I’m constantly amazed and inspired by the way that others go about experimenting, testing, and trying out new methods to get more value out of their social media marketing.

Constant testing is something we love to do at Buffer. So I’m always keen to hear about new tests to try.

There’s no shortage of intriguing new social media strategies.

I’m excited to share 10 of the latest ones I’ve been interested to try here at Buffer. Do you think these might work for you and your social media marketing?

social media strategies

1. An animated way of saying thank you

The strategy: Include an animated GIF in “thank you” tweets

In our latest Twitter strategy post, Nicole Kohler shared that thanking Twitter users for sharing her content led to 1 in 4 of those thank you tweets resulting in a follow. A 25 percent conversion rate is incredible!

To boost this even further, Jason at GrowthHackers.co adds an extra element: an animated GIF. Click the picture below to see the animation.

In the post explaining his strategy, Jason mentions that he uses an automated system of including this GIF in a thank you to each new follower.

  1. He connects Zapier to Buffer so that every time someone follows him, a thank you tweet is sent or scheduled.
  2. The tweet includes a fun animated GIF from giphy.com, hosted on Jason’s website.
  3. After a certain period of time, he has Tweetdeleter.com delete older thank you tweets so that the Tweets & Replies timeline stays relatively clean.

Whereas Nicole’s strategy was to thank curators for sharing her content and hope for a follow back, Jason’s strategy is to thank those who have already followed his account and hope for a retweet, which will lead to more impressions for his brand. The GIF appears to work:

In our tests approximately 65% of all new followers either Favorited or Retweeted or both.

The takeaway: A mix of the two strategies—Nicole’s and Jason’s—could lead to some interesting results. Try thanking those who share your content, and include a fun GIF in your tweet reply.

2. Share & schedule 150 tweets in 5 minutes or less

The strategy: Upload your scheduled tweets in bulk to a social media scheduler like Buffer.

Michael Grubbs has fine-tuned a system that helped him go from spending three to five hours of content distribution each day to 30 minutes. At the core of the time-saving tips is this bulk upload feature.

Michael created a spreadsheet that contains tweets to blogposts and pages on his website. Each blogpost/page has three variations of tweet. Using a randomizer in the spreadsheet, Michael pulls a balanced mix of tweets into a new sheet and exports the list. He then uploads the list to BulkBuffer, which adds all the tweets to his Buffer queue.

The ability to just “drop” a big list of Tweets into Buffer and it will sort them into our pre-defined time-slots is huge for us. While everyday we put out fresh Tweets with the new content, 150 other Tweets are scheduled between the 4 accounts and are slotted to be published with only about 5 minutes of work.

ru8V686cSGby

The takeaway: If you plan on resharing content to Twitter, you can plan ahead and save time by queuing content in bulk.

3. Where do your social share buttons belong?

The strategy: Experiment with the placement of your social sharing buttons on your site.

ventureharbour

Venture Harbour tested the location of the social share buttons on their blogposts, finding that a floating sidebar with sharing buttons increased the rate of sharing by 52%. 

They went on to conclude that there is no single best position for share buttons. The right answer will depend on your specific blog.

We’ve adopted the floating sidebar with share buttons on our Buffer blogposts (via the Digg Digg plugin). Copyblogger shows its share buttons exclusively at the top and bottom of posts.

Then there’s an even more outside-the-box strategy: Removing share buttons entirely. Blogs like James Clear, Paul Jarvis, and others have adopted this strategy. Smashing Magazine is one of the biggest names to do so. Here’s their result:

smashing magazine tweet

The takeaway: Test the best spot for your social share buttons. Maybe it’s a floating sidebar. Maybe it’s no share buttons at all!

4. Tweet the same content six times or more

The strategy: Tweet the same content more than once

Wisemetrics analyzed 1 million tweets of reposted content to see the impact of a reposting strategy. The results:

On average, the second tweet about a news get 86% as much performance as the first one

The more one repeat the less the performance he gets, but even after 6 repetitions, we’re still at 67% of the first tweet.

twiiter_perf_repeat

Wisemetrics’s analysis of Facebook posts led showed that you can still get engagement on reposting the same content on Facebook, although with greater drops at each successive update. For instance, the second repetition on Facebook drops 38 percent, compared to Twitter’s 14 percent.

The takeaway: Share content more than once on Twitter and Facebook.

5. Are you trying too hard on social media?

The strategy: Be conscious of the way you compose your social media updates

Back in May, Axe body spray partnered with a marketing agency to create a fun tool called Social Effort Scale. In effect, it told you whether or not you were trying too hard with your social media sharing on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The scores are based largely on the way you format your updates. Some of the factors include:

  • Number of hashtags
  • Percentage of capital letters
  • Amount of emoticons
  • Exclamation marks
  • Punctuation

The resulting score gives you an overall view of how hard you’re trying on social media, plus individual scores for each of your updates.

social-effort-scale-chart

The takeaway: It appears there are several factors that could make your social media posts come off wrong. Be aware of hashtag use, emoticons, capital letters, punctuation, and exclamation marks.

