Archive | October, 2014

100 Social Media Marketing Content Ideas

27 Oct

This past week I helped a friend set up a Facebook business page that he will be managing on his own.  I also gave him a crash course in social media marketing and really explained how content is king!  This week’s Sala Social blog post is for all the “self marketers” out there!

Never run out of social media content ideas again! The following list covers just about everything you could possibly post on social media. From personal, to business-related, to promotional posts, this list of 100 ideas will keep you inspired for a long time.

1. Quotes: Humorous, inspiring or motivational quotes always perform well.

2. Fill-in-the-blank posts (e.g. “If I had $1 million I would _________”)

3. Polls: While Facebook offers built-in polls, I find running them manually works best for boosting engagement (e.g. “Which of these books is your favorite?”)

4. Behind-the-scenes photos: Take candid shots of yourself, your employees, or snap a shot of your office or workspace.

5. Statistics or data: Share new, relevant industry statistics (these perform great in terms of retweets and shares)

6. Post a link to an old blog post: There’s nothing wrong with recycling, and old posts will gain new engagement, extending their life.

7. Questions: Pose simple, basic questions that your followers can answer quickly.

8. Link to a guest post: Share (or re-share) a link to a post you contributed to another site.

9. Post a branded image: Post a funny or inspirational image with your logo or website URL on it.

10. Infographics: Find an infographic your followers would appreciate.

11. Product photos: Work best on sites like Pinterest or Instagram. Think about how you can add a unique angle to the shots (e.g. an employee actually using the product, a customer-submitted photo, etc.).

12. Photos that have nothing to do with your products or business: Instead, they convey the feeling behind your brand. For instance, how Starbucks shares photos on Instagram to associate their brand with sunshine, warmth, and good friends (not just coffee).

13. Behind-the-scenes product shots: Photos of your products being manufactured or sourced.

14. Link to a controversial blog post: There’s nothing better for eliciting engagement than a little controversy.

15. Ask for input on your products: Your followers will love giving their thoughts on how to improve your products.

16. Let Pinterest inspire you: Pinterest is a goldmine in terms of finding beautiful images you can share (particularly images with quotes). Just be sure to give proper credit.

17. Share a helpful resource: If you’re truly concerned about sharing the most useful info with your followers, don’t be afraid to direct them to other people’s valuable content (not just your own).

18. Post a Slideshare presentation!
19. Link to a case study: Case studies are great for delivering useful info in a way that’s often more palatable and actionable than a standard blog post.

20. Link to an industry-related IFTTT recipe: Haven’t heard of IFTTT (short for If This Then That)? You need to check it out. Then share a link to a recipe your followers would find useful.

21. Ask for reviews or testimonials: Eliciting reviews from fans or followers is one of the best ways to get testimonials you can use as social proof on your website.

22. Fan photos: Search for hashtags related to your business or products, and share a customer photo on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

23. Recommend a tool: Share a (preferably free) tool or resource you think your followers would find useful.

24. Share a favorite book: Similar to #23, share a book recommendation your fans or followers would appreciate.

25. A day in the life post: Give a recap of a typical day in the life of a graphic designer, author, CEO, etc.

26. Recommend your favorite products: If you’re an e-commerce site, share a list of your top sellers or highest-rated products. If you’re a service provider, share a list of the products that help you succeed in your business.

27. Share random tips: Periodically post a random tip or trick your followers would find useful. Hint: using random tip numbers adds interest to your post (e.g. Tip #256: __________)

28. Link to your most popular blog post: Give a brief intro to the post and explain why it’s your most read and shared post.

29. Provide a recommendation: Share the love by recommending a business you’ve worked with successfully in the past.

30. Share a work/life balance tip: Your social media followers want to know you’re a real person with the same struggles as them. Share a tip you’ve learned for balancing work, life and family.

