Are you struggling to build an audience that engages with your content on social media?

If so, then you're not alone. With organic reach and engagement rates dropping, lots of people do, and to some, social media is like a foreign language or an alien land.

Well, what would you say if I were to tell you that it didn't have to be that difficult?

In this post, I'm going to share 29 insanely actionable social media marketing tips that will help you to skyrocket your content marketing and social media marketing strategy, today.

Also, as a special bonus, you'll hear from 28 social media experts who'll each be sharing their #1 social media marketing tips in 2016.

So, without further ado, let's get into it!

Download a social media marketing tips pdf checklist of the 29 Insanely Actionable tips that you NEED to use to get killer social media engagement for your conent. PLUS! get 3 Bonus strategies.

Social Media Marketing Tips:

1. Use Images to Boost Engagement 

Time to complete: 1 to 2 Hours

Use Images

Social media is cluttered! You are constantly bombarded by information, so much so that you inevitably switch off from most of it.

The social web is a bit like pop-up advertisements and banner ads; there's just so much to take in, you end up focusing on the things that really resonate with you, and ignore the rest.

In a sea of information, how do you make your posts stand out from the millions of others that people get exposed to on a daily basis?

How do you get those eyeballs looking at and staying focused on your content?

Use appealing and relevant imagery.

Using images in your posts is a time-tested technique that helps to generate more engagement, favorites, and clickthroughs.

On Facebook:

Posts with images receive an increased interaction rate from fans, up to 87%, as opposed to only 4% for other types of posts. Also, these types of posts receive 2.3 times more engagement.

On Twitter:

Posts with images can [boost retweets by up to 35%]. Impressive, huh? Some research indicates that retweets could even be boosted by up to 150% using images.

What is even more interesting, is while any image is better than none, posts that use relevant imagery (that's imagery that directly relates to the subject matter) get 94% more views and overall better engagement.

Using custom imagery can increase engagement even more. A custom image that hasn't been seen before helps your post to stand out and look unique. This also helps to establish a clear and consistent brand identity across mediums.

Have you noticed animated GIFs popping up on your social feeds recently?

Using short animated visual content in your posts can increase engagement by up to 25 times. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ now all support animated GIFs.

Something we'll expand on later in this post is the use of statistics (see tip #22). People love statistics! Using relevant statistics in your custom imagery can help to make your posts even more engaging.

Another great thing about using visuals is that you can leverage visual social media websites such as Pinterest and Instagram, which are platforms that are quite often overlooked, but are currently increasing in popularity and usage.

Ian Cleary
Ian Cleary
My number one tip for social media marketing in 2016 is build your email subscribers from your social media followers. You'll generate more revenue from your business from email than social media.

Social Media is still very important but if you want sales you need to convert your followers to subscribers.

2. Develop a Clear Strategy 

Time to complete: 3-5 Days +

strategy

Creating a content strategy isn’t an easy task. Because of that, it’s a step that a lot of people overlook. 

That’s a mistake.

To start, you just need to know the basics and understand that it will be an evolving document. 

There's no need for it to be perfect. You’ll be changing and adapting as you go along. The key here is just to get one created.

So here are 5 key points to keep in mind when developing your content strategy.

1. What’s Your Objective?

Be specific and make it measurable. This article from Kissmetrics will help.

2. Who Will Consume Your Content & Why?

That means figuring out what problem your content is solving for your customers or readers (this should be VERY related to your product).

3. Analyze Your Competition

  • Who are your direct competitors?
  • What’s working for them?
  • What makes you stand out?

4. Content & Promotion

  • Keep track of general topics and specific post ideas
  • Track the results of your content efforts
  • Make a list of key players to reach out to for your content promotion.

5. Editorial Calendar

  • Consistency here is key. Make a schedule and stick to it. If that’s one blog post a month – that’s fine. Though for social media you will want to produce much more content to keep your engagement high.
  • If you’re working with a team, you’ll all need to be on the same page. That means the workflow has to be set, and you’ll need a shared editorial calendar.
  • Think about using Trello, Gather Content or Contentacle.
Donna Moritz
Donna Moritz
Stop talking about it and start including video in your marketing - it doesn't have to be fully edited, big production YouTube videos... start out with raw, short video.

Get out your smartphone and film a quick tip, introduce your team, show what you are working on... show the people behind your business, and of course consider going live with Facebook Live or Periscope.

Your community will get to know you more and they need to get to know you to like and trust you!

3. Use Your Email List 

Time to complete: 30 Minutes

Email List

We all know how important targeted mailing lists are, but have you ever thought about using your mailing list to promote your social media content?

Everyone does the opposite.

They talk about the importance of using social media to build your email list, and sure it’s important. 



BUT… 
Think about big name brands.

They spend a TON of money on branding campaigns. Just so you’ll see them everywhere, from a billboard next to the supermarket, to product placements in movies. 



You want to be in front of your fans and prospects EVERYWHERE you can.



That means getting them on email and ALL your social media platforms. 

They’ll start thinking “man this guy is EVERYWHERE" (In a good way). And when they're ready to make a purchase, you'll be there.

So make sure you're cross promoting ALL your social networks where you're active.

Also, your email list can give you insights into your audience and Ideas for future content.

