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500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advice, Hints and Strategy for Business: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, and More!

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Struggling with social media marketing for business? Feeling overwhelmed or don't even know where to begin? This is the book for you.

500 Social Media Marketing Tips is your complete guide to social media success for business, featuring hundreds of the actionable strategies for success on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, and more!

The key to growing your business on social media is to develop a strong and consistent social media marketing plan: with ideas that drive brand awareness, attract loyal customers, and help you reach your business goals - like increasing website traffic, delivering top customer service, or increasing sales. And that’s what you’ll learn in 500 Social Media Marketing Tips.

Winter 2016-17
[Andrew Macarthy]
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@descendthevoid -- I'm just about to download this book, but I'd suggest looking this book up in Goodreads website and check out book reviews there :)

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500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advice, Hints and Strategy for Business: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and More!

December 2015 Edition

Copyright © 2012 - 2015 by Andrew Macarthy

Cover and internal design © Andrew Macarthy

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems – except in the case of brief quotations in articles or reviews – without the permission in writing from its publisher, Andrew Macarthy.

All brand names and product names used in this book are trademarks, registered trademarks, or trade names of their respective holders. I am not associated with any product or vendor in this book.






This book was created using the Easy Kindle E-Book template available at Download yours today!

Table of Contents

500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advice, Hints and Strategy for Business: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and More!

Table of Contents

Why Your Business Needs Social Media Marketing!

Before You Begin: Key Considerations For All Social Media Marketing

Explained: The Best Types of Content to Post on Social Media

Facebook Tips: Marketing Strategy You'll Like and Share

Twitter Tips: Tweet Your Way to the Top

Google+ Tips: Plus One Your Marketing Strategy

Pinterest Tips: Pin Your Way to Marketing Perfection

LinkedIn Tips: Network Like Clockwork

YouTube Tips: Video Made the Marketing Star

Instagram Tips: Snap-happy Marketing Strategy

Vine Tips: Marvelous Marketing With Micro-Video

Snapchat Tips: Self-Destructing Social Media Marketing

Blogging Tips: Captivate With the Written Word

General S; trategy for Super Social Media Marketing

Free and Premium Social Media Video Tutorials: 250+ Videos and 8+ Hours of Content

FREE E-book Updates FOREVER

Download My Essential Social Media Marketing Premium Content Bundle

I Need You: Help Make This Book Even Better!

Hire Me: Social Media Design, Analysis and Management

About the Author

One Last Thing...

Why Your Business Needs Social Media Marketing!

Over the last decade, social media marketing has become an indispensable tool in the arsenal of brands and businesses of all kinds, with opportunities to build relationships, engage with customers, and increase sales like never before - and the stats back it up. A January 2014 survey by PewInternet revealed that 74% of adults in North America used social networking sites, including 82% of 30-49 year-olds and 89% of 18-29 year-olds. In addition, research from social media analysts Digitas predicts that the growth of social commerce could make it a business worth $30 billion before the end of 2017. And in a Social Media Examiner poll conducted in 2015, 91% of respondents said that social media marketing – worked on for at least 6 hours per week - increased exposure for their business. If you're not using social media at all, or your current strategy isn't working for you as well as you hoped, now is the time to make a change. You are about to learn over 500 expert hints and tips to effectively market your business across all of the most popular social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and Pinterest. Each chapter is grouped broadly into several sections including profile optimization, content strategy, and advice on paid advertising.

Success in social media marketing results from building strong and long-lasting relationships with customers and professional contacts, and sharing the type of content and expertise that they will want to share onwards to their friends, family, and colleagues. This approach will help to attract and keep loyal customers and connections, and encourage brand ambassadors to sell your business for you – a complete reverse from the traditional marketing model! While this approach is a world away from the way traditional marketing works, this open, two-way communication is now what billions of consumers around the world expect from the businesses and brands to whom they invest time and money. Direct selling does have a place, but as you’ll learn, it isn’t the “front and center” where social media marketing is concerned.

I hope you find the following advice helpful, whether you're a complete social media novice or a savvy individual looking for some extra expert tips to drive your business onto bigger and better things.

Do let me know how you get on by getting in touch via my social channels!


Before You Begin: Key Considerations For All Social Media Marketing

Peer pressure, success stories in the media and general hype tell today’s business owners that having a presence on social media is essential. That’s not to say a business couldn’t do well without utilizing social networking, but they’d certainly be missing out on a myriad of opportunities to build and grow. However, one of the biggest mistakes that a brand can make is to leap into social media marketing with no real clue of what they are going to do with it; only the vague hope it will somehow make their fortune. While there is a possibility that you get really lucky, in most cases this kind of unplanned approach will lead to unrealistic goal-setting, poor results, a huge waste of time, and ultimately a defeatist attitude that puts you off the idea of social media marketing completely. To ensure that this doesn’t happen to you – and to give you the best chance of success - I urge you to digest the key considerations for social media marketing detailed below. By the end of this chapter, you will have a firm understanding of what kind of approach works for business on social media, and how to take your efforts in a well-planned, logical direction.

Decide which social networks will work best for you

Unless you're a big company with the resources to plow full speed ahead into every potentially viable social platform, chances are you're better to focus on one or two “core” social networks first. It's better to excel on a couple of social networks than be mediocre on five or six, and while social media is (mostly) free, your time is valuable. Indeed, depending on the type of business you run, not every social media site is going to suit your marketing, your audience, or what you are trying to achieve. To help you decide where to begin, identify which social networks your target audience already "hangs out" or use customer personas and research of social network demographics to judge where you will best be received. Joining Facebook and Twitter is often a given for brands simply due to their sheer size and influence, but more "niche" communities with their own unique attributes - still with hundreds of millions of users, mind you - like Pinterest, Instagram, or LinkedIn, might be where you find can make an impact more successfully. You'll learn all about what each particular social network brings to the table as they are introduced in the chapters to come, but to start off, experiment with a couple of social networks where you can invest some significant time, track your progress, and then either build on your achievements with them, or steadily begin to experiment with other platforms on which you might have additional (or better) success.

Define and assess your goals

Before you start posting content to social media, it is useful to define the guiding themes and overall goals of your strategy, as these will help you shape the way you approach what may well become the linchpin in your marketing machine. I'm a fan of the SMART technique for creating actionable social media goals. Here's a breakdown, hopefully they'll help you too:

Specific: Be specific in what you want to achieve. Do you want to raise awareness of your brand? Increase sales? Improve customer service? Strengthen loyalty?

Measurable: How will you know that your goal has been achieved? What analytics tools will you use to track your progress?

Achievable: Is your goal realistic? When you are just starting off, don’t aim too high at the risk of being deflated if you don’t hit your projected goal; getting really adept at all this stuff (particularly if you are approaching social media marketing seriously for the first time) takes a while.

Relevant: Is your goal aligned with your company's mission, vision and values?

Time Specific: When do you want to have achieved the goal by? To add a focus to your marketing, stick to one overarching goal at a time, e.g. "I want to increase traffic to our website by 15% in the next 3 months".

For example, if you’re a shoe store owner and you normally sell 20 pairs of shoes a day, why not aim to use social media to help you sell 25 per day? After a good amount of time (at least a few months), evaluate where you are by using analytics tools, social insights (likes, followers, comments), and other metrics to help you track and measure your activity - you'll find lots more information on these shortly.

Perform an audit to help shape your content strategy

Carrying out an audit is one of the best ways to get an idea of the kind of social media content strategy that will resonate with your audience, and a great way to decide upon what you want to post to your audience. Take time to identify your audience's needs, desires, and interests on social media - ask yourself what problems you can help them overcome, what questions you can answer, what type of content they prefer (e.g. text, photo, graphics, video), and when they are most likely to be around to see it. Tools like SEM Rush and TrueSocial Metrics are two popular paid options if you want to dig right down into the details, but you needn't spend a penny to get a good, general idea... especially if you use your competition to help you out! First, identify your competitors (you'll probably know them already, but a simple web search will tell you), then visit their websites and social media profiles for a nose around. Make notes on how often your rivals publish blogs and status updates on social media, and which content seems to perform best for them based on the number of likes, comments, and shares. You can gain further insight by identifying how much of this content appears to be original versus shared from other sources, and what the topics and tone of voice used are like. Use the information you gather to mirror successful types of content in your own social media strategy, but also to identify gaps and opportunities where you can do better.

Note: See the Premium Content Bundle chapter of this book to download a ready-made 24-question template to help your business plan and execute your social media strategy, and perform a simple competitor analysis.

Plan ahead with a social media content calendar

One of the stiffest tests facing brands on social media is to consistently publish high quality content for their fans. A company's social media presence that appears abandoned is the digital equivalent of turning your lights off. Because you're not updating online, people will assume that you're going out of business, even if the opposite is true. Since it's this consistency that can really help to boost levels of engagement (by enabling fans to anticipate your next post) and foster a stronger relationship with your audience (who will keep coming back for more), one of the best ways to help get it right is by compiling a social media content calendar. An editorial calendar will allow you to plan your activity for weeks - or even months - in advance. This foresight will allow you to build seasonal themes into your updates, and prevent you from posting sub-par stuff just because you need to publish something. As well as planning for the big holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, you will also be able to map out a strategy for “mini holidays” like July 4th or Valentine’s Day, occasions where fans are actively searching on social media for deals, discounts, advice, etc. The ability to scan a social content calendar regularly will also provide you with a way to step back from day-to-day posting and re-affirm your wider strategy. Of course, spontaneous posting to social media still has a place, but for the foundations of your strategy, a content calendar is highly recommended. One simple way to plan a content strategy (that can be used to populate your calendar and prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed) is to create a daily theme across your social networks. For example: sharing a new blog post on Monday, asking a question on Tuesday, an infographic on Wednesday, a quote on Thursday, etc.