6. More followers might not mean more shares

The strategy: Don’t chase a high follower count. Focus on quality content.

BuzzSumo studied the content and shares of two of the biggest marketing blogs—Social Media Examiner and Coypblogger. One particular area of focus was on follower count on social networks and share count.

According to BuzzSumo’s findings:

The number of shares on each network does not appear to have a direct relationship to the number of followers the publisher has on that network.

For instance, one network in particular that confirmed this finding was Google+.

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.09.31 PM

Takeaway: Promoting you content is valuable on every network, no matter your follower size.

7. Take advantage of what’s happening right now

The strategy: Use current events to boost your Facebook post visibility

Among the many considerations in the Facebook News Feed is timely, trending content. Current events are a great source for this kind of post.

Aaron Lee is a big proponent of this strategy for sharing on Facebook.

Why should you post about current events on your Facebook page? The main reason is they are the stories your fans are already talking about!

Aaron has three categories of current events that he thinks of when sharing timely content.

  • Holidays – Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving, etc.
  • Special events – The Oscars, the Super Bowl, Cinco de Mayo, etc.
  • Special interest – No shave November, Origami Day, etc.

The takeaway: Find a current event that applies to your audience, either a broad holiday or a specific special day. Create content around the event.

8. Influential people love your content

The strategy: Find the biggest influencers who are sharing your content

A strategy used by many marketers—Michael Grubbs mentioned it in his post above, too—is to find influencers in your niche by searching BuzzSumo’s content analysis tool. Generally-speaking, you can search keywords and URLs for stories that get the most social shares. On a deeper level, you can see the influential people sharing the type of content that is most relevant to you.

BuzzSumo’s Steve Rayson shared this tip in a SlideShare on content research and planning. The influencer strategy begins at slide 25.

 

Basically, you’ll perform a search for a certain keyword that fits your niche (“social media” or “content marketing” for us) or for a certain URL, either your own or that of a competitor.

On the search results page, you can click the “View Sharers” button to see who has shared the content. On the sharers page, you can refine and sort the results by the following:

  • Page authority – The Moz page authority for a user’s URL
  • Domain authority – The Moz domain authority for a user’s URL
  • Followers – The total number of followers each user has
  • Retweet ratio – The percentage of the user’s tweets that are retweets
  • Reply ratio – The percentage of the user’s tweets that are replies
  • Average retweets the user gets

BuzzSumo-screenshot

 

The takeaway: Go deeper into who is sharing your content to find influencers to connect with.

9. Custom messages on the content you curate

The strategy: Add your own personal messaging to the links you share on social media

A super neat tool that has helped a lot of marketers get more return on the links they share, Snip.ly shortens link and adds a custom message that you control onto the page you’re sharing. Brad Knutson describes the tool in this way:

Snip.ly gives us the opportunity to place any call-to-action on any website.

To see a live example, you can click through to this link and view the bar at the bottom of the page.

sniply example

Where this might come in handy is with sharing links to social media, and adding additional calls-to-action on the content you share. If the strategy seems a bit too intrusive, you can add the Sniply box or bar only to the content from your own site. If you wish to capitalize on other content you share, you can add a Sniply box or bar to any link you find interesting or that meshes well with your company’s niche and product.

The free Sniply plan comes with all the basic features you’d need to test out this strategy and see if it works for you. Paid plans include additional features like integrated forms for email capture as well as custom short URLs.

The takeaway: Make sure your links are well-optimized for conversions by adding a Sniply call-to-action either to the content you share from your site or the content that fits your niche on other sites.

10. A reservoir of tweets and updates that work

The strategy: Save your best tweets and updates in a waiting room

One strategy that I’ve come to quite enjoy lately has been creating a backlog of tweets and updates that have done really well on the Buffer social channels. I can then pull from these greatest hits when I’m doing my reposting on social media.

The trick for me was in finding a fast and efficient way of going about it. Here’s what I’ve tried so far.

  1. I created a test account on Twitter and a test page on Facebook and connected both to Buffer.
  2. Once per week, I’ll go into my Buffer analytics for the Buffer Twitter and Facebook profiles and see which posts performed the best—in our case, it’d be 200 or more clicks on Twitter and a Facebook post that reached 1,000 or more people.
  3. When I find one of these posts, I drag it into the test account.
  4. Then later on when I need to fill the queue, I drag the post from the test account over to the main account, edit the update text a smidge, and I’m good to go!

reshare to buffer

Note: On the test accounts, I remove the schedule so that none of the updates ever actually post. This keeps everything I save in the main queue. I can also then shuffle all these updates to get fresh ideas on which greatest hits to reshare.

