote a try. You can add tags and create folders for easy retrieval. Evernote’s in-browser Web-clipping tool allows you to save the full text of PDFs, Web content and other materials. It will alert you if you’ve already clipped an item or show content that’s related to what you’re saving. You can also email notes to your account and the content will be automatically stored and organized for you, allowing you to quickly reference it in the future.
8. Borrow Headline Hacks
No matter how amazing your content is, few people are going to click through to read it if they’re not immediately captivated by your headline.
Newspapers and magazines have been perfecting the art of headline writing for over a hundred years. Headlines are vital to increasing readership, not just for newspapers, but for your online content too.
Share the value your readers will get if they continue to read your post. “One way to think about this”, according to CoSchedule “is with the classic marketing technique, WIIFM, otherwise known as what’s in it for me?”
Take action: Research by CoSchedule found that content with emotional value gets shared significantly more than content that contains little emotional value. Emotion is a key driver for making people click and share your content, with positive emotions driving more clicks and shares than negative or neutral content. If you want to test this theory for yourself, plug your headline into the Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) Headline Analyzer. This is a free tool from the Advanced Marketing Institute that you can use to calculate the EMV of your own headlines.
Read Write Better Headlines With These 9 Winning Formulas for more headline hacks.
9. Add Images To All Your Posts
Study after study confirms that how you create and share content matters — with visual content leading the way.
You’ve surely heard this before, but it’s worth reiterating: images matter — a lot.
Visual content is 40x more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content according to research by Buffer.
Take action: Add an image to all your online posts — even those that are text-based. To aid brand recognition and create a strong visual identity, maintain consistency across all your images by sticking to the same colours, fonts, and layouts.
10. Leverage Current Cultural Trends
Tapping into cultural trends is all about marketing in the moment. This works because people turn online to find out “what’s happening now.”
Ellen DeGeneres’s 2014 Oscar selfie, retweeted by more than 2.9 million Twitter users fits the scenario of leveraging a cultural trend.
While the Oscar selfie took Twitter by surprise, there are other trends which are more predictable, for example, major sporting events like the World Cup which topped Google’s annual list of top searches around the world in 2018.
Take Action: If you want to create engaging content, leverage trends using the following tools.
- Google Trends — filter your search by country, topic, category, specific topic, content type, and more;
- Buzzfeed — its trending section is perfect for searching for hot topics;
- Buzzsumo — search for the most shared web content on a specific topic;
- Reddit — aggregates trending content from all over the internet and shows the hottest (most upvoted) topics on the main page.
11. Analyze What’s Working For Your Competitors and Industry Peers
Your competitors and industry peers are valuable sources of insight.
Look at the type of content your competitors are creating. Identify which content is performing well for them in terms of social shares, comments, likes, etc. Brainstorm around how you can take a piece of content they have created and put your own unique twist on it.
Take Action: Facebook provides an excellent feature to help you “spy” on your competitors with its Pages to Watch feature. To access Pages to Watch, go to your Facebook Page Insights and scroll down to the bottom of the Overview tab.
12. Grow Your Email List
An email list isn’t as sexy as SnapChat but it is still one of the best ways to turn your passion into profit. Jeff Bullas
With the explosion of social media marketing in recent years, the traditional email format may appear outdated. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, email marketing is more powerful than ever before. Bottom line — ignoring email as part of your marketing strategy means you are missing out on potential business opportunities.
Take Action: One of the best ways to build your list of subscribers is to offer something of value up front. This email incentive known as an “opt-in offer” or “lead magnet” is something you are willing to give away for free which requires people to provide an email address to download.
Check out this list of 15 ways to create your first lead magnet.
13. Integrate SlideShare Into Your Content Marketing Strategy
Owned by LinkedIn, SlideShare is the world’s largest professional content sharing community. Surprisingly, given how the platform is optimized for social sharing, including the ability to embed presentations, it’s often overlooked and underused.
Take Action: Expand your content marketing and raise your online profile in 2019 by tapping into the power of SlideShare. The good news is that you don’t even have to create original content to do this. Simply find some content you have already written and get ready to breathe new life into it.
14. Build Your Authority On LinkedIn
Wondering how you can promote your thought leadership, increase brand awareness and generate more leads in 2019?
