Explore these easy to execute strategies for engagement.
In a perfect world, you could just set up your social media profiles, post a few pieces of content and immediately feel the love. The reality is that social media is a crowded, competitive space for any industry. It’s also a necessity of modern marketing. It’s how the world connects with brands, with about 2.8 billion social media users as of the end of 2017, which equates to about 37% of the world’s population. Compared to another influential medium, you may be shocked to learn that only 1.59 billion people have television sets. As a modern day marketer, you won’t find a channel better suited to engage your audience.
But to get to this engagement and eventual influence, you’ll need to grow your followers. It can take time to get numbers that mean something, but if you follow the best practices outlined in this eBook, you’ll be well on your way to being a social media maven. These five concepts work together to build your growth strategy and include:
- Post the right content: what does your audience want to know?
- Be part of the conversation: commenting and responding
- Get intimate and personal with video
- Engage consistently
- Share a good mix of content
Expanding your audience comes with many benefits, most of which lead directly to increased conversions and greater brand awareness. Keep reading to see how to put together your ideal social media growth plan.
Post the Right Content: What Does Your Audience Want to Know?
The foundation of your social media growth strategy is knowing your customer and understanding what content they want to see. The first part of this concept is determining the preferences, challenges and interests of your audience. This kind of information is usually compiled in a buyer persona. A persona is a fictionalized representation of your idea buyer. It includes demographics like age, education and title. But it’s much more than just these data points.
A buyer persona identifies what motivates the person and also where they seek information. There are a lot of different social platforms out there and you don’t need to be on them all. You need to be on the ones where your audience lives. If you are focusing on millennials and trying to gain their interest in a nonprofit, you’ll most likely find them on Instagram. If your target is stay at home moms over 35, they tend to prefer Facebook.
You can find data right on your current profiles. You’ll be able to see ages and genders of your current followers on most platforms. Find additional data on what type of users are on each platform with resources like those from the Pew Research Center. Start with Social Media Use in 2018 and the Social Media Demographics Fact Sheet 2017.
Now that you know more about your audience and where they are, what kind of content do they like? Start with looking at your own data. What types of content have performed well? Video? Infographics? Images with captions? The type preferred may shift, so keep an eye on your data for trends. The types of content you post, of course, will be somewhat determined by your vertical, but most industries can use any format.
What you post is part of the formula; it’s also how you post. You may find better engagement if you tag or mention others, expanding your reach. If you worked with another brand on a project, make sure to tag them in the post. Or, when you share an industry article, tag the publisher and author.
It’s also a great idea to leverage trends. Twitter always lets you know what hashtags are trending, like national days or pop culture trends. So, if it’s somewhat applicable to you then go for it.
Be Part of the Conversation: Commenting and Responding
Social media lets you insert yourself into the conversation without an introduction, making it way easier than a cocktail party. So, play it strategically. If there are thought leaders in your industry that have large followings and post regularly, comment and ask questions on their pages. This works especially well on LinkedIn, where many leaders often ask questions and want to hear your responses. Many times, they’ll respond to you and tag you. You’ve just now been exposed to all that person’s followers. If they found your response to be original and interesting, you may find them asking to connect or following your brand.
So, what do you do when someone responds to your comment or to your post or shares your original post? If you said nothing, let’s change that. Always respond. Keep the conversation going. That’s what social media is all about—engaging with others and learning from it. Also, when other users share your content or post it with a mention, be sure to thank them.
Get Intimate and Personal with Video
Social media users are obsessed with video. The numbers don’t lie. Over 500 million users watch video on Facebook daily. While 82% of Twitter users watch content on the platform. Video resonates well with users and is shared 1200% more than text and images combined.
If you are thinking you don’t have the money to create professional videos, you’ll be glad to know that many of the videos that brands use aren’t that elaborate. Many times, they are created with mobile devices and a good tri-pod. You can also create animated videos even if you don’t have video editing knowledge or a budget. Consider Magisto, Moovly or Biteable.
Treat videos like an intimate conversation with your audience. Stay on message and on brand. Teach your audience something. Explain how something works. Show them an alternative to what they’re doing now.
The most time consuming part of growing your audience is engagement. You can’t just schedule your posts and walk away. You need to be on your chosen platforms every day. Since you only have so much time, limit your social profiles to three. To assist with engagement, you need a tool that allows you to monitor and respond from one area. There are many social media marketing solutions from which to choose, many with free versions. Select one that integrates with your chosen platforms and has an app version for easy access on your mobile.
When mapping out consistency, it’s good to determine your posting cadence. This will vary by platform. For example, you’ll tweet more than you pin. Put your plan in writing so that you have a baseline to start. Also decide the touchpoints for each site, meaning how many retweets should you average, or how many comments you will leave on Instagram. When you have something that directs your actions, you aren’t just randomly engaging. Being consistent is possible with the right tools and strategy.
Share a Good Mix of Content
Your social feeds shouldn’t be all about you. This isn’t a commercial—it’s a chance to start a conversation and attract followers that support your brand. You do that by being relevant and interesting. A large part of what you share should be your content, but it should be educational in nature. Post your thought leader blogs, how-to eBooks and explainer videos. This content will attract your ideal audience.
Promotional posts should be part of the mix as well. These would be specific to your products and services and might include a special offer. You can offer an actual discount if that’s applicable, or gated content like a whitepaper.
Fill in the rest of your posting with third party content that makes sense for your industry. Consider trade or industry sources, reputable news sites, nonprofit messaging or partner original content. Finding this content doesn’t need to be time consuming. Try a Google alert for keywords, scan your own social feeds and sign up for industry newsletters.
By curating other stories that aren’t just your own, you increase the opportunity for engagement, which leads to more followers. Become a source of information for your audience so they continue to interact with you, which could elevate them from follower to delighted fan.
Get Noticed: It’s Time to Grow
Increasing your follower numbers is essential to getting your brand noticed. As your numbers grow so does your influence. Getting there isn’t just about spending time on the platform. You’ll need a strategy that starts with understanding you audience—what they like and where they are. That will lead you to posting the right content that attracts and engages. You also need to be part of the conversation, commenting and responding consistently. When deciding what format of content to share, make video prominent as it’s the most loved medium on most social sites. Be sure to post content that isn’t just about you. Focus on educational, original content, supplemented with industry stories and promos.
Social media can become your most valuable channel, highlighting your brand’s personality. It connects you to prospective customers you’d never reach in traditional channels. Take these five tips and go grow your social presence today.