The takeaway: Find your best content and keep it in a place that’s easy to reshare—a test account on Buffer, a spreadsheet, or anywhere that best fits your workflow.

Conclusion

It’s a privilege to learn from the awesome strategies of others to see if we can improve our social media marketing. There’s so much interesting and useful advice out there.

Did you see a favorite new strategy to try from this list? 

What strategies have you been experimenting with lately?

I’d love to hear what you’ve been working on! Please do share any thoughts at all in the comments.

Image sources: Noun Project, Blurgrounds, Moblized, Venture Harbour, Death to the Stock Photo

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Written by Kevan Lee

Director of marketing at Buffer, the social media publishing tool for brands, agencies, and marketers. We’ve got a new podcast! 🍟

  • Jeremy Poland

    Good idea on the Twitter “Thank You” gif. I’ve never heard of the Auto Delete stuff. Definitely gonna try it. Thanks for the good read!

  • Kate Allen

    I can’t wait to try some of these out, love the test account tweet saver idea. Thanks for all your great research Kevan!

    • Thanks, Kate! I’ve been loving the tweet saver – huge help when you’re in a pinch to add content to your queue. 🙂

  • Great post Kevan! Thanks for featuring the social button experiment I ran, too. Any chance you could change ‘Venture Harbour’ to link to https://www.ventureharbour.com though?

    Thanks

    • Hi Marcus! Thanks! Definitely, that was a really cool experiment you all ran. Thanks for sharing your results with us all!

  • I’m always looking for ways to find hot topics, so I love the tips from BuzzSumo. Great idea to see who is looking at what! Thanks Kevan … again.

  • Test accounts as staging areas for Buffer?? Why didn’t I think of that? Pure genius, Kevan. 🙂 Also, I can attest that gifs (and video, too) are well received by me on Twitter. Every time! The great thing about adding this sort of touch to a thank you is that even if it’s automated (and you probably can’t tell) that doesn’t matter because the recipient is too busy smiling….

    • Ha, that’s a great point, Christin! GIFS trump automation. 🙂 Where do you go for a go-to GIF?

    • I agree! A very handy tip. Maybe we will see staging/holding areas as a built-in feature of Buffer one day?

  • Another stellar post, Kevan. I can’t tell you how much these tips will help me. Thanks so much!

    • Really happy to hear this, Christa!

  • I haven’t been very much a fan of Twitter but I have to agree that it’s definitely essential. Thank you for these amazing tips! Can’t wait to try them.

    • Awesome! Let us know how things turn out for you!

  • Another great post Kevan. And some more ideas to press into service 😉

    • Awesome to hear, David!

  • João Romão

    Great post Kevan, it’s always good to learn from different and unique experiments that people do.

    About social sharing though, I think people focus too much on ‘how many shares’ they had instead of ‘how much [insert_metric_here] those shares generated’.

    Ultimately, a company’s decision to have (or not to have) social sharing capabilities should be tied to whether it contributes to the business or not.

    • Great point to consider! Are there some ways that you go about tracking conversions/signups? I’d love to know any advice you might have on this!

      • João Romão

        Kevan, indeed. I work with a team which is helping companies put a dollar value on a share (call it Social ROI tracking if you want=. We’re connecting shares to signups, sales or subscriptions. We’re at http://getsocial.io.

  • I usually love the content that comes out of the Buffer Blog about social media, but the idea of automating thank yous is just gross to me. I don’t care if it “works” according to the numbers, it’s still fundamentally anti social. If you don’t have time to thank your followers, don’t have a robot do it for you. GIF or not, some of us do know when we’re being auto-thanked, and it can be a real eye-roller. The opportunity in social is to be human, and humans aren’t perfect — it’s okay if you don’t thank your followers. It’s also okay if you only thank the ones you have time to thank yourself.

    To me, a robotic thank you tweet is second only to automated DMs (check out my blog/FB page!!!!) in grossness.

    Shudder.

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    • Great point, Christina! Automating thank yous is probably taking things a bit to the extreme for us as well. I think my takeaway from that tip is more with the GIF thank you and less with automating it for a significant portion of your engagement. Thanks for voicing your thoughts here. It’s super helpful to hear!

    • Very interesting article, but I agree completely with Christina: “robotic” answers or any other automated interaction (retweeting contents automatically for example) undermine credibility of any account.

      Another thing I don’t agree with is to tweet repeatedly the same contents. Maybe two or three times is OK, but six or more for me is spam. What do you think?

      • Yep, I agree that tweeting something six times is extreme. Maybe six times over a year is okay if the content is genuinely evergreen and super useful, but if your audience is engaged at all in your tweets, tweeting the same link six times means someone’s going to unfollow your account, IMHO.

