7 Social Media Cheat Codes

social network usage

Do you sometimes wish life was like a video game?

We could have infinite lives, do humanly impossible stunts, conjure magical spells…


I’ve sifted through dozens of social media tips and tricks guides, case studies, and reports to compile the following 7 social media cheat codes. These are strategies and tactics that have resulted in outcomes that can only be described as awesome.

Cheat Code 1: Party with your fans

cheat code 1

This is meant both in the literal and figurative sense. When brands create products or offer services that people love, super-fans emerge. These super-fans will naturally share the brand’s content, reccommend their offerings, and become the ultimate ambassador. As a social listener, we must identify our fans and, well, party with them!

Examples include:

  • Social media contests and giveaways
  • Facebook picture challenges (i.e; “Can you guess what this is?” or “Complete this sentence/Fill in the blanks”
  • Show your followers awesome pictures from an office event!

Think about how you would normally party with your friends, and do “mostly” the same stuff with your fans. It may seem trivial or too risky, but if carefully handled with an open mind, we can break down the lens that makes people view us as a brand,  and more as a friend.

Not just any friend.

The super-cool, monocle & top-hat combo friend who always has an interesting story – someone that can be relied on for a hilarious joke or an inspiring story.

Cheat Code 2: Customize every experience

cheat code 2

Think about the niche your content falls into.

Depending on this categorization, social media content should reflect and appeal to the demographics and psychographics of this market. This process involves some legwork in the data analysis field and a pretty flexible marketing budget.

Here’s an example:

  • We’re in the roofing business (yep, I picked a hard one)
  • Create a tailored Google + page for our local market
  • Create an eCommerce/informational app in HTML5 for extended reach
  • Hop in the Home Improvement subreddit and start helping redditors
  • Create website features that appeal to the transactional and informational needs of visitors
  • Identify competitor social media strategy and blow them out of the water with something completely unexpected: Infographics about roofing, Memes about roofing problems, and Instructional/How-To roofing videos


Cheat Code 3: Go social offline

cheat code 3

Extend the power of social media with offline awareness building strategies.

Examples include:

  • Custom hashtags for live events, such as “#supercoolevent” and show callout tweets during the event
  • Put your Twitter handle, a QR code to your LinkedIn profile, and/or your Google+ profile URL on your business card. Take it a step further and make your business card resemble the design/layout of a Facebook or Google+ profile.
  • Flyers are still a common marketing strategy. Integrate social media events and campaigns on flyers, providing an incentive to visiting a branded social media account (such as a discount/limited free membership).
  • Create a mascot for your brand and set up a Twitter profile for the mascot. Take it to the next level by creating an actual mascot suit and hiring someone to take photos with people in a populated location like a college campus or city center. Lastly, create stickers with the mascot twitter handle to hand out during the promotion.

This strategy can be as creative as our boss is willing to consider. Think of traditional marketing and advertising – especially guerrilla tactics, and consider ways to integrate social media.

Events are always have room for so much potential. We have tons of people gathered for the same purpose – what better opportunity is there to interact with them, face to face?

We don’t always have to promote – just having a normal conversation with people can provide valuable feedback or enlightening suggestions for a future social media strategy. And who knows, maybe some of the people that come to events have their own blogs and readerships. They’ll write about us if we make sure our event runs smoothly – and has plenty of picture-worthy opportunities.

Cheat Code 4: Everlasting content

cheat code 4

No not Tuck Everlasting – well, maybe the concept…

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “evergreen content” and I’m sure you thought, “This is easier said then done.”

Well, you’re right.

Creating content that can stand the test of time is not something every writer can accomplish.

And here’s why:

  • Many writers think in the sense of “now, urgency, relevancy” with content that is appropriate for a one-time read.
  • A small number of writers think of content in the sense of “always applicable”

My favorite evergreen content strategy and examples include:

  • 15 ways to optimise your evergreen content strategy via Econsultancy
  • An Evergreen Content Case Study via Moz
  • Why Ever Business Blog Needs Evergreen Content via Hubspot

And here’s a personal example:

I was brainstorming a guest article idea for the KISSmetrics blog a few months ago and wanted to test to this idea of evergreen content. I read that lists of quotes were a pretty surefire way of attracting visits, optimizing for keywords, and being shared easily. But I didn’t want to just quote the most famous people – I wanted to be able to reach out to these people and I wanted them to be able to respond even though they had no idea who I was.

So I found the 50 Top Social Media Power Influencers lists from a Forbes contributor and realized this was my best shot.

The end result was this.

It took me somewhere around 12-14 hours to individually go through the archives of each influencer and find something quote-worthy. This took so long because everyone had quote-worthy material – the trick was finding quotes that really resonated with me – not something too generic.

It’s been almost three months and many of the influencers continue to share the article, resulting in more and more social shares.

Cheat Code 5: Give people money

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I know this sounds like a drug deal or something, but I’d argue this tactic is the number one most practiced, especially for social media.

Nothing gets people’s attention better than “Win $230,430 by tweeting this – that’s it”

I mean heck, I’d tweet it.

Now of course, the counter argument is, “Well, that’s not really social media. That’s just a lottery – a bribe even.” My counter to that would be:

  • Are people sharing it on social media?
  • Are people talking about it?
  • Are people commenting things like “oooohhh I hope I win this [brand name] contest!”?

If the answer is yes to all three (which it always is), then yes, it is social media (technically).

But if this type of thing really sickens you, then get creative with it and simply use it as an added bonus for participating in a social media campagin.

An example might be:

  • A Facebook graphic design contest
  • The winner gets their design used for the new company logo – oh, and some money!
  • Encourage Facebook users to Like and comment on their favorite entries
  • Promote the contest on all social media channels

Money is a necessary fuel – that’s just a reality we all come to terms with.

Cheat Code 6: Know your email contacts

cheat code 6

The people you email weekly (or even daily) are more than just a “contact.”

Without coming off as a stalker…it’s useful to know the following information:

  • The city/state they’re working/located in
  • At least one of their hobbies or interests
  • Something they’re working on
  • Something they’re struggling with

That’s it.

All the more power to you if you’d like more information – but this is ample to communicate in a more “realistic” fashion with your email contacts.

Your emails don’t have to be so dry, you know, ask about any new assets in the product pipeline – or if they’d like any feedback on their new homepage.

Did they mention they were sick as week ago? Maybe it’s time to ask if they’re feeling better.

Sure, we don’t have time to pay attention to the small details for everyone on our contact list – but try to do this for some.

What are the benefits?

  • You’ll be highly regarded and prioritized because you actually care
  • You seem like a normal person 😀
  • They’ll help with your social media campaigns, whether it’s a simple share or review article – just ask them!

Cheat Code 7: Optimize for the future

cheat code 7

Now I’m warning you, you may not like this cheat code; however, I’m sure this one will make you laugh.

What do I mean by optimizing for the future?

I mean just that. 

Create content that considers the future of a product, industry, idea, sport – anything!

Here’s an example I quickly created…don’t judge my terrible design skills.

Introducing….the iPhone 9000!!! Complete with gold plating and a unique gold chain:

iphone 9000

Pretty sweet huh?

Now I’m not saying this is “guaranteed viral social media” but it’s definitely interesting right?

This type of content can easily foster a fun discussion and really boost your social media engagement.

Well that’s about it for the cheat codes – let me know if you enjoyed this or have any other “cheat codes” of your own :)


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Jesse Aaron

I'm a blogger, homebrewer, and community manager. Aside from writing, I have a passion for music and design.

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