You’ve crafted the perfect blog post: Well-researched, SEO optimized, contains the ideal keyword ratio with trustworthy outbound and internal links, and it even has a nifty infographic that you spent hours to create.

All you have to do is queue it up in Buffer and watch it take off, right?

I’ve been there, and I wish it were true!

Social media managers and marketers know that sometimes even the most epic material requires love and hard work when it comes to promoting content across social media.

But with the right combination of strategy, effort, and luck you really can get your amazing content to succeed on social media.

Start here with these 6 proven strategies for promoting content across social media – They’ve worked for us, and they can work for you as well.

Let’s jump in! 

1. Create unique posts for each social channel

With limited time and resources, creating a unique post for each social media channel can be a challenge, but it’s well-worth the effort. This will help to give your content a fresh feel no matter where your audience lands and show that you’ve put some thought into each update.

The other benefit of creating a unique post is that each social media channel has its own set of rules and so what works on one channel may not work on the other.

Take our recent article on 11 Facebook Marketing Features for example:

Here’s how we shared it on Facebook:

promoting content on social media, social media marketing, content sharing

And on Twitter:

promoting content on social media, social media marketing, content sharing

From past experience on social media, we know that our Facebook audience tends to like a bit more context around a blog post, whereas our Twitter followers tend to engage with tweets that are to-the-point and contain awesome visuals.

The visual here being this adorable puppy GIF  (animal GIFs highly recommended!)

Here’s how I like to think of promoting content across social media before I craft a post – Helping me to consider the potential audience and what they might respond to:

  • Twitter: An audience looking for news, tips, Twitter best-practices, how-to’s, interesting articles, and what’s trending. Quick, witty, and eye-catching updates are a social media manager’s best friend.
  • Facebook: An audience looking for entertainment and value. Think, “share” first. What will make your audience want to share your post? Aim to spark emotions and interest with captions and headlines.
  • Instagram: An audience looking for stunning visuals. Which portion of your content is the most visually-pleasing piece? Share that! If there’s none, try creating an image to share with Pablo or Canva.
  • LinkedIn: An audience of professionals. How will your piece of content add value to the professional lives of your audience? Try and express those professional benefits in your LinkedIn updates.
  • Pinterest: An audience of creatives. Think beautiful images plus how-to’s. As much content as you can clearly fit into a visual, the better – Infographics are a perfect medium to accomplish this.

Keeping with the puppy theme, here’s another great way to think of each channel before posting:

Social media explained by dogs, social media channels, social media marketing

Image via Avalaunch Media

2. Become a social media outreach expert

It would be great if promoting content across social media was similar to Kevin Costner in the movie Field of Dreams – the “build it and they will come” strategy.

In the early days of social media, we were enjoying a mountain of organic traffic and engagement on social media until slowly, but surely, those results began to decline, and we lost nearly half of our social media traffic.

Since then, we’ve had to pivot and focus on what we can do internally to get the most out of our blog content on social. Inspired by a post on outreach by Jeff Bullas, we now like to think of ourselves as outreach experts.

One of the keys to social media outreach that we’ve discovered is that it’s not the number of people that you reach out to, it’s the type of people.

We broke the “types” up into 3 categories:

Advocates

These are the faithful audience members of your brand. The amazing people that retweet every one of your tweets and like every one of your Facebook posts. The ones that talk about your product or service to their friends and family.

Providing value to these loyal audience members is encouraged on both social media and email. If you haven’t already, consider creating a weekly email newsletter or roundup with the top posts from your blog.

Include your social media icons in the email and even experiment with asking your subscribers to share the content – turning them from subscribers to social media fans.

Peers

These are the people and/or brands in your field that you would consider peers – The ones looking to gain the attention of the same people (more or less) that you are. When it comes to marketing to a similar audience, we’ve found that it is effective to work with peers as it increases your potential audience size and is good business as it benefits both parties.

Working with peers can be as easy as agreeing to curate and share each other’s content on social media, teaming up on a blog post, or going a bit deeper by creating free resources that your audience will find useful.