LinkedIn publishing (which is searchable through Google) might be just the thing for you.
When you publish an article on LinkedIn, your original content becomes part of your professional profile, it’s shared with your connections and followers in their news feeds, and members that aren’t in your network can follow you from your article so that your next article will be surfaced in their feeds.
LinkedIn Publishing is even searchable through Google.
Take Action: If you’re new to LinkedIn publishing, check out my article How To Increase Your Visibility On LinkedIn By Publishing Articles to learn more.
15. Set Up A Social Media Monitoring Dashboard
Use listening tools to become not just a master listener but a master responder.
Social media is a two-way conversation that requires you to listen more than you talk. Recommit to listening, genuinely responding, and engaging with those people who take the time to interact with your social profiles and your content.
Take Action: There are many free and paid monitoring tools which can help you monitor social media. These tools vary in scope and range across number of sites, sophistication of analytics, integration with other applications, and of course, price. An easy — and free way — to get started is to set up simple Google Alerts for your own name, your brand name, and industry-specific keywords.
16. Figure Out the Optimal Times to Post To Your Audience
To optimize your social media reach, it’s useful to know the best times to post your updates so they reach your audience when they are online.
Take Action: If you search for optimum posting times, you will find many guides online. You can follow these recommendations as a starting point but it’s best to do your own testing to see what days and times work best for your own audience. Make sure you track the data, experiment with other posting frequencies, and compare the results to get a truer sense of when your audience is online.
17. Build A Content Calendar
A content calendar helps you maintain a consistent content production schedule, enabling you to plan for seasonal content, and annual campaigns.
A content calendar helps you plan out your content on a weekly, monthly, or even yearly basis. It helps you deliver a more balanced mix of content formats, such as articles, videos, and social posts.
Take Action: Set aside one day each month to map out upcoming events, holidays, and so forth, which you would like to write or post about. Create a calendar (I like to use a Google calendar for this) to map out content ideas aligned with 2019 holidays and seasonal trends and events. Use holidays as hooks for content and promotions. Often, this content is evergreen so that you can use it year after year.
Bonus Tip: Include your long-tail keywords when creating your calendar.
18. Embrace Long-Form Content
It seems ironic, but even with the popularity of video and expiring content, there also exists an appetite for longer, more in-depth content.
Would you like to appear in the search results when someone searches for information about a problem they have in your area of expertise?
If you want to be the solution people find, long-form content might be the answer.
serpIQ did a study of the average length of the content in the top 10 results of search queries. The company found that the top-rated posts usually were over 2,000 words.
Long-form content also gives you an SEO edge.
Put simply, search engines are built to serve people the best content, from credible sources, that answers users’ questions. Google has made it explicitly clear that it now prioritizes longer, informative posts over short ones that exist only to sell a product.
This tactic is no short-cut to success. To write a comprehensive, long-form piece of content with practical application that people want to share and link to takes a ton of research and time.
You won’t write this sort of content every day, but if you plan to make 2019 the year you will produce just one piece of stand-out content, I promise you will look back at the end of the year and feel you’ve really achieved something worth the effort.
Take Action: Try writing posts that are 1000 to 2000 plus words. Make them a resource type post that people will want to link to when they are writing their posts.
Recommended Reading: Why You Should Create Long-Form Content (And How to Do It)
19. Tell More Stories
Storytelling is one of the simplest and most effective ways to connect with your audience.
Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience reveal that your brain is hardwired to respond to story. In fact, your brain on story is different than your brain when it is receiving any other form of information, including straight facts and data. While facts and figures engage a small area of the brain, stories engage multiple brain regions that work together to build rich emotional responses.
Take Action: Identify your signature story. Signature stories are those stories that uniquely identify you. To find yours, create a timeline of your life and reflect on those events and experiences that truly define who you are today. Think about the defining moments in your life, the challenges you have overcome, and your personal triumphs, and then craft these into a compelling story.
What the coming marketing year holds in store is up to you. I hope you head into 2019 with some great ideas for how you can make this the year that you build your best social media marketing strategy yet.
Here’s to your social media success!
Would you like to receive more tips like these in 2019? Subscribe to my newsletter for the latest social media tips and insights delivered fresh to your inbox each week.