6 Old School Marketing Tactics That Still Work on Social Media

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It seems like everywhere we look there’s some new social media or marketing tactics being touted as the next big thing.

As marketers and businesses, we’re constantly looking for ways to reach our audience in creative ways and so we often jump around from strategy to strategy – often leaving what used to work in the past.

But what about those marketing tactics that once worked like a charm?

Today on The Science of Social Media we’re dusting off and breaking down 6 old school marketing tactics that still work like a charm on social media. Plus, we’re exploring exactly how your business can implement them in new, fun, and creative ways.

Let’s dive in!

How to listen: iTunes | Google Play | SoundCloud | Stitcher | RSS

6 Old School Marketing Tactics

What you’ll learn in this episode

What follows is a lightly edited transcript of the conversation between Hailley Griffis and Brian Peters. Short on time? No worries! Here are four quick takeaways:

  • Why having real, authentic conversations with your audience is key
  • How to focus on creating memorable social media and marketing content
  • Why repurposing evergreen content is still a highly relevant marketing tactic
  • Television advertising and social media: Why and how they’re related

Must-read resources from the episode

  • 5 Old School Social Media Tactics That Are No Longer Effective (And What To Do Instead) – Buffer Blog
  • Social Media Engagement is the New Social Media Marketing: How To Do It Well – Buffer Blog
  • 6 Shortcuts to Speed Up Your Social Media Scheduling Process – Buffer Blog
  • 10 Old-School Marketing Tactics that Still Work – GrowthHackers

6 Old school marketing tactics that still work on social media [complete podcast transcript]

Hailley: Hi everyone! I’m Hailley Griffis and this is The Science of Social Media, a podcast by Buffer. Your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and learning.

Brian: Welcome to episode #105! I’m Brian Peters and this week we’re going old school marketing tactics. Well, not totally. We’re going new school with some old school flair. Remember all of the stuff that used to work on social media? Well, some of it still does, and quite effectively I might add.

Hailley: Yes, really excited for this one, Brian. I think we all get caught up in thinking about what’s next on social media and we forget that some of the tactics that helped us once are still very relevant today.

Let’s kick of the show!

Hailley: There are few greater joys in a marketer’s life than experimenting with a new technique—and having it work like a charm.

You feel like a cross between a scientist, an artist, and a magician, am I right?

Brian: Couldn’t agree more.

Hailley: And as many of us do (after a little celebrating of course), we officially add the new tactic to our marketing tactics repertoire and then start searching for the next thing to experiment with.

But because you’re always looking forward, you might not notice that the marketing tactics that worked so well in the beginning has now become, dare I say, obsolete.

Brian: With that in mind, we took a look back at the strategies and tactics that we used a few years ago to see if they still worked.

What follows are 8 old school social tactics that are still as relevant as ever in 2018.

Are you ready Hailley?

Hailley: Absolutely.

Marketing Tactic #1: Having real, meaningful interactions and conversations with your followers

Brian: Remember social media before there was a tool for every single one of your needs? Back when gaining just 100 followers on Twitter and having a single conversation was a huge milestone.

Well, believe it or not, real conversations and interactions are more important than ever on social today.

Hailley: Agreed, automation has made our lives so much easier and our marketing so much more effective, but that also means a personal touch goes a lot further these days!

As our colleague and blog editor Ash Read once said in an article, “It feels amazing to know that our favorite brands and personalities value our support. And sometimes all it takes to show that is a personal response.”

This strategy definitely requires more time, energy, and resources than setting up an automate message to new followers or fans, but it’s well worth it in the long run.

Brian: Couldn’t agree more – that’s been one of the cornerstones for us at Buffer on social media over the years and it has led to an incredible amount of word-of-mouth marketing.

Note: We’d love for you to check out Buffer Reply. One of the fastest-growing social media and customers service engagement tools on the market.

Marketing Tactic #2: Focusing on creating memorable and shareable content

Hailley: We talk about this a lot here on the show – and yes, it’s fairly obvious, but I think this one is what has always made social media so great.