If you use an email service provider such as MailChimp, Convert Kit, or Active Campaign you can track opens and clicks, and export a list of those subscribers who engaged with your content. The data will help you figure out how successful your content was or is, and what sort of content your subscribers may be interested in for future posts.

Jeff Bullas
Jeff Bullas
The one thing I would do would be to use social media to build my email list. This is an audience I then own.

It removes the challenges of the changing algorithms of Facebook, Twitter and in the future maybe Instagram.

4. Use Custom Audiences 

Time to complete: 10 Minutes

Retarget

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow you to create 'custom audiences' for use in advertising.

First, you need to make sure tracking pixels are installed. Usually, it’s just a matter of inserting a bit of code in your site header or footer.

If you need some guidance setting up your pixels check here:

Then set up a custom audience of the people who have already visited your website, these are the individuals you’ll be retargeting.

Once you have a piece of content ready to go, setup your ads and drive warm traffic to your post.

Because this segment of people is already interested in your content, you’ll likely get a lot of engagement and traffic from your retargeting campaign.

To set a custom audience on Facebook, just follow these easy steps:

  1. Go to your Audiences.
  2. Click Create Audience > Custom Audience > Customer List.
  3. Create your Custom Audience from web traffic data, or a customer list (captured by a tracking code which is placed on your website).
  4. Note: If you're going to use a customer list and want to upload it as a file, it must be a .csv format with a single column of data and no heading.
  5. Continue with the onscreen instructions to create your Custom Audience.
Dave Kerpen
Dave Kerpen
If you only have a few minutes each day, but you have the money, the best way to quickly build your audience is to buy ads on social networks.

You can target the specific prospects you most want to reach (by age, zip code, job title, interests, etc) and then spend time each day analyzing the results and refining your creative, copy and targeting.

5. Use Campaign Tracking 

Utm Tracking

Time to complete: 3 Minutes

For each social media post or campaign, you should set up special UTM tracking parameters for use in Google Analytics.

UTMs help you see which campaigns and social channels drive the most traffic and engagement.

That, in turn, will enable you to track visitors across your website, so you can build a better picture of your audience and see what is, and isn't working.

You can use the Google UTL (UTM) Builder to build a special URL that you can then add to your posts. You can also do this for the links within your email campaigns so you can track subscribers across your website.

If you’re not sure how to build a UTM...
you can use a tool like UTM Builder.

It will build the UTM for you by asking you simple, plain English questions, like 'Is this link part of an advertising campaign?'.

Jason Falls
Jason Falls - SVP for Digital Strategy, Elasticity
My one tip would be what I do now: Find and share great content.

The more you can become a resource for your target audience, the more benefits you'll reap over the long haul.

I share great content regularly on my social channels around digital marketing, content marketing, social media marketing and the like. As a result, I have a lot of CMOs, marketing managers and the like as part of my follower set.

Sure helps when I'm looking for more clients!

6. Post Regularly 

Time to complete: 30-40 Minutes Daily

Post Regularly

Unlike blogging, the pace of social media is extremely fast, and attention spans are short. That's why it's crucial to post regular daily updates to all your social profiles.

Your content can easily get missed on social media, so keep your brand in the forefront of people's minds, and get consistent and regular updates posted to all your social media properties.

Luckily there are tools you can use to make it easier to post regularly.

Software such as Buffer and Hootsuite are among the best available for managing your social accounts because they allow you to schedule posts way into the future.

Using a tool such as Buffer (which I highly recommend) will allow you to successfully manage and automate your social media activity.

Buffer even has an elegant Google Chrome extension that will allow you to easily share interesting and engaging content you find on the web, with the click of a mouse or press of a keyboard shortcut (Alt + B).

According to compiled data here’s how many times per day you should post on each social network:

  • Twitter – 3 times per day, or more
  • Facebook – 2 times per day, at most
  • LinkedIn – 1 time per day
  • Google+ – 3 times per day, at most
  • Pinterest – 5x per day, or more
  • Instagram – 1.5 times per day, or more
Bryan Kramer
Bryan Kramer
If I had 15 minutes a day, I would spend my time reaching out to people and/or replying. Engagement is your best friend.

7. Promote Your Social Accounts 

Time to complete: 10-15 Minutes Daily

Promote

We all know to promote our social media accounts on our websites, but don't overlook promoting offline and elsewhere on the web.

Here are a few ideas for promoting elsewhere that you can steal:

  • Engage in Relevant Industry Forums & Communities.

    Forums can be a great place to promote your social accounts, but *first* you've got to engage and contribute.

    Here's the right protocol for almost ANY forum:
    • Sign up for an account, add an avatar and fill in your profile (don't create a signature just yet).
    • Answer questions and write some (about 10 to 15) high-quality posts. Really get to know the people involved in the community. This can be a fun exercise in and of itself, plus you'll be building relationships that will more than likely benefit you in the future.
    • Established yourself as part of the community, add your signature to your profile and continue to engage. You'll find you'll begin to gain followers, likes, and shares, as well as referral traffic to your website.

