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Social Media Marketing Ideas: 15 Powerful Experiments To Test in 2017

Getting ahead of the game is all about trying new things.

When it comes to social media, experimenting is the best way to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t.

As long as you’re always testing, you’re always moving forward.

We spent a whole week researching the best experiments in social media, drawing from our own personal experiences to experiments that have been shared by other influencers and brands.

Here are some of those experiments to get you started.

1. Take Advantage of Twitter Advanced Search

By using simple phrases in Twitter’s advanced search you can find thousands of potential clients just waiting for your product.

Let’s say you’re a social media manager at a headphone company and your boss wants you to start engaging with users on social media to sell more headphones. What do you do?

You can start by entering the keywords “buy”, “headphones”, and “which one” in the designated fields. You can even filter out questions for each search. 

When you get the results, you can respond to eat Tweet with a witty response that oozes with your brand personality or you can send a coupon code to get a quick sale.

You can get seriously precise results if you hone your search down enough:

  • Use 🙁 or 🙂 to get sentiment based results
  • Find Tweets that have been sent from a specific location
  • Find Tweets and mentions about specific brands or by specific people
  • Find questions about specific keywords

More than 500 million Tweets are sent per day so it’s difficult to find what you’re looking for amongst the noise. Thanks to Twitter’s advanced search you can start sorting the wheat from the chaff.  

2. Display Social Media on Your Website

Interactive websites get more engagement, so displaying social media on your site, where your visitors can see what’s happening in real-time is a great way to get your audience involved in a conversation.

Social proof is a really important part of making sales, especially when 84% of millennials say that user generated content (UGC) and social proof have an impact on what they purchase.

You can include social media on your site by:

  • Featuring UGC images for your products
  • Building a community around your brand with on-site social media
  • Display user reviews on social media
  • Place social prompts on your site

Nescafe used TINT on their website to display user generated content

3. Leverage the Power “Life Events”

Facebook marketing is incredibly powerful. Fact.

Their targeting options are second to none, and with the “Life Events” feature, you can actively target people who are going through periods of major change or a specific event.

Life events like a new job, a new relationship, an engagement, moving house, and leaving school are all things you can tap into to reach the right people at the right time.

But you can hone in even more than that.

Want to target people who graduated college six months ago? You totally can. With the settings in the Life Events feature, you can choose a specific event as well as the time frame in which someone experienced it.

In the example above, you can opt to target “Newly Engaged” Facebook users who have been engaged for a certain amount of time – either one year, three years, or six months, as an example.

Image source

With Life Events, you can target:

  • Someone with an upcoming anniversary
  • Someone is living away from their family
  • Someone traveling or out of their hometown
  • Someone in a long-distance relationship
  • Someone who has just landed a new job
  • Someone who is in a new relationship
  • Someone who is newly engaged
  • Someone who has just got married
  • Someone who has recently moved house
  • Someone who has an upcoming birthday

Why are life events so important for marketing? Well, consumers going through similar stages in their lives are more likely to have the same purchase needs than consumers who are simply the same age, the same gender, or from the same location.

You can then use the emotions that specific consumers experience during each life event to determine how you position your brand and what message you send out.

4. Add a Call to Action to Every Link You Share

Chances are, not every piece of content you share has been written by you or has come from your website. But that doesn’t mean you can’t leverage it so visitors end up on your site.

How do you do that?

You add a call-to-action to every link you share.

With a tool like Sniply, you can add a call-to-action banner to the blog posts you share on other sites so that you can easily drive traffic to your own site.

Let’s take a look at how it works:

“We realized that the only way for you to capture value from curated content is to be part of the viewing experience; to follow your users through onto the page itself.” Sniply

With people’s attention spans getting shorter by the day, visitors often don’t remember who the brand is on the page they’ve landed on so, when they see the next post being advertised and it interests them? They’re going to click through.

