Think of your strategy as a machine that's made up of different small parts all working toward one goal.
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Figuring out a strategy that improves social media engagement and conversion rates — and aligns with business goals — is a common challenge for marketers. There are many solutions for improving social metrics and business ROI, but no part of a digital-marketing plan works in isolation, and social media engagement and conversion rates are a perfect example. Despite being on different levels of the marketing funnel, they can improve simultaneously. Here are six steps you can follow to make that happen.
Step 1: Increase your social proof
Social proof, coined by Robert Cialdini, is a psychological concept in which individuals tend to mimic others’ actions when faced with an ambiguous situation. According to PwC’s Global Consumer Insights study, social networks ranked first (37 percent) on a list of where online shoppers look for inspiration. To improve your social proof you could consider the following:
- Post user-generated content (UGC).
- Track and repost positive feedback from customers — the more visual, the better.
- Select high-quality images with a visible product and posts where captions include mentions of your brand name or account.
Step 2: Create calls to action
Optimizing your social media profile improves credibility for viewers and search engines. On networks such as Instagram, which disallow links in individual posts, get creative with your bio: Change fonts, use special characters or include a bit of levity with emoji. You can also use verbs like “Click,” “Subscribe” or “Shop.”Arrows pointing downward are especially effective. All work to spruce up an otherwise plain Instagram bio and prompt people to give your profile a second look while promoting your link.
Step 3: Create the right incentives
According to the 2018 Sprout Social Index, 73 percent of respondents wanted to see posts about discounts and sales, and 59 percent want to see posts that teach something. On the flip side, 61 percent of social marketers prioritize educational posts, 58 percent focus on storytelling and 53 percent focus on inspiring.
People in different demographics consume social media content differently. For example, in a recent study on how people older than 50 use technology, 66 percent say they use social media to keep abreast of news and current affairs; 27 percent say it takes up too much of their time.
Take both content preferences and behavior into account when planning social media content. Give your audiences what they want. Create simple, eye-catching visuals to appeal to the demographic most important to you. Announce sales and promotions — bonus points if the promotion is announced exclusively on social channels.
Step 4: Run contests or giveaways
In the same way an exclusive social promotion works, limiting a contest to social media is a great way to improve engagement and conversions. But contests take more time and preparation. Approach these as you would a campaign. Plot critical dates on your content calendar, create all promotional materials beforehand and prepare for any questions interested users may ask. Take your preparations to the next level with programs such as Vyper to manage all contest components in one place.
Don’t forget to do your due diligence. The We’re All About Cats team runs U.S.-wide essay contests and says, “Running a contest isn’t as simple as posting a call for entries. Read up on the guidelines for online contests applicable in your state or country. It’s necessary to make it explicitly clear what you need from contestants and what they can expect in return. Then, include the full contest policies in the caption of your announcement post or on the contest landing pages.”
Step 5: Optimize your content for each platform
Give your audience a seamless browsing experience. Reuse and repurpose photos and link previews across platforms. It saves time and effort, freeing you to handle other tasks. However, make an effort to optimize content for the platform on which you post. Here’s a quick guide for essential social media image sizes:
- Post image: 1200 x 630
- Link preview image: 1200 x 628
- Header image: 1500 x 500
- Timeline image: 440 x 220
- Square photos: 1080 x 1080
- Videos: 1080 pixels wide
- Instagram Stories: minimum 600 x 1067
- Image post: 350 pixels wide
- Shared link preview: 180 x 110
Use a photo or video editor to create multiple variations of posts while maintaining quality and aesthetics. Programs such as Canva, Adobe Photoshop Express, Instasize and GIMP are popular among marketers.
Step 6: Make data-driven decisions
Have you been doing social media for a while but want better results? It’s your responsibility to make data-driven tweaks to your strategy. Run regular analytics reports to see how each piece of content is performing. In this way, you can evaluate commonalities across successful posts. Seeing all the data in one place with easy reference to what happened in the previous months will help you attain better engagement and conversions.
How do you set initial benchmarks or try something completely new? Do research. Myriad resources exist online for free, so carve out time in your day or week to read up on new and exciting developments.