Social media today is vast, and in order for you to get any foothold in a market, being connected is important. Businesses recognize this, and over the years there have been some who have created an active and thriving community and presence.
But it’s worth asking – how many of those people they’ve amassed are there for the sake of the ride? How many of them are there because they genuinely want to be?
Social media is tough to break into, and it’s tough to leverage it. One does not simply post random content and mention a few people and leave it at that. People need to put together a more coherent strategy for social media to thrive.
Even if you’re starting your business right now, knowing these things are important. So with that in mind, what are some ways to break into any platform and start to leverage it? Well here are some tips I’ve got.
Set some Goals
I’ve got two good questions for you: Why do you use social media? Why are you there?
Take some time to put together an answer because I can imagine most will say, “I don’t know” or “Because everyone else is on it.” Sure that’s great, but that’s not a reason for you to spend time on it.
This is where goals can play a critical role, as the goals that we set are meant to be things that mean something to us. How you want to structure your goals is up to you, but the fact you are setting goals means that you’re looking for ways that you can progress and achieve in various areas of your life.
Social media can help in that case since it’s a marketing tool to grow your business. From there, your business’s income and growth can contribute to other areas of your life.
So start off with, setting some goals that you know you can achieve and work towards. You can follow the SMART method or consider other ways like having a why.
Identify your Audience
Once you got your goals in place, begin outlining your target audience. And please do not assume that “everyone” is your audience.
They’re not. Not everyone needs whatever you’re trying to sell.
Anyway, the key here is break down what a customer is to you. It doesn’t matter if they’re an average Joe or are industry players or influencers. Break down who you’re going after and then figure out the following:
- Which platforms should you be active on?
- What times/days should you be posting?
- What type of content should you post? (i.e. GIFs, images, videos, text, etc.)
- What voice are you taking?
- What information will you put up on your profile?
Knowing these answers will tie in with the audience that you’re hoping to attract. If you’re after young adults and you’re selling copywriting services, you might want to consider going to LinkedIn. Selling artwork? Try Pinterest or Instagram.
This is an important step because many brands post content and wonder why it’s not working. Part of it may be because they’re focusing on the wrong platforms and aren’t developing their personas enough to make engaging content.
Completing an exercise in creating personas will give you perspective on who you want to attract. It also narrows it down to a deeper understanding of what your audience is like.
Always strive to be Human
Automation is good for businesses, but automation in social media can cause issues. But setting aside automation, one other problem that businesses still face today is the fact that businesses lack personality. What’s worse than a robot messing up your social media presence is creating a company with no personality at all.
With this in mind, make a point of cracking jokes and using language that you’d use when talking to a friend. Even if your brand is a logo, still have a personality.
This also means giving people a glimpse into your company behind the scenes. Take some selfies, or some snapshots of people working at the office or outside of work. These things create personal connections that followers can appreciate.
Look for Relationships over Followers
In the past, the idea of marketing was best described as “setting relationships with people to ensure they keep coming back.”
I feel that believing in this saying is powerful because it best describes what people should strive to do on social media. Rather than treat people as regular customers or followers, start to treat them as humans and build bonds with them.
This is powerful because it means the amount of followers doesn’t matter as much. Even if you have a handful of followers, what’s most impactful is having people that regularly engage with you.
What do you think is more important?
- 100 followers who engage with everything you put out; or
- 1000 followers who ignore you
If you’re not sure how to begin forming bonds with people here are some quick tips:
- Make a point of mentioning people when you are posting on social media
- Answer the questions people ask.
- Always reply when you are mentioned or your content gets shared. Leaving a like is also fitting too.
- Don’t always rely on sharing and liking others content, engage with them. Leave a comment and start conversations.
Have an Editorial Calendar
Having a content schedule isn’t an extra thing brands do, it’s a requirement because it leads them to posting consistently.
The odds are good that you want to get involved in several social channels and that’s okay. What’s important though is to ensure that when you are posting content on each channel, you’ve done all the necessary work.
Content calendars can make everything easier by:
- Letting you fine-tune your posts without the need to jump between sites.
- Time your posts to get the most out of your engagement. This can save you from posting content in real-time.
- Help you to avoid using the same content over and over. Recycling is good but when it’s the exact same content you are reusing, it can easily be flagged as spam.
When you have a schedule in place and know where everything is getting posted, your life can be made a lot easier.
Automate as much as you can
While some things you shouldn’t automate, there are a lot of things you can automate. I would suggest automating back end tasks like scheduling posts and getting post ideas. Where automation pushes it is when you are engaging with customers. Automating in those cases can spell disaster as some companies have experienced.
