When in doubt about your marketing strategy, turn to the social media experts. Often the best way to learn about a craft is from someone who has been in your shoes before.
Social media marketing is becoming increasingly pivotal for businesses around the world. More emails are being sent and more blog posts are being published on a daily basis than ever before in history.
But where are marketers to go for reliable insights?
Today we gathered 13 of the world’s leading social media experts and asked them to share their best advice for marketers.
Let’s dive in!
13 social media experts share their biggest piece of marketing advice
Host note: What follows is a lightly-edited transcript of the Buffer Podcast episode #125 for your reading pleasure.
Hailley: Social media is now a key piece in the decision-making process for consumers, particularly among upcoming generations such as Millennials and Generation Z.
Brian: One study shows that 70% of millennials base their decision to buy a product based on recommendations made by their peers on social media.
Another study shows that 60% of consumers have been influenced by a social media post or a blog review while shopping at a store.
Social media truly is engrained in all aspects of our lives.
Hailley: Which is exactly where we hope to help.
Instead of asking you to take our word for the most effective social media marketing strategies and tactics, we thought we’d ask the experts.
So we scoured the web and read more than 300 pieces of advice from today’s top social media experts….
Brian: We dwindled down the more than 300 to 13 of our favorites.
Keep in mind that each piece of advice we’re about to share is from someone that has helped to build a successful brand or business using social media in throughout their careers.
Hailley: First up, fellow-podcaster Pat Flynn says to treat social media marketing like you’re going to a party, which I think is a great way of thinking about it.
Just like at a party, you wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) go around posting about your brand and product all over the place on social media. That’s very much like approaching a group of people at a party and introducing yourself using your sales pitch.
Instead, pay attention and listen to what your audience is talking about first.
Brian: In other words, Pat is advocating for adding value to the conversations already happening within your niche.
Ask your audience genuine questions on they care about and share great stories only after you’ve listened.
Eventually, people will begin to take notice and want to find out more what you have to say.
Hailley: James Scherer, lead editor at Wishpond, shares marketers frustrations with the fall in organic reach for brands on Facebook (especially with the announcement from the platform in January of 2018).
But he also understands that Facebook is a fantastic way for businesses to drive quality traffic and engagement.
Brian: For Facebook marketing in 2019, James recommends continuing to publish high-quality, engaging content (content which creates conversation within your community), while acknowledging the truth of the matter: Facebook Ads are the only way for your business to expose your content to a large, targeted audience on Facebook.
Hailley: How about someone that we had on the show way back in episode #29 – Sunny Lenarduzzi who has grown a huge community on social media – and she can’t stress the importance of planning on social media enough.
Sunny points out that this is one of the most significant time wasters when it comes to social media marketing.
Brian: We’ve heard from tons of businesses on the importance of planning ahead as well.
If you wait to the last minute or ignore creating a content calendar, at least for the month, your content on social media will suffer because you’re rushing everything. So thanks for that one, Sunny.
How about Donna Moritz from Socially Sorted?
Hailley: Donna’s is a great one because it really speaks to long-term thinking on social media.
She says to not get caught up in all the trends and ever-changing social media platforms – they’re just part of the bigger picture and what works for someone else may not work for you.
Instead, focus instead on creating quality, core content on a platform that you own (your blog/website, podcast or video) that helps solve your audience’s biggest challenges.
Brian: Use that content to grow a quality, engaged email list of people who are interested in what you have to share. If you do that, your social media success will fall into place because you’ll have a library of engaging content.
Which I think it so true and such a useful piece of advice.
Moving on to arguably one of the biggest influencers and social media experts of our generation, Gary Vaynerchuk.
Hailley: When asked about all of the content he puts out in a recent interview, Gary Vee said:
“My show and my social accounts are not a platform from which I talk about what’s important to me. It’s a platform from which I talk about what’s important to you.”
Which I think is another great way of phrasing how important an outward focus is on social media.
Brian: By focusing on his audience and not himself, Gary is able to continually grow his audience and credibility because he gives his time, energy, and effort away without asking anything in return.
It’s a huge reason why he’s seen the success he has over the years. Well, that and he’s really good on camera, which is a tough skill.
Hailley: Another piece of advice I found really valuable was in a Forbes interview with expert Judy Herbst.
Judy talked about how your brand’s mission statement needs to be one that works across all channels.
The best missions are in the present leading to the future and are meaningful to all audiences.
Brian: Judy goes onto say that they are achievable, so people can see progress now, and emotional, so people can connect with them in meaningful ways.
And she gives the example of a business that’s built to help women achieve success with transparency, trust and fairness.
The key here is to find your mission statement.
That reminds me of the advice from Lisa Dougherty of content marketing institute.
Hailley: Lisa talks about how you can never really predict what social media algorithms are going to do next, so if we’re constantly chasing trends, you’ll always be one step behind.
List suggests to really get to know your audience, so you can write copy that speaks to their desires, needs, and interests.