5. Find Trending Hashtags Related to Your Audience

Trends happen for a reason – they’re something a considerable amount of people are talking about at once. So, if there are loads of people chatting about the same thing, chances are it’s either important, relevant, or, at the very least, a lot of people are interested in it.

And, even better, you can find trends that are relevant to your audience with a simple hashtag search.

By using a tool like Hashtagify.me, you can discover what your people are talking about right now and can get involved in the conversation. Say, for example, you’re searching for people Tweeting about #pizza. Not only can you see who the top influencers are saying about pizza, but you can also find other hashtags similar to #pizza, like #FreePizzaThursdays as shown in this example:

This means you can reach an even wider audience of pizza lovers who might not have known about your brand before!

The idea here is to get involved in current trends and add your own spin on it, like Expedia regularly have done in the past on #EarthDay and #WorldEmojiDay.

6. Insert Click-to-Tweets Throughout Articles

If someone’s reading a post that makes them happy, sad, or feel intelligent and cool, they’ll want to share it with their friends – so make it easy for them!

Include click-to-tweets throughout your articles that highlight key phrases, quotes, or important statistics so readers can simply share with the click of a button.

To show you just how effective this is, Neil Patel posted a very short article that literally just included 50 click-to-tweet quotes. The piece got 17,452 visits from Twitter alone.

With a tool like Click to Tweet, you simply put in the text you want to appear in the Tweet and generate a basic link that you can add to blog posts, newsletters, and social media.

7. Shift Your Images’ Focal Point

In a scientific study about online images, researchers found that images that used a human face made an image more appealing – basically, users were more likely to click through on a post that featured an image of a person.

It’s worth playing around with this.

An image on Facebook without a human face.

An image with a human face

Pick a post and Tweet it out with two separate images at the same time of day. Make sure the first image features a face, while the second image should feature an inanimate object, or something that’s not human.

8. Leverage Optimal Timing Tools

Posting on social media can be hit or miss depending on when your audience is predominantly online. You might find that sometimes your social media post get absolutely no traction at all, while other times they go close to viral.

That’s because there are optimal times to post on Social Media.

How do you find these out?

Well, they vary from account to account depending on who your audience is and what their lifestyles are like. You can use Buffer’s Optimal Timing Tool to discover the best time to post for your audience.

From this graph, I can see that the best times for me to post are 12am, 9.16am, 11.22am, 4.39pm and 10.25pm. I can then schedule my Tweets to go out at those times to reach the most amount of people.

9. Pin a Tweet For Better Marketing Conversions

When you go to a brand’s Twitter page, you’ll instantly be greeted by their latest Tweet. Posts are published in chronological order with the newest first, so that makes sense.

But what if there’s a post you want people to keep on seeing? Or what if you want to get more traffic to a specific landing page?

You can pin a specific Tweet to the top of your page so it’s the first thing people see when they land on your account or you can share campaign content to keep visitors engaged.

One brand managed to get 7,000 click-throughs on a pinned post which they probably wouldn’t have got if the post disappeared down their feed with the rest of their updates.

You can also leverage Pinned Twitter Cards for marketing conversions. There are nine different types of card to choose from depending on what your ultimate aim is, whether that’s to add people to your email list or link them to a sales page.

Mount Washington College used Pinned Twitter cards to get more enrollments. After implementing them, they found their conversion rate increased 101% and their follower rate tripled.

10. Join a Twitter Chat

Twitter chats have come a long way since their spam-filled days. Now, they act as small communities that are centered around a particular topic.

So if you’re looking for a smarter way to reach a specific demographic or consumers with a niche interest, finding relevant Twitter chats is the solution.

And you can find a Twitter chat on almost anything, from travel to marketing to pets. To get started, use Twubs to find chats that your audience might be involved in.

For most Twitter chats, the format is simple.

A designated host (which might be a brand or an influencer) will Tweet out some questions about a specific topic that is usually announced ahead of time and attendees respond to the questions using the specified hashtag.

Let’s take #BufferChat as an example.