Note: Download my ready-to-use social media content calendar templates via the Premium Content Bundle chapter of this book.

Re-purpose content across social media

It is worth emphasizing that something that might be distributed as one piece of content in the real world (a press release, say), can be marketed as four or five content pieces for social media: blog about it, tweet, make a video, share on Facebook, turn it into an infographic for Pinterest, etc. This is a fantastic strategy for making the most of your content creation, particularly if you are strapped for time or low on resources.

Drop old-style communication methods and get social – find and define your social voice

Successful social media strategy requires just that - a social strategy. Traditional marketing techniques like TV and newspaper advertising worked because the direction of communication could only go in one way (from brand to consumer) with little chance for reply, but social media means that this is no longer the case. Now that a two-way dialogue is firmly established and your brand is under the spotlight 24/7, you must resist the urge to talk at people, and adapt your tone of voice and communication methods to connect with them on a human level - speaking to them in a personable manner and listening with intent, rather than just hearing and doing nothing about it. This lesson applies the same whether you are a small business employing a handful of people, a multi-national company with thousands of staff, the owner of a "fun" business like a karaoke bar, or something more "serious" like a finance company. Brands that define their social voice (and strive to maintain it in all of their social interactions) can cut through the noise and deliver a clear message that, ultimately, will deliver more improved results. There are occasions where something like the old-school method of direct promotion is beneficial, but expect to spend the majority of your time being much more selfless, even going out of your way to make individual customers feel special as a way to generate a good feeling about your product or service that travels way beyond that one person.

Humanize your brand and be emotive

People use social media to connect with other people, so lower your barriers and show fans the real you, and the people behind your business' logo; be transparent, open, and authentic in all of your communication – authenticity often means being a little bit more open about what your business might traditionally share with customers, but there’s a fine line – if you’re consistently sharing posts about internal conflicts or your love life, that line has probably been crossed! establish your unique voice, show a sense of humor, use everyday language, etc. And if being genuine endears customers to you, then they will be more likely to want to engage with your content, share it on to others, and support you financially when the time comes to buy, by choosing you over another brand who they have no connection with. Rather than trying to manipulate fans into buying products or service, showcasing you and your brand's true values and personality will go a long way to setting you apart from your competitors.

While all of this advice applies to your text interactions and tone of voice, human, emotional connections are similarly important in visual content. Studies show that images of humans (as compared to inanimate objects) - especially those smiling and making eye contact with the viewer - can help to drive conversion rates. Even if the product you are selling isn't tangible, e.g. data or financial services, you should still try to incorporate people and human faces into at least some of your images, whether they be of you, your customers, or simply people in stock images. On a related note – and a powerful pairing to text alone – are emoticons. A study by Amex Open found that using emoticons in status updates increased comments by an average of 33%, while a separate investigation by Buddy Media discovered that posts with emoticons received on average 57% more likes, 33% more comments and 33% more shares. Perhaps more significant is that many social sites – Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook included - all support the use of Emoji – fully -drawn, expressive emoticons and ideograms that have fast become a universal language all of their own, can add a whole new layer of fun and expression to your status updates. In a 2015 report, Instagram found that nearly 50 percent of all captions and comments include at least one Emoji.

Don't over-promote: build relationships and provide value

The vast majority of social media users do not visit Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, et al. to be given the hard sell by companies; they use them to interact with family and friends, and to be entertained. If they do "like" or "follow" brands on social media, they often do so on a whim (think about the number you "like" or "follow"), and all but the most passionate fans won't care to see every single post you publish (in fact, it is unreasonable to think that you can even make it happen without spending a lot of money). Therefore, it is your job to convince people to enjoy having your business as something that is a big part of their everyday lives, and continue to earn your place - don't see it as a right, see it as a privilege. You do this by building trusting and loyal relationships, by being friendly, sharing great content, helping people with customer service issues (with the odd promotional post in between, of course... which if the rest of your strategy is up to scratch, your audience really shouldn't mind).

Ultimately, with social media content in mind, change your mindset from "what can we sell you?" to "what can we do to help you?", because in terms of choosing to follow a brand on social media, your fans will sure be asking the question "what's in it for me?" With competition up and organic (non-paid) reach (the number of people who see your content) at an all-time low, it is crucial that the content you post touches people on a personal and emotional level. Some of the most powerful emotional triggers are humor, awe, anger, and even narcissism (stuff that, by sharing, makes the individual look good in front on their peers on social media).

Once you get into your stride, one useful exercise to help you keep on track is as follows: from time to time, stop and take a look at your last 10 social media posts and ask yourself this question: “What value am I providing and what purpose am I serving?” If you cannot clearly define the answer to this question, you should think carefully about amending your strategy to better reach audiences who are now smarter and savvier than ever before; people who easily look past weak content or an over-sale-sy message. Just like in the real world, social media followers will resonate more with a brand that they can love and trust, much more than one whose sole purpose seems to be to encourage them to open their wallets at every opportunity. To reiterate the point I made above, you should strive to become a seamless part of their expected social media experience, not a jarring element that they want to skip past. All of this good work will build a positive image around your brand and slowly convert into sales.

Consistently post high quality content

First and foremost, don't launch a presence on a social media channel, post for a few weeks, and then let its activity dry up! For most social networks, one, two or three updates per day is a good target, but at a minimum, you should post at least a couple of times a week so that your content continues to appear in the news feeds of your most engaged fans. To single out Facebook as an example of a social network that a large majority of brands use, here's some wider perspective to explain why consistency is so important: When someone visits their Facebook News Feed, there are an average of 1,500 possible posts – generated according to the site’s complicated algorithm - that they can be shown at any given time, from friends, Pages, groups, events, etc. Add the fact that around half of users don't check Facebook every day (and, of those that do, they only browse for around 30-60 minutes in total), the chances of all of your posts being seen and engaged with in amongst all of that competition, falls considerably. In fact, without paid promotion (which we will look at later), Facebook makes it almost impossible for all of your fans to see all of your posts, and brands must now work harder than ever to eek as much free, organic reach out of their Facebook activity as possible. Facebook still offers businesses a ton of potential, but it is no longer as simple as it once was.

In addition to the above, in order to make sure that as many people as possible encounter the content you post (whether on the social network it was originally posted or if shared elsewhere), it must be top quality, i.e. the kind of entertaining, helpful, inspirational, valuable stuff that people will like, comment, click (if a link is included) and share. In fact, in August 2013 - in an attempt to filter News Feeds to display only "high quality" content from brands - Facebook surveyed thousands of users on what they deemed as "high quality" content, folded the responses into its machine learning system and integrated it all with a master algorithm. This algorithm considers "over a thousand different factors," including the quality of a business Page's other content and the level of completion of its profile when determining whether a post is "high quality" enough to be broadcast in the News Feed to its fullest potential. Most people and businesses have a handful of "go-to" sources, either in their favorites or subconscious – websites and social profiles that they routinely share from (you probably have your own, in fact). This selection promises them consistently valuable content they can share with their friends and fans, and your aim should be to become one of these trusted sources.

The bottom line is that the more consistently engaged a customer is with your posts on social media content - liking, commenting, sharing - the more likely they are to continue to do so in future. And in the case of Facebook, positive interaction like this will ensure that your posts are to continue to appear in their News Feed for future engagement opportunities. To refer to Facebook one more time, its News Feed Algorithm filters content into individuals' feeds according to what it thinks is most relevant to them, so if a fan never sees posts from you (because you are inactive), ignores your posts for a prolonged period of time because they are not engaging enough (or, worse, has used the option to hide them), they will disappear from that person's News Feed and you may find it difficult to get them back in there without paying for the privilege.

Note: With organic reach on Facebook and other social networks at an all-time low, it might seem that the best solution to gain exposure for your content is to post incredibly frequently. However, in some ways this approach is actually counter-intuitive. Not even your most passionate fans will enjoy being constantly flooded by posts from you, and by decreasing the pressure of needing to produce a rapid stream of top quality content day in, day out, you leave more time to make sure that what you do publish is as good as it can be - stuff that will garner the most engagement from fans. In addition, if you substitute the time spent on "excess" content for supporting "core" content with a few advertising dollars, you increase the number of unique fans who see these posts and - if they engage with a like, comment, or share - they're more likely (in the case of Facebook at least) to feed the next one organically in the News Feed.

Which types of posts get the most engagement?

