Social media amplification is a big topic area within Inbound Marketing. When done correctly, it can boost your message substantially. But not every marketing team is ready to fully embrace social media amplification and able to dedicate the time to it (small teams, we get it!). There are multiple strategies and execution tactics. We believe a large part of amplification is linked to conversations and true engagement. Here are our tips to get these started:
Tip 1: Understand your channels
Social media is so much more than LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Brands have expanded to Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Quora, Reddit, Pinterest, YouTube, Medium, Yelp, Stack Exchange...any channel that allows for conversations to happen can and is considered social. I like the new shiny thing, so am prone to jump on new social channels to test them out. However, if you are running a small marketing team, you should really be focussing on those channels that are driving success rather than chasing the new shiny thing.
Here’s how you do it:
Working with your measurement tool (e.g. Google Analytics or HubSpot) dive into your social media visits. Most tools will give you the exact number of visits by platform so you can identify whether Facebook, for example, is really driving traffic or not. Check into Referral traffic also, certain channels are identified here rather than in the Social category.
Now, go beyond visit numbers and try to gauge the quality of visit by channel. You can consider time spent on site, conversion to lead rate, bounce rate and others to figure out whether the visit is valuable. Be openminded, especially when you see niche channels that you wouldn’t have expected.
Be ruthless. Any channel that is not delivering on your goals whether that’s to drive visits, engagements or conversions, needs to be evaluated. Have you not spent the time to make this channel work? Or is the channel not delivering and you should spend your time more wisely on other platforms?
Be open. You might find a channel that you have never considered before. Do your research and see whether it’s worth a larger test.
By knowing which channels deliver and focussing on these first, you amplify your message by simply dedicating your time to these.
Tip 2: Join conversations - as a human
It’s becoming harder and harder to get heard on social media. Gaining followers and receiving clicks is declining for most businesses. To me, this is not really surprising as especially in B2B social media strategies often just seem to be made up of endless flows of content being pushed out. There is no engagement, no two-way conversation unless instigated by a user. Is it any surprise then that algorithms are changing to show users what they are actually interested in (aka engage with)?
Here’s how you can start amplifying your conversations:
There is a lot of talk about building relationships with influencers. In absence of a complete influencer strategy, a great first step is to find out more about your followers. Is there anyone there who has an audience that speaks to your target? Someone you have things in common with - your topic, your passion, your tone of voice? Start a conversation with these people by commenting on what they are posting. Now, there is nothing worse than a contrived message (“Hey, we like your stuff. Can you promote ours?”) when really you have no interest in them or their topic. You only care about their following. People see through those messages and will call you out for it. Be human, start a normal conversation. Ask a question that you want the answer to and that will lead to a chat. A relationship like this is valuable because when you do have a great new piece of content to share, you can ask for your influencers opinion and yes if you have the right relationship, you can ask them to share.
On our personal social channels, we tag. Hashtags, people and places. It's strange to see a post that doesn’t tag someone or something. So why don’t we do it in business? Tag people who you genuinely think will be interested or are involved. Tag places (they have social media managers, too), fellow businesses, followers and colleagues. Do it as you would on your personal channels, as a human. What I mean by this is, don’t tag for the sake of it. Do it where it makes sense and where you actually want to have a conversation.
Follow influencers in your industry. Whether these are journalists, fellow entrepreneurs, platforms or applications, thought-leaders or lecturers. When they post something that is of interest to your business, respond. If they post a piece that you are unclear on, ask questions. Don’t just say “hey, great article!”, tell them why.
Key to all of this is to act like a human. In real life, it would be strange if someone just stood in front of you spitting out statements. You’d walk away, right? But someone who shows an actual interest asks you questions and has a conversation, you are willing to stick around for and perhaps introduce to your friends. Be that person on social, especially if you are a business and you will see your messages naturally amplify.
Tip 3: Boost your mentions
Most of us spend a lot of time creating content for our own channels as well as other channels. It’s part of nearly every content strategy today to reach out online industry publications and see whether they would publish an original piece by our business. PR is alive and well - online and offline. While press releases are published, many businesses position themselves as thought leaders in a specific space and a valuable information source to journalists. Getting mentioned outside your corporate channels is great, so how can we amplify this even more?
Here’s how you can get started:
If you haven’t started reaching out to other publications to write for or do not have a PR programme, this section is still for you. Have a look at the people in your business and their following. Especially in B2B, you will find that senior management will have a wealth of industry connections on LinkedIn, so why not make use of them? Engage your team by explaining the benefit to their own profile and the business if they get involved in your social strategy. Ask your team to share business content on appropriate channels and if they are finding it difficult to write a social message, perhaps give them some options a la “Tweet This” messages.
I have worked with a wealth of CEOs and department leaders who are eager to share their own opinions and build their profile. Often, they need a little guidance on how to best do this. Is Medium a good platform or are LinkedIn posts better? A personal blog? Could I get help from an editor? These are questions that they will need the help of marketing with. Leaders of your organisation represent the business and will amplify your message as they create their own content. Just be sure to set certain guidelines in terms of what is appropriate.
Spending time on PR or writing for industry insight websites is incredibly rewarding. Your thoughts are opened to a whole new audience on the pages as well as the social media accounts associated with the publications. The go-to thing to do is take the link to the article and post it on your social media channels. That’s a great start. Let’s see if we can amplify it. Head over to the social channel of the publication and engage there. Ask the audience there a question, point out how people can reach you if they have comments and show appreciation. Suddenly you are not just engaging with your existing audience on your channels, you are starting a new relationship with the audience of the publication.
From the dawn of social media for business, we are talking about having conversations. Yet, it’s so easy to fall into the pushing of messages default action. And yes, I’m often guilty of exactly that. You create a blog or other piece of content and you push out your message. Spray and pray across your social channels. And there is nothing wrong with a little spraying and praying, you have great content and an existing audience who are very likely interested in reading it. So why not share it?
Amplifying your content goes beyond sharing your message in a one-way fashion. And while you can repost all your content on LinkedIn, Medium, Reddit and other news aggregator sites, valuable amplification will only come from engaging the right audience on the right platforms in a conversation.