31. Ask for advice: Pose a hypothetical question and ask your followers what they would do in that situation.

32. Take a trip down memory lane: Share photos of old logos, websites or your very first product.

33. Random posts that show you’re a real person: For instance, what you had for dinner last night or what you’re doing this weekend.

34. Share popular Reddit topic: Visit Reddit’s Trending Subreddit page to find popular and trending topics to post about.

35. Recommend someone else to follow on social media: Share a link to someone else’s social media profile and encourage your fans to ‘like’ or follow them.

36. Share a Pinterest board: If your customers are on Pinterest (hint: if your demographic is educated, high-income females, they probably are), share a Pinterest board via Facebook or Twitter.

37. Share a comic or meme: Getting your customers to laugh with you is a great way to start building relationships.

38. Post a video testimonial: Share a video review; or better yet, ask your social media followers to submit their own video testimonials.

39. Recommend a colleague on LinkedIn: Encourage your connections to reach out to someone who acts as a valuable resource for your business.

40. Hold a photo contest: Ask for photo submissions and then get your fans to vote. Share the winning photos, too!

41. Share a trending Twitter topic: Use Topsy to find content that’s popular and trending on Twitter.

42. Hold a debate on social media: This can go downhill pretty quickly, so be sure to stay on top of it!

43. ‘Caption this’: Post a photo and ask your fans to come up with creative or funny captions.

44. YouTube video: Find a cute or inspirational video and promote it to your fans or followers.

45. Tag another Facebook page: Generate some good karma by helping to promote another business.

46. Share breaking industry news: Stay on stop of what’s going on in your industry or niche by using Google Alerts.

47. Share country-specific holidays: Wish your followers from around the world happy holidays

48. Share (and ask for) predictions: For instance, “I predict that Germany will win the World Cup. Who do you think will win?”.

49. Offer a free e-book: Build your email list while generating some goodwill with your fans.

50. Ask for questions: Let your fans ask you anything.

51. Post a controversial view: Play devil’s advocate, but tread carefully.

52. Use Facebook Interest lists for content ideas: See what topics are trending and share them with your fans or use them to generate your own content.

53. Profile an employee: Let your followers know they’re dealing with real people.

54. Post product recall notices: Keep your ear to the ground so you can be the first to share important safety information with your followers.

55. Post a ‘truth or fiction’ question: Let your fans guess whether it’s the truth or a myth.

56. Share a trending Google search: Visit Google’s Top Charts to find out what people are currently searching for; give your own spin on one of these topics.

57. Fan of the month: Acknowledge your brand ambassadors and let them know they’re appreciated.

58. Share industry research: Post a link to and synopsis of research your fans would find useful.

59. Hold a flash sale: Use Snapchat to offer a limited-time coupon.

60. Celebrate odd holidays: For instance, did you know June 17 is Apple Strudel Day? Use a tool like Days of the Year to find out what today’s holiday is.

61. Awards or accolades you’ve received: Just do this carefully…the idea is to build trust, not to brag.

62. Promote someone else’s sale: Share a link to a coupon or sale from a complimentary (not competing) business.

63. Latest company news: Anything changing in your business? New employee? New hours of operation? New product offering?

64. Share pictures from a recent industry event: Don’t forget to use the event hashtag for maximum exposure.

65. Promote a free download: This could be a plugin, white paper, e-book or anything else that would be useful for your audience.

66. Thank your fans: A simple thank you can go a long way to building connections with your fans.

67. Offer expert insights into a topic: This helps establish you as a thought leader in your field.

68. Do a post series: We do this on our blogs, why not on social media? Share a series of similar posts over a certain number of days.

69. Weekly round up: Post a list of the ‘must read’ articles for the week.

70. Get your employees to guest post: Have your employees take turns posting a ‘fun fact’ on Facebook or Twitter.

71. Create and share a compilation of industry news stories: Flipboard is a great way to do this.

72. Host a Google+ hangout: Promote it through all your social media channels.

73. Encourage your followers to support a cause: Post a link to an online fundraiser (and contribute to it yourself).

74. Post an expert quote: Ask an industry expert a question and post their answer on social media. This is great for getting retweets and shares.