You want people to engage with your content because, well, they want to. With that in mind, focus on making it as shareable as possible.

Brian: Yeah so get this.

A recent analysis of 65,000 articles found that a piece’s virality comes down to two main factors: arousal and dominance.

Which sounds a bit strange haha but in plain English, arousal means “riled up.” Feelings like anger and excitement are high-arousal emotions. Dominance, on the other hand, is the feeling of being in control.

When you’re inspired or joyful, you’re experiencing high dominance; when you’re scared, you’re experiencing low dominance.

Hailley: Articles that perform the best on social use a high-arousal, high-dominance combo.

And you’re probably wondering what that would look like!

Well, and here’s a throwback post for you, a photo of Vin Diesel with his daughter racked up 8.1 million interactions (making it the fifth most popular Facebook post of 2015), thanks to the strong, positive emotions it generated.

But strong, negative emotions can be powerful marketing tactics too—take the Dove “Choose Beautiful” campaign, for example. That social campaign put a spotlight on low self-esteem and it turned out extremely successful.

Brian: Yep!

Marketing Tactic # 3 – Use influencers and partnerships to expand your reach

Brian: Before influencer marketing was one of the hottest topics in social media, brands and marketers were partnering up to amplify their reach on social.

That tactic is still alive and thriving today and we actually use it all of the time here at Buffer.

Hailley: They key here is to think quality, not quantity when it comes to influencers and partnerships.

Before you team up on a social takeover, article, or research study, ask yourself, “Will this truly benefit my audience?”

If the answer is “yes,” you’re in good shape.

That means their content or expertise is an optimal fit for your audience—so you’ll benefit whether or not the influencer promotes it. And you also want to make sure that your content will benefit their audience as well.

Brian: Exactly! When both parties in the partnership are genuinely excited and passionate about the project, it will go so much further than if you were just forcing it for the sake of collaborating.

Your audiences will be able to see right through that as well.

Seek out potential partners that has an active, engaged audience as well as a great reputation in the industry. Both of those factors are key things to have going in.

Marketing Tactic #4: Repurposing top performing evergreen content

Hailley: We actually just had the pleasure of speaking with the team over at Ahrefs and they shared some great insights into how they’re doing social media strategy and this one was one of their top tips.

Sometime in March this year, they decided to run what they called a “re-circulation” experiment where they decided to dust off their underutilized social accounts and lightly repurpose their top performing content from over the years in quirky and fun posts.

Brian: What was interesting is they said to make things easier, they didn’t set any hard KPIs or goals. They just wanted to highlight cool stuff that they might have missed and see how things went from there.

Turns out, plenty of these posts were really well-received and performed really well.

Initially, they were simply aiming to see if there were any changes in the number of people who liked or shared their content. And guess what? You guessed it, the data instantly confirmed what they were hoping to see: a definite boost in overall engagement and link clicks.

Hailley: I love that.

This one is super important because as marketers and businesses we spend a ton of time, energy, and money on marketing tactics aimed at creating great content then it’s on to the next thing.

What we forget is that a lot of the content we create still has a ton of life in it. All it takes is a quick update to make sure everything is still relevant and some brainstorming on ways to repurpose and repackage the content.

Brian: Great point. And repurposing might involve experimenting with new headlines or creating a video to accompany the post or even creating a podcast episode from it. So many ways to get the most out of your content.

Marketing Tactic #5: Share for a benefit

Brian: As we chatted about last episode, giving your audience an incentive to interact with your content is an old school way of generating engagement that still works today in 2018.

Hailley: Going back to our friends over at Ahrefs, they wanted to figure out a way to get 1k re-tweets on Twitter and increase brand awareness around their product at the same time.

So what they did is they had their founder and CEO Tweet out something along the lines of, “hey, we’ll increase limits on the standard Ahrefs plan if this Tweet gets 1,000 Retweets.

