By: Annie Pilon
Social media’s potential impact for small businesses cannot be understated. But if you’ve been using social media for awhile, then you probably already know a lot of the standard tips. However, there are plenty of other things you can do on social media aside from just posting product photos and responding to customer inquiries. Here are some social media marketing tips that you don’t hear every day.
How to Use Social Media For Marketing Creatively
Post Product Creation Videos
You already know that you can, and should, post information about your products on social media. But not many businesses actually give customers a behind the scenes look at what goes into making their products. You can do this easily through quick videos on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or even Snapchat.
Start a Hashtag for Testimonials
Testimonials can also be great content for businesses to share on social media. But finding testimonials that can be boiled down enough to fit into a tweet or social media post can be a challenge. So consider creating a hashtag specifically for that purpose and then encourage your customers to share their testimonials in that format. You can then repost their thoughts directly to your followers.
Honor an Employee of the Week
Social media is a great outlet for sharing behind-the-scenes looks at your business. And your employees can be a big part of that. So you can start an employee of the week or month program and share a bit about your best team members on social media channels.
Share a Photo an Hour
You can also share behind-the-scenes looks at your company through regular photos. A few times a year, designate a day where you share a photo each hour, or at least a few times a day, to give people a realistic view of what goes on over the course of a day.
Share Tutorials That Use Your Products
Aside from just sharing information or photos of your products, you can use social media to give people cool ideas for how to actually use them. So you can create and share quick tutorials that highlight some of those unique uses or ideas.
Make Stop-Motion Videos on Instagram
Stop motion videos can be a great way to showcase some of those tutorials or unique ideas. Or you can even use them to tell stories quickly and in a unique and fun format.
Share Boomerang Images of Products in Use
Boomerang is an Instagram app that lets you create really quick gif-like videos. They’re not long enough to tell a story or share a bunch of steps, but they are sufficient to show some movement. So you can use them to demonstrate simple features of products in some cases.
Start a Group Pinterest Board
You already know that Pinterest can be a great outlet for sharing content. But it can also be a great way to interact with your audience through group boards. Start a board where customers can share images of your products in use or just posts related to your industry. And add your own content as well.
Partner with Other Companies to Share Product Ideas
You can actually amplify the reach of some of your posts by working with other companies to create social media campaigns. Consider showing off your product in use with another company’s product and both of you can share it on your channels. This can be especially useful for posts like recipes or DIY projects.
Have Employees Take Over Your Accounts
Having the same people run your social media accounts every day can mean that it starts to get repetitive after awhile. But you can change it up a bit by having different employees take over your accounts on occasion to share a different view of your company.
Have Customers Take Over Your Accounts
You might also host a contest or promotion where you choose a customer or follower to take over your accounts for a day to share some of their favorite content, including how they use your products or services.
Recommend Other Accounts for People to Follow
Most of your social media followers also follow other brands that are somewhat related to your industry. So you can add some value for them by suggesting some other accounts that you think they might find useful.
Add Personality with GIFs
On Twitter and other social platforms, you have the opportunity to add GIF images to your posts, which can inject some personality and movement into your posts.
Create a Recurring Character
If your company has a mascot, logo or even a pet or office decoration that really represents your company, you can use that as a sort of recurring character in your social media posts that your followers can easily recognize and interact with.
Ask for Photo Submissions
The content you share on your social media channels doesn’t always have to come directly from you. You can ask your customers regularly to share their photos of your products or anything related to your industry and then share those photos.
Have a “Caption This” Contest
You might also share some photos that your followers can have some fun with. Share a funny photo of your team or even one related to pop culture and ask followers for caption ideas, then share the best ones.
Create Your Own Meme
It might sound silly, but memes also give you the opportunity to share some fun content with your social media audience. If there’s a popular meme that could somehow fit with your business or industry, create your own caption and share it with your followers.
Host a Q&A on Snapchat
Social media can be a great way to answer customer questions. But you can go even deeper than that and host a question and answer session where followers can ask you anything on Snapchat, then answer those questions in quick clips on the app.
Ask Trivia Questions
Another way to spur some engagement with your audience is to ask some trivia questions about your company or your industry. You might even offer some kind of prize to a follower who answers correctly.
Celebrate Your Company’s History on #tbt
Throwback Thursday, or #tbt, is a weekly hashtag on Twitter and Instagram where people post throwback photos. You can get your business involved and share some history by posting old photos on Thursdays each week or even just on occasion.
