Want to elevate your social media marketing game? Pull up a chair and prepare to take notes as we tap into the wisdom of Jay Baer, well-known social media marketing and customer service expert, who also happens to be the world’s most retweeted person by digital marketers.
Baer is president of Convince & Convert, a popular speaker, podcaster and author of five books including Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers and Youtility. Check out our roundup of some of Baer’s best tips to help you succeed in social.
Most Important Advice
We’ll start with Baer’s most important advice for social media managers: “Focus your attention on helping the company BE social, and worry less about DOING social media.”
B2B marketers should consider scheduling posts in what Baer calls “micro-opportunity” windows. Here’s the concept: most businesspeople typically sit in meetings for a good portion of their day. If you want to reach those people, deliver posts around the start and end times of meetings, which are usually scheduled on the hour or the half hour.
“Based on the way meetings are scheduled and conducted, I believe many businesspeople are checking their social media accounts just before and after the top of the hour or the bottom of the hour,” Baer says. “Schedule your social media marketing at opportune moments; for example, at times before meetings are due to start and end…I haven’t been able to prove that this works (yet), but it makes so much sense to me intuitively that I’m going to keep doing it.”
The best way to become a social pro is to be consistent. Baer says, “Consistency is key to succeeding in social because success in anything is based on perspiration, not inspiration. It’s important to figure out what you want to do and then do that thing every single day. No flying by the seat of your pants or doing something when you feel inspired or driven to it… it’s a ‘10,000 hours’ kind of approach. It may not be as sexy as you want it to be, but it will get results.”
Make Sure You Aren’t Wasting Your Time on the Wrong Platform
Different social media platforms are better for different kinds of businesses. Here are Baer’s suggestions depending on your goals: “Generally, B2C companies gravitate toward platforms with broader usage, younger audiences, and more mobile-driven participation. That’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in many cases. B2B companies often use Facebook, too, because of its huge reach, as well as Twitter, LinkedIn and more content-focused options like Slideshare and YouTube. Blogging can work for both,” he says.
Love Those Who Hate You
Hug your haters, and answer every complaint in every channel every time. Baer thinks it’s so important to embrace your business’ online complainers that he wrote a book about it. His research shows that about one-third of online customer complaints are never answered, even though that’s where everyone’s watching if, when and how you respond.
Baer told Small Business Trends blog, “I set out to write the book to explain to companies how important it is to be answering customers online where customer service is a spectator sport, right? You’ve got all these people watching how you handle it at Twitter and Facebook and Yelp and TripAdvisor, and all the other rating and review sites and discussion boards and forums…Hug your haters and answer your customers, it reduces churn…It increases customer loyalty, but just as important, it tells you all kinds of stuff you need to know to make your business better.”
Harness the Power of Your Employees
Tap the collective social power within your company. “Smart companies realize that social media is about people, not logos. Collectively, your employees have far more social connections than your company is ever likely to accrue.” Baer says the way to broaden your company’s social media reach and engagement should start by “surveying your team to determine where and how they are already active in social media.” Then, harness that power.
Pick Your Focus
Know the primary focus of your social media marketing. Even though social media can address many business objectives, Baer says, “the best social media strategies are those that focus (at least initially) on a more narrow rationale for social. What do you primarily want to use social for? Awareness? Sales? Loyalty and retention? Pick one.” Check out Baer’s tutorial on his other steps for building a successful social media strategy.
Be a Digital Dandelion
When it comes to getting your social media content out there, be a digital dandelion. Baer recommends disseminating your content in many places to introduce it to a wide variety of audiences, but he doesn’t advocate duplicating the same word-for-word content in every channel. “Instead, take that content and repurpose it. Take that white paper and make it six blog posts…it’s not about copying yourself, it’s about reformulating, repackaging, reconstituting your thought leadership in different, interesting ways and spreading that in as many places as possible.”
Don’t Just Sell, Help
Connect with more customers by helping others. Provide valuable content, even giving away your “secret sauce” in your social media channels. This concept is the basis of Baer’s book, Youtility, and while it may seem counterintuitive, he says it has the exact opposite effect. “If you sell something, you can create a customer today. If you help someone, you can create a customer for life.” Baer says content that helps people is inherently useful and effective, and your work and generosity will generate connections. So spread your knowledge without fear and watch your influence and business grow.
Make Sure the Left Hand Knows What the Right Hand is Doing
Start thinking about three-way digital marketing. Baer says search and social marketing are now converging with paid social marketing, just as organic search in social continues to decline. “We’re in an era where your paid search, your organic search, your organic social media and your paid social media need to work together as one unit.” Make sure you cross-train everyone on your team.
Be a Headline Master
Struggling to write compelling content headlines by losing the word clutter? Baer has some great tips: keep it short; think of unexpected words with the help of a thesaurus; frame headlines around reader benefits; and write headlines that talk directly to the reader, not to the world in general.
Do you have a killer social media tip or strategy that’s worked for you? Share it with us in the comments below.