      An added bonus to establishing yourself as a valued member of a forum is that you'll be able to share your content as and when you like.
    • Make sure what you share provides value to the community (check the rules and guidelines first).
  • Use Your Other Profiles

    Take some time to actively cross-promote your social profiles. This simply means, promote each profile on an alternative platform. So, post details of your Facebook profile on Twitter, and details of your Twitter profile on Google plus.
  • Email

    Make sure your email signature contains all of your social profile URLs. Also, use email to actively promote your social media content.
  • Advertise

    Use advertising both on social media platforms and elsewhere to promote your social media profiles. You can even cross-promote using advertising. So, advertise your Twitter account on Facebook, and vice versa.
  • Use Your Website

    Strategically promote your social profiles on your website. Make them easy to find and use.
  • Offline Advertising

    Add details of your social media profiles to any offline advertising or promotional material you produce.
Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu
My #1 tip is to share the knowledge that you learn from other people.

If you don't have the time to go deep and be a pro, the next best thing is to create value by curating and sharing from those who do have first-hand experience.

They'll appreciate the support/adulation, which will increase your authority (by association) and visibility (because they are giving you an implied endorsement).

8. Build Your Audience with Influencers 

Time to complete: 35 Minutes

Influencers

The way to begin building an audience is to use a tool such as BuzzSumo to find popular content and influencers in your niche with whom you can connect with.

The great thing about BuzzSumo is that it allows you to create lists/categories of people with whom you want to connect based on keyword searches you perform.

BuzzSumo gives you some comprehensive information on which to base your decision to connect with someone, such as whether they're considered an influencer, a blogger, or a journalist. As well as information on followers, retweets, replies and reply ratio.

This is how I use it:

  • Sign into the BuzzSumo app.
  • Click on the 'Influencers' tab.

BuzzSumo Influencers Tab

  • Now enter your target phrase into the search field and click 'Search'.

BuzzSumo Twitter Influencers

Hey presto! You have your list of influencers.

You can reach out directly on Twitter, follow them, or get their email addresses with a bit of Googling and shoot them a quick message.

The best thing is you can add them to an outreach list for later use, or export them as a CSV for use in tools such as BuzzStream.

Steve Farber
Steve Farber
Select the most engaged people (your biggest fans) in your social media communities and call at least two people per week. Yes. On the phone. It'll blow their minds and you'll make priceless friends.

9. Share, Like & Comment on Others’ Content 

Time to complete: 20 Minutes

share

Shameless self-promotion just doesn't work.

Unless you're a well-known brand, or already have tons of followers and fans, this tactic will turn people off your message almost immediately.

When growing an engaged audience, it's important to interact with and share content that isn't your own.

Of course, it's equally important to share relevant content. Content that your target audience, and most importantly, your influencers, will find valuable and useful.

When you're first starting out on your social media journey, you should be spending more time sharing other people's content than your own.

A good ratio is 80/20.

That means that 80% of the content you share should come from other sources while 20% should be your own content.

You also have to share the right content.

You'll need to analyze the most popular content in your niche, subscribe to popular RSS feeds, see what your influencers are sharing, and keep up-to-date with the latest news in your industry. See BuzzSumo Hack in tip #8

Do it right, and not only will the people whose stuff you’re sharing notice you, but you will also gain more followers because you’re posting popular articles that your audience are interested in.

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft
I'd spend 15 to 30 minutes building a deeper relationship and serving those in my existing audience.

If I serve them well enough, they will tell others about me which will build my audience.

10. Join Groups 

Time to complete: 1 Hour

Join Groups

This tip should really be titled 'join groups AND contribute'.

Communities like to support each other. Groups are just mini-communities.

That means no matter where the group, you’ll want to help out other members, answer questions, give insights and make sure you’re not being too self-promotional.

Then when you do have a piece of content to promote, that community will be MUCH more receptive to spreading the word for you.



What groups should you join to take your marketing to the next level?

These are just a few that I recommend. There are many more. Some of the best groups on Facebook are closed groups with active members.

Claire Abraham
Claire Abraham
Make sure you’re interacting, and not just with your customers.

Everyone always says that social media is the fastest way for marketers to get their message to the consumer, but social media is the fastest way to get your message to ANYONE.

There are people on Twitter who will never be your client, and they may be more important than a potential purchase.

So who are these people?

They're experts and influencers in your market.

They may compete directly with you, or they may offer a product or service that falls into your general niche but ​doesn't ​compete with you.

Either way, you want the eyes and ears of these folks, too.

You can learn from their expertise, and as you demonstrate your own expertise to them, your credibility will go up in their eyes. When that happens, they'll be more likely to share your next piece of content marketing.

11. Schedule Posts at the Right Time 

Time to complete: 5-10 Minutes

Post at the right time

Max engagement and shares: that’s the goal. 

You’ll need to schedule posts to go out when your core group of “sharers" is online.



Just by getting the timing right, your post will get into more of your fans’ streams and give it a shot at going viral. 

If your post doesn’t get high engagement right away, it’s likely doomed to a terrible organic reach.

So when should you post?

Here’s the answer according to a data-driven analysis:

  • Instagram
    • Monday 8-9am
  • Facebook
    • Sunday 12am-1pm
  • Twitter
    • Sunday 10-11pm
  • Email
    • Thursday 2-5pm
  • Blog posts
    • Saturday 12am-1pm

BUT… It’s something you have to test. 
Because it will be different for every audience.

That means you shouldn’t be afraid of collecting data to see what type of posts perform best at what times.


You can do this manually and here’s a Google sheet (pre-populated with column headings) to help you out with what you should be measuring.

