5 Secrets to Social Media Success

These days, social media is one of the most important parts of any company's marketing strategy. In fact, according to September 2014 data from the Pew Research Center, over 70 percent of all online adults in America are on Facebook (and a vast majority use the site daily). That means that reaching a vast amount of people at once and targeting specific demographics are both easier than ever. However, it's important for companies to develop a social media strategy – whether they're using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or any other platform – to make sure their posts are effectively building engagement and generating leads. To that end, here are five ways your company can use social media successfully:

1. Interact
The key to engaging your audience on social media isn't just posting content. No matter how amazing a blog post or infographic is, simply posting a link to it isn't the best way to share it successfully. Interact with your network by asking questions and following up on their responses. You should also reach out to key influencers in your industry to build social relationships with them. Brainstorm a list of industry leaders and begin sharing, liking or retweeting their content – ideally they'll return the favor, but if not, you'll still make yourself more visible to their network every time you interact with them.

2. Keep Up
The best brands know how to use current events and trends to their benefit. While posting evergreen content is a great way to build your reputation as a thought leader, sharing timely news and making it relevant to you will spur engagement and likely help you grow your network. Looking for a great example of this? Everyone from Pizza Hut to Burger King got involved in the recent Blue/Black or Gold/White dress debate – and those posts were shared thousands of times. 

3. Get Visual
The more visual content you post, the better. Your content should be dynamic and shareable, which means graphics, images and a combination of the two will prompt a great deal more interaction than just words. In fact, you may want to consider investing in business-specific profiles for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You'll have access to analytics that will allow you to see which posts were the most successful, which you can then use to publish similar content in the future.

4. Schedule Content
Be very cognizant of when you're pushing content to make sure you're posting at optimal times (whether you're using post it notes to set reminders or a social media manager like Hootsuite). Many companies opt to post the same content several times in one evening in order to reach people in various time zones after they've gotten home from work, but choose a strategy that makes sense for your target audience. Targeting professionals? Post content around lunch time or just before or after a specific hour to catch people before they head into or after they return from meetings.

5. Be One of a Kind
The best way to ensure your social media strategy is successful is to make sure your content is unique, informative and useful. Your social media profiles should be an extension of your brand, which means you should always be thinking, "How can I set myself apart from my competitors?"

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