        • IMHO too. In fact I have unfollowed accounts because they tweeted each entry three times a day. Bad solution! 😉

          • DavidJOragui

            Whilst I agree in principle with what you’re both saying. If you want to reach most of your audience, you need to tweet multiple times throughout the week and month in order to reach them.

            Tools such as followerwonk actually tell you when your followers are most active so you can hook those scheduled times into Buffer and share your content.

            Changing the title of your blogs, and/or sharing statements and statistics from within your articles is actually a very good way to ensure most of your audience can see your content.

            I personally won’t share my content (the same article) multiple times throughout the day, but I’ll definitely share it multiple times a week in different forms, rather than just the title and link.

            Just my 2 pence.

          • I see your point. I suppose this is one of the big skills of a good content curator: reach the maximum audiencie without tiring them or appearing as a spammer. It is a tricky balance, and the frequency and the way you share will make your profile to get to one or the other side.

    • Christina,

      Agreed on the auto thanking (when it’s to everyone). Have you tried only thank / draw from a list of hyper-targeted influencers that you wish to engage with?

      While I haven’t implemented this strategy, if someone were to be thanking / auto-replying to accounts based on very specific criteria such as matching for X number of keywords or a match from a Twitter list that they had built I imagine the auto-replies being far more personalized.

      • To me, that’s fairly cliquish behavior and I try to avoid doing it. I actually don’t tend to thank new followers. If I’m grateful that someone followed me and I’m interested in what they have to say, I generally show that by interacting with their content rather than thanking them on my own feed.

        I get the value for a brand to only thank/engage with influencers, but I use Twitter to really connect with people who share my values (if that leads to a new client, great – if not, that’s fine). I do use lists to put people into buckets for targeted listening, but I tend to engage with people based on characteristics that have little to do with whether they’re “influencers” or not.

    • Yes one can’t automatic the conversation but atlest schedule the post during odd times

  • Someone named Mary at Buffer used the GIF as a thank you and I thought it was great. Definitely made me smile. Here’s the GIF she used: https://pbs.twimg.com/tweet_video/BvflglTIYAAH4Xl.mp4

    • Love that one! 🙂

  • As usual another amazing jam packed post from Buffer, thanks guys! I’ve personally used Snip.ly and it works amazingly well, certainly drove traffic to my book launch.

    I know people find automating their tweets anti social, however I think best practice for using tools like Buffer are for balancing your social media prescence, not replacing it.

    Use social schedulers for automating sharing your blog posts for example to save time and to ensure you’re posting links to your blog when your audience is active, however definitely balance that up with actually being present on social media and nurturing your following and being real, there’s no subsitute for that.

    • Love your perspective here! Thanks for mentioning the good balance between automating and engaging! 🙂

  • Emmett Hughes

    Kevan, Great point about focusing on content and not followers. But don’t you think that it is important to have followers as well. I mean, if you’re generating great content and know one is there to read it, what is the point?

  • Mansoor

    Article is really really helpful but I have one doubt.
    Strategy 1 step 4 – If we delete old thank you massage and will that also remove retweet from that particular tweet that is done by followers? If yest then is it good to delete old thank you tweet. What you say?

    • Mansoor,

      I have a hard time deleting old tweets as well (unless it is absolutely time-sensitive).

      The main reason being that if someone favorites or retweets it, any engagement on that tweet are lost to those who have “bookmarked” them. When it’s gone, anyone trying to click those saved tweets when they come back to it will not be able to reach them (and thus likely the content attached to it via a link).

  • Joy Bausemer

    Kevan in regarding to tweeting the same content 6 times or more, what would you recommend is the lag time between those tweets?

    • Hey Joy, so sorry for the long delay in getting back to you here! About an hour between tweets is normally good. If it’s the same piece of content, you might want to try a schedule like now, in 6 hours, in 2 days, 4 days, etc. to make sure you’re hitting all your different audiences and time zones. Having other pieces of content spaced throughout can be helpful also so it looks like you’ve got a diverse portfolio! 🙂

  • Some great tips! Anyone else try the first one? Zapier is shortening all the links I post on twitter ( http://zpr.io/ABCD) which is causing the GIF to not show on the tweet! Anyone else have this issue?

  • Tia Butcher

    Well I know half of the facts but dude the figures you mentioned I mean so crisp and clean, loving it! Good Job!
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  • Thank you Kevin.
    Another highly interesting article.
    Philippe

  • Snehal Chandak

    wow, what a wonderful collection of great points!!
    online advertising
    company in Pune
    will surely
    apply it to generate traffic in short span of time.

  • Will definitely have to try experimenting with these tips.

  • I absolutely loved the animated thank you gif idea. It’s such an informative article! Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Audrey Bigelow

    So. Much. To. Do. Haha. Great stuff here, I’m definitely checking out and using snip.ly now but the tidbit about test accounts in buffer is GENIUS! Definitely doing that as well!

  • dude

    My tip is to use Capzool…