Social Post Performance Tracker

Regularly import your social metrics. 
Export your last 500 tweets using Twitter analytics, your last 180 days of Facebook posts and your Pinterest analytics. 


To keep track of clicks, you’ll want to use a link shortener. Bit.ly is free. Just paste any link in Bitly before inserting it into your post. We use our own software to keep track of all our analytics without doing anything manually.

Alan Boyd
Alan Boyd
Stay up to date with the powerful advertising opportunities on the various platforms.

12. Follow Influencers in Your Industry 

Time to complete: 15 Minutes

Follow Influencers

There are four great reasons. 



One: 
It’s a great way to get on an influencer’s radar. 

Yeah, you’re actually going to have to engage with them later to create a relationship, but following them is a good first step. 



Two: 
They may follow you back. 
Then they’ll start seeing more stuff that you post. 

Though the bigger the follower count a person has, the less likely it is that they’ll follow you. 

It’s still worth a shot, as this still happens from time to time.

Three: It helps you appear as a suggested person to follow for your topic.

The people you follow are a good indication of your interests and your topics. 

If you start following all the big names in social media marketing, Twitter factors that in. It helps you show up in other people’s feeds as a person to follow.

Four: Insights and content they share.

You get to find out what interests your influencers and you get a stream of great content to share with your followers

As a bonus, when you're reaching out, you'll know what topics are more likely to elicit a response.

Scott Flear
Scott Flear
Simply find pages in your niche on social media with a good following and ask for a shout out. So simple, yet extremely effective.


Most people go over complicated straight away and try to think of complex campaigns etc.

Just message all the pages with a good following and ask for a shout out, or run competitions through them. Nothing is better and you get instant targeted followers and traffic.

Build on those relationships and keep doing it for boosts in the future.

There is a reason why people pay celebrities big money for Instagram posts. They are very effective.

13. Perform Outreach 

Time to complete: 1-3 Hours

Outreach

The biggest reason articles DON’T get shared is because people don’t know about them.

If you mention a person, an article, a website, etc. in your post, then you NEED to reach out and let them know about it.

Just by thanking them or letting them know about the mention, you’ll likely get the person to share your work with their followers. As long as it's a quality post of course.

One of the easiest ways to do outreach is on Twitter.

Tag the person in your tweet with a link to your post and quickly explain why. 

Try to tag one to two people max per tweet. I tend to opt for just the one.

Pro Tip: Remember, start the tweet with an @reply, such as @garethdaine. This is so all of your outreach tweets don't appear in your primary feed. It will start to look spammy.

If you’ve mentioned a lot of people, then it’s certainly better to schedule out your tweets so you don’t send them out all at once.

For that purpose, you can use your favorite social media scheduler, like Buffer or Hootsuite.

If you’re feeling more ambitious, you can also reach out by email.

Outreach is also important before posting content, especially when you're putting together an Expert Roundup (like this one).

Nigel McHugh
Nigel McHugh
1. DO NOT start ANY tweet with @ - your followers will not see this. It’s the equivalent of clicking ‘Reply’ when you meant to click ‘Reply To All’.

2. Please, please, please, do not use Twitter follow auto responders.

Saying ‘Thank you for following me – you can get this service through xxxxxxx’ – drives me mad.

It makes me miss important Twitter DM’s. It also makes me subconsciously ignore your future DM’s.

As an example, we had an A-List Twitter follower last week that I sent a personalised DM to which started, ‘Thank you for following me’, but then had some real high value, networking, professional content. Once I’d sent it I knew I’d lost her, as the first 5 words were auto-spam.

14. Use a Call to Action 

Time to complete: 7 Minutes

Call to action

You’ve got to tell people what to do.



On Facebook, posts that include the word “Share" get almost twice the engagement of those that don’t (4.02 versus 2.19 average interactions per post).

Be careful, though, Facebook will penalize you for 'like-baiting' if you explicitly ask for likes and shares too often.

Basically, if you stay in the 'use your head and don’t be a spammer' category, you’ll be fine.

Neither Twitter nor Instagram has any restrictions. So the sky’s the limit with your CTAs.

See what I did there? ;)

Gary Evans
Gary Evans
Build Twitter Lists - Setup IFTTT https://ifttt.com/ and use the following recipe.

Build a twitter list from a specific hashtag and link it to your twitter account.

This is very handy for compiling info on your chosen market.

For example, I have multiple lists for marketing and development stuff.

It's great for separating the gold nuggets from the noise.

The added advantage of this tactic is that you often gain followers when you add them to your list. It also helps start conversations with these followers.

15. Get to Know Your Audience 

Time to complete: 1-5 Hours

Audience

Diving deep into your analytics is a good first step to understanding your audience.

The problem with most analytics is that they only give you demographic info and a general idea of your posts’ performance.

With post-specific analytics, you can see which of your posts your audience responded to best. Already, you’re getting more insight into topics that resonate.

That’s good, but it’s not good enough.

To really understand your audience you’ve got to get more personal.

What do they like to do on the weekend?

What topics do they really give a crap about?

What’s the last thing they bought and really enjoyed?

To dig deeper surveys can be very useful. 


How you set it up is up to you. 
If you want to keep it simple, just use Facebook to create a poll. 

Otherwise you can use something like SurveyMonkey, Typeform or even Google Forms to create your survey.