75. Hold a giveaway: This can be as simple as asking your fans or followers to comment to enter.

76. Offer a sneak peek: Whet your fans’ appetites by showing a sneak peek of an upcoming blog post, contest or product launch.

77. Start a conversation with an industry leader: Tag or mention an industry guru in a post (just be aware you might be left hanging!).

78. Post a photo collage: A tool like PicMonkey can help you create one.

79. Teaser content: Posting a link to a blog post? Don’t reveal the punch line. This will usually increase your clickthroughs.

80. Make an industry prediction: Speculate on what’s in store for your niche or industry.

81. Post a creative or unexpected use for your product: Be sure to also ask your fans for ideas.

82. Link to a blog comment: Have a particularly helpful or controversial comment on your blog? Post a link and get your fans and followers to weigh in.

83. Answer an FAQ: Have a question you get asked a lot? Answer it on social media.

84. Post a link to old newsletters: Recycle your newsletters and gain new subscribers at the same time.

85. Ask your fans for content ideas: Find out which issues or problems your fans need help with.

86. Post a link to a helpful Facebook or LinkedIn group: If you know of a helpful resource on Facebook or LinkedIn, share a link with your fans.

87. Tell a story: Share a funny or interesting anecdote from your life.

88. Find out what your competitors are sharing, and do it better: An easy way to do this is by using a tool like Social Crawlytics.

89. Use your website analytics to find content ideas: Take a quick look through your analytics to find out which topics generate the most interest from your audience.

90. Hold a Q&A session: Promote a live Q&A period where you’ll answer fan questions.

91. Share an opinion: Your followers want to know you stand for something; don’t be afraid to take sides on an issue (as long as you can and do stand behind your views).

92. Post a link to an employee bio: If you have bios on your site, post a link to help your fans get to know the brains behind your company.

93. Answer a question from Quora: Find a relevant question on Quora and answer it on social media.

94. Respond to a tag or mention: See who’s been trying to get your attention and respond to them in a post.

95. Post an excerpt from a blog post: Rather than just posting a link and summary of the post, cut and paste a particularly intriguing excerpt to pique your readers’ interest.

96. Share a chart: Share an interesting chart or graph that’s relevant to your audience.

97. Post a screenshot of a social media conversation (with permission): Add your own thoughts to the conversation.

98. Promote an industry-related event: This can either be a live or online event.

99. Share a funny commercial: Post a commercial that would be appeal to your fans or followers.

100. Promote your products or services: There’s a reason this one is last on the list. There’s a time and a place for self-promotion on social media, but first and foremost, use social media to build relationships, establish trust, and build your reputation as an industry expert. When people do want to buy, who do you think they’ll come to first?

Adding Photos Helps Boost Social Conversion

20 Oct

Social media is a tricky form of marketing. You know it is important, and the concept of engagement is simple enough to understand. But the social sphere is massive, and full of others competing for attention. It is a place of constant noise, and you are shouting to be heard over it all. It’s easy to become lost in that crowd, and fail to meet your campaign goals.

The fact that large companies and sites have large budgets to pay for trending content and viral campaigns doesn’t help. When you are one of the smaller businesses, or just starting out, how in the world are you going to be seen?

Your best bet is incorporating visual content into your overall social strategy. Not only is it effective, but it is quick and easy. Unlike other campaign methods that take time to see results, and require a lot of thought and monitoring to succeed. Using photos will take planning and preparation for some of it, but most is as easy as finding and sharing what others have posted.

Here are some tips to help you out.

Know How To Take a Photo

First thing is first: do you know how to take a photo? What’s more, do you know how to take a photo for social media? No? Then you need to learn. Composition, angle, lighting, subject matter, zoom, enhancements and edits…these are all  very relevant. Especially if you are on a site like Pinterest that has a very specific type of photo that reaches viral status.