And don’t get greedy – remember it’s not about reaching the most people, it’s about reaching (and moving) the right people.
Brian: She also recommends avoiding things like stock photos that dilute your brand. Opt instead for real-life pictures and custom visuals for a more authentic connection.
Finally, include a unique, clear, and compelling value proposition – one simple sentence that explains how your readers will benefit from your offer.”
Hailley: Speaking of reaching the right people, Rachel Pedersen, CEO of SocialWorks Digital had some great advice on using Facebook ads.
She talked about how not everyone has several thousands dollars per month to spend on ads.
If you can spend $150-200 each month for advertising, you can build a warm audience for marketing your products in 2 easy steps!
Brian: Step 1: Host a Facebook Live or record a video of you or someone from your company talking about the backstory of your product and post it to Facebook – it doesn’t need to be longer than 5 minutes!
And step 2: Boost the video with $5 per day on a video views objective. That’ll start to rack up the views.
Then create a custom audience of the video views (Facebook will dynamically update the audience) and run whatever other ad to the warmed video views audience.”
Hailley: We’ve done that exact technique here at Buffer and it works like a charm.
Molly talks about how important it is to align your lead magnet (or offer as we know it) with your caption, your URL and your landing page. You don’t want them to feel like they’ve landed on another planet after clicking your ad.
Brian: I remember that episode well, Molly was so knowledgeable on Facebook and Instagram ads. Would highly recommend checking out her work.
She talked about how critical lead magnets are in advertising. You’re essentially giving people something free in exchange for the permission to follow up. These could be templates, a checklist, blog posts, white papers, ebooks or lots of other great things.
So not only should your messaging align from ad to landing page, but your offer has to be compelling enough to make people actually want to click. In other words, are you doing enough to stand out?
Hailley: Let’s take some advice from Rand Fishkin.
You may not know it, but Google indexes every tweet (which makes it a great tool for search engine optimization or SEO).
Most importantly, Rand talks about how you can’t ignore that 60% of a business’s or brand’s followers are likely to purchase or recommend after following them on Twitter.
Brian: Rand suggests limit how often you share links – Research has shown that tweets without links perform better and get more engagement, surprisingly.
And engage with as many people as you can on Twitter. It’s all about building a community on Twitter, not blasting out your message to as many people as you can – it’s really an investment in the long game.
Lee says that the most important element for all marketers in 2019 is “truth.” Truth, not in the sense of buzzwords like “authenticity” or “transparency” but as a response to empty marketing tactics that have forced consumers to get wise to being “sold” to.
Consumers are getting smarter about spending and partnering with brands. They are looking for brands that don’t just make quality products, but that are conscious of supporting the wellness of humanity as a whole.
Brian: This is something we’ve noticed as well this year and that’s the rise of what we’re calling purpose-driven marketing.
If you really want to set yourself and your brand apart, you have to stand for something that makes people’s lives better. Think of companies like Patagonia that have seen unbelievable success over the years by taking a stand. I really do think that’s the future of marketing.
And long the same lines is the advice from growth expert, James Cohane. James’ take is all about the importance of finding the right partners.
Hailley: The best part about social media, or anything marketing-related, really, is that you don’t have to go at it alone. Brian, I know you’ve seen this first-hand with partners like Mailchimp and Square and Animoto that we’ve worked with over the last few years.
By hand selecting a group of key partners to launch various co-marketing campaigns with, you’re greatly increasing the chances of success as well as the potential audience for your content.
Even something as small as a social media takeover can expose your brand to a new set of targeted customers.
Brian: It’s amazing what two brands can do together rather than trying to do everything yourself.
And if you align with the right brand in terms of messaging, and content, and values, it can really help to amass an audience quickly, which we’ve experienced first hand here at Buffer.
Our last expert piece of advice from Adriana Tica, CEO of marketing agency, Idunn.
Hailley: Adriana believes that switching things up and keeping your audience on their toes is a surefire way to grow your following and engagement on social media.
And to do that, she recommends content curation.
But don’t just share any content you come across or because it’s from an influencer or a big brand. Make sure that it’s on-brand and provides real value to your audience.
Brian: Adriana calls it going for underground’ content.
As you might expect, everybody reads content from top publications and influencers – so that’s nothing new. Spending some time to find unique content will help your brand stand out.
And if you want to automate a part of this process, you can always use tools like BuzzSumo and Curata, which I personally love. But the trouble is that those tools aren’t so great for ‘underground’ content.
My go-to sources for content that hasn’t been overshared are Reddit (there’s literally a subreddit for anything) and Hacker News. In fact, episode 112 is dedicated to finding great content in strange places.
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About The Science of Social Media podcast
The Science of Social Media is your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration. Every Monday (and sometimes more) we share the most cutting-edge social media marketing tactics from brands and influencers in every industry. If you’re a social media team of one, business owner, marketer, or someone simply interested in social media marketing, you’re sure to find something useful in each and every episode. It’s our hope that you’ll join our 18,000+ weekly iTunes listeners and rock your social media channels as a result!