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Social media marketing provides the opportunity to not only showcase a brand's offerings but to also give a face and a personality to the team behind the brand. — Getty Images/wundervisuals

If you understand the fundamentals of social media marketing, then you know you can't only promote your own products or services on your social channels. The good news is there are countless other strategies and content types you can implement to engage your target audience. The challenge, however, is choosing the right ones for your brand.

Whether you're just starting out or you're trying to revamp your existing strategy, here are five clever and highly engaging tactics to incorporate into your overall social media marketing plan.

Host a contest or giveaway

Marketing expert Neil Patel says running a contest or giveaway is one of the best ways to achieve “explosive growth” for your business. While this might be considered by some to be an artificial way to attract new followers, it’s one of the most tried and true methods that many of the world’s biggest brands have used for more than a decade.

Many businesses that run contests or giveaways on social media make the barrier to entry relatively low, such as following certain accounts, using a particular hashtag or commenting on a specific post. A winner can then be randomly selected from those who followed the instructions.

Offer social-only discounts

Stores have been successfully using sales flyers and coupons for decades to draw customers into their stores and drive sales. Discount emails and social offers are the digital versions of the same practice.

The best part about using email and social discounts, according to Sprout Social, is that you can target these discounts to certain segments of your target audience. You can also track which platform(s) worked the best for your followers to find and use the discount. Instagram Stories or Facebook’s Offer option are two of the most common ways to promote an offer on social media.

Spreading the word about your brand or business is important, but nothing speaks louder to your target audience than your fans and followers singing your praises.

Share user-generated content from your biggest fans

Spreading the word about your brand or business is important, but nothing speaks louder to your target audience than your fans and followers singing your praises.

Countless studies have shown that consumers tend to trust content from the average person more than they do from brands. In fact, a BrightLocal survey found that more than 90% of consumers aged 18 to 34 trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

To that end, sharing content created by your real-life customers, such as testimonials and photos with your product, is a great way to show your target audience that other people just like them believe in and support your business. This strategy also has the added benefit of building better, more interactive relationships with your fans and followers, as people are likely to share and comment on posts they're featured in.

Post behind-the-scenes pictures and videos

With so many Photoshopped images and carefully curated brand ads out there, it can be fun for your followers to see what goes into crafting your products or creating your picture-perfect social posts. Behind-the-scenes pictures and videos show the humanity of your brand, and prove that there are real people who work hard to create and provide the quality products and services you offer.

No matter which of these tactics you try, it's important to measure your results and experiment with content types until you find what works best for your audience. Review your posts' analytics and engagement rates; and, when you discover what your followers respond best to, plan to produce more of it.

Most importantly, stay consistent in your posting schedule and your overall message. You don't have to post every single day, but stick with a cadence that works for your business.

Need more information on social media marketing? Our guide can help you create and implement an effective social media plan for growing and promoting your business.

CO— does not review or recommend products or services. For more information on choosing the best social media management tools, visit our friends at

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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