Show Off Your Product

This doesn’t really work so much for blogs, but if you have an actual product or service, show it off. From portfolio shows to tangible goods, one of the quickest ways to spread the word through direct marketing is by giving your viewers a look into what you have to offer.

Show Off Your Team

Pinterest pins do better without people in the shots (or at least visible faces). But on other networks, pictures showing off the people who work for you is a great way to add a personal touch to your brand. Of course, this is harder if you are a website and your people work remotely. Though you can always incorporate images on an individual basis if that is the case.

This can also be done by showing members of your team (or yourself) hard at work. Or even playing around if you want a sillier side to show through.

Know What Your Audience Likes

Do your followers enjoy practical photos that show off how to do something, such as in a tutorial? Infographics? Comics? Pictures of puppies cuddling with baby bunnies? Having an idea of what your audience is interest in is a simple way to maximize your chances of getting a reshare or favorite, and even gaining a larger follower list.

 

Using an analytics tool such as the one on your business page, or something more dedicated like Moz, start tracking the posts that include pictures, and do better. You might find that your followers aren’t interested in photos at all, but in other forms of visual graphics. In which case, don’t panic, just change your strategy.

Give a Shout Out To Users

If you ask followers to show off their own photos, you will get a major response. Want proof? Look at what happened with Samsung #selfie campaign. The web responded by posting thousands of selfies with the hashtag. It wasn’t a fluke, it was a carefully constructed media event that included celebrities in the music video like Snoop Dog.

Your own campaign might not quite generate that level of interest. But asking your users to offer their photos doing something relevant to your brand is a good way to inject some activity into your account, and spread your visibility to their friends and followers.

Be sure to pin, retweet, favorite, like, or share these responses.

Get Funny With It

Humorous images are some of the most likely to reach viral status. Everyone likes to laugh, especially through their work day when they are sneaking in some social time. The best part about it is that you don’t have to rely entirely on your own content to achieve this. Plenty of people are sharing funny images, and a reshare can bring in quite a bit of attention for those who haven’t seen it.

That is the nature of social media. The same content gets passed around to reach a wider and wider audience. That can increase the influence of everyone who is sharing it. Just think of the last time that you saw something funny and shared it out. You were a part of that spread of content, a ripple in the pond getting wider and wider.

Photos Are Your Friends

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to begin using photos in your social media strategy. Which means you can get started immediately, boosting your visibility (and shareability) almost immediately. How cool is that? Who knows, maybe you will find yourself considering a new career in photography by the end of it.

Do you have any ideas for using photos and other digital content as part of a social media campaign? We would love to hear your ideas. Let us know in the comments!

4 Simple Tips to Improve Social Media Marketing Results

13 Oct

Social media advertising can be an expensive and come with varying levels of results. Yet, we’ve all seen those ads online that manage to capture attention, wrangle clicks and pique interests.

Here are a few practical tips to increase the success of social media advertising campaigns.

1. Pick a main goal for the campaign first: More blog page views? App downloads? Email sign-ups? New followers/fans?

Although this tip may sound like a no-brainer, my point is that the goal should be determined first – before the content is created or projections are made.

This goal should shape what you say and how you say it – especially the call to action. It will determine where all your links take viewers and what they’ll see when they get there. And, it will definitely determine keywords used and what platforms are chosen.

2. Use “real,” custom photos instead of stock images. Even better – use customer photos when possible.

BarkBox has mastered this practice. The subscription box company that mails out dog treats and toys every month runs eye-catching Facebook ads (see below). They use actual customer photos illustrating happy dogs with their boxes.

2014-10-09-IMG_0491.jpg

This is genius because even though the photos might be grainy or blurry, you can tell they’re real photos taken by real pet owners. There’s a certain trustworthiness to the images that resonates in social spaces where bland, uninspired images tend to dominate.

3. Include several variations of ads and see what happens. Base the success of the ads on past ad performance or use averages for the platform.

Create several ad options, evaluate during the campaign, then cut dead weight.

