So you’re looking to build a social media presence for yourself or your business, but where do you start? It can seem daunting building from the ground up, so here are 11 ways to successfully create, maintain and grow your social media presence.
Ask yourself ‘why am I on social media?’
It appears that everyone and their dog is on social media today, so you might be thinking ‘well, if everyone else is on it then I should be too!’ which is a fair point. However, you should really be asking yourself ‘why am I here? What do I want to get out of it?’
Setting yourself goals and targets and having a clear idea of the kind of content you want to share is a great place to start. Think about the direction you want your platforms to grow; set yourself SMART targets and gather content ready for posting. This will give you a purpose and stop you sharing content aimlessly.
Make sure you use the right platforms for you
Choosing the right platform is just at crucial as setting yourself targets. It’s important not to overwhelm yourself by trying to get famous on every platform going. If you’re in the business industry, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn might be best for you, whereas if you’re a photographer or artist, then perhaps more visual platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest are more beneficial.
If you’re a bit stuck as to where to start, then put your focus on Facebook and Instagram; both platforms are the most used in the world with over one billion monthly users on Facebook alone.
Let your audience know you’re on social media
Any successful platform begins with a following, and it can be difficult to get one when starting from scratch. While some platforms let you invite your own friends to like your page, you should be letting your customers know where to find you too.
Including your social handles in email campaigns or on print can be a good way to get the word out that you’re online. You can easily link your social profiles to your website or if you’re in a physical location, like a shop or at a festival, you can always put up a ‘Follow us!’ sign.
Optimise your profiles
The word ‘optimisation’ can sound like a lot of hard work, but it’s an easy and necessary thing to do to make your brand stand out on social media.
Making sure your pages have all the right information filled in and are consistent in their branding is key; a half-completed Facebook page with poor imagery isn’t going to get much traction. It’s important that anyone stumbling across your page instantly recognises who you are, and thinks ‘these guys look professional and know what they’re doing’. If you need a bit of help, there are plenty of how-to guides online with step-by-step tips on how to optimise for particular platforms.
Keep an eye on algorithms and updates
As we all know, Facebook was the first to implement a wizard-like algorithm, seemingly reading your mind and deciding what content to show you. With most platforms now using some level of algorithm, harnessing the power of the algorithm can give your presence a huge boost.
For example, Facebook gives priority to visually engaging content over less visual content, such as plain text. The mere act of adding a photo to your status update can make a huge different to how many people see your post. That’s why you see a lot more videos on your Facebook newsfeed than weird status updates from your estranged aunt.
The same goes for sites like Twitter, who are more chronological. Knowing when your audience is most likely to see your tweet can be the difference between ten retweets or 100.
Create an editorial schedule
Now before you think this isn’t important, hear us out. There’s nothing more important to a successful social media presence than posting regularly and being on time which can be difficult to do if you don’t plan ahead. By creating an editorial schedule, you’ll stop yourself from repeating yourself or forgetting to post.
Creating a schedule means you can plan exactly what and when you’re going to post, leaving you time to create content and, more importantly, getting on with actually running your business rather than panicking about finding something to post. You can plot in key dates, compare different platforms, and see exactly how often (or not) you’re getting stuff out.
Keep it fresh
Don’t be that person who posts the same link over and over again. We’ve seen it before, we don’t need to see it again.
Audiences like to see fresh, new and exciting content that cuts through the noise and competition (and trust us, there is a lot of competition). Try and create content that is bespoke to you and your business; something that will stop a reader from scrolling past and lets them engage with you. If in doubt, go for something visual like a video or well-designed photo montage. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
It’s also important that you don’t over-share one thing. If you have an important message you want to get out to as many people as possible, think about the different ways you can do this. Perhaps you write a blog, or share an interview with someone. There more ways than one to get a message out, and social media platforms know this.
Don’t push the hard sell
If there’s one thing to keep in mind when posting on social media, it’s this: people do not like to be sold to. Think about how you feel in Lush when the sales assistants try to force you into buying that bar of soap, or when you get that phone call trying to sell you window insurance. It can feel intrusive and can put you off interacting with that company again.
The same goes on social media. As we mentioned before, there are more ways than one to say something, and the same goes for selling. It’s a great chance to get creative and not be too obvious in your sales tactics. Leave that for your email campaigns.
Jump on the bandwagons
We’ve all seen trending hashtags on twitter and companies jumping on them to endorse their products. While in some instances it can be cringe, it’s actually a fantastic opportunity to join a global conversation and a chance to show off your brand’s personality.
It’s also a brilliant way to get your name out to new followers who may be interested in your company. Consider using popular, specific hashtags to expose yourself to a particular audience like #CharityTuesday or #WorldMentalHealthDay.
Be cautious of making up hashtags or using the wrongs ones. Not only will you not reach the right audience, it can make you look a bit out of the loop.
Interact with your audience
The clue is in the name: ‘social’ media. Don’t be a faceless profile seemingly talking to an anonymous hoard of people. Not only should your content create conversations and be engaging, it’s okay to interact directly with your audience.
Responding positively to comments, answering messages, encouraging conversation; all of these are ways to let your audience know who you are and make them feel like you care about them. If they feel like you’re thinking about them, they are more likely to continue interacting with you and possibly even encouraging their friends to do so too.
Learn from your mistakes and successes
An important part in building a strong social media presence is knowing what works and what doesn’t work for you as a business. Making use of platforms’ built in analytics systems, or using listening tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social or SumAll means you can get a glimpse at what your audience likes most, and can help you measure against the targets you’ve set.
There’s not point repeating the same action if it’s not getting the response you want. You may learn that your Instagram audience loves a particular kind of post more than others, so you want to make more of that type of content, or alternatively you see your Facebook followers interact less with external URL posts than ones to your own website, so you create more blogs. Insights like this will help form the groundwork for deciding on the future direction and growth of your social media presence.