Craft a bit of copy, and ask your question.
 
Make sure to create an image to go with your post and tailor it to every social platform.

Don’t make the survey long or complicated. 
People won’t answer otherwise.

Caileen Kehayas
Caileen Kehayas
My biggest tip for social media marketing in 2016 is to try Snapchat!

So many companies are doing creative, out of the box things and engaging with those hard-to-pin Millennials!

Use your other social media accounts to have your followers add you on Snapchat!

Release exclusive codes and giveaways, post behind-the-scenes snaps and more, the options are almost limitless with a little creativity.

16. Post Video 

Time to complete: 3 Minutes

Video

Videos are engaging.

During July 2015, Periscope users were watching 40 years' worth of videos every day
.

During April 2015 and November 2015, average daily video views on Facebook doubled from 4 billion per day to 8 billion.

More than 50 percent of people who visit Facebook in the U.S. every day watch at least one video.

With Facebook jumping into the live streaming game, it’s more important than ever to start using video.

The great part about live streaming is that it’s lowered people’s expectations of video quality. People don’t expect you to be perfect in the moment because they know you can’t edit live. 

As long as you give good info, have energy and are engaging, you’ll do well with live streaming.

Before you start a live stream, promote it. Just like you would with any other piece of content, you need to let people know about it before you do it.

Then, to start live streaming, all you have to do is go to your profile and tap the live stream button.

If you have a verified page, you can also stream live as your page. (Here’s how to get verified if you aren’t yet.)

Once you’re verified, you’ll have the option (under publishing tools) to choose live video and start streaming.

Kylie Garner
Kylie Garner
If you haven't embraced video or live streaming as part of your Social Media Strategy, it's time to start now.

Twitter has introduced Periscope, Blab continues to gain popularity, you can now live stream on Facebook, Instagram has increased their videos from 15 to 60 seconds, and Snapchat is the cool kid in town.

Video puts a human face to a brand and is easily digested across all devices.

We are emotional beings who make emotional decisions and video helps us connect with our audience in an intimate and authentic way.

17. Craft Killer Headlines & Titles 

Time to complete: 15 Minutes

Headlines

Your headline is the single biggest determining factor of your posts performance.

Blog post titles have seemingly competing goals, which makes writing them tough. 
You may feel like you have to choose between the reader vs. SEO.


It's always better to write for the reader first, then try to SEO it.


Using headline graders can help for blog posts and social. Either one of these is a good option:

Here is my secret sauce to come up with compelling headlines:

Browsing the ‘zines. Cosmo, Men’s Health, (insert trash tabloid).

First of all, you can’t help but get ideas.

Secondly, these magazines test the heck out of everything. 

From layout to copy, you can be sure they’re measuring performance.

Try following one of their headline examples and adapting it.



Like this latest Cosmo example: 'This Little Girl Got Attacked By A Goose And It Was Awful, But Also Maybe Hilarious!'


I know, you’re thinking it’s clickbait, right? 


Clickbait-style headlines work, but they're only clickbait if your article doesn’t have any substance. Produce a high-quality piece and that headline is gold. 



Another piece of gold is reading through your emails. Which subjects catch your eye? 


Sure, some don’t make good headlines, but others just need a bit of tweaking.

Finally, one great way to craft a killer headline is to...

Analyze the Google ads based on a specific keyword search related to the topic you're discussing.

Generally, the top ads will have measured, analyzed and amended their headline to increase clickthrough rates, meaning you can use their already tested hard work to craft your own headline.

Cory Eckert
Cory Eckert
Search Twitter for keywords around your niche or market.

Write down all the twitter IDs of people posting about your niche, product, or topic.

Import those twitter IDs to create a custom audience for twitter ads.

It's best to filter your searches by language, location, and time frame to get a more targeted list.

18. Make Your Content the Right Length 

Time to complete: 10 Minutes

Right length

For max engagement, you’ll probably want to follow these general guidelines. Both Buffer and Hubspot analyzed the ideal length of everything online. We compiled the data here for you:

  • Blog Posts
    • Headlines: 8-12 words & under 70 characters.
    • Blog Post Length: 1,600 words or 7 minutes to read.
  • Facebook
    • Status Update: 40 characters.
      Because they get 86% more engagement than bigger posts.
    • Video Length: 30-45 seconds long.
  • Twitter
    • Tweet Length: 100 characters without a link; 120 characters with a link.
    • Hashtag Length: 6 characters and 1-2 hashtags per tweet.
    • Video Duration: up to 30 seconds long.
  • LinkedIn
    • 25-Word Posts
    • 16-25 for B2B
    • 21-25 for B2C
  • Instagram
    • Image Caption: 2,200 characters max. It cuts off in users’ feeds after 3 lines of text.
  • Slideshare
    • 6 minutes or about 61 slides
  • Youtube
    • 3 minutes
  • Google Plus Posts
    • 60 characters
Stacey MacNaught
Stacey MacNaught
Don't consider social media just an organic channel. Tie it in with your paid and content efforts.

Facebook in particular has some really powerful targeting options.

With diminishing organic reach on Facebook, arguably its long term benefit is in paid and remarketing.

Use social retargeting to win website visitors as social fans.

