There is always room for improvement. This applies to almost everything in life, including your social media efforts. In 2019, many business owners recognize that being active on social media is not only a must; they need to get it right. If you are one of them, and you are looking for ways to boost your social media presence, here are a few tips for you:
1. Identify Your Audience
Ensure that you are speaking to, and engaging with, the right people.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret: everyone is NOT an audience. Perhaps you feel that your product or service can appeal to a variety of consumers and that casting a wider net on social media will yield the best results but no. What you need to do instead is to identify who your audience really is in order to create content that is tailored to them specifically. This is going to be your first step in improving your social media efforts. Defining your target audience or demographic will also allow you to:
Decide which social media network(s) you should be on;
Establish your posting schedule based on when your target audience is most active;
And identify what type of content will be most effective.
The content you share on social media should speak to a defined group of people. Just like with everything else in marketing, creating an effective strategy starts with visualizing your target customers so you can better serve their needs and feed them content they are actually interested in. This is how you set yourself apart in an overcrowded social space.
2. Be Selective
Choose the right networks – and the right number of networks – to promote your business.
Since Facebook went public in 2012, social media has exploded and there are now thousands of networks at your disposal to promote your business. Selecting the right one(s) is one of the most important steps in ensuring that you are making the most of your social media presence. If you feel that your efforts have been mostly ineffective until today, it's possible you are not using the right social network(s) to reach your target audience. You first need to evaluate which platforms you're on, determine if they serve your needs based on what you are trying to accomplish, and either expand or shrink your social footprint.
Not only is it crucial to use the right networks to engage with your clients, but it's also important to realize that you have limited resources. When it comes to social media, you need to post often and at optimal times. However, as a business owner, you are too busy to be active on a variety of social networks several times a day. Pick the platforms that make the most sense for your business and focus on those. Be selective!
3. Turn to Automation
Find the right tools to simplify your social media efforts.
Being active on social media requires time and dedication. On the bright side, there is a variety of automation tools available that will allow you to automatically publish posts and schedule them in advance, saving you a tremendous amount of time while making it easier to monitor your efforts and respond to messages in a proactive way.
These tools include Buffer, Sprout Social, Hootsuite, MeetEdgar, BuzzSumo, etc. I get no kickback from promoting these names; I simply want to give you access to some of the best tools out there but you'll find many more on the market. Do your research and find the tool that makes the most sense for you. It'll definitely help improve your social media presence by allowing you to manage and schedule across multiple social channels from one single place, therefore maximizing your time and improving ROI.
That being said, using an automation tool doesn't mean you'll be able to put your social media efforts completely on autopilot. For instance, you don't want to mass auto-reply to your followers' questions, concerns, or comments. You'll want to answer them individually to show that you are actively engaged and available for them. But for the most part, when used properly, automation can be a real-time saver.
4. Establish a Posting Schedule
Creating a content calendar will ensure consistency and yield better results.
On social media, content moves fast. People scroll through their news feed at a fast pace so the opportunity to catch their attention is limited – even more so if you don't post consistently. The vast majority of people are not looking at your business page or profile regularly. If they see your content, it's most likely as they scroll through their own personal feeds so if you don't post much, the likelihood of them seeing your content is minimal.
If you take Facebook for instance: engagement plays a key role in determining what content will be featured in users' news feeds. Consistently getting in front of your followers and having them engage with your posts will maximize your content's reach. The biggest brands on social media do it, and so should you if you want to make your efforts count.
Consistency is key. And establishing a posting schedule will help you achieve that consistency. It will also make it easier to post on social media since you'll be more organized, and it will ensure that the content you share gets the most love possible, which in turn will help you gain traction on search engines and boost your visibility. Plus, let's be honest: social media users get easily frustrated and disinterested when they visit your profile or page and realize it hasn't been updated in a while. Don't leave your followers hanging; make sure you are posting regularly at a pace that is comfortable to you.
5. Get Visual
Create appealing content your audience actually wants to see.
You should always strive to post high quality, relevant content and prioritize pictures, video, infographics, and other types of visual content. Everything visual seems to be most popular among all audiences and across all demographics right now.
In addition, make sure you are posting original content. Whatever you are trying to accomplish on social media, you won't get there by using other people's content and sharing with your followers what they have already seen or heard. This will not help you stand out in already-crowded social media feeds. If you want to get noticed and increase your presence, focus on original content that is ideally eye-catching.
Take the example below:
Which post do you think will be better received and generate the most engagement? The one on the left that shows a real person smelling fragrances inside the actual store or the one on the right which features a stock image of a model applying perfume in a less-than-natural way? The one on the left, right?! Both posts promote the same message so the differentiating factor here is the image which is what you should use to stop followers in their tracks and keep them from scrolling past your post. Both pictures are high quality but the one on the left features a real life human being that other consumers may be able to relate to. They are more likely to connect with this image because it is unique and authentic. You won't see it anywhere else and your loyal customers will recognize the store, while the ones who haven't visited you before may become curious and want to go inside for the first time.
The post on the right, featuring a model, was created using a stock image and looks like something straight out of a magazine. There is nothing special about it other than the fact that a beautiful woman is shown. But is it really eye-catching? Would followers stop and read the message or simply think of it as an advertisement and scroll on?
If you want to improve your social media efforts, focus on creating original content.
6. Let People Know You Are Social
Don't keep your social media presence a secret. Make it accessible to your customers!
Another way to give your social media efforts a boost is by letting the world know on which social media networks they can find you. Ensuring that your website's header or footer features the appropriate social media icons (and that they are linked properly) or including them at the bottom of your email signature is a great way to start. The people seeing these icons will only be a click away from becoming long-term followers.
By building a following on social media, you will expand your reach and eventually be found organically on search engines. It won't happen overnight, but an easy and cost-effective way to do this is by asking your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and customers to follow you on social media. They might never be in a position to hire you or interested in purchasing your products but it doesn't matter. You are asking them to endorse you on social media and boost your numbers. Over time, your closely-knit follower base will talk about you with their network and maybe even promote you and just like that, through word-of-mouth, new customers will come your way. But even if your friends and family aren't actively promoting your business or making personal recommendations, just by liking your page they are contributing to the expansion of your online reach in an exponential way.
I hope that these tips on improving your social media presence will prove useful to your business. I initially wanted to include additional advice on the importance of engaging with your audience, monitoring your activity, providing value to your followers and not overselling, making a few tweaks to visually improve your profile or page on social media, etc. But I'll keep those tips for a subsequent blog post so as not to overwhelm you. Those six tips listed above are a great place to start