Start by messaging the content manager or social media manager from the company that you’re interesting in working with on social media or email with a few valuable partnership ideas and what the benefits on both ends will be.

Big Fish

Connecting with influencers and “big fish” companies may not be as hard as many people think it is. At the end of the day, they’re all human just like you and me. The only difference is they’ve amassed a huge audience after years of hard work.

According to Jeff Bullas, there are a few basic principles when connecting with an influencer:

  1. Always provide value for the influencer
  2. Expect nothing in return
  3. Be polite
  4. Act like a human being

Providing value is first and foremost. What can and will you bring to the table that will benefit them? Over time, this will build into a mutually beneficial and trusting relationship.

A great example of this is when HubSpot reached out to us with an opportunity to partner up on a social media content calendar template. They had already done much of the work (value) and were looking for a partner to promote this resource to audiences (trust). It was a no-brainer for us to dive in with them.

3. Optimize posting timing & frequency

One question that we get asked a lot here at Buffer is: How often should I post to social media?

I love this question because it makes me take a good look at what is and isn’t working when promoting content across social media on our own channels. The one answer I always find is that it’s constantly changing – What works for us one week is different the next. That’s why I’m always experimenting with our schedule and why I encourage you to do the same.

Here’s a fun little 3-week posting experiment that I ran on across social media to see if post timing would make a big difference in clicks and engagement:

Week 1:

  • Facebook: Post 5 times per day at “peak” Facebook times (using Facebook Insights)
  • Twitter: Post 14 times per day at “peak” Twitter times (using Buffer’s Optimal Timing Tool)
  • Instagram: Post 1 time per day with our “peak” Instagram time (using Iconosquare)
  • LinkedIn: Post 4 times per day during USA working hours (5:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. PST)

Week 2:

  • Facebook: Post 4 times per day at “peak Facebook times” (using Buffer Analytics)
  • Twitter: Post 13 times per day at “peak Twitter times” (using Buffer’s Optimal Timing Tool)
  • Instagram: Post 1 time per day with experimenting with 6 “new” times (using Iconosquare)
  • LinkedIn: Post 4 times per day during randomly assigned times throughout the day

Week 3: 

  • Facebook: Post 3 times per day at “non-peak” Facebook times (using Buffer Analytics)
  • Twitter: Post 11 times per day at “non-peak” Twitter times (using Buffer’s Optimal Timing Tool)
  • Instagram: Post 1 time per day with our “peak” and “non-peak” times (using Iconosquare)
  • LinkedIn: Post 3 times per day during USA working hours and on weekends

Though it wasn’t a perfect experiment, I acquired a ton of internal data from just 3 weeks of easy-to-implement social media experiments.

What I found was a “sweet spot” between engagement and clicks. We have a highly active audience between the hours of 12:00 – 3:00 a.m. PST on many of our social media channels. Awesome!

I then used that data to schedule our most important and potentially engaging posts around those times to give them a little extra boost.

Social Media Networks, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Scheduling

4. Test social media headlines

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. – David Ogilvy

Described as “The Father of Advertising,” David Ogilvy knew a thing or two about the importance of headlines.

An incredible study from the team at Ripenn gave us access to headline analysis from top viral sites on the web – what we observed from the data is that content that aims to help and provide value to others performed the best.

What better way to convey value in a short amount of time than through a well-written headline?

Garrett Moon, Founder at CoSchedule, analyzed more than 1 million headlines and came up with some great tips for maximizing their potential. We then mixed those with our own data and created these 10 takeaways for writing great headlines:

Writing Great Headlines, tips on writing great headlines, headlines

5. Utilize Call-to-Action (CTAs) regularly 

In an ideal marketing world, people would hear about your product or service from friends and family on social media, check out your profiles, follow your accounts and like your posts, visit your website, and convert into a paying customer.

In the real marketing world, social media success looks a little something like this:

Social Media Success, social media marketing

Call-to-Action (CTAs) are a great way to encourage your audience to like, share, and engage with the awesome content that you are creating and to eventually capture leads from social media.

