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6 Tips For A More Effective Social Media Strategy

Social media is an arena that any business can compete in. From Twitter and Tumblr, to Facebook and LinkedIn, these sites offer businesses a way to network, to spread the word about who they are and what they do, and to gather an audience to them without spending a single dime. It takes time, careful planning, effort, a little luck, and dedicated reporting.

If you're looking to increase the effectiveness of your social media strategy, though, try following these tips brought to you by Convince and Convert, Oracle, and The Huffington Post.

Social Media Strategy Tips:

Tip #1: Pictures Are Worth 1,000 Words

Social media is an inherently visual thing, and if you embrace that fact you can grow your influence much more quickly. Posts on Twitter which include an image get 150 percent more retweets, and given how quickly a post can explode there that's saying something.

It's not enough to just add an image, though. You need to add the right image. So, while slapping a picture of an adorable kitten onto your post might catch some attention, you need to make sure the image is arresting, and that it will act as a kind of segue into the rest of your post. The image is your first impression, and if it's a good one then viewers are more likely to read the text, and click the link to see what it's all about.

Tip #2: Make Sure Communication Is A Two-Way Street

It's tempting to look at social media as a soap box you can step onto in order to make your message heard. However, social media isn't a megaphone you can shout into; it's a telephone you can use to talk to your potential audience. Which means that when you post on social media, you need to treat that post as if it were a conversation starter, instead of a sales pitch. While you should feel free to post any content your business has created, it's also important to pay attention to feedback, and to interact with people who engage you. That interaction can be the difference between someone moving on, and becoming a loyal customer.

Tip #3: Use Metrics To See What's Working, And What Isn't

Metrics is a broad category referring to any sort of program that keeps track of what happens on your social media. Facebook, for example, sends page owners weekly updates including the number of people they reached, how many views they had, and the number of followers they currently possess, comparing and contrasting that with the previous week's performance. While a week-to-week update is good, it's also important to look at longer-term gains and losses, and to compare them to your strategy. If you're doing something that isn't working (like posting updates in the evening instead of the afternoon), then your metrics program is what will give you the data to decipher where you're making your mistakes, and how you might correct them.

Tip #4: Be On Time, Every Time

Timing is one of the most important considerations when it comes to social media. You need to post during the times where your audience is likely to see you (late mornings and early afternoon tend to get the most visibility throughout the day), and you need to stick to the schedule you've committed. If you update your blog every Tuesday, and post that update on your social media every Wednesday, then you need to stick to that. If you're not going to make an update, for whatever reason, then you should do something to inform your readers of that. Even if it's just a, "we are experiencing technical difficulties," placeholder, that lets your audience know you cared enough to keep them in the loop.

It's like coming to work. People expect you to be in at a certain time, and while they won't be happy if you can't make it, that displeasure will be partially mollified if you call ahead and give them some explanation about why you won't be able to make it.

Tip #5: Be Open, Honest, and Transparent

People like it when you're open and honest about the way you do business, and social media provides you with a unique opportunity to offer transparency to a huge number of people all at once. Whether you're talking about how your updates work, or how you're making changes to your platform, your followers like to be included in that information loop. Remember that next time you're tempted to just say, "we're in the process of changing things to serve you better," and ask if a little more explanation wouldn't be both appropriate, and pleasing for your followers.

Tip #6: Don't Be Afraid To Pay

One of social media's most appealing features is that it's free to use. Any business, no matter how big or small, can use a social media site to reach out to followers, and find an audience. That is true, but if you have an advertising budget, it's a good idea to dedicate at least some of it to your social media presence. Whether it's paying to boost post visibility on Facebook, or using targeted advertising on sites like Twitter, a small investment can make fairly big returns if you're willing to sow the seed.

With that said, you can't just throw money at your social media platform and expect it to grow. You still have to create solid content, interact with your audience, and craft a persona and platform that your audience finds appealing. Adding a little revenue to that endeavour, though, can't hurt.

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