Focus on Helping People over Selling
While people love social selling, your presence on social media shouldn’t be about the “hard sell.” Even if your business is an ecommerce store that pushes all kinds of deals, what’s more important is those relationships.
This means taking time to answer questions and being more helpful than pushing your product or a service. Some people really need some direction and specific solutions rather than buy something.
Optimize accounts for Engagement
Optimization is a big word for some but it’s not anything scary. Unlike SEO, which is a complex process, social media optimization (SMO) isn’t as technical. The idea behind this is to take some SEO elements and leverage them on a smaller scale.
Why it’s easier is because biographies can only be so long. Not only that but you want to be optimizing pictures and other images which is easier than sprawling text.
What I’m getting at here is, be crafty with the text and images you’ve got. For example, SMO can be linking to promotions in your bios or including hashtags that allow your brand’s voice to be heard.
On top of that, a well-crafted profile with the proper mentions and imagery can give people a reason to follow you. Not to mention completing as much profile information as you can helps your social media accounts to rank better.
Other options to consider are things like:
- Add relevant keywords to your profile but don’t stuff them. Stick with your top three.
- Share content that’s related to the industry you’re in. It also helps to add keywords and hashtags in them too.
- Connect with others in your industry for further exposure.
Go Visual if you have to
If you’re running out of ideas for content, strive to go visual. We process videos, images more and we’re also more likely to respond to those types of posts in general.
Wonder why Instagram is so powerful? Because of pictures and videos.
Wonder why Facebook videos and Facebook Live is so good? It gets six times the engagement than other forms of content.
Want to get more Twitter followers? Never buy them and start including in videos, images, and graphics over other types of posts.
- Team photos or videos
- Customer photos
- Event photos
- Behind-the-scenes photos and videos
- Quote photos
Make your Presence Known
If you’ve been putting in the work, let people know about it. Include social media icons in the footer of your website and in your emails. Ensure people are always one click away from being a long-term follower, no matter what medium of contact they are doing.
The beauty of it is that major social media platforms can be easily integrated into sites and more thanks to a simple copy-paste code.
Some other considerations are things like cross-promoting through various channels.
Make sure you stay Active
Inactive social feeds are bad news for brands. Rather than letting your accounts build up cobwebs, make sure you are coming back to those platforms with something fresh to give.
Some ways to stay active if you’re struggling are things like:
- Have social scheduling and automation to save yourself time and energy
- Pick and prioritize specific networks you know your followers are on and use
- Find some ways to recycle your content in creative ways where it’s still new even if the message is similar to what you said before
Another thing to keep in mind is that being active doesn’t have to be a time sink. I’m not saying spend your entire day on social media. Instead schedule a bit of your time each day. Spending a good 10 or 15 minutes should be enough to post content, respond to questions and engage with your audience.
Leverage what’s Trending
Twitter is good about telling you what people are talking about but there are other platforms that do the same. Even if something is a little off brand, posting about it can show off your personality and can give you more exposure.
Not only that, but the trending hashtags can give you post ideas for time-sensitive topics.
Don’t be afraid to pay
While there are plenty of free resources available, there comes a time where spending money becomes necessary. Whatever the case, don’t be afraid to cough over some cash as there are some really good deals out there.
While Facebook has updated their algorithm to boost organic views on videos, paying a little bit of money can boost your video’s viewership significantly.
But I’m not only suggesting spending money on ads. You can also look into influencer marketing, an industry where you pay an influencer who’ll talk about your product or service and get people to buy into it.
In both these cases, there can be an insane ROI to be gained. All you need to do is pay some money and have a good strategy and grasp of your audience.
Start using Tools
There are all kinds of tools to help you out. From making posts to monitoring activities, being familiar with them and leveraging them will help. In the case of analytical tools, they can help identify posts that are working and can provide insights into the audience you are building.
Knowing that information and breaking it into numbers can help businesses determine next actions. These numbers remove the guesswork and make it more into a science.
Focus on Content people want to see
To stand out on any platform you can’t just boost yourself from others content. You need to get out there and create yourself no matter the circumstances.
Original content is really the key to standing out from the rest and that can come in many ways:
- Make some blog posts or do some research and make infographics
- Take some snapshots of your vacation or things you find interesting, or
- Have an opinionated rant about your industry or about a particular event
Whatever the case, is it’s important to have content that gets your followers to stop and to consider what you have to say. With so much noise out there on social media, there are all kinds of ways to break through it with some careful planning and thought.
Visualize what your Presence will look like
To make it in social media, it’s key to know what you want out of it. There is no single solution out there to give you the best social media presence.
Instead, what we’ve got are tactics and strategies that can build you forward and identify potential issues that you will face. All of the tips provided above are solutions and staples many successful brands already use, so be sure to consider them if you want to break into social media properly.