19. Know Who Shares Your Content 

Time to complete: 30-45 Minutes

Sharers

You’ve developed a network that shares your content… Congrats! :) 



Don’t reinvent the wheel each time you create a new article. When it’s time, start promoting your content. You can get a nice boost by reaching out to people who already share your stuff.


To do that you need to know who exactly has shared before.
The more recent the share, the more likely the person is to share again.

It’s possible to track most of your mentions with free tools cobbled together. 



Twitter makes it easy with TweetDeck.

You can set up Google Alerts to notify you when you pop up in the search engine.

You can also try to monitor other social sites with Social Mention.

At times, though, the results aren’t targeted enough, and if you’re a smaller brand, sometimes it just won’t come up with anything.

Tools like BuzzSumo, though, do a great job of giving you sharing insights.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to create a spreadsheet to keep track of your mentions and know whom to contact, or you can use a social mention monitoring tool (sometimes called brand monitoring) to do this for you.

Neil Sheth
Neil Sheth
Visual Social Media will continue to grow into 2016. Two platforms leading the way are Instagram and Pinterest.

My one social media marketing tip for 2016 is to think like a brand.

If someone looked at your Instagram post or Pinterest pin would they know it's from you?

Even if you're posting quotes, is the use of fonts and colours in keeping with your brand?

Standing out is more than just creating powerful content. It must be visually appealing and consistent with the overall feel of your business.

Show your customers that you're not just a small business here to make a quick sale, you're a brand.

20. Monitor Analytics 

Time to complete: 7-35 Minutes

Analytics

Think of your social media and content promotion as an experiment.

Your headline, the pictures you post, the body copy, even where and to whom you post – it’s all part of the experiment.

Every time you send out a piece of content, you’re collecting more data and 

learning lessons to be applied in the future. Every time you’re sorting the wheat from the chaff.

Unless you’re using social media analytics software, you’ll need to pull all the data from every social network manually. 

Here’s how to do it on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Plus, if you use UTM tags (see tip #5), you can keep track of traffic from each platform in Google Analytics.

Nikolay Stoyanov
Nikolay Stoyanov
2016 and all the years to come will be all about real, long-lasting online relationships.

The times when you can just spam the hell out of everyone within your niche and hope to get on the radar of some of the big players are long dead.

With the increasing need for building relationships with influencers and active bloggers in your online niche, the rules have changed big time.

In order to be able to keep pace with the constant changes in the SEO and social media industry you should always try to add value.

So, with that being said, my #1 tip for using social media in 2016 would be to start creating true, long-lasting relationships with the active people in your niche by following these 3 easy steps:

1. Research - Make sure to target the right guys to get in touch with, don't just go after numbers. Quality must always be over quantity!

2. Show Genuine Interest - Start interacting with these people, pay close attention to what they write about and what their interests are. Show them that you actually care.

3. Add Value - Give them something you know they would appreciate and would be interested in knowing/reading about and they will return the favor. That's how you'll appear on their radar and stay there for years to come.

21. Run Ads 

Time to complete: 45 Minutes

Run Ads

Running ads to your content can throw fuel on the fire when it comes to promoting your content.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking that because your content is great, it’ll sell itself. It more than likely won't.

Your ad has to be compelling.

That means creating a title and description that are tailored to each ad platform.

Head over to BuzzSumo and plug in your keyword to see what related content has been shared most on the specific platform.

Try adapting the idea for your ad.

In general, you NEED a great, attention-grabbing visual for your ad to perform well. Get the image right and your ad will get more clicks and shares.

For my ad images, I use getstencil.com or canva.com.

Pro Tip:
 Facebook got rid of their '20% rule' for text in ads. Previously, if you wanted to upload an ad on Facebook, the text could only cover 20% of the image. That is no longer the case, but the amount of text will be a factor in how much you’ll pay. Basically, if you go over 20% text, you have to pay more.

NOW…

If you’ve set up your custom audiences (check out tip #4), you’ll want to start targeting them right away when your content goes live.

The great thing with custom audiences is that your costs are typically much lower than when you’re advertising to 'cold traffic', and because they’ve already visited your site, they’re more likely to take an action, like sharing your post.

Once you’ve built some momentum and have shares for social proof, you’ll want to target people who haven’t yet visited your site.

Rather than targeting general interests, it’s usually better to go more specific.

For example, our audience (YOU) mainly consists of content marketers and people who work a lot with social media marketing.

You probably love sites like Social Media Examiner, Copyblogger, and the Buffer blog.

So I would target those audiences directly.

Make sure you’re splitting the audiences into segments that make sense. Don’t lump 25-year-olds in with 50-year-olds. 
You want to know exactly which audiences are converting and which aren’t.

Chris Makara
Chris Makara
Make your evergreen blog content work for you on an on going basis. When you create evergreen content, in theory it is good for quite a while.

So why do most people just tweet out a link to this content just a few times and then move on to promoting their next blog post?

Sadly, they don't get the most out of their evergreen content.

You should be consistently promoting your evergreen content across your social media channels. Best of all, you can schedule this to happen again and again automatically.

This keeps your social profiles active with little effort and allows you to spend more time engaging with your audience instead of always having to figure out what to post.

22. Use Numbers, Data & Statistics 

Time to complete: 7-30 Minutes

Use Numbers

Use numbers in your title.

People respond to numbers. There’s something compelling about a title that has a number in it. If it’s 17 ways to do something, we’ve just gotta know what those 17 are. 