It’s important to experiment with ads – especially on social media. You never know what combination of images and messaging will strike the right chord with viewers.

Then determine which ads are performing well and which ones are flopping, delete, re-asses and build something new. It’s important to remain flexible and willing to change things up.

4. Try non-traditional advertising like posting ads on niche blogs or offering sponsored posts.

The blogosphere is alive and well, and businesses can harness the power of tight-knit interest groups online. Depending on the blog’s audience and popularity, blog ads can range in price – from $20 and up per month per ad. Be sure to ask for a blog’s media kit to ensure your ideal audience is being reached.

2014-10-09-Blogadexample.jpg

Or, skip the ads and offer a giveaway or a sponsored post instead. Blogs are in constant need of content and giving away free stuff can never hurt.

Sponsored posts are written in the voice of the blogger – which ads authenticity clearly – and clearly promote a brand or product. They are guaranteed to be less expensive than print advertorials or native advertising. It’s just another option to add into the social media advertising mix.

Overall, if you’re constantly asking yourself, “If I saw this ad in my social feed, would I be interested/click/sign-up?” then your social ads are heading in the right direction.

The Four Ms of Social Media That All Marketers Should Master

6 Oct

Social-media marketing used to be a two-step process: write and post. But today it has evolved into something that sometimes looks more like a NASA mission-control center operation. Dozens of software systems and screens monitoring, measuring and optimizing each campaign.

But beneath all the complexities, the fundamentals of social-media marketing ultimately determine the outcome of campaigns. When marketers master the four Ms of social marketing, all the complexity amid a sea of tools and tactics can be distilled into a simple, successful game plan.

  1. Monitor.

Social media is an increasingly crowded and busy arena. The downside is that manually monitoring social-media efforts is time-consuming, if not impossible. But the upside is that when a company uses a platform that can track and analyze social media chatter, it can tap into real-time intelligence about an industry and its competitors that will sharpen its strategy.

Monitor activity before you launch a campaign. Obtain a clear idea of a competitor’s strengths and weaknesses on social media. Look for market opportunities and see what consumers react to within the industry. Make social media your real-time A/B testing and market-research laboratory. And then monitor campaigns to optimize performance.

  1. Manage.

Once a campaign is launched in the social sphere, management can make or break the campaign’s success. Refine your campaign by tracking performance and reacting to what works and what does not. Take the workload off your social-media manager by letting him or her schedule posts and tweets. Add a new level of social-media intelligence by listening to what users are saying about the company’s campaigns and brand.

Management is the execution of the social strategy. And with all the emphasis on the software, analytics and strategy, execution is still what drives the success of a social-media campaign.

  1. Measure.

Measurement is increasingly important on two fronts. Social media is fragmented across multiple platforms. Tracking and analyzing the full scope of social-media use is now more difficult than ever. Secondly, measurement is one of the most important ways to demonstrate the effectiveness of social marketing to chief marketing officers, company executives and board members.

Measurement involves tracking results on earned, owned and paid media. Engagement can be gauged across all social-media platforms and how traffic is driven to a company’s website. It’s also possible to analyze how paid advertising on Twitter and Facebook encourages participation on social-media campaigns and a company’s website.

  1. Monetize.

The Holy Grail of social media marketing is sales. When marketers can draw a direct line between a social-media campaign and sales, all the guessing over the value of engagement ends. The return on investment is indisputable.

A rapid advance in technology is making social-media sales increasingly within reach of businesses of all sizes. Transactions can be made through use of a hashtag. Facebook is launching a “Buy” button that lets users purchase items without leaving its platform. And new social-commerce capabilities empower marketers to drive sales on social media.

Closing a sale can be tricky on social media. Consumers often seek an incentive, a prize or promotion. They also look for what their friends and acquaintances are wearing or purchasing. Such habits let brands leverage the viral, sharing nature of social media to inspire purchasing decisions with user-generated content or through coupons, discounts or prizes.