One of the great debates amongst social media marketers is whether text, image, video, links, or other post types are the most effective in reaching fans and encouraging them to interact. The truth is that nobody can tell you for certain - social networks are forever tweaking their algorithms, forcing brands to play catch-up - and at the end of the day, it very much depends on what your individual data reveals to you is working best. For example, back in 2012 Facebook was telling businesses that posts that include a photo album, picture or video generate about 180%, 120% and 100% more engagement respectively than text posts alone, but what use is that potential for engagement if you notice that your text posts at any given point in time happen to reach 5x the amount of people than when you use images? And in January 2014, Facebook said that link-share posts (those that generate an automatic image thumbnail when a news article or website address is shared within a status update) should be favored because "when people see more text status updates on Facebook they write more status updates themselves." My advice is to resist the temptation to blindly follow trends, fads, or "no guarantee" tricks that promise to deliver high levels of engagement! Instead, use them as a guide but always focus on providing awesome, valuable content first. Continue to test and tweak with a close eye on your own stats, and keep adapting to push on with what is working best for you (not everybody else) at any given time.

Don't get hung up on reach; focus on creating loyal, passionate fans and meaningful relationships

As you now understand, fierce competition between individuals, brands and the way social networks' algorithms work, means that not all of your fans will see your posts in their news feeds when you publish them, and by their own admission, sites like Facebook admit that this situation is only going to get tougher as more and more brands enter the fray. Therefore, you need to think less about chasing "likes", follower numbers, and post reach - as these metrics (although having some influence and merit, especially if they are from and reaching a target, high quality audience) can often be arbitrary. Instead, concentrate more on producing great content that will grow you a loyal following of people who love what you do (showing it via post likes, comments, sharing your content, and eventually through sales), therein encouraging more people to invest in your cause. This goes not just for Facebook, but all social media. I'd say if you're getting anywhere near 10% reach to all of your fans without paid promotion, you're doing extremely well.

Provide great customer service, handle complaints right

Unlike in times gone by, social media gives your company instant and effective exposure to your customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Customers also have similar access to you, and this is no more apparent than in what can only be described as a revolution in customer service. What’s more, as well as making your customers feel good, answering complaints provides a useful insight into your target audience’s personality, what your business is doing well, and what it could improve on. With the instantaneousness of a Facebook post or a tweet, people's expectations for a swift and effective response to their queries or problems is higher than ever. Many social media experts will advise you to always reply within an arbitrary time limit of something like 30 minutes. If you employ a dedicated social media community manager, this may be possible, but for the vast majority of businesses, it just isn't a realistic target. I'd still recommend that you deal with customer service issues as soon as possible after they arise, but suggest that a response time of anything up to 24 hours (on weekends, too, if you can manage it) is acceptable to most people; and instead of constantly monitoring for problems, simply assign a few dedicated batches of time in a day to respond to customers and handle issues. Using the “About” sections of your social profiles to tell people when you will be available to help and how long they can expect to wait for a reply, is a sound strategy to set expectations and prevent customer frustration.

Of course, the best way to avoid customer service issues being played out publicly on social media is to prevent them from happening. To facilitate this, give people several options to solve problems themselves, and for making contact - online FAQs, email, telephone, private message, and place them where people will see them easily, like in your main bio or about section. The simpler it is to contact you, the more likely a customer is to try that first to help resolve a problem, rather than spouting off angrily at you online. In addition, demonstrate your willingness to accept that problems do sometimes occur by using your social media profiles as a way to announce less-than-positive news about product or services issues. There will always be some fans who are upset when they read it, but they’d be a lot more aggrieved if they had discovered the issue on their own. If someone does post their angry grievances in public about you on social media, two of the most important pointers to remember when approaching such a situation are as follows:

Don't ignore it: The longer you leave a customer complaint to sit and fester, the angrier said customer will be, and by refusing to reply to negative feedback, it looks to everyone like you are unwilling to deal with problems, and simply hoping that ignoring them will make them go away. Look to respond as quickly as possible, as most customers expect a swift response.

Don't delete it: Just as bad (if not worse) than ignoring negative feedback is to delete a post submitted on your profile. When the customer who complained notices that their comment has been deleted, they will only be even more upset, and other fans who see what you have done (especially if the original criticism was screen-grabbed for evidence) will think ill of you, too.

In short, always respond to complaints on social media in a professional and courteous manner, and in a time frame that matches the resources of your business. Be ready to acknowledge the customer's feedback (even if you don't think you were in the wrong, as going off on the defensive is a very bad tactic, too), and willing to admit your mistakes. We're all human - customers realize this and will respect you a whole lot more for being open and honest about any errors, than simply trying to sweep issues under the carpet. To sweeten instances like this, explain how you will work to fix or improve things if necessary, ask for input from your fans if the situation calls for it, and send a follow-up note a couple of days after the issue has been resolved as a way to make sure everything is still okay and to reaffirm a social connection between the customer and your company. Occasionally, consider going above and beyond the call of duty to remedy a customer's problem - in public - in order to harness a wave of respect and good karma. When a Citibike customer in New York City fell off one of its bicycles and ripped his jeans, instead of just apologizing, Citibike delivered the gentleman a voucher to buy a new pair of pants. Surprised and overjoyed, the customer shared the news (and a photo to prove it) on Twitter, to all of his followers.

Note: For a much more comprehensive guide to building and maintaining a robust social media customer service strategy (tons more information – way too much to fit here!), check out my book Successful Social Media Customer Service, available on Amazon.

Automation doesn't have to be a dirty word

With so much work involved growing and maintaining a strong social media marketing strategy over a variety of channels, automation will allow you to save time, stay flexible, and plan your social media strategy down to the minute. Tools like Buffer ( or Post Planner ( allow you to manage multiple social media accounts from a single dashboard (allowing you to upload in bulk for the week’s upcoming post, publishing content when you are asleep but your audience is not, or when you are on vacation, etc.). In fact, automation tools can help to successfully build a long-tail social media strategy by scheduling new and "evergreen" blog posts for repeat exposure, i.e. sharing the same great content multiple times across several social networks, over a set period of time. This will allow you more of your existing audience the chance to catch your great content and allow new followers to find it if they missed it first time around. Pay close attention to the frequency that you automate such posts. It may be fine to post a blog post link to Twitter a couple of times in one day (where the flow of information is incredibly quick and dense), but for sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, a bigger delay between each share would be more apt. On that note, when you do prepare to share the same link multiple times, you’re best off re-styling it to make each share as unique and engaging as you can. Check out the Blogging Tips section for more information about using this technique.

Note: On the topic of scheduling and automation, here's a nifty strategy for scheduling posts that you might not have thought of: schedule posts to publish just before or after the hour (rather than right on the dot) as a way to catch people who are checking social media at the start of their day, lunch break, after work, between meetings, etc.

In spite of all of the help that automation tools provide, remember that building strong personal relationships with genuine one-to-one interaction should remain at the core of your work, and you certainly can't automate that (i.e. automating replies to comments on your profiles is a bad idea!).

Social media sucks up time

Social media is now an essential marketing and PR tool, and should be taken seriously. If you ask an existing employee to take over responsibility for your social media output, do not expect them to be able to do it as well as their current job. If you're going the whole hog, expect it to take up at least 12-15 hours a week to plan, create, and schedule content, measure results, as well as engaging with customers. Consider employing somebody into the role of Social Media Manager full time. Alternatively, outsource your activity to a local specialist marketing firm, experts who can help you hit the ground running. If you do, ensure that they understand your brand, marketing goals, and speak your customer's language.

Draw up a social media policy, make employees ambassadors

A clear, company-wide social media policy will clarify the concerns of staff mentions of your brand on social media and empower them to positively support your brand, helping to make you a more socially active business. To prepare the information you need, consult with the key influencers in your business, adhere to state and federal laws, gather feedback from your employees, and outline guidelines about use of social media (whether mentioning your brand or not), both inside and outside business hours. Try to summarize the most important points in a document no longer than one or two pages (otherwise it might not be read and leave you open to issues in the future), and highlight the benefits that responsible use of social media can bring to the company as a whole. Employees need to feel confident about social sharing guidelines to be good brand ambassadors, so make writing company-related statuses easy by - for example - inventing a hashtag related to life at your business, and encourage them to take pictures and share updates using it. The person in charge of social media content, of course, should know the policy inside out.

Social media marketing isn't free; experiment with paid ads

Several years ago, social media marketing was seen as a golden opportunity to reach and promote to customers for free. In certain aspects, this was true. Now, however, with greater competition and a more astute audience, paid promotion across is all-but essential. That's not to say you can't still achieve brilliant results without spending a penny, but even a nominal figure, spent well (such as $5 per day on highly targeted Facebook ads), can noticeably compound a brand's success. The key to a lot of successful social media advertising are promotions that blend into a user's experience of the site or app on which they appear, mirroring the tone and publishing style of the audience - as with non-paid content, think seamless instead of disruptive.

Reconsider return on investment (ROI) metrics

Social media return on investment is not like traditional marketing - in many ways, you may not always want to focus solely on monetary return within a fixed period. Consider metrics such as brand awareness, word-of-mouth promotion, traffic driven to your website via social media, and strengthening loyalty and engagement with existing customers. These can all be just as valuable in the long run - leading to plenty of sales over a longer period of time, rather than a short-term gain that dies off quickly.

