Everyone and their pets have social media accounts these days. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise when we learn that 74% of small businesses in the country actively use social media for marketing and brand expansion. Considering we are in the third year of the pandemic, and the world has only recently opened up again, this figure seems fair. Since everyone was online, businesses – even the ones that hated doing so – had to go online and meet their customers there.
This post is written by Diana L Stewart.
So overall, the number of 74% isn’t shocking. If anything, it’s underwhelming; more businesses should have made the switch.
And that’s why we are here today. An active social media presence is the lifeblood of any modern brand. With nearly 5 billion daily social media users at the moment, any brand that is even remotely interested in survival needs to be on social media, @ing everyone, and replying to everyone’s comments.
To get going, here are 5 wide-ranging social media strategies to help boost your presence on the social space and turn your followers into hardcore fans.
1. Choose the Right Platform and Prioritize Your Social Media
Not all social media was created equally. Though all run on engagement, some prefer visuals as their fuel (Instagram, Pinterest) while others run on conversations (Facebook, LinkedIn).
To maximize your social media potential, focus on the platform that best serves your needs. If you run a creative business (photography, skincare, candle making), Instagram and Pinterest should be your main focus. For more business-oriented ventures – a real estate investment firm, for example – Facebook and LinkedIn may serve you best.
It’s important to note that you should use all of these platforms to create a social media existence. But depending on your business type, your presence on some of these may be higher and more impactful than others. And that’s how it should be.
There is no need to overwhelm yourself trying to be popular and active on every platform. You will tire yourself and it won’t be even worth it. So, prioritize your social media platforms and set goals for each. That will guide your content, posting schedule, and will also help you analyze your performance against solid metrics.
2. Optimize Your Profiles with Consistent Branding
Branding gives your identity a distinguish quality. It is the process of carefully selecting visual details of your brand and then devising a strategy of how to implement that look across brand assets, including the website, official documents, products and packaging, staff uniforms, and social media.
When we optimize our social profiles with consistent branding, we make it easier for customers to recognize our brand. Optimization also includes supplementing the pages with all the necessary information so people who want to know more about you or want to contact you can do it with no hassle.
This means a beautifully designed logo that elevates your brand, high-quality product photos, complete addresses and contact details, links to other social media profiles of the brand, and a strong brand description.
If you are a startup and looking for affordable ways to design a great-looking logo, AI-powered business logo makers do a good job. For HD photos, any phone with a good enough camera will work – just pay attention to lighting and angles. And if you can’t write a brand description yourself, ask a friend or a team member to do. It’s important to get it right and someone who has a way with words is better to handle that task.
Optimized brands that show consistency in their branding are always preferred over half-completed social media accounts with haphazard product photos and broken website links that lead to nowhere.
3. Create Fresh, Buzzy, and Trendy Content
This is the heart of the matter. This is what you are here for. And it’s one heck of a thing to nail down.
Posting content that resonates with people and gets the coveted likes and shares is what truly drives the presence. The more people engage with your content, the more it appears on your users’ newsfeed and becomes more visible. And different kinds of content serve different purposes. Images are great for engagement, powerful blog posts establish your authority as an expert, and videos are used for entertainment and as precursors to the buying process.
Therefore, keep your content bank a mix of all these things and make keep people interested in what you have to say.
Here are a few rules of thumbs to go by when creating your content strategy:
- Remain current with your content. Things that your audience is talking about, issues they are facing, topics that are trending – use all of this to create share-worthy posts.
- Be vocal about your stance. Modern audiences – Millennials and Gen Z – want their brands to stand up for something. So, declare what you stand for and adjust the intensity of that declaration according to your needs.
- Post regularly. There’s nothing that makes you less visible than posting heavily one day and then disappearing for the next two weeks. Make people realize that they can rely on your content.
- Do not hard-sell. Focus on creating relatable and helpful material that will connect to your audience and may encourage them to get to know your brand better. All of that will eventually lead to sales, just don’t be too aggressive about it.
In addition to getting these technicalities straight, it’s also important to pay attention to your humanity. Do not come across as dry in your posts. Everything that you post on social media – blogs, captions, videos, images, and memes – should tell the audience who you are – your sense of humor, the things you value, how you communicate.
I often cite the example of InStyle Magazine’s Instagram account. It’s snazzy, witty, hilariously self-deprecating in the sexiest way possible, and always on-point. They never cross a line, never post boring captions, and always have something relatable to say. It’s an absolute delight having it on my Insta feed.
4. Create an Editorial Schedule and Build a Content Inventory
Posting (great content) on social media with consistency is a must if you want a noticeable presence. If you do not post regularly, social media algorithms stop bumping your posts in user feeds. Search engines do not pay much attention to you, and your consumers start to forget about you.
Therefore, some consistency is necessary. For some brands, it’s posting every day. Others prefer a weekly schedule. Whichever works for you will take a bit of time to develop and involve some hit-and-miss. Once you understand how your audience engages with your posts, what times they are most available, and the kind of the content that works on weeks versus the kind that suits Mondays, you’ll start building a content inventory.
Once you have enough content on hold, you can start implementing a schedule that works for you. It will help you create an integrated content strategy where every post will serve the greater purpose of brand visibility and more sales. Automation will also come in handy. You can use tools like Buffer to schedule your posts in advance, complete with captions, relevant hashtags, and can even choose your top comment.
Automation will keep your content schedule more consistent and will also free you up to do more than just post content.
5. Interact With Your Audience
People like to interact with people more than brands. If you are going to hide behind your brand all the time, you’ll miss out on a big opportunity to genuinely connect with your audience. This is the connection that makes followers into customers and customers into loyal fans.
Whenever you post something – a blog article, a funny meme, a product video – make sure to talk to people about it. Don’t do the post-and-go routine. It’s so off-putting. Be present and answer people’s questions. If someone posts a comment that you like, reply and engage with them. When you get a query in your Messenger, reply to it quickly and accurately. Don’t be afraid of having fun. Post funny intros and laugh with your audience.
When it’s negative feedback or an unhappy customer in your comments section, be honest, helpful, and compassionate. The more genuine you are, the more people will be willing to forgive your slips and give you the benefit of the doubt. You can use these chances to do better the next time. But if you remain aloof on your social media and exclusively post about your products, you’ll increasingly become the pushy salesman that no one wants to talk to, let alone buy from.
So, whichever form of interaction you choose – sharing an article link or posting a behind-the-scenes video – do it with genuine interest, authenticity, and a bit of humor to keep everyone interested.
In the end…
Ultimately it comes down to your brand’s communication style. The more real you are, the more your customers will resonate with you. Choosing the right social media channel and having a strong content inventory of diverse topics can only take you so far. You gain an enduring presence when your customers start to look for your brand on their feeds and encourage their friends to follow you too. To gain that level of loyalty on social media, an honest presence is your most potent tool.