This weekly chat is run by the team at Buffer and revolves around marketing and social media (fitting for this post, right?).

In fact, one chat alone saw 249 contributors take part, 2230 Tweets over the space of one hour all with the #BufferChat hashtag, and reached more than 1965583 people. With results like this, it’s easy to see that Twitter chats are an incredible opportunity to reach a specific audience passionate about a specific topic or who have a specific lifestyle.

At TINT, we use Twitter chats as a tool to connect other marketers for brand awareness, so there are many different ways you can tap into the power of the hashtag chat.

The great thing about Twitter chats is people are live in that moment, so if you can reach almost 2 million people in one hour who are all interested in your niche, you’re onto a winner.

11. Use Twitter Analytics to Validate Content Ideas

Not sure what to post on your site to get your audience excited?

There’s an easy way to get around that. You see, the more people engage with something, the more they like it and probably want to see more about it.

With Twitter’s detailed analytics, you can determine which topics have been the most successful with your audience by looking at which Tweets have the most traction – whether that’s shares, mentions, or click-throughs.

It doesn’t have to be linked to posts you’ve written either.

If you Tweet out a post by another site that proves to be hugely popular with your audience, consider creating content around that topic in the near future.

This experiment worked really well for Larry Kim. He found one Tweet with a graph included had an engagement rate of 8% (much higher than his other Tweets), so he included the graph in a post he wrote for Inc. As a result, the post was shared 6,400 times in just a few days.

12. Use UGC for Paid Ads Instead of Cheesy Stock Photos

I was scrolling through Twitter and noticed the post below.

It took me a good minute to realize it was a Gillette-sponsored ad for Dollar Shave Club blades.

Now, I’m usually pretty good at skimming and filtering ads on my feed, but this one took me by surprise – that’s the power of UGC.

As part of the campaign, Gillette promoted negative user reviews people had written about their competitors, Dollar Shave Club.

But you can also use UGC images in Facebook ads, too. Blush experimented with using UGC images and stock photos for the same products in their ad campaign, and found that the click-through rate on the UGC photos was much higher.

13. Change the Positioning of Your Social Media Sharing Buttons

As I mentioned earlier, people like to share things that make them happy, sad, look intelligent or cool – so make it easy for them!

But instead of just whacking up a few social share buttons and hoping for the best, be strategic.

Most research has found that floating sidebars outperform having share buttons elsewhere on the page (particularly at the top). For Marcus Taylor, by switching to a floating social sidebar, shares increased by 52%.

But keep experimenting with this one, as some brands have found that having no sharing buttons can also see shares shoot through the roof:

14. Use Portent’s Content Idea Generator to Spice Up Headlines

Struggling to know what to write about and publish on social media?

Remember that 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of those 8 people will actually click through and read the piece. It’s dismal, right? But it also means you need to step up your game when it comes to creating amazing, engaging headlines.

Use a tool like Portent’s Idea Generator or HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator to glean inspiration for blog post titles that will perform well.

15. Create Multiple Tweets From a Single Blog Post

I mentioned earlier that people might miss a Tweet if they’re not online or, alternatively, the phrasing you use in a Tweet just might not light them up with excitement.

The answer? Experiment with phrasing and create multiple Tweets from a single blog post.

In one Tweet, you might simply reel off the title of the post and add a link to it, while in another you might pick out a quote and add an image to it. Mix things up with the wording you use and the media you post alongside it to see what works best with your audience.

Using a tool like missinglettr, you can automatically create a series of Tweets when a new blog post is published and it will send them out at various times over the coming year – complete with quotes and images.

In this example, missinglettr has created a campaign including 8 hashtags, 26 Tweet suggestions and 35 image suggestions.


Getting ahead of the game is all about staying on top of trends and constantly tweaking your strategy. These experiments are simple, but can increase your leads, conversions, and social media count by thousands.

Do you have any ideas or experiments that should be featured in this post? Leave a comment below and we will add it!