Measuring performance with Google Analytics and other tools

Understanding the performance of your social media marketing is key to being able to succeed in the long run. One of the most cost-effective ways (read: free) to monitor social media conversions is through Google Analytics. Two of the most valuable reports for social media marketers feature under the “Social” section of the site: Network Referrals shows the data on social media traffic referrals to your website from social networks, and Landing Pages will show you which of your website pages are shared most often on social media. You can also use Google Analytics to setup and monitor goals, like completed sales, enquiries, and engagement. One of the simplest goals to setup is URL Destination - Google Analytics will mark a goal as met when a visitor lands on a particular page on your website, e.g. a "Thank you for your purchase" page.

Other useful tools for measuring the performance of your social strategy include social networks’ native tools (Facebook Insights, Twitter and Pinterest Analytics, etc.) (to measure click-through rates on specified links), and Social Mention (to track mentions of your business name, competitor names, etc. In essence, use analytics tools to set goals, see where your social media strategy is working best, and work out how your customers are finding you so that you can fine tune and optimize your efforts going forward. It is unlikely that you will nail your social media strategy on the first attempt, so evaluate your progress often and don't be afraid to test the water with new ideas, tweak old ones and repeat what works for you.

Note: For an elegantly simple way to monitor the growth of your social media profiles, download my Social Media Progress Tracker spreadsheet. For more details, check out the Premium Content Bundle chapter of this book.

Slow and steady wins the race; be patient and ignore scams

Social media success does not happen overnight. Just like in real life, friendships and bonds between you and your audience can take a long time to build, and some people just take longer to warm to you and convert into paying customers than others. Sometimes the metrics that don't pay off instantly (increasing brand awareness and customer retention, or improving customer service) are the ones that will have the greatest impact on conversions later on down the line. I have seen so many instances of businesses diving into social media marketing with gusto, only to give up shortly afterwards because they did not have 1.3 billion Facebook fans and a ton of sales after their first week of posting ten times a day (okay, that’s an exaggeration but you understand what I mean!). If you're not serious about working at social media for not just weeks or months, but years, you are already setting yourself up for failure.

On a related noted, ignore 'get followers fast' scams. It might be tempting to use services offered all over the web to rack up fans and followers quickly, but you'll only end up with hundreds of random strangers - or bot accounts - who don't care about you or your business. 50 interested, engaged, and loyal followers are insurmountably better than 5,000 who are not. The only real “secret” to growing an audience on social media is to be consistent and patient in your efforts.

Above all, enjoy the ride; build strong, meaningful relationships

The stronger someone acquaints with your brand on social media, the more likely they’ll remember you and pass the positive word on to their friends and family. Be consistent, present, real and genuine in all of your communication if you want to foster genuine interaction with customers on a slow and steady path to creating loyalty, sales and brand advocates for life.

Explained: The Best Types of Content to Post on Social Media

With the foundations of social media marketing covered, let's get down to the nitty-gritty: social media content. In this chapter, we'll look at a variety of proven posting strategies to help your social media strategy thrive. The following content strategies are generalized in a way that applies to the majority of social networks covered in this book. You'll find more specific advice about how to maximize its impact for each platform within each network's individual chapter.

Note: What follows are some of the most popular content strategies for social media. If you'd like tons more ideas demonstrated alongside real life examples, check out my list of 101 Social Media Content Ideas for Business at

Ask questions and start discussions

Get to know your fans and give them a chance to get to know you by posing questions and starting discussions. These questions can be about a product or event related to your business, a quick trivia quiz, or just about the wider world. The types of questions that work best include those about preference ("Do you prefer product A or product B?"), Yes or No (Are you a fan of X?"), those that ask for opinions ("What's your favorite flavor of ice-cream in our range?"), or ones that politely challenge, ("Opening our second Canadian store this month - guess where?"). Even just ending a status update with “do you agree?” or “what do you think?” is enough to encourage people to get involved. The simplest question can be useful in achieving impressive levels of engagement (and consumer insight!) provided that the subject captures the attention of your audience, particularly if it takes little or no effort to respond. As well as a simple text post, this strategy can be combined with (or implemented within) a powerful image - keep reading for more information. Interestingly, where you ask the question in a status update also affects engagement rates. Posing a question at the end of a post - compared to somewhere in the middle where it can easily get ignored - can increase engagement by up to 15%, according to a study by Buddy Media.

Note: Similar to the above – and also commonly used – are 'fill in the blank' posts as a way to encourage engagement. They're successful because fans will only have to type one or two words at the most to respond e.g. "If you could live anywhere in the world, it would be _______."

Tell your story and feature the stories of your customers

Every brand and individual has a story to tell, whether through text or (often better) through visuals; we’re hard-wired to react and respond to a compelling tale. Use social media as a destination where fans can get to know you and your brand much better than they can simply through viewing the products or services that you sell; make it a place where your voice, personality, and authenticity can shine through. Interesting and engaging topics of conversation to cover include why you launched your company, your achievements (and failures, and what you learnt from them), what motivates you, and the people and events that inspire you. In essence, show customers that you share their thoughts and ideals, and become a brand that they want to emotionally invest in, which will eventually lead to loyalty and sales. In addition to your own stories, your customers or clients will always have fun and interesting stories about how you and your product or service fit into their lives (and often it's going to be more interesting than content you could come up with yourself), so encourage them to share their tales with you (through text, photos, and videos), so that you can feature them as part of your content strategy. Doing so will excite and please the customers in question, encourage them to spread the love about your brand, help to build a stronger community around your product or service, and also act as strong social proof to others about how your brand positively impacts people's lives.

Dig into problems you solve, share your expertise, and be valuable

One of the most effective ways to influence social media users into connecting with you on a social and emotional level is to position your brand as an authority - a source that they can trust and respect, and with whom they can rely on for the information or experience they desire. One of the best ways to do this is to dig into the problems you solve and demonstrate your expertise. By this, I don't mean you should start boasting about how good your product is at solving "Problem X" at every opportunity; instead, be a valuable beacon of information within your field or industry. For instance, if your company sells antique furniture polish, you might publish posts to explain why it is so important to keep aged items in good condition, share recent example and statistics about antiques that have sold for high prices due to their pristine preservation, and provide hints and tips about best how to treat different kinds of wood. Great content – whether single posts or links to a blog article – will also be shared, further increasing brand awareness.

Use breaking news, holidays, and special events to inspire content ideas

If you are able to weave hot, newsworthy topics into your social media posts, it can add a relevance and credibility to your output that will endear you to fans by showing you as a brand that is at the forefront of new trends within your industry (and in the case of Facebook, its algorithm works to show timely, trending stories near to the top of the News Feed, possibly leading to higher engagement). Use tools like Google Alerts ( and Feedly ( to be notified of breaking stories when they happen, or sites like BuzzSumo ( to hunt down trending tweets and topics related to almost any subject. The cookie company Oreo is an expert at using this tactic. For example, at the end of 2013, it posted a short video clip accompanied by the text "We’re officially counting down to the last dunk of the year," and to celebrate the USA's Mars Rover robot successfully landing on the Red Planet, it posted a photo of an Oreo cookie with a red-cream center imprinted with robot tracks, and paired it with the caption "Now, to perfectly land an Oreo cookie in milk." In addition, some of the most viral posts on social media are linked to one-off dates or celebrations throughout the year. Holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Halloween, or special days like St. Patrick's Day, the night of the Oscars, etc. are feel-good occasions and easy to create content for, e.g. wishing your fans a happy time, sharing a fun fact, asking a holiday-related question, e.g. "How many Easter bunnies can you see in this photo?", or suggesting how your product or service can best be utilized at the particular time of year. Beyond that, there are even more "niche" occasions that might resonate with your fans and will display your brand's relevance: things like the release day of a big movie, International Talk Like A Pirate Day, Movember, or International Coffee Day. Mark all of the most relevant dates in your calendar, and prepare content ahead of time in order to "celebrate" them with your audience.

Note: When you do use the above strategies, it is important to do so in the right manner, and with appropriate tact. Avoid hijacking popular cultural events for the sake of it (especially if you cannot make the associated content relevant to your business), and try to do it in a way that doesn't come across as blatantly opportunistic. Spagettio's learnt this lesson the hard way (via a tirade of negative feedback) after it once commemorated the anniversary Pearl Harbor with an image of a spaghetti hoop holding the flag of the United States.

Promote products and services (adopt the 80 / 20 rule)

Although the majority of your social media marketing content should not be overtly promotional, selling your product or service is ultimately what you're there for, and customers do realize that. Assuming that your brand-to-customer relationship is good and the rest of the social media content you post is valuable, they will tolerate the odd post to tell them about a new product or service, or a sale or offer that you are starting - heck, they might even appreciate you letting them know! An easy way to balance out your social media output in a way that will keep you on the good side of your customers, and one a lot of brands already use, is the 80/20 rule. It states that you should post non-promotional content 80% of the time (your own valuable, helpful, or personable stuff, or related content linking to another source, with the sole aim of driving engagement), and reserve the other 20% for being more promotional. Even within this 20%, there is a broad spectrum of approaches, from subtle to more overt selling, depending on how you believe your audience will react.

