As social media marketing has grown in popularity, some universal best practices have emerged. Modern brands know that they should have a consistent presence across multiple channels, post to their accounts frequently, and provide valuable, interesting content to their followers.
These approaches make for a good social media strategy, but if you want to be great at it, you need to think beyond the basics and be willing to try some less-traditional approaches. To find out what works, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council the following:
Q. While there are plenty of top tips for engaging social media audiences, what’s one unconventional tactic you’ve found to work just as well, if not better?
Their best answers are below:
1. Engage One-to-One
Rather than going after audiences, put your effort into engaging one-to-one. There are a lot of great automation tools, especially for LinkedIn, that enable you to reach people at scale, rather than advertising to a broad audience. Just make sure you do your research and personalize as much as possible. Avoid spammy techniques, as they are easy to spot and will negatively impact your results. – Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)
2. Time Your Posts Carefully
When do you check your social accounts? During a break, after lunch, before you head into another meeting? Most people check their accounts in between doing other things. That’s why it is important to post a few minutes before or after the clock strikes the hour. These brief windows are when people have a few seconds to check in before they head into an appointment or head back to the office. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
3. Cultivate a Community, Then Let Them Share Your Content
By focusing on building your community and ensuring the people that identify with your brand and are loyal to it, you can amplify your social media reach. When people feel like they’re a part of something bigger, they feel much more compelled to share about it and tell the world. If they do that via hashtag or mention in many of their social media posts, then it can grow your audience and business in the process. – Sean Ogle, Location Rebel
4. Create Content to Appeal to New Audiences
One tactic that businesses have yet to fully adopt is to create and share content that doesn’t necessarily connect to your industry. Arby’s is a terrific example: After they began posting art inspired by video games and anime to their Instagram and Twitter, they attracted a rabid fan base of pop culture geeks. Don’t be afraid to talk about something that doesn’t gel with your “brand story.” – Bryce Welker, Crush The PM Exam
5. Attend Industry Events and Make Connections
Meeting other bloggers in my industry has helped engage both of our audiences on social media. We will tag each other on social media posts and guest write on each other’s blogs. It’s a lot easier to connect with someone in person and casually mention guest blogging rather than receive a cold email. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
6. Share and Repost Curated Content from Other Experts
Don’t just post your own content: Consider finding other media outlets or content creators that align with your brand and post their content to your audience. If it’s related to your brand and it’s relevant to your audience, it’s a great way to easily add value and a touch point without a lot of effort. All the content is still credited to the original writer, so it’s a win-win for everyone. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
7. Ask Your Audience Creative Questions
Ask questions of your audience, but not just the run-of-the-mill type. Get creative and specific, and really delve into the topic at hand. That’s one way to make memorable connections with your following. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
8. Get to Know Your Audience on a Personal Level
Your clients are more than just profit. They each have their own families, ideas, and careers. Taking the time to get to know your audience is essential. That way, you can tailor your service to better fit their needs. – Veronica Romney, LoSoMo Inc.
9. Start Conversations Off-Platform
One way to spread your influence is to enter into conversations you find online related to your industry. This could be a tweet, questions on Quora, or a Facebook or LinkedIn group. Put out Google Alerts for certain issues you want to address and participate. You don’t have to point people directly to your own page. If you add value, they’ll check out your profile. – Shawn Porat, Scorely
10. Create Shareable Roundup Posts
We’ve found that our roundup blog posts perform really well on social media. We’ll simply ask influencers a question and curate their responses in the post. Once the article goes live, we’ll email everyone that participated in the roundup post and ask them to share it on social media. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
11. Create Content That Helps People See Their Mistakes
We executed a marketing push last year where we wrote an article on why a specific, large company was struggling financially and targeted all of their employees on social media via retargeting and pushed all the traffic to that article. We were able to speak to a few decisionmakers during this process. It’s unconventional because you might get some backlash, but it worked to our advantage. – Michael Hsu, DeepSky
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.