Businesses big and small use social media. Whether you’re a local hardware store Instagramming different home improvement projects or a major national retailer conducting a Twitter giveaway, the businesses that use social media effectively are building bigger brand followings and driving up their sales. 

For those businesses that don’t have a social media strategy in place, you’re falling behind. And even for those that do, it might be time to reexamine your strategies and adopt some new practices to stay fresh and current. Feel like your business is a bit behind in the social media sphere? Shake up your strategy with these different ideas.

1. Join Additional Networks, Increase Engagement

Failing to adapt means falling behind. If your brand hasn’t adopted the latest trends in social media networks, it’s time to start doing so. In 2014, simply tweeting and posting Facebook updates isn’t enough.

Snapchat: What was once an app for sending silly selfies, Snapchat can’t be ignored when it comes to social media marketing. Businesses can use Snapchat to send deals to customers to help get them in the door. Since the message disappears after a number of seconds, send Snaps to customers with a “surprise” discount deal that can only be activated in the store.

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Twitter Ads: Chances are your business is already on Twitter engaging customers in some aspect, so adding a Twitter ads campaign can only help drive that engagement up and gain additional followers and sales. Twitter Ads allows extremely hyper-targeted ads, which can lead to a fantastic ROI.

Local Networks: Many businesses aren’t taking advantage of local networks such as Circle to facilitate discussion and gain more customers. While this might not be applicable to a national brand, individual chains can participate in local networks to become more authoritative and act as a go-to resource for local information. Other local networks such as Meetey are an under-utilized tool that can be of big value.

2. Crowdsource a Custom Wiki

Crowdsourcing was all the rage in 2013, and in 2014 one can reasonably expect it to be even more relevant when it comes to social networks. Successfully utilizing crowdsourcing can be difficult because it requires an already high level of engagement, but if done correctly it can pay dividends for both businesses and customers alike. Crowdsourcing a custom wiki is essentially asking your past customers to develop content for you to help other customers. It could be anything from testimonials to FAQs to common issues; whatever it is, the content is coming from the customers, meaning it’s honest. It will also help you as a business get valuable feedback in order to improve and offer better services.

3. Engage Your 21st Century Coupon Young Professionals

One of the main demographic users for social networks, they would never clip a coupon out of a magazine and bring it to your establishment. Businesses are using social media to create customized, unique “eDeals” to engage and draw in customers. Whether it’s harnessing the power of the iBeacon to create GPS targeted deals or offering dedicated customer service agents via Twitter to respond to issues and offer customer retention deals, the 21st century coupon is a game changer. Each social network offers a somewhat different opportunity relating to how a business could offer a coupon. For example, “checking-in” on Facebook or FourSquare could unlock a deal, or tweeting that you’re at a current location could do the same. The more creative a business is with its social coupons, the higher the likelihood of engagement.  

Miguel Salcido is a veteran search marketing executive with a focus on SEO and link building. He has provided SEO consulting to enterprise brands such as McDonald's, State Farm, Chicago Title, Expedia, Qualcomm and others. In his 11+ years in the industry Miguel has built and led large search agencies, holding executive and VP level positions. He is currently providing SEO consulting services to select clients via his boutique SEO agency, Organic Media Group, and also blogging at professionalseoconsultant.com