Note: Where sales and offers are concerned, one approach to keep customers on side is to make certain promotions exclusive to people loyal enough to follow you on social media; e.g. extra 5% off for quoting a code posted on your Facebook Page, or a surprise flash sale for people who spot a tweet from you. Another involves giving fans early access to new products or services, preceded by a campaign of posts that build awareness and make people feel a sense that they are getting something special and exclusive. These messages can either be hosted exclusively on a social media channel, or can be used to push people to your website where you have more freedom to present your brand and offerings, collect e-mail addresses and visitor data, give away coupons, etc. in any way that you like.

Make effective use of visuals – both images and videos - to drive engagement

Images are the most popular type of content shared by social media users, so it stands to reason that you should give them a lot of attention in your own content strategy - and where brands are concerned, there are real benefits in creating unique visual posts. Research shows that social media images are much more likely to be associated with positive emotions than text posts, and brand promotion via images is much more accepted than if by text (done right, they don't really look like ads, slotting seamlessly into people's news feeds). Online tools (mentions of which are dotted throughout this book) now make the creation of beautiful visual content easier than ever. If you wanted to, you could crank out dozens of visuals per day. With this in mind, try not to fall into the trap of creating snazzy visuals for the sake of it, or at the detriment to your central marketing message. Study the performance of your images performance to spot which ones trigger a response in your fans, and which ones do not. When you find what works, replicate and scale it. Remember, too, that good written content that spells out your value proposition, compels fans to act, and builds a dialogue between you and your customers, (when accompanying an image, on its own, or in reply to comments) remains crucially important. Make sure your marketing and sales strategy defines how and when visuals will be used, and that they complement your brand while upholding the quality of your product or service.

Note: Video content is now a huge part of the social media mix too, and many of the following strategies can very easily be adapted to work in video form for multiple channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and of course, YouTube. Where applicable, the following chapters will include specific advice on maximizing the impact of video for the social network in question. In the past, the focus on social video was mostly about achieving viral success. However, virality doesn’t do much for your brand in the long term. Instead, the key is to make your native videos as valuable and shareable as possible - posting consistently great content reflecting the ideas below and throughout this book. While digesting the following information, I would strongly recommend that you consider the possibility of how it might fit into the "motion picture" side of your marketing.

Where to find images to post on social media

Physically shooting photos or building your own original graphical images is always the best option for visual content on social media, but time and budget constraints make this impossible for most brands to execute one hundred percent of the time. Luckily, there are a ton of online tools to find and edit photos and graphics, either completely free or for a small fee. Where free photos are concerned, some of my favorite sources for free images include Comp Fight ( and freeimages ( For reasonably priced stock images, Yay Micro ( is my go-to destination. Be careful when choosing stock images – avoid cheesiness and cliché at all costs; go for natural, visceral shots. As for graphics, freepik ( is my first port of call to look for free stuff. If I can't find what I like, Vectorstock ( is my preferred site. With all of the above - whether an image is free or paid for - always read and understand the terms of using an image, e.g. whether accreditation is required, if it can be used for commercial purposes, etc.

Note: Each social network has its own specific best practices for image sizes, but the general rule of thumb for any visual content is bigger is always better. The social networks will automatically resize your images as needed: there is no quality loss when the image is scaled down, but there will most certainly be if an image needs to be blown up. For simplicity’s sake, sticking to the following measurements should cover you for nearly all of your visual needs: 1280 x 720 pixels for landscape images, 735 x 1102 pixels for portrait images, and 900 × 900 pixels for square images. In addition, it’s useful to name your image files thoughtfully for SEO (search engine optimization): include keywords separated by hyphens or underscores, and alt tags to sit in place of your image when an error prevents it from loading, or it is being interpreted by someone who is visually impaired.

Brand your images (but sometimes choose not to)

In order to help your fans learn to instinctively recognize your visual content when it appears in their news feeds or is "stolen" from the social network you originally posted to, it is critical to brand your images effectively. This can be achieved in one or more ways combined, such as adding a logo (create guidelines addressing size and placement for neatness), website URL or Twitter handle, and using a consistent color palette, photo filter, and fonts to reflect your brand personality. The colors, filters and fonts used in your images will strongly affect how people perceive your brand on social media, so choose them with care, considering what kinds of feelings you want each piece of content to evoke, e.g. bright and cheery, serious, nostalgic, etc. For efficiency's sake (and to compound a sense of familiarity over time) you may even want to create a uniform template for certain types of visual content, e.g. promotions, industry insights, milestones.

Note: In most cases, a subtle approach to branding works best; your image - not your brand - should take center stage, and sometimes no text overlay or filter is needed. This is particularly pertinent for content created to mark occasions with emotional or historical significance, e.g. Mother's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, etc., where foregoing all branding might actually work in your favor for two reasons: slapping your logo on such content just doesn't seem right, and people may be encouraged to share high quality, original, "brandless" images because they feel more ownership over them - the visual content is suddenly much more selfless, or more about the fan and their connections than it is your brand. Although there is a higher chance that the images in question might be stolen and used without attribution, if those images do get more shares on the social profile you originally published them to as a result of having no branding, some sort of built-in attribution should remain each time they are passed along, e.g. a Facebook link to your business' Page or a "retweeted by" link on Twitter.

Make images powerful and self-explanatory

The best images to use on social media are ones that catch the eye, inspire curiosity, entertain, spur emotion, or broadcast a gripping message. It doesn't really matter if the image shows an experience related to your brand or not; the important thing is to help reinforce the kinds of emotions you want customers to associate with your company. Research by Buffer found that self-explanatory, stand-alone images perform better than those that need explanation and clarification in the accompanying description. In essence, if your image needs a caption to make any sense at all (rather than to elaborate and provide more value), it might not be as effective as you want it to be.

Share a special offer, discount code, or upcoming event

People love special offers, and images are a great way to highlight them in a bold and imaginative way - whether it's the launch of a season-long promotion, a one-off event, or a week where each day brings a new deal (a great way to encourage people to visit your social profiles multiple times). Compound an image's impact with accompanying text that includes a link for fans to access the offer/get more information, a time limit that will add a sense of urgency, and a call to action that will drive click-throughs. Where upcoming events, products and services are concerned, make a point of regularly highlighting these moments on social channels, and to continually differentiate yourself from the competition. Where relevant, make a point of accompanying such images with words like "new" and "limited time only" to convey your brand as fresh and forward-thinking, and to pique the curiosity of your customers.

Note: As an extra way to drive engagement, design an image that tells fans that they'll gain access to a secret sale, discount code, etc. if said image receives a certain amount shares. Set a realistic target based on your existing audience and predicted reach, because you do really want to hit it and reward those who were interested.

Show customers enjoying your products and services

There is no greater form of social proof than customers showing others how much they are enjoying your product or service, and doing it with an image is extremely powerful way of converting people into customers because it helps people associate positive emotions with your brand, whether the photo is snapped by you or - even better - user-submitted. Smartphones make it extremely easy for people to snap and share experiences with your brand as they happen, so encourage your customers and fans to do just that when they are at your premises (with signs or purpose-made "group photo/selfie spots" with an interesting background, for example.), out and about, or at home (e.g. "Post a photo in the comments to show us the view you see while listening to our podcast"). Actively encourage customers to tag or mention your profile in updates containing photos, so that when you are notified you can easily save and share the user-generated image on your brand's profile page (giving credit, of course, but also making the person feel special and keen to show their moment in the spotlight to their friends). Unify these types of posts with a hashtag that you can track across all platforms to hunt down more customer-generated content, and even add a subtle link to the product or service in question, if you think your audience won't mind. If you have lots of photos to show off in one go, take a look at using the Flipagram app ( as a way to showcase them on your profile in a fun, animated, and engaging fashion. For an additional layer of persuasion, you could experiment with adding a short customer testimonial in the form of a text overlay on top of an image of a happy customer, both to spread cheer about your brand and help convert others into willing buyers.

Note: As a quick and powerful aside to your social media efforts, include customer images on the product pages of your website for top notch social proof. Include instructions with your product (on the packaging, confirmation email, etc.) to let customers know how to tag you on Facebook, Instagram, etc., then use a website plugin to have the images automatically appear on your site.

Show off product features in images or infographics

People viewing and buying products online don't have the ability to examine them as they would in real life, so high quality product images with added details (or a link to where they can be found) are extremely important to social media marketing. Add annotations to an image of a product or service to show off features that might not be immediately obvious, e.g. the special type of fabric used in a garment, how efficient your delivery times are, or the wondrous technology hidden inside a gadget. Infographics also work well to display lots of information - especially numbers and other data related to your brand, often based on a seasonal theme - in an eye-catching, engaging and shareable way. If graphic design isn't your bag, sites like Pictochart ( and ( will help you to create lovely-looking infographics in a simple, drag-and-drop manner.

Note: While infographics render well in Twitter and Pinterest feeds, do not upload and post a full infographic image to Facebook because it will be shrunk, squashed and be almost impossible to read. Instead, select a square portion of the infographic (either the top section where the title is or from its most interesting point), cut it out, and post this to Facebook along with a link and a call to action to encourage people to click through to your website, Pinterest profile, etc. to view the infographic in full.