Sometimes I find myself clicking on posts that are 'x ways to do y' even if I don’t really care about the topic. 

Because I just want to know what they are.


Does this happen to you too?



It’s even more powerful if the topic is something your readers DO care about.

There are two main reasons why nubers are persuasive:

First- Numbers tap into curiosity.

If someone’s curious, they’ll keep reading because they need to know how it turns out.

Second- the more specific you are, the more believable and authoritative your claim, and there’s nothing more specific than a number.

Pro Tip: Data-driven posts are an excellent way to increase engagement. If you make a claim, the claim holds more sway if you can back it up with actual data from tests, experiments, or polls and surveys.

Data and statistics build credibility and add weight to your posts, and people love to read statistics that they can quote themselves.

Jonathan Prichard
Jonathan Prichard
90/10 Rule: 90% sharing, commenting, favoriting, or retweeting OTHER people's content and the other 10% self promotion.

Instead of focusing on getting the link, or the share, focus on building the relationship and on what YOU can provide THEM.

23. Be Human 

Time to complete: All the Time

Be Human

Be genuine, and you’ll make connections.

It’s really easy to spot automated messages and insincere attempts by marketers to foster relationships.

It’s easy to forget that you’re talking to an actual human when you’re staring at a computer monitor.

However, the person on the other side doesn’t want to be marketed at… They want to be engaged.

The litmus test is: 
would I do it in person?

Imagine you’re sitting across from Molly, whom you’ve just met, you know she might be a good prospect.

So what do you say to her? How would you act?

Just be human.

Write the way you talk.

Act the way you would in person.

It's simple really. People generally make decisions based on emotion, and they like to engage with real people, not machines.

Stephanie Sammons
Stephanie Sammons
Create content!

Without content, there's limited reasons why a fan, follower, etc. would want to engage and join in on the conversion about your brand.

The content should be authentic, shareable and provide some sort of value to the target audience(s) (i.e. entertainment, education/awareness) - otherwise it'll be completely lost in all of the other noise on social.

24. Do What Works: Proven Content Frameworks 

Time to complete: 10-30 Hours

Content Frameworks

What type of posts get shares in your industry?

Present your information in that way, and you’ll be more successful.

(The time it takes to create these types of posts varies. In general to create a really EPIC piece of content it takes a while, but it’s worth the effort.)

In general, there are certain frameworks that kill it, no matter what industry you’re in.

  • List Posts
  • Opinion/Thought Leadership Content
  • Interviews
  • Crowdsourced Content
  • Best of Awards Post
  • How To’s
  • Case Studies
  • Infographics
  • Ultimate Guides
  • Comparisons/Reviews

As well as your own signature mix. Just like this post… We consider it a mashup called 'the Expert Expanded List Post', or EELP for short.

Lists kill it. They are the most successful type of post in getting both links and shares. 



Out of 99,900 posts analyzed, for written content, lists got the highest average number of shares (10,734 average total shares) and the most backlinks from referring domains (6.19 on average).

How many items should be in your list post? The number is 10…
To get the most social shares according to a study of 100 Million articles. 


Examples of List posts done right that have gotten a lot of shares:

But that doesn’t mean you should neglect to use the other proven post types. Each one can be extremely powerful.

Christopher Hofman
Christopher Hofman
If someone gives your content some love on social media with a tweet, like, comment etc., you have a qualified lead to get your next link from.

If they have a website, I will analyze where there's a natural place for them to link to the content they liked.

if they have a blog, you can pitch an idea for a future post.

This is so far from cold calling.

They know you, they obviously like you, so they're ready to listen to you.

25. Use Share Triggers 

Time to complete: 30 Minutes

Share

Share triggers are specific tools and strategies (scientifically backed phycological principles that have been tested in the real world) that you can use to get more social shares from your posts. The idea is to make your reader want to share and make it as easy as possible to do it.

This means setting up social sharing buttons on your blog posts. 

There are several good options:

At strategic points in your post, use a call to action and ask for the share.


It doesn’t have to be aggressive. The call to action can be a simple ask.


For example: 
"Like what you’re reading? Consider sharing. We’d love you forever!"

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Doing this will increase your social shares and engagement significantly.

Try adding click-to-tweet quotable sections of your post. With this tactic, you’re not asking your readers to share, but instead, you’re making it very easy to do so, and they will.

Unfortunately we couldn’t find much data on how many more tweets you’ll get by using click to tweet. One blogger saw a 400% increase in the number of tweets per post he writes, and hubspot uses it as a staple strategy. This hubspot post has more than 100 click to tweet buttons, and got 322 twitter shares because of it.

Use post bonuses and upgrades that are unlocked once the visitor shares your content on a social network.

It’s easy to implement with the pay with a post tool. With the right bonus, it can be super effective.

Sumome does a good job of this.

In this post, they’re promoting a giveaway with pay with a share. To enter, you tweet out the article. To date the article has gotten 958 shares.

There are several different types of triggers that make content inherently more shareable:

  • Content Length (Longer)
  • Practical and Actionable
  • Memorable Content
  • Ego-boosting Content
  • Emotional Content
  • Storytelling

To find out more about why content gets shared on social media, check out this article from the guys behind BuzzSumo http://okdork.com/2014/04/21/why-content-goes-viral-what-analyzing-100-millions-articles-taught-us/.

