What happens when you become too focused on promoting your social media posts?
You tend to gravitate to advertisements and sponsored content – maybe because you think paid tactics are useful when you’re out there seeming to attract eyeballs among intense competition.
But the end result is budget burnout for most businesses and individuals. That’s why you regularly see headlines like “Man’s $600,000 Facebook Ad Disaster” and “My Twitter ads verdict: a big waste of time and money.”
Don’t get me wrong. Social media ads and sponsored content does work for companies. Many brands have reported a great ROI from these paid tactics. What I’m saying is that they don’t work for the majority.
On top of that, those who get it right conduct a lot of A/B tests to design the perfect copy, perfect headline, perfect landing page, etc. That’s not possible for every business or individual.
For instance, a small business may have the resources to a/b test 5 different social media ads to see which ad gets the highest click-through rate. But if that ad backfires in a real campaign, the business may be out of resources to run a new campaign or conduct another a/b test.
There’s another problem. A survey pointed out that consumers’ trust in digital ads (including social media ads) is declining. On social media, they see these ads as an attempt to shove something down their throat.
Sponsored posts are a risk on their own. A report revealed that brands are still figuring how to measure them. They’re totally different and new. And there’s no standard for what is considered successful and what is not.
With all these developments, would you prefer paid social media tactics?
Perhaps you would still like to try and see what happens, but before you do, know that there is a way to promote your social media posts without spending a dime.
It’s no secret. You just haven’t given a thought to cross-promotion.
Cross-promotion doesn’t require any investment and partners can successfully expand through one another’s social channels. With this tactic, you can gain a credible introduction to a new audience than with traditional methods of social media promotion.
By the way, cross promoting is not cross posting. There’s a difference between the two terms. You can use a tool like HootSuite to share the same post across different social channels, but doing this doesn’t take into account the specifics of each platform.
Cross posting, as a result, can make the audience perceive you as insincere, or just plain lazy. The message should be tailored towards each platform. Otherwise, those status updates on Twitter reading “I posted a new photo on Instagram –> http://bitly.ly/xyz” could easily make you lose credibility.
That said, here’s a list of measures you can take to effectively cross promote your social media posts, so your content is seen by as many audiences as possible:
1. Add Social Tabs to Your Facebook Page
The good thing about Facebook is that you can use a third-party app to add a tab for LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Users can click these tabs and see posts from other social channels, which is a way to promote those posts indirectly.
Most apps provide an option to customize the thumbnail of the tab so that it matches your business branding. The following are some third-party tools for adding tabs of other social networks:
Tabs appear under your profile’s cover photo. The audience can expand it by clicking on the “More” drop-down arrow (situated on the right). Consider these tabs as navigation bars for your other social channels, allowing visitors to browse all the posts they have to offer.
Here’s an example from ThinkGeek’s Facebook page:
They’ve created tabs for their Pinterest and Google+ pages. Users can click on these tabs and see ThinkGeek’s Google+ and Pinterest posts.
2. Partner with a Brand and Cross Promote
Look for a brand that isn’t directly competing with you. When you find such a brand, you can partner with them to cross promote each other’s social media posts to respective followers.
When doing so, both you and your partner should craft the description for the post in a way that relates to the particular audience.
When it comes to selecting a partner, you can go with:
- Influencers (it’s easy to partner with influencers if you know how to connect with them)
- Local businesses (neighborhood businesses could work pretty well if you’re operating in a certain locality)
- Businesses outside your niche/industry (these are unlikely to be your direct competitors)
- Nonprofit organizations
As for the content, you can create a post on behalf of your partner, post the content supplied by your partner, or co-produce a social media post.
An example is Macy’s, a department store, and Special Books by Special Kids, a nonprofit. Macy’s recently shared a video and gave a mention to the nonprofit on its Facebook page.
Special Books by Special Kids shared the post created by Macy’s on their own Facebook page.
Special Books by Special Kids promoted the department store’s social media post, while Macy’s promoted the nonprofit’s Facebook page.
Macy’s also retweeted a post from Make-A-Wish-Foundation whom Macy’s helped raise over $2 million.
Macy’s could have created a custom post on Twitter instead of retweeting the post from Make-A-Wish-Foundation. Nevertheless, it’s a great example of social media cross-promotion.
3. Integrate Email with Social Media
Have you ever wondered how much visibility you could achieve for your social media posts by combining these two channels together?
It’s one of the most strategic integration you’ll ever make. That’s because you probably use social media as a CRM tool to strengthen the connection with audiences before converting them.
And you use email for the same purpose i.e. maintaining customer relationships and increasing customer retention. So with the same goals, these two channels integrate pretty well.
The best way to promote your social media posts is to add them to your weekly newsletter. Babies”R”US for instance informed their email subscribers about their new Facebook page and contest:
This enabled the company’s email subscribers to check out the latest posts on social media and engage by participating, liking, sharing, retweeting, pinning, or leaving comments.
Likewise, you can use social media to promote your email newsletter as well as grow your email list. To encourage people to subscribe, consider adding a newsletter sign up to your social media channels where possible.
The two tactics will work well together as people first need to subscribe for the newsletter before they can read the content. So you can get new email contacts by targeting your social media audiences.
4. Use Your Website/Blog
While people who regularly visit your website/blog will be following you on social media, there will be new visitors coming via search engines now and then. You can easily promote your social media posts to these new visitors.
The same can be done on social media for your website’s or blog’s content (you’re probably doing that already). Visitors who follow you on social media without coming across your website/blog will know what you post on your native digital properties.
If your website/blog is hosted on WordPress, you can use a plugin like Publicize to automatically send your content to your social media channels. Search Engine Journal has a great list of advanced tips on how to promote a blog post on social media.
For promoting social media posts on your website/blog, you can just embed the posts, or display the latest ones in the side bar, or in another part of your website real estate.
Here are some posts that teach how to embed posts from every social network on your website.
It’s easy to add social feeds via the embedded code (can be extracted via Twitter, YouTube, etc.), but these posts tell you additional tricks for embedding social media content in your website/blog.
5. Sponsor an event/conference
You can sponsor a networking event or a small-scale conference depending on your budget and cross promote between offline and online content.
There are several options when you utilize this strategy. You can make up collateral and mention your social media profiles and the most shared posts (on brochures, flyers, etc.).
Then you can engage in live use of social media (live tweeting for example) during event proceedings. The latter will allow your social media followers to consume content from your event, while the audience at the event can follow you on social media and consume the current and future content.
You can even use websites like MeetUp.com and attend meetings related to social media in your local area. Give out collateral featuring your social content while meeting new people, or feature someone you develop a friendship with in a live tweet.
Whenever you engage in live use of social media, always remember to use hashtags. These are essential for getting a wider reach for your posts and making the audience familiar with your brand/style of content.
Hopefully, these strategies will increase the reach of your social media posts. If you have time to implement them, you can increase post visibility at a fraction of a cost (you’re just required to make a financial investment in the 5th strategy) than paid social media tactics.
What are your thoughts? What tactics are you using to cross promote your social media posts? Feel free to leave comments.
Thumbnail image via MuchMania // shutterstock.com