Share inspirational, motivational and nostalgic images, and blog post quotes

Two types of image posts that often perform well on all social media are inspirational and motivational quotes. As well as their tendency to stir a deep emotional response, they are also highly shareable, so target your quotes to relate to the mindset of your customer. Nostalgic photos with a text overlay work similarly in the way that they strike a chord of a shared experience within us, often from our childhood. Subjects for these might include historic images of your target audience's city or neighborhood, or dusty old snaps that relay the heritage of your brand. And of course, everyone on social media loves a funny image - uplifting and shareable. The following are some very broad guidelines for creating strong examples of each type of image. With repetition and consistency, your fans will learn to tie the emotions they feel when viewing these images of your brand, product or service:

Motivational images: items or landscapes that inspire optimism and positivity; strong sans serif fonts that capture attention and reinforce authority (capitalize words to create emphasis); bright and vivid filters to compound impact of your words. Often, the best kind of inspirational content arrives in the form of case studies, customer testimonials and stories of your own failures and challenges.

Nostalgic images: Choose a retro, relatable, interesting snap of your company, your community, etc., ideally several years old; hand-written, narrow fonts are wistful and memory-laden; match your filter to the occasion or season, e.g. bright and over-exposed for summer. Tie nostalgic images to a popular hashtag like #tbt (Throwback Thursday) to add some extra clout and shareability.

Funny images: Images that are created to entertain don’t have to be directly related to your products or services, but should appeal to your target audience in order to be successful. Match the font type to the tone of the humor, e.g. serif for playful, sans serif for dry; use warm tones and filters. Highly shareable, they can work by transforming your company into a relatable, more personable entity.

Note: A similar strategy to the above involves lifting a choice statistic or quote from a blog post and converting it into a powerful image that will motivate your readers to click over to read the article in full. Graphics and text overlays can be quickly and easily created in programs like Photoshop, PowerPoint or Keynote, or through online tools like PicMonkey ( and Canva (, or apps like A Beautiful Mess and Phonto (both available for iOS and Android devices).

Share hints, tips, and tutorials

Offering hints and tips to your customers is a great way to be consistently valuable, increase the potential virality of your posts, and to grow brand loyalty. One of the easiest ways to do this is to show simple step-by-step instructions by composing a single photo split into several frames (the Instagram-built Layout app, websites like Fotor ( and Canva both offer free collage-making tools, while mobile apps like PicFrame and Diptic will help you to achieve a similar effect on iOS and Android devices). To take one example, Petsmart uses a single Instagram image split into multiple images to give simple pet training advice, like teaching a dog to sit and lay. The photo's visual instructions are complemented by further explanation in the text caption.

Show behind the scenes

To increase intimacy with your brand, show your human side, and make customers feel that they are getting a special sneak peek at the inner workings of your company, use photos to snap photos of behind-the-scenes goings-on – either vague, but exciting teasers or documenting each stage of a project as you go along; showing fans your work in progress. For example, Tiffany & Co. once snapped a photo of an artist they had employed, right in the middle of him painting a new backdrop for its new Fifth Avenue store. Other examples might be as simple as showing off the treats bought for the office to celebrate the end of the working week, taking a snap of a special visitor, or posting a photo to welcome your newest member of staff.

Highlight your charitable side

To help enhance your brand image, stand out as a brand that cares, use images to highlight your charitable side. Levis regularly promotes the good its company does, such as posting a photo of a t-shirt printed for the free day it gives all employees so that they can help projects in their local communities. Get your fans involved in the process, too. For example, you could create a poll ("Poll" or "Offerpop" are two handy Facebook apps for this purpose), and ask your audience to vote on the charity or cause that they want to see you support.

Share popular memes, adapt them to your audience

Memes (most often humorously-captioned images grouped into categories such "Bad Luck Brian," "First World Problems" and many, many others) are hugely shareable and extremely popular on Facebook, and all social media. If you're unfamiliar with memes (I'm sure you'll have seen one even if you didn't recognize the image as one), the best thing is to visit a site like to discover examples for use on your Page, or to create your own - you'll pick up the idea in no time. Humorous and cute memes and images also do well on social media - anything that will evoke an emotional reaction, particularly if it is a positive one. The "Funny", "Aww" and "Pics" subreddits of (, and respectively) are an almost-infinite source of such content, but if you have your own original funny, cute, or interesting images, all the better. The unstoppable spread of many memes and funny images means that crediting the original source can be an almost impossible task, but it's always good to do so if you can. Despite the widespread popularity of memes and other viral images, do not rely on them heavily as a way to bulk out your social marketing strategy. Regardless of the high engagement rates they might get, this type of content can be regarded as not "high quality," (especially in the eyes of Facebook, as often the engagement it does get is not the most highbrow) so too much of it could hinder your reputation and reach more than it helps, but used once in a while, they shouldn't do any harm.

Jump on fads in popular culture

Just as the popularity of a meme comes and goes, so do real-life photo trends. Photobombing and selfies are trends that look like they are here to stay, but others like whaling and owling burnt out as quickly as they arrived. Nevertheless, all of these trends can be taken advantage of in order to boost engagement in your own content strategy, whether you take the photos yourself or encourage your fans to, so that you can share their efforts on your social profiles. For example, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Australia encourages visitors to take selfies with some of the animals within the park, which it then features on its Facebook and Instagram profiles.

Build Presentations for Slideshare

With over 60 million visitors a month, Slideshare ( is the web's biggest hub for hosting and sharing presentations on almost any topic. Some of the most popular slideshows are business-related, which makes the site doubly important for B2B companies. The site's visual nature makes it one of the most efficient platforms for which to create or re-purpose work in order to generate high quality leads (paid membership even allows you to place contact forms within the presentation itself). The most successful Slideshare presentations are laser-focused in their subject, turning individual aspects of written content (blogs, e-books, speeches, and even infographics) into highly visual content, i.e. strong and emotive photos or graphics, a consistent color scheme and fonts, and keeping text to an absolute minimum - often just a single sentence (or even half of one!) per slide. Check out the Explore and Popular pages on Slideshare for examples of featured content, and mirror this style in your own uploads. Slideshare decks can be created, saved, and uploaded via software like PowerPoint and Keynote, online tools like Canva or Haiku Deck (, or apps like SlideIdea ( Once published, Slideshare presentations can be shared onwards to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more, and embedded into websites.

Other image types: word clouds, screenshots, and snack size data

Word clouds are a fun and inventive way to represent a piece of content when sharing it to social media, whether that be the words from a blog post, the transcript of a video, or the opinions of people commenting on a particular status update. Sites like Wordle ( ask you to paste in a body of text, which it will then use to generate a word cloud - customizable by font, layout, and color scheme. The more times a word appears, the more prominence it is given in the cloud. If you want to direct people to a specific part of your website or show them a quick step-by-step process, then screenshot images are one effective way to go about it - show people, don't tell. Creating them is as simple as using a snipping tool like Skitch ( (or even the Print Screen key) to grab a snapshot, then adding text and arrow annotations before sharing. Or if you want to add a bit of visual flair, check out a service like PlaceIt (, which allows you to insert a screenshot onto professional stock photos of devices captured in real-life settings. Screenshots are also useful if you simply cannot find a suitable image: grabbing block quotes, ordered lists, or short paragraphs (stuff that can be easily digested) is the best option here. Infographic-style images needn't be big, full pieces of work. Sharing a snippet of fascinating or impressive data in the form of a graphic with a text overlay, or a chart can be just as powerful. Examples might include the number of hours it takes to manufacture a single pair of bespoke shoes, how the amount you've given to charity has increased over the years, or how many cups of coffee your team gets through during a busy week!

A note on perspective and comparisons

Customers viewing your products online are doing so on flat (often small) pixilated screens - way different to the experience they'd have inspecting them in real life. With this in mind, consider posting images from multiple angles (perhaps as a collage) to give the best look that you can. And if size is an important part of your product, think about juxtaposing it next to a common household item (or your competitor's product!) so that customers can easily judge the scale.

Experiment with animated GIFs

While the popularity of animated GIFs has prevailed for many years, their usage has boomed thanks to more accessible creation tools and faster Internet connections. Animated GIFs are currently supported on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest (and, of course, make create additions to blog posts), and they are an easy way for brands to add a fun, engaging element to content. A few methods for their use include: demonstrating a tricky step in a how-to guide, replaying a hilarious moment from a recent event, ad campaign, or behind the scenes at your business, flashing up the benefits of a product or service, making an announcement, thanking a customer, relaying a reaction or emotion like happiness, surprise, or fear, or simply creating a cool effect like an seamless loop, in a much more dynamic way than text or static emoticons. Check out Giphy ( to search for and discover a massive archive of animated GIFs, create your own using software like Photoshop or simple web tools like Make A GIF (, and use Loop Findr ( to build animated GIFs that contain seamless loops.

Host contests on social media

Contests (promotions, sweepstakes and drawings) are a staple strategy for many brands on social media, and they're a great way to increase awareness of your company, generate buzz for a new product, encourage engagement, and build communities on your profiles. The goal of a social media contest should be to attract highly engaged fans who will stick with you after the promotion ends, slowly converting into loyal regular customers. To this end, offer a prize that targets your audience's wants and needs (e.g. free coffee for a week if you own a coffee shop, a free pampering session if you own a spa, a store-specific voucher, etc.). Contests with generic prizes (Amazon gift cards, iPads, etc.) will attract low-value fans who aren't necessarily interested in your brand offering, and unlikely to convert to loyal fans and customers in the future. To further prevent unwanted entrants, make your contest last for a long time to put off those people only looking for the chance of a quick win (perhaps weeks or even months depending on the prize), and also make the barrier to entry something that only true fans would take the time to do. Other simple ideas for contest success include making it easy for people to share news of the contest onto their friends, hosting a joint contest with a related business to share audiences, and considering paid promotion to encourage entries in the campaign's infancy.