Freddie Chatt
Freddie Chatt
Pinterest ads have the potential to massively grow your business, so if you haven't tried them out yet make sure you try them out this year.

Images that work best are lifestyle shots of your products in action - make sure you test them out both with text on and without as different audiences can respond better with text on the image.

Use a call to action in the description (Pinterest regulations state it can't be on the image) and test out different landing pages to maximise your results.

26. Use Hashtags 

Time to complete: 6 Minutes

Hashtags

Hashtags are an often underused element of social media for most businesses, but they couldn't be more important. 



Why?

Well, hashtags are now supported by all social media platforms, except LinkedIn (there's lots of debate about this). Each platform hyperlinks hashtags, meaning that content with specific hashtags gets grouped together and can be searched for more easily.

Hashtags also make your content stand out, as most platforms highlight the hashtag in some way, either with a specific color or by bolding the text.

Pro Tip: When using hashtags, make sure not to go overboard: 1 or 2 hashtags for relevant topic categories are enough.

Tweets with hashtags get 2x the engagement vs tweets without hashtags. And Tweets with 2 hashtags get 21% more engagement than tweets with three or more.

So, 1-2 is the sweet spot.

For example, if you're writing a post about content marketing, you might use the following hashtags:

29 Insanely Actionable #SocialMediaMarketingTips to Help Skyrocket Your #ContentMarketing

You might also do something like this:

29 Insanely Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips to Help Skyrocket Your Content Marketing #SocialMediaMarketing #ContentMarketing

It is worth mentioning that you DEFINITELY want to do this for Twitter. However, hashtags tend to decrease engagement on Facebook. Common wisdom is not to use them. But you’ve got to test it for your audience.

Tony Tong
Tony Tong
In 2016, every business is a media company first. Who entertains, gets more eyeballs.

27. Create Your Own Hashtags & Use Them Strategically 

Time to complete: 7 Minutes

Hashtags

If you're running a campaign (you should have a campaign plan) and you decide to create a hashtag for your post, make sure you use that hashtag in all of your posts related to the campaign.

Remember the ideal length for a hashtag: 6 characters.

The bigger deal, though, is to make the hashtag easy to remember (think catchy) and simple to spell.

"#ContentBeast"

Stephanie Sammons
Stephanie Sammons
Rule of Reciprocity. When you genuinely give to others to help them solve a problem, improve, get smarter or expand their network... it will come back to you.

28. Add Value 

Time to complete: All the Time

Add Value

Talk about issues that matter to your pocket of people.

Help them achieve their goals.

Chances are, if what you’re talking about matters to one person in your audience, it’ll matter to more people.

Maybe that means sharing a personal story that motivates someone in your audience to take action.

Maybe you’re creating value by giving advice, or it could be providing a paid solution to a problem. 
There’s no rule saying you can’t get paid while providing value.

29. Develop Channel-Specific Content 

Time to complete: 20 Minutes

Channel Specific Content

This is a biggie. What works well on Twitter doesn’t work well on Facebook; what works on FB doesn’t work on Instagram.

For Twitter, you DO want to use hashtags if possible.


For Facebook, having a hashtag is the kiss of death, but you want to make sure to have a killer visual image. 

However, you can’t use that same image on Instagram because the dimension requirements are different.

It can be tough to keep all the image dimensions straight. Here’s a quick cheat sheet for your social posts:

Note: All the numbers are in pixels.

  • Twitter Stream Image
    • Minimum 440 x 220 (2:1 Ratio)
  • Facebook Post Image
    • 1,200 x 630
  • Google Plus Post Image
    • 497 x 373
  • Pinterest
    • 222 pixels width on the board
    • 600px width for expanded pins
  • Instagram
    • 1080 x 1080
Andrew Holland
Andrew Holland
We have heard reports that people just aren’t sharing personal stories on Facebook as often any more.

In addition we have platforms like Medium and also Snapchat which are evolving and finding a new audience.

This means that anyone in marketing is going to find their jobs even harder, average content just won’t cut it anymore.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that content has to be long either and this is where things are going to get interesting in 2016 and into 2017.

The creative ability of the writers and social media managers is going to be key.

My top tip for 2016 is to invest in creativity and imagination.

These are the skills that are going to be in demand more and more.

I really believe that we are all going into information overload.

There is literally too much out there to process, so people are going to be more selective about who they engage with.

The smart firms and brands will start to look at their staff and pick out those with great imaginations and build them up.

These ‘idea machines’ are going to be the resource most in demand.

The people are the ‘linchpins’, the ones we cannot do without.

You can go and hire cheap workers from the corners of the globe, but these ‘creative content thinkers’ can create content that really ‘speaks’ to the audience, and sadly, these people are few and far between.


Download the Checklist of the 29 Insanely Actionable tips that you NEED to use to get killer social media engagement for your conent. PLUS! get 3 Bonus strategies.


With these concrete social media marketing tips for beginners and seasoned professionals alike, you can immediately get started on building an engaged audience.

It will be a process of trial and error, because every market is different. These steps will take you in the right direction to figure out who your audience is, what they want and how you can keep them happy (so that, ultimately, they will make you happy).

Let us know in the comments below what your number #1 social media marketing tips for 2016 are. What golden nuggets have you had success with?