Social media content that engages with current events, celebrities and influential users can bring brands to the top.

Content marketers across the country are developing social media marketing strategies to put branded content in front of prospective and returning customers, but questions remain about how to leverage platforms for positive results. According to the 2012 SocialToaster Social Media Survey, which asked 3,000 social media experts and digital professionals for their thoughts on shareable content, engaging with current events and popular celebrities, as well as creating humorous posts, help brands rise to the top.

Celebrity engagement could help reveal brands

The survey revealed that some celebrities have not only gained a well-known presence on social media sites, but influence followers in some manner. President Barack Obama, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga were considered the most influential by experts in the field, followed by Ashton Kutcher, Anderson Cooper and Kanye West. Brands looking to gain an edge should consider connecting with these figures, especially if they are posting relevant material.

“As social media becomes more a part of our life, we wanted to determine who was influencing it and what behaviors were considered appropriate. It was surprising to us that Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga would beat Madonna and Kanye West. We were also surprised to see that friends had more pull than family when it came to influencing the sharing of social media content.”  -Brian Razzaque, CEO of SocialToaster

Family and friends influence, while photos and links get shared

Even though the world’s top celebrities can encourage engagement and promote certain brands, 90 percent of surveyed experts believe that a social media post from a close friend is most likely to influence a user on issues, products or services. Family members are also likely to tip users, as is the advice of a well-known blogger. More, users are more likely to share photos, links, quotes and videos than studies and statistics.

Good grammar can help retain followers

Careful monitoring brings success

Social media marketing is taking the world by storm, but content marketers and digital experts need to carefully monitor posts on their platforms to ensure material reaches the right audience. SocialToaster’s survey showed that racism, sexism, repetitive content, poor grammar and overly personal updates causes users to unfollow. Generating custom content with audience in mind and careful consideration can help brands get recognized on social media sites, and can aid in retention of followers and fans.

As Brafton has reported, the use of social media continues to grow, making it increasingly important for content marketers to refine strategies. Facebook was crowned the most popular network in 2012, alongside Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. The social media site was the year’s top search query and its Wikipedia page saw more views than any other. To engage with consumers on these sites, marketers should post relevant content that keeps friends and fans engaged.

Emma Siemasko is a former member of Brafton's editorial team. Emma has experience with blogging, travel writing, industry news, SEO and content marketing. She used to live in South Korea, where she mastered the art of using metal chopsticks.