And it was super sly because they were going to increase the limits either way, but they also wanted to figure out a fun way to draw some attention to that fact.

Brian: Yeah such a solid PR move. One of my favorite marketing tactics!

There’s an interesting part of that story as well…

The initial Tweet only collected about 100 re-tweets which is good given that Dmitry doesn’t really have a large following on Twitter.

To give it a little boost, they pushed it out to their users via an Intercom announcement and also shared it in their private Facebook Group. That ended up boosting the Retweet count to nearly 700.

Hailley: Funnily enough, at this point the Tweet jumped up another 500 re-tweets in no time at all to total almost 1.3k;

They were joking that they suspected that someone lost his or her patience and purchased re-tweets on a service like Fiverr or something.

Either way, they made good on their promise and it was a success on both social media and for their customers.

Brian: Great stuff. I didn’t even know you could buy retweets.

Marketing Tactic #6: Television advertising

I know, I know. You’re probably thinking, but Brian! social media isn’t television. What in the world could you mean?

Hailley: We’re thinking it, Brian!

Avid listeners of our show might remember episode #101 where we talked about IGTV and how that’s becoming the new norm for television.

Well that’s still the case, but platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook have long been a go-to place for people to go to catch up with the favorite influencers, mini series, and now shows.

Brian: Exactly, and so advertising in general is a one of the most old school marketing tactics on social media, but 1) it still works, and 2) brands now have the opportunity to sort of view social media as the modern day television.

That means they have the opportunity to create pre-roll ads on YouTube, ads on Instagram Stories, and eventually ads on IGTV because you better believe that those are going to be a huge part of Instagram moving forward.

Hailley: Yup and while many brands treat social media users and TV viewers as if they are two separate audiences, posting television content to YouTube is an excellent way to increase the reach of existing campaigns.

For example, Super Bowl commercials like Mountain Dew’s PuppyMonkeyBaby became a viral phenomena by hitting both platforms.

And I’m sure you’ve seen the great commercials that Grammarly runs on YouTube. Those have been wildly successful for them.

Brian: Love it. We’re all TV advertisers now haha!

One last takeaway here is to remember that while implementing these old school tactics, continue to test and refine your approach.

Define the criteria you want to measure at the outset of your new campaign. Whether the goal is brand awareness or increased sales, set KPIs to follow and measure your success against those numbers.

Then, get creative!

Hailley: Thank you for tuning in to The Science of Social Media today. The show notes for this episode are available in either iTunes, Soundcloud, or wherever you get your podcasts. We’ll include links to all of the marketing tactics resources we covered into today’s show.

If you ever want to get in touch with me or Hailley, we’re always here for your on social media using the hashtag #bufferpodcast. You can also say hi to us anytime and [email protected]

Brian: As always, thank you so much for your iTunes reviews! It’s so awesome to read through all your kind comments there – and we actually do read through all of them so thank you.

Don’t miss next week’s episode where we’ll be diving into the psychology behind social media and what makes people take action on different social channels.

Until next Monday, everyone!

How to say hello to us

We would all love to say hello to you on social media – especially Twitter!

  • Hailley on Twitter and Hailley’s Website
  • Brian on Twitter and Brian’s Website

Thanks for listening! Feel free to connect with our team at Buffer on Twitter, Buffer on Facebook, our Podcast homepage, or with the hashtag #bufferpodcast.

Enjoy the show? It’d mean the world to us if you’d be up for giving us a rating and review on iTunes!

About The Science of Social Media podcast

The Science of Social Media is your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration. Every Monday (and sometimes more) we share the most cutting-edge social media marketing tactics from brands and influencers in every industry. If you’re a social media team of one, business owner, marketer, or someone simply interested in social media marketing, you’re sure to find something useful in each and every episode. It’s our hope that you’ll join our 16,000+ weekly iTunes listeners and rock your social media channels as a result!

The Science of Social Media is proudly made by the Buffer team. Feel free to get in touch with us for any thoughts, ideas, or feedback.

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