Effective Social Media Strategies

October 21, 2013

For individuals who are using social media to market their organization, business, cause, etc., pervading every corner of the Internet with generic social media profiles is not the most effective strategy. Determine which social media platforms are appropriate for your audience or constituents. Create content that is compelling, and present information in creative ways.

Here are a few examples of how companies and people are using social media in effective and engaging ways:

Understand the audience that frequents different social media platforms.

Pinterest, for example, is an inspiration board-based platform that targets women between the ages of 18-34. Politics and Pinterest is not a useful social media combination. Combining the two concepts is ineffective not because of the demographics, but because of the function of the platform; people tend to use Pinterest for design inspiration and lifestyle tips.

Ann Romney has a popular Pinterest account that focuses on family traditions and patriotic recipes, but her profile wasn't a great or useful tool in Mitt Romney's 2012 Presidential Campaign. Although politicians have shown that they understand the platform by sharing lifestyle content, and campaign branding material and ideas, Facebook and Twitter serve politicians' goals more effectively.

Present content in innovative ways.

Lowe’s Home Improvement used Vine, a platform that allows users to create and view short videos, to share a series of 6-second home improvement tips. Paired with the hashtag #lowesfixinsix, the videos serve as creative and simple home improvement visuals.

Provide incentives for people to engage with the organization or brand.

Social media is a great way to get people who support your company to promote and spread your brand. Madewell, a clothing retailer, launched the Fall 2013 Wildly Simple Instagram contest. The contest is simple: Post an Instagram photo of 5 personal clothing and accessory essentials for Fall, and tag Madewell in your post for a chance to win a $500 gift card. The contest has gained the clothing brand mentions in fashion blogs and on Instagram pages. Since users are likely to integrate a Madewell clothing item in the post, it also shows Instagram users different ways to incorporate the store’s products in their wardrobe.

Local Carrboro and Chapel Hill restaurants Tyler’s Taproom and Carolina Brewery offer Foursquare incentives to patrons who check-in on the location-based app. The New Media Campaigns team enjoys the free garlic fries that you receive for checking in at Tyler’s at least once a week. Every check-in is an opportunity for someone new to learn about your business.

Generally, when using social media as a marketing tool, posting compelling, high quality content makes a more significant impact than posting lower quality content frequently. Stay focused on the organization’s overall mission, and use the platforms in creative ways that capture and retain an audience.


Nathan Brook's avatar
Nathan Brook
Really great tips. And yes identifying your audience is one of the biggest steps one has to take.

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