But when promoting content across social media, it’s important to fit CTAs in naturally. Aim to be as genuine, creative, and original as possible. For tips and call-to-action inspiration, check out these 30 examples you can’t help but click

If those don’t quite hit the spot, here are a few more ideas that have worked for us in the past:

  • Ask thought-provoking questions
  • Host a giveaway asking participants to “share this post, “tag a friend,” or “follow us on social”
  • Include CTAs in beautiful social media images
  • Offer additional free content and resources where no signup is required

6. Build a social media community

If you’re experimenting with all of the tactics above and looking for even more ways to reach a new audience, building a social media community is a great next step.

Your brand’s “tribe” helps people stay connected, informed, and talking even when you’re asleep.

At the crux of a social media community is this idea:

For companies and brands to build strong relationships online, communication must be a two-way street.

Whether you build your community on Slack, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter Chats, or a host of other online options, the most important part is your brand’s two-way interaction with real people.

Your brand is at the center of your community, but the goal is to give participants an identity and a voice where they can share their thoughts about big topics in your industry. Listen to their questions, concerns, thoughts, and ideas and respond to them in an authentic way.

Social Media Community Image, social media community, social media marketing

Image: “The Honeycomb of Social Media

At the end of the day, good content, quick responses, and a real person to monitor and interact through your social media channels will do wonders for your social marketing campaign.

Over to you

What are your go-to strategies when promoting content on social media?

  • Do you share content more than once?
  • Have you found your timing sweet-spot?
  • Which social media networks drive the most traffic and engagement for you?
  • Do you run A/B tests for each one of your headlines?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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Written by Brian Peters

Humbled and grateful to be living the social media life at Buffer! California coast born and raised, but always on the go with my lovely wife Katelyn. Love reading, designing, writing, running and adventuring.

  • Gavin Wieske

    Great article! I’m fresh out of school and working in Marketing and Sales at a start-up and I find all these social media blog posts incredibly helpful.

    • Brian

      Thank you, Gavin! Congrats on graduating and finding a job in Marketing and Sales at a start-up. Best of luck and success to you in your ventures! Please feel free to keep in touch 🙂

  • Aamna Hassan Fasihi

    Been a social media manager since an year now. This is just so interesting. Learned a lot through this article.

    • Brian

      That’s so awesome to hear, Aamna! Would love to know how these strategies work for you and if they pay off! Thanks so much for reading and for the kind comment 🙂

  • tonydbaker

    Wow! An actual step by step strategy for promoting content across social media instead of the spray-n-pray way normally used!

    • Brian

      So glad that you enjoyed it, Tony! I am so grateful for your feedback and comment 🙂 You’ll have to let me know how some of the strategies work for you!

  • I really enjoy sharing a post uniquely across social media profiles. The difference in how engagement works is very interesting. I have done a bit of testing with timing as well, and have settled into a twitter-optimized schedule from my Buffer analytics for best posting times. Great post Brian and I’ll be sharing this with my network today. 4 cheers to all Bufferers and enjoy a thankful Thursday! 🙂

    • Brian

      Awesome to hear, Steve – The Buffer analytics and optimizer are some of my favorite tools! They’ve really helped us 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and for your super kind comment!

  • Jessica Lynn Medina

    Thanks Brian, great advice here – def implementing this!

    • Brian

      Absolutely my pleasure, Jessica! 🙂 Thanks for reading and for your kind comment. Have a great day!

  • Sylvia

    I’m constantly in learning mode when it comes to social meda, and though I feel “behind” I really appreciate the clear explanations and links to other resources (tips for headlines, examples of CTAs…hello!). Buffer is always my go to!

    • Brian

      Woohoo – Thanks, Sylvia! 🙂 Totally know what you mean by feeling behind once in a while.. It’s tough to keep up with everything! Please let us know if there’s ever a specific topic you’d like to learn about and we’ll try to make it happen on the blog 🙂 Have an awesome day!

      • Sylvia

        Brian, thank you! I feel like Buffer always anticipates any questions I have so just keep doing what you’re doing!!