Facebook Tips:

Marketing Strategy You'll Like and Share

Facebook is the most visited social network in the world, with well over one billion users on desktop and mobile. As the king of social networks, your target audience is almost guaranteed to be there. Use these tips to build, brand and market your business on Facebook, as well as amass a following of highly engaged customers.

Facebook Business Page Setup Strategy

Before you dive in and start posting on Facebook, it pays to take some time to lay solid foundations to help get your brand presence set up properly, and in a position to impress fans when they find you. Let's get started on the road to making your little corner of Facebook a destination that people will visit regularly.

Create a Facebook Page, not a personal profile

When you sign up to Facebook, you are assigned a Personal Timeline by default. Personal Timelines, sometimes referred to as profiles, are designed for individual, non-commercial use. For your business to take advantage of everything Facebook marketing has to offer, you must create a separate Facebook Page. Facebook Pages look similar to personal Timelines, but provide unique tools for brands like analytics, custom tabs to host business-related information, and advertising tools. Pages do not require separate Facebook accounts and do not have separate login information from Timelines. You can create a Facebook Page in one of three ways: by searching 'Create A Page' in the search bar at the top of the site, by clicking the 'Create A Page' button at the top of any existing Facebook Page, or by visiting

Note: If you are currently using a personal Timeline for business purposes, there is a possibility that Facebook will find and shut your account down without notice. To give you a chance to correct this error, Facebook provides a tool that will convert your personal Timeline to a business Page, available at When you convert your personal account to a Facebook Page, your current profile picture will be transferred and all the profile's friends will be switched to fans who "like" your Page. In addition, your account's username will become the username for your Page, and the name associated with your personal account will become your Page's name (you may be able to change this if you wish - I explain how in the next tip). No other content, including your wall posts, photos, videos, etc. will be carried over to your new Page, so be sure to download an archive of this data (via your profile settings) if you want to preserve it.

If you are currently utilizing your personal profile for a mix of things - for its originally intended purpose (i.e. to interact with friends and family) but also (and wrongly) for commercial use - the best thing to do to avoid getting into trouble is to halt all business activity on your personal Timeline, create a separate business Page, then encourage your audience to de-friend your personal account and head over to "like" your new Page where they can stay up to date. While building a Facebook Page is essential for businesses on Facebook, there are also several ways to utilize an individual Timeline - in a non-commercial way - to engage with customers and clients on a more personal level. For now, we're going to concentrate on Pages, but look out for Timeline-based tips in the Using Your Personal Facebook Profile to Boost Business section at the end of this chapter.

Keep your Facebook Page name short; get it right the first time!

If at all possible, try to keep your Facebook Page name short, as this will help if you go on to create Facebook ads, where the headline space in the advert (often the name of your Page) is limited to just 25 characters. You can only change the name of a Facebook Page manually if it has fewer than 200 likes, so make sure you are happy with yours early on. If you are not happy with your Page name and it qualifies to be changed, go to the "About" tab located underneath your Page's cover photo. Click "Edit" next to the Name section and save. Changing your Page's name does not affect its username or Page web address (explained below).

Get a custom Facebook web address for your Facebook Page

Set up a vanity URL for your Facebook Page (available when you gain 25 likes), ideally named after your brand, e.g. This will make it much easier for you to tell people how to find your Facebook Page. Think about it carefully, as you will only be able to change this URL once in future (via the "About" tab), otherwise you will have to delete your Page and start over - not good if you've built a big fan base! To reach the 25-fan threshold quickly, invite your e-mail contacts and current Facebook friends - a community of people who already care about you and your brand - to visit and "Like" your Page, via the "Promote" drop-down menu at the top of your Facebook Page.

Fill in business info accurately and in detail

Fill in as much of your business' details as possible in the About section of your Facebook Page, including address, contact details, product information, website (add multiple URLs by separating them with commas in the website box), and links to other social profiles. Putting the effort into populating these sections makes your Page helpful to customers who can see all of your essential information in one place, and the keyword-rich blurb is also good for search engine optimization (SEO), as the text in your About section is indexed by Google. Restaurant owner and selected Restaurant/Cafe as your Page's category? Make sure you include the types of foods you serve, and also upload your menu as a PDF for customers to browse, or if you're in the U.S. or Canada, you can also add a menu through SinglePlatform.

Note: Depending on how your Page is categorized, sometimes the first-viewed bit of the About section displays differently on the Facebook mobile app than it does to desktop viewers. For some mobile users, it will show your Short Description, others your Mission, and others still, a portion of your full Company Description. With this in mind, it may be wise to amend all of these sections to begin with your website URL so that you can guarantee that is always the first thing that mobile users see.

Verify your Page and get an official check mark on your cover photo

If your business has a real world address, Facebook allows you to verify your Page to adorn its cover photo with an official grey check mark - similar to the blue one given to celebrities and other public figures. To verify your Page, visit your Page Settings and choose Verify Page under the General menu. You’ll need to confirm your business-representative status via a telephone call to a publicly listed number for your business, or otherwise upload an official document, e.g. business phone or utility bill, business license, business tax file, etc. Verified Pages appear higher in search results and show people at a glance that you are the official brand Page for your company on Facebook, so it’s well worth doing.

Create an awesome cover photo and add a call-to-action button

Facebook Page cover photos are viewable by anyone on Facebook, so use the space to effectively communicate your brand or message in one simple, high quality, image. The ideal size is 851 × 315 pixels - any smaller and Facebook will automatically stretch the image, making it appear blurry. Ideas for cover photos include one powerful image that communicates who you are and what you do, a collage of your products, highlighting an ongoing offer, or featuring a photo or testimonial submitted by one of your own fans - the latter will really "wow" your customer and hopefully they'll spread the word to their friends. Keep users engaged by periodically updating your cover photo and profile pic - once per month is a good target to aim for, but a seasonal change is popular amongst brands, too.

Add a call to action, offers and links in the cover design and description

In December 2014, Facebook announced the roll out of solid, clickable call-to-action buttons that can be added to cover photos, including "Book Now", "Contact Us," "Use App. Designed as a way to bring your business’ most important objective to the forefront of your Facebook presence, call-to-action buttons can be linked to any destination on or off Facebook. Dollar Shave Club used a "Sign Up" call-to-action cover photo button and saw a 2.5x higher conversion rate over three weeks compared to other comparable efforts.

When you upload a cover photo, click on it and you will be able to edit it to add a text description. Here, type a short, relevant blurb, then add in a call to action and related links to your website, a product, an offer, a Page tab, or feature a discount code as a reward for clicking. Many Facebook Page visitors click on cover photos for a closer look, so use the description as a way to anchor the photo and encourage them to take action. The description will also appear when someone hovers their mouse cursor over the cover image - just another reason to make the most of it. To encourage more clicks on your cover photo, you can try experimenting with a "button" as part of your cover design with its own call to action, e.g. "Get 10% off your next purchase with us - Click Here!" Alternatively (and to tempt the people who won't click on your Page's cover photo - call to action or not ) - you might want to use it to let non-fans know what value there is to them in "liking" your Page, e.g. Free DIY tips, daily dessert recipes, regular parenting advice, etc. Every time a Facebook user "likes" your Page, a large part of your cover image (along with your profile photo) will show in the News Feed of that person's friends, inviting them to "like" the Page too, so do your best to make the design as compelling and visually representative of your brand as possible, even at a smaller size.

Note: Facebook most recently amended its rules about cover photos in July 2013. They read: “Covers can't be deceptive, misleading or infringe on anyone else's copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines.” Facebook has been known to remove the cover photos of Pages who don't follow along, so stick to them in order to avoid any nasty surprises. Once upon a time, Facebook also told Page owners that their cover photo could not feature text that covered more than 20% of its entire area. This restriction no longer applies, which means that you can include contact details and pricing and purchasing information about a product in your cover image to whatever extent you like. While this is mostly good news for marketers, I would still advise caution. Too much text can make a cover photo look spammy and unprofessional, so I would recommend at least some restraint, as the instant visual impact of a great cover photo cannot be understated.

Upload a Facebook profile photo recognizable at a small size

While the cover photo dominates your Facebook Page, arguably, it's the profile photo you choose that can have the most influence overall, as it is seen all over the site: in the News Feed of followers, in posts on your Page's timeline, in all comment replies, and of course, overlaying your cover photo. The recommended upload size for a profile photo is 180 x 180 pixels, but it is displayed at 160 x 160 on your main profile, and as small as 43 x 43 pixels next to comments. Ideally, the image you choose should be recognizable (or at least distinct) at this smallest size. The best thing to do is to create a large square image - something like 640 × 640 pixels (or as big as you want, really). When uploaded, it will automatically be scaled down to 160 × 160, look nice and crisp, and anyone who clicks on your profile photo for a closer look will see the large image in all its glory. As with the cover photo, edit the description of your profile photo to add some relevant blurb and a link to your website or an offer, as a way to reward those curious enough to click it.

