August 11, 2020 5 min read

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur’s contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from the Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing by Eric Butow, Jenn Herman, Stephanie Liu, Amanda Robinson, and Mike Allton and is available on August 25th through Entrepreneur Press. Pre-order now at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple books.

Social media marketing is about a lot more than just likes and shares. Today’s social media landscape goes way beyond posting a thought or meme and hoping it will resonate with your audience. These three types of social media marketing should be on your radar if you want to stay current and competitive.

Influence Marketing

Influencer marketing is the use of other experts in your industry who already have a sizeable audience that they respect and trust. Regardless of what industry you are in, there are likely other people in your field who have more established reputations and audiences. Perhaps they have a larger social following, are published writers, or are a mainstream media celebrity. These are people you can learn from and would be especially valuable to have a relationship with.

The obvious benefit to you, of course, is that you will reach a far wider audience when someone like this shares something you wrote to their followers. You can’t expect an influencer to share your latest blog post unless you already have a relationship – one in which they recognize your expertise and look forward to seeing your new content, just like the rest of your readers .

Related: 5 Ways Marketing Strategy Has Changed Permanently

Social media can be a great balance, especially on Twitter and Instagram where you can follow anyone you want. Just find the influencers in your niche, follow them and start engaging with them naturally. You know – like a real person who is not a stalker.

Reply or comment on posts that interest you, and share posts that your own audience might be interested in. If the influencer blogs, become an active reader and connect with them on their blog with insightful comments and questions. That’ll get you on their radar.

The next step is to include them in your own content by quoting them, linking to their blog posts, or including them in summaries where you get their opinion on a topic and post opinions from a group of influencers. Or you could do a live video interview. Instead of being on someone else’s video, broadcast your own and invite a major influencer to be your guest. There’s more work on your part to organize and promote, but it’s also a tremendous content creation opportunity.

Dark social media

One area that you can’t measure but that should be on your radar is dark social media. This refers to any way that people can share your content with other people without your knowledge. Examples are email, text messages, and direct social messages. In each of these cases, someone decided to share your content with one or more people, but in ways that could not be accurately measured or recorded.

While it’s unfortunate that you can’t see the effects of dark social media, it doesn’t mean that you should ignore it. In fact, you should make it as easy as possible for people to share your work this way if they want to. For example, consider including email buttons on all of your blog posts. Or, better yet, just make sure your social sharing buttons have an “Other” button that points to email, text messaging apps like WhatsApp, and other options someone might want to use.

In your email newsletters, include content share buttons and an invitation to share the newsletter by email, and a note titled, “Did someone email you this newsletter? Don’t miss another by signing up. “And make sure that all of your blog posts have a strong call to action, either to read another post, go to a landing page, or at least sign up for your email list to keep some of those dark social readers going can capture.

Paid social media

Finally, you should strongly consider including paid social media in your marketing strategy. Every social platform now has the ability to promote posts so they can be seen by far more people than your existing follower base. But be careful. It’s easy to increase costs without seeing any real ROI. Make sure you’re using the best platform for your business, targeting the right audience, and sending that targeted traffic to the best possible content.

Let’s trace this back to your most recent content: think about who you’re targeting. Is there a particular network in which you are more likely to be active? Frankly, Facebook is one of the most cost-effective platforms for advertising. It also has the best targeting and largest global user base. This is probably a good start. However, do consider Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Related topics: Virtual influencers created by CGI are the new trend in social media marketing

We find that the best content to promote on Facebook is content that is especially strong for signing up for emails. There may be a content upgrade or an associated e-book that readers can download for free to help create targeted leads for your business. A nice Facebook campaign for just a few dollars a day can send hundreds of readers and prospects to your blog post and business. What are you waiting for?