Start a Weekly Series
You can also create your own weekly theme for social media posts like #tbt. Come up with something that fits with your industry and keep it up every week. You can even encourage your followers to participate as well.
Interviews make for great online content. You can create a short video or text interview with some of your customers and share it on social to get even more people involved.
Celebrate Odd Holidays
Holiday promotions are commonplace on social media. But you don’t have to wait for the major ones. Even weird holidays like “talk like a pirate day” can make for interesting content.
Compile a List of Industry Updates
Each week or month, put together a list of updates that are relevant to your followers or your industry and tag related accounts.
Host a Regular Hangout
Google+, Periscope, Facebook and other social platforms allow you broadcast live. So you can announce a weekly or monthly hangout with your audience. Keep a set schedule so people know when you’ll be broadcasting.
Post Sneak Peeks
You can also post some sneak peeks of new products or offerings where you only give a partial view to followers. Then you can even ask customers to guess what they think will be released in order to get them more involved.
Support a Charity or Cause
Customers love a socially conscious business. So you can use social media to spread the word about important causes or share information about different charity organizations.
Live Tweet Events
When you attend events for your business, or even if there’s a televised event that has something to do with your industry, you can tweet or post throughout the whole thing to get followers involved.
Repost Instagram Photos from a Dedicated Hashtag
On Instagram, you can start a dedicated hashtag for your customers or followers to use for images related to your company or industry. Then you can browse through those tags and find images to repost to your own account — with permission, of course!
Have Influencers Take Over Your Account
Influencers are often other social media users that have significant followings and influence in a particular niche or industry. So if you can find influencers that fit with your business, you can have them take over your account for a day to get some fresh content and increase your reach.
Co-host a Twitter Chat
You might also connect with those influencers to host chats on Twitter. Twitter chats have long been considered one of the best ways to increase engagament on the platform. But by working with other influencers in your industry, you can increase your reach even more.
Share Comic Strips
Images are popular on social media. And images that tell stories can be particularly effective. So you can share or even create your own comic strips to share on social media.
Ask Customers for Predictions
There are plenty of ways for businesses to get customers engaged in conversations on social media. But asking for predictions about the future of your industry or other relevant topics can be a particularly good way to get those conversations started.
Play “This or That”
You can also ask questions of your audience. If you give them just a couple of choices, it makes it easy for people to respond and might even spur some friendly debate.
Share Book or Movie Recommendations
It can also be beneficial to post things on social media that don’t relate directly to your business from time to time. Things like books and movies are topics that interest the majority of consumers on some level. So you might consider sharing thoughts or recommendations on things that you think might interest your social media followers.
Have Birthday Sales
Everyone loves birthdays. So you might use social media as a way to really make a big deal about your company’s birthday or even the birthdays of your team members.
Post Staff Recommendations
To go even further, you can have your team members pick some of their favorite products or pieces of content to share on social media. You can offer discounts on those items on each team member’s birthday or just round up some employee favorites in a few social media posts.
Music streaming services like Spotify allow you to create online playlists that you can easily share with others on social media. So it could be fun to create playlists for specific occasions or situations and share them with your followers.
Post Time Lapse Videos
Videos are great for telling stories online. But if you want to really show some change over time, you might consider doing a time lapse video rather than a traditional one. You can post quick time lapses on platforms like Instagram or even more advanced ones on YouTube.
Host Weekly Challenges for Followers
Challenges and contests can be really beneficial for building engagement online. You can start a simple challenge like a photography contest or scavenger hunt and repeat it each week to really get customers involved.
Create Joke Products
To inject some humor into your social media content, you might consider creating some joke products, or at least visual depictions of those joke products, that are similar to your offerings, but with a ridiculous twist.
Have a Sale Directly on Social Media
Want to increase sales on social media really quickly? You can have a quick sale of clearance products directly on platforms like Instagram, rather than trying to get people to visit your website or physical location.
Use Instagram Direct Messaging to Send Exclusive Promotions
Also on Instagram, you have the opportunity to reach out to customers directly through the direct messaging feature. So you can send exclusive offers to your best customers or followers. Just don’t abuse the feature and send out mass messages all the time with this feature.
Put the Spotlight on Partners
The focus doesn’t always have to be on your business when it comes to social media. You can also highlight some other businesses you’ve partnered with to nurture that relationship and potentially increase your social reach through those connections.
Ask for Content Requests
And finally, you should always keep your followers’ input in mind when creating content for social media. You might even occasionally ask people if they have any requests, just to be sure you’re keeping your content fresh and interesting.