Your social media marketing will be easier (and take less time) if you incorporate some easy tips and techniques. Here are fifteen tips that worked well for social media gurus.

1. Specialize in One Network

Although it’s true that one has to have a good grasp of all the major social networks, specializing in the one social network where your target audience hangs out will help you achieve success in your particular niche.

2. Create a Cover Photo that Reflects and Focuses on Your Specialty

No matter what network you specialize in, creating a Cover Photo that truly showcases your specialty will be one of your most powerful strategies. Include text, your branding colors and graphic elements. 

Take advantage of your page to:

Add a great mission statement that lets people know exactly what you do

∙  Include your website link

Offer a sign-up incentive

3. Use Share Buttons on Your Website

Make the most of every opportunity to share – on social media feeds, and off.

4. Ask for the Share

Whatever you post – on social feeds, your Pages or on your blog – remember to simply ask people to share it.

5. Use Hashtags

Most social networks support hashtags. Creating your own eye-catching, unique hashtag or using a relevant, existing one that is already trending can help multiply your shares and capture targeted audience members you haven’t even met yet. (Read more about creating your own hashtags on Sprout Social.)

6. Provide Top-Quality Tips

Sharing tips that make your followers’ lives easier is the best way to catch the eye of your target audience (especially if you’ve asked existing fans and followers to share your tip.)

7. Use Graphics to Slow the Scroll

Especially use this tip with blog post links. People have become immune to links and many have conditioned themselves to gloss over them and keep the eye moving. A photograph helps stop people in their tracks if it “tells” them instantly what they’ll get when they glance at the photo.

8. Be Generous Credit and Share

If someone else has written the post you wanted to write – share it and give credit to the author! If they’ve provided a fabulous list of resources or a juicy tip – share it and give credit to the author! Oh. And share your followers’ posts and tips too (people love to be noticed and acknowledged.

9. Vary your Post Types

Your page will feel more interactive and interesting if you vary your post types. Rotate between photos, contests, quizzes, polls, questions, blog links, tips, personal posts, videos and infographics.

10. Don’t Serial Post

Engagement is one thing, but the quickest way to turn people off – on ANY network – lies in serial posting, where you fire out one post after the other to dominate your target viewer’s feed.

11. Don’t Over-Promote

If you use the majority of your social media posts to drive people to actions you want them to take, you will come off as just another marketing shark.

A recommended rule-of-thumb is to make eighty percent of your posts helpful, general, entertaining or just plain interesting; and less than twenty percent promotional.

social media influencer12. Develop Relationships with “Key Influencers”

Don’t just focus on your fans – actively follow and respond to your own favorite “key influencers” in your niche. We’ve already spoken about crediting them and sharing their work. Responding to polls, quizzes and sharing your own tips will help get you noticed too. 

Do make sure you visit their pages and interact regularly, however. Never just for the sake of interacting – but the more often your profile photo appears next to a really helpful post or detail-specific comment, the better your chances of being noticed and remembered.

13. Create Useful Infographics

The beauty of infographics lies in the fact they are (a) seen instantly (b) judged on the spot. This not only prequalifies your reader in whether or not they click through, it helps make your statistics more accurate.

On top of that, when people love an infographic, they click on it. Sounds obvious – but it’s the quickest way to get people to access your key information on social media. A blog post link with a photo? Possibly. A blog post link without a photo? Maybe, if your headline is catchy enough. But an infographic can be accessed at a glance and shared with one simple click.

14. Run Contests

Contests can create a lot of viral buzz and interaction. Just be sure to check with your local area rules and guidelines, as well as with rules and guidelines for the specific social platform you want to use.

15. Be There

Another seemingly-obvious tip that a staggering majority of entrepreneurs ignore: Simply be active on your networks daily – preferably when your target audience is present. Respond, comment, “Like”, thank and question. You’ll build trust – and a community.

If you would like help with your social media, check out my plans here.

This content was originally published here.