  • Good advice! Thank you, Brian. I’m experimenting with using HootSuite to schedule my Twitter posts and I’ve started promoting my website – which deals with creativity – on Pinterest. My best results have come from enjoying myself in the social media community. I am NOT using every single post of mine to promote my product. Some of my posts are just for fun and I also share content I think my contacts would enjoy. I use Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest because those are the sites where I have the most fun. Plus, too much social media equals less time to create the product I am promoting.

    • Brian

      Such a great point, Kim! I think you hit it right on when you said that your best results have come from enjoying yourself in the social media community – A wonderful way to think of it. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and for your great comment!

  • RasmaR

    Now this is an article that not only motivates but also inspires.

    • Brian

      Wow! Thank you for that amazingly kind comment – Totally made my day! 🙂 Very happy to hear that this article was motivational!

  • Jessica Feng

    It feels great to inspire people, motivate people, and you good at it!

    • Brian

      Thank you so much, Jessica! 🙂 Made my day!

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  • Great post Brian! Love the tips.

    • Brian

      Thank you so much, Dave – I appreciate that! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  • I found that posts with actual events, company, products shots and images have much higher engagement level, then the one with stock imagery. I also experiment with video posts and always try to add images to the updates to get more likes.

    • Brian

      That’s awesome to hear, Mikhail! We’ve had the same experience with actual events, company, and product shots vs. stock imagery. Glad to hear you’re seeing the same thing 🙂 Thanks for reading and for the awesome comment!

  • Jean Lie

    I have a niece who has fond on social media and creating content mostly on leadership and a little bit of sales. She was in an internship just last year and she was assigned in the SEO and I couldn’t be more proud of her and what she have achieved so far. She really likes creating content. And finding these while scrolling on the internet, I have to grab my phone and text her right away. This is very helpful and very inspiring. She’s very excited to read this. Thanks Brian. 🙂

    • Brian

      Amazing! A huge congratulations to your niece and her accomplishments, Jean! The fields of SEO and content creation are such big opportunities going forward 🙂 Glad to help wherever I can. Wishing you and your niece the best!

      • Jean Lie

        Indeed, Brian. Marketing, SEO and content is everywhere. You can apply it wherever you go. SEO and content is like the equivalent of Kung Fu, everything we do is Kung Fu. Everything we do is SEO and content. LOL Thanks a lot, Brian. Looking forward for more blogs from you. 🙂

        Btw, we have published a new blog about “The Best Social Media Sites for Lead Generation in the APAC Region”. Would you mind checking it out? Here’s the link, bit.ly/1WFFkfU. Thanks again. 🙂

        • Brian

          Awesome stuff, Jean! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing that blog post with me – super interesting. I didn’t know that “the average Facebook user spends 1 hour and 48 minutes a day on the social platform.”

          Looking forward to connecting again the near future!

  • Amazing tips! It’s great to learn new things and test each. Many marketers test new platform to see how and what works. To chunk each piece of content into unique pieces of sharable social media is a great thing. It’s just a matter of full optimization, scheduling, knowing the audience, leveraging the power of influencers and creating great content! Thanks for this list Brian!

    • Brian

      Right on, Anna – You touched on such great points there. Learning and testing are important pieces to every marketing strategy. Glad to hear you’re already on top of it! 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and for the kind words!

  • Mylene Satore

    I like this strategy it is very helpful to me.

    • Brian

      Love it – thank you so much for the kind words and comment! 😀

  • nice post Sir…. really inspiring

    • Brian

      Thank you, Michael! 🙂

  • Anonymous A

    Hi all! Great post, lots of really helpful insight. One things I’m struggling with is knowing how often and when to promote a new piece of content…like a recirculation strategy so as to ensure our audience is organically seeing the content but not so much as to annoy or be repetitive. Any advice?

  • Shaena Harrison-Helin

    This is what I relay to my customers on a regular basis! So glad to have a link to share with them now.

  • Good tips on the how of sharing and promoting content on social media…