5 Creative Ways to use Social Media

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Many of us are in a rut with social media. Just like to a joyless, 9-5 job we show up everyday and halfheartedly tweet a few posts and share a few memes, only to call it a day’s work and wonder why we bother at all. That stops today.

Not because I’ve got more statistics as to why Facebook is fantastic for conversions or more plugins that you can use to integrate with your social media. But because I’ve brought you something creative to help get you out of that social media funk you’re in.

So let’s make a pact right now. After you read this article, you’re going to make an effort to incorporate one of these innovative tactics into your social media strategy – starting today. Deal? OK then, let’s innovate with social media.

It starts with changing our perspective. Most off us think about social media in a very one dimensional way, namely, as a place to promote our content to an audience. But what about the big picture? Consider that social media are essentially watering holes where people of similar interests gather. And those watering holes have a lot of water – they’re more like oceans actually. I’m talking about

Over 1.4 billion users on Facebook, Over 645 million Twitter Users and Over 100 million unique reddit visits. That’s a very powerful thing, and too many of us are settling for our measly followings and missing the big opportunities right in front of us. So, without further ado, I bring you 5 creative ways to use social media.

Using Reddit To Generate Feedback And Leads

If you’re trying to figure out creative ways t0 use social media, consider Reddit. I get it – Reddit can be a scary place. The idea of literally being downvoted spawns unpleasant, childhood memories of being picked last for kickball. But let’s save that for the therapist, and consider the glorious thing Reddit has put at our disposal – millions of vocal fans categorized into the most minute interests (known as subreddits). For example, a few of my favorite subreddits:

• Not That Interesting (67k readers)
• Guilty Pleasure Music (5.6k readers)
• Mildly Infuriating (134k readers)

As you can see, there’s a subreddit for almost everything, and even the most obscure ones are packed full of readers. Imagine that one of these subreddits consisted exactly of your target market – what insights and leads could be generated merely by taking the time to interact with the community? A brilliant example of this came from two guys who asked the League Of Legends subreddit what they thought of a new voice chat program they were considering designing.

This is what we call proof of concept, and it doesn’t get much better than when your target market screams “Yes – I’d pay for that!” and also tells you all of the features they’d look for in such a program. Oh, and to top it off, it generated over 6,000 subscribers to their email list – not too shabby. All from taking the time to put together something valuable for the community to comment on, and then asking them about it.

Using Twitter To Test Headlines

When trying to think of creative ways to use social media, you can’t overlook Twitter. Headlines are important. Jon Morrow, CEO of BoostBlogTraffic, likes to tell a story. The reason he is so good at headline writing today is because when he started at Copyblogger, Brian Clark instructed him to write 100 headlines DAILY until he got it. He did, for more than a year. That’s more than 35,000 headlines. Why so much effort?

Consider this in-depth study by the American Press Institute, which found that 6 in 10 people typically do not go beyond reading headlines when following the news on a daily or weekly basis. If we want our blog posts or our information products (books, courses, webinars) to get noticed – we have to write attractive headlines. We can do that by testing them on Twitter, such as Buffer explains here.

In short:

1.) Find 2 headlines for an article that you think will perform well.

2.) Tweet both of these headlines at roughly the same time, at least 1 hour apart, in the morning or evening.

3.) Compare the data for which headline to settle on.

Now what happens if you don’t have a large Twitter following to draw from – can you still do this?

Of course, how about using paid tweets?

For example, you can use Twitter’s promoted tweets service to target specific consumer segments. Now, I get that for a regular blog post you might not want to invest money, but if you’re offering a premium product such as a course or a book, the knowledge of which headline converts better could easily make you thousands more dollars. Additionally, if you couple that with a landing page, you can also generate leads.

Using Triberr for Networking And Guest Posting

Most people know Triberr as a place where they can get their articles tweeted by other bloggers. However, I think of Triberr as a place where thousands of bloggers gather, and segment themselves into their various, searchable niches.

For example, let’s say I want to know other bloggers who are in the marketing niche, I can simply head over to Triberr, go to tribes, and select “Marketing”. The results are hundreds of tribes containing thousands of marketing bloggers, some of which are niched down further into specific types of marketing. How can we make use of this? Personally, I use it to…

• Network with bloggers in my niche
• Search for guest posting, interview, and podcasting opportunities
• Invite bloggers for a round up post

Basically, it’s an easy way to get involved in your niche. Now you might be thinking: “OK, but couldn’t I just Google something like Marketing Bloggers?” And you could. But you’d quickly find it was highly inefficient.

For one thing, you are not going to find just bloggers, but a bunch of other articles or websites related to marketing. Additionally, while you might find some of the best marketing bloggers, you’re not going to find those tier 2 – 10 guys that aren’t established enough to rank for a highlight competitive term like “best marketing bloggers”, but are still worth getting to know.

Lastly, Triberr takes it a step further and gives some preliminary information on the blogger’s authority by showing you how many Twitter followers they have, and linking to other social pages. If I see someone with 5k Twitter followers – that’s someone I want to get to know in my niche.

Using Facebook (And Others…) For Social Login

Just about everyone and their mother (seriously) has a Facebook profile. How can we leverage that? One way is through social logins, which is essentially the option to log in using a social profile (in this case Facebook) as opposed to having to create an entirely new username and password. Not surprisingly, people are quite tired of filling out forms to get what they want online. According to the Janrain study:

• 92% of shoppers have abandoned a website rather than recover lost login information
• 4 in 5 say they offer ‘bad’ information when creating a login for a retail site
• 67% of shoppers like website personalization
• 65% of shoppers are more likely to revisit a site using social login; 52% are already using social logins

So why not solve all these problems and implement social login? Namely, Facebook, since 51% of people prefer Facebook as a social login. What also makes this a fantastic strategy is that while they’re logged onto your site, they’re also logged onto Facebook. This gives you access to information, such as interests, which you can use to customize their experience and the advertising and products you deliver to them.

Additionally, it lowers the barrier to having someone share your content or website, because they are already logged in. You can get started with some of these API Identity Providers:

• Facebook
• Twitter
• Google
• LinkedIn
• Microsoft
• Yahoo
• OpenID
• MySpace
• Flickr

Stand-alone APIs include:

• HybridAuth (PHP)
• OmniAuth (Ruby)
• SocialAuth (Java, .NET)

Service APIs include:

• JanRain
• Gigya
• Windsoc

Careful to avoid these 5 common social login mistakes though! Using Social Shares For Competitive Research And Finding Influencers. One of the best ways to write articles that will WOW your audience, is to research your competitor’s best articles, and then outdo them.

We can do that by seeing which of our competitor’s posts received the most social shares. This is the internet after all, and if people like something, they share it. So let’s reverse engineer it. Let’s pretend for a minute that I run a business website and my competitor is Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income. If you want to know which of his articles got the most social shares, there are some great free tools available, like QuickSprout.

Conclusion

There you have! Five creative ways to use social media. You see, social media is a big pie. Actually, it is one of the biggest, tastiest pies of our age. But many of us are only getting a tiny sliver. However, if we get creative and think outside the box, there are ways we can increase our pie helping and get the data and leads we’re after. And it’s not that hard. What makes these tasks different (and effective) is that you are approaching social media with a purpose, which is really the only way to do it, after all.

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