7 Honest Social Media Marketing Tactics From a Cynical Marketer

I’ve worked in social media for the better part of the past six years, both as a freelancer and in-house. My experience with social media goes all the way back to my first internship in college, when I was managing the social media for a high-end hair salon. 

That was back in the algorithm-free days of Instagram, when Facebook wasn’t making billions on advertising, and Snapchat was still all the rage.

Now, nearly every business has a presence on multiple social media platforms. Which has only made a ‘pay-to-play’ model all that more tempting for the social media companies. 

Just check these numbers:

Change happens, especially in social media, and keeping up with it all is quite exhausting. You never know when the tide is going to turn and your social media efforts go from working for your company, to working against you.

7 Social Media Marketing Tactics That Work

With that being said, I still support social media marketing; I love how easy it is to define a brand’s voice or find new audiences on social media. It’s a huge reason why I’m not giving up on social media, and neither should you!

However, times are changing and so are the basic tactics that every social media manager should take. 

Here are 7 tactics that are the difference between standing out on social media, and just adding to the noise:

1. Why Should Your Business be on Social Media?

Zoom out and look at the overall picture for your social media marketing strategy. How can your business use (and benefit) from being on social media? Why should your business create a page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and every other platform? 

social media strategy

​Are you wanting to show off customers using your products, share the content you created, or are you looking for to build your brand?

Whatever your goals are with social media, define them first, then start building a strategy. When your social media strategy is aligned with your company’s biggest goals, your marketing efforts pay off, big time.

2. Show the Human Side, It’s Not Always About Selling

A great part about social media is the ability to promote and advertise to your audience while at the same time creating a conversation with them. Ask questions, share industry news, and reply to their comments. 

There are plenty of Facebook Ads clogging up our feeds these days, but the personal interactions still have an impact. Showing the human side of your business is not something an individual is soon to forget.

3. Get to Know Your Audience

Getting to know your audience is crucial to using social media for your business. Where are they? How do they use Twitter? Are they using Pinterest? Maybe Snapchat is their favorite app.

When you begin building an audience, it’s best to focus on a few platforms. Find the ones that work for you and have the biggest ROI for your efforts. Then spend time building and cultivating an engaged audience on those networks.

4. Use Influencers from Your Industry to Find New Audiences and Inspiration

Find the influencers and the big names in your industry and learn from them. Stalk their social media profiles and see what they are doing that works, then look to see where they are falling short. Target their audiences, and follow the people they follow.

5. Stay Up-to-Date

This one is obvious in any marketing role, but it has to be stressed in social media. In this industry, changes happen all the time to our favorite platforms. Most often it’s done without any notice or receives headline-grabbing user backlash. So make sure you stay involved with social media changes, trends, and the newest stats. 

Look no further, than Twitter’s recent update, doubling the character count for tweets. A move that was far from an overnight surprise but still left many diehard Twitter users angry. 

twitter character count

Whether they approved of the change, some companies were smart and took advantage of the buzz and new character limits. Surely, even the grumpiest of Twitter users couldn’t help but to smile at Virgin making great use of the new space:

social media marketing tactics

6. The Internet has no ‘Peak’ Time

Ask any social media marketer, when the best time to post on Facebook is, and you’ll get a range of times and days. Then, stop to think about how they got to that answer. 

Is it the best time to post on Facebook for their company? Is that when their audience is most active? Or did they just read a case study of some other company’s optimal timing and took it as fact?

The Internet, especially social media, has become so widespread on a global level, that there is no accurate benchmark ‘peak’ time. Couple that with the pesky social media algorithms and reaching audiences across several time zones… it’s easy to see how timing is becoming becoming irrelevant.

hours spent on social media

​This means, every company on social media should test for optimal times using their unique customer data. When your audiences are online and what time of day they’re most likely to engage will always be unique to you and your business. 

Using audience insights from Facebook or a number of other free marketing tools will help you pinpoint the perfect time to send out those posts!

7. Make Evergreen Content Specifically for Social Media, and Keep Sharing it

What is the content that generates the most attention in your industry? Where is it being shared?

Create evergreen content for a specific social media platform. Whether it’s a ‘share-worthy’ topic for a Facebook video or an infographic that is sure to go viral on Pinterest, create something specific for your business that will get shared.

The stuff that goes viral on social media is that which centers on topics resonating with the platform’s user base. Certain pieces of instructional content like recipes, wedding ​checklists, infographics, and travel guides are hot stuff for Pinterest users. Right now, Facebook is all about filling feeds with videos that users can’t stop sharing. 

If you’re not currently already creating this type of evergreen content for your business, it’s never too late to start.

While these social media tactics are certainly my opinions, they come from my experience working in social media and marketing the past several years. They may seem cynical, but things aren’t getting any easier for us social media marketers out here. 

But if there’s one thing we’re known for, it’s finding new tactics and methods to reach our audiences.

Disagree with my tactics, or maybe want to add one that I forgot? Please let’s keep up this discussion in the comments.


Caitlin is an Austin-based digital marketer and writer with a passion for content. She is the newest member of the Performance Marketer team and brings years of marketing experience, as well as the best recommendations for where to go for lunch.


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