Note: With design in mind, upload a profile photo that complements your cover image designs, and vice versa. Don't be afraid to tweak the colors of your profile photo to help the hues match, but do ensure that your brand logo is still recognizable.

Create Facebook Page custom tabs to promote your services

Custom tabs display in the "Apps" section on the left-hand side of your Facebook Page and are great little hub for things like promoting your products and services, most popular blog posts (NetworkedBlogs is a good choice), for hosting contests, sharing customer testimonials, inviting people to “Like” your Page to be notified of exclusive news and offers in their News Feeds, or encouraging people to sign up to your e-mail list (I use MailChimp). Just search for a particular kind of app in Facebook's search bar, e.g. "contest app" and chances are it will be automatically suggested to you and can be installed in just a few clicks. Apps can also be used to cross-promote your other social profiles like Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc. One of the best ways to populate custom tabs to appear exactly as you desire (with branded design, links, etc.) is with the free Static HTML iframe app. As an example, I used the Static HTML app to build a 'Welcome' tab, which encourages users to "Like" my page for free social media video tutorial updates, and gives information about my book, with a clickable link to purchase it at Amazon. To get started, simply find and install the Static HTML iframe app via the Facebook's search bar. If the relatively basic coding required by the Static HTML iframe app is beyond your knowledge (and you don't have a developer to help you), check out "freemium" services like Pagemodo ( and Woobox ( that, through a simple step-by-step process will allow you to build customized custom tabs.

Note: Given the huge number of users accessing Facebook on phones and tablets, whenever you share links to custom Facebook tabs and apps, verify that the resource is mobile-friendly before you launch. Many are not, and you might unwittingly exclude a huge segment of your audience.

Customize tab images, re-order, and rename to encourage clicks

When you install a custom tab app, it will often appear with a generic tab image and name -hardly good in encouraging people to click on it. With most apps (except those for which the developer has ruled against it), you will be able to edit these details. To do so, click on "Settings" at the top of your Facebook Page, then choose "Apps" from the sidebar. In the "Added Apps" section, click "Edit Settings" on the app you want to customize, then click "Change" to upload a new image and enter your desired tab name into the box provided. Custom tab images are 111 × 74 pixels, and are best used to make the app stand out, and to unify and enhance the overall branding of your Facebook Page.

As well as apps displaying on the left-hand side of your Page, links to your About, Photos and a link to one of your custom tab apps will also appear as horizontally-displayed text links underneath your Page's cover photo - the rest will be hidden below a "More..." button in the same position. To select which custom tab link you want to appear underneath your cover photo, arrange it to appear at the top of your Apps list by choosing More > Manage Tabs, then dragging and dropping it to the top of the pile. While it is in this prime position, compel people to click it by changing its name to a call to action using the instructions above. Examples might include. "Click here first!" (linking to a tab containing more info about your company), "Click HERE to win!" (linking to a contest tab) or "Get 10% off!" (linking to a tab containing a discount code.

Note: As well as being able to re-arrange the order of custom tabs within the Apps section, you can also re-order whole sections, e.g. Likes, Photos, Posts to Page, etc. on the left-hand side of your Page - the position you move them to will depend on their importance, and required visibility to you and your fans. To do this, hover your cursor over a section, click the pencil icon that appears, and choose Manage Sections. In the pop-up window that appears, simply drag and drop the sections to re-order them as you see fit (the People and About sections are fixed to the top, but all others are fair game.

Cater to mobile customers by encouraging check-ins, and using Place Tips

When a user views your Page and business information on the Facebook mobile app, they’ll also be shown information like which of their friends have visited and checked in, and whether they or the wider Facebook community have recommended you with photos, star ratings and reviews on show. Knowing this, it pays to encourage people to “check-in” if you have a real-life location. Display notices in prominent areas of your establishment, such as the entrance, receipts and point of sale, to prompt customers to get out their smartphones, check-in and inform their friends of where they are, encouraging them to visit too. When a review is left for a business, a status update is created that goes out to the News Feed of that customers' friends, along with the business' cover and profile photo and its star rating.

If a customer is already at your location and opens the Facebook app, Place Tips come into play. Place Tips uses Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth (for the latter, you can apply for a Bluetooth “beacon” to beam your information via to automatically show visitors more information about your business, including the aforementioned reviews, photos, check-ins, etc. In addition, it will encourage people to check-in and like your Page and, via the About section of your profile, you can specify a custom Welcome Message to greet customers to your establishment - perhaps give them a heads-up on offers and discounts too!

Add a Facebook Page Plugin and share buttons to your website

To promote your Facebook Page on your website, grab the code for a Facebook Page Plugin (formerly the “Like Box” at and embed it into a suitable spot on your website – the top of a sidebar is a popular choice. When you set up the plugin, make sure to check the options to “Show Friends’ Faces” and “Show Page Posts, as this will ensure that the plugin shows viewers the profile photos of any of their friends who already like your Page, as well as a scrollable, clickable preview of your most recent status updates. Although most Facebook Page Plugins are placed in website sidebars, some people have had success by inserting the widget underneath blog posts. In this position, the plugin works as part of a call to action, e.g. "Did you enjoy reading my blog post? Yes? Then, click "Like" to stay updated on Facebook..." Why not experiment with the position of your Page Plugin to see which works best for you?

In addition to the Facebook Page Plugin, embed the Facebook "Like" and "Share buttons on top of, besides, or underneath the blog posts and products on your website. Doing this encourages people to broadcast their love for your work to their friends and also lets them choose how they want to do it: "Like" posts links to Facebook with one click, while "Share" allows them to add a personalized message before posting. Grab the code for these buttons by searching the web for 'Facebook Like button' (Google 'Facebook Like button') or by visiting the Facebook Developers' page at, or automatically via a service like AddThis (

Note: For access to all kinds of official Facebook brand assets for you to use online and offline (including Facebook logos and "Find Us on Facebook" badges) simply visit

Facebook Marketing Basics

Now that your Facebook Page is looking great and you’re encouraging people to visit it, let's explore some ways that you can make the most effective use of the platform, in conjunction with the content strategy ideas described in the previous chapter.

Pin important posts

Facebook allows you to pin a single post to the top of your Page's timeline for up to a week. Use this to feature important content, and make it more visible to fans who visit your Page. All new status updates will appear below the pinned post until it is unpinned (or a week elapses), whereupon it will fall into its original chronological position. After creating a post, hover over it until the pencil icon appears, click it and choose 'Pin to Top'. In particular, posts to consider pinning include special announcements, contents, promotions, etc.

Boost interaction with Facebook-embedded posts

In August 2013, Facebook rolled out the ability to embed personal profile or Page posts into an external website. Use embedded posts to lift conversations from your Facebook Page to help encourage and boost interaction with your statuses in places away from the site, like as part of a blog post, or even in an e-mail newsletter as a way to drive readers to your Page. As long as the status update you post is public, anybody can embed it from your Facebook Page or re-embed them from wherever else it appears, which - if your status is really shareable - could give your Page and content a lot of exposure. Embedded posts even include buttons for viewers to "Like", comment, and Share the post, and a button to "Like" your page.

How to embed a Facebook post

1. Hover over the post you want to embed, left-click on the arrow that appears, and choose "Embed Post".

2. Copy the code that appears and paste it as HTML on your website or blog.

Re-post top notch content, but don't be spammy about it

As not everyone checks their Facebook News Feed all day every day, and only a small proportion of your fans will see your content first time around, if you have a killer article or link to share, post it several times as a way for as many of your fans to see it as possible. However, make a concerted effort to share the information under different guises, e.g., different wording in the text, an image with a link, a link share post, etc. Although image-with-a-link posts are worth experimenting with, traditional link share posts come most often recommended because they reflect the way that the average person uses Facebook... when did you last see a friend sharing a link with an uploaded image? Facebook will penalize your reach if you publish the exact same status over and again, as it has found people react negatively to "copy and paste" posts.

Encourage clicks through call-to-actions but avoid "click-baiting"

To encourage higher click-through rates from Facebook and other social media to your website and blog, being specific about what you want your customers to do using a clear call to action is often a good bet, e.g. "Click here for more information [your link]". Sometimes that little push can make all the difference between a successful status and one that sinks without a trace.

Note: In relation to the above, it is worth pointing out that August 2014, Facebook amended its News Feed algorithm to crack down on so-called "click-bait" article-sharing. These are typically articles with vague and over-promising headlines like "You'll never believe who puked on the red carpet last night... CLICK to see our exclusive pic!" that do not make it plainly clear what the post will entail. Facebook wants you to share valuable content that people will read and share with their friends, so if it spots that your fans are clicking on these types of links and returning straight to Facebook (because the content is poor) and not sharing, similar posts will receive less visibility in the future. Conversely, high quality links that get shared many times over will benefit from higher reach.

Guarantee views with "Get All Notifications" and “See First” strategy

One tactic that can be used to all-but guarantee that fans see all of your Page's content is to train them to select the "Get Notifications" and “See First” options, found in a drop-down menu when hovering their cursor over the "Liked" and “Following” button underneath your Page's cover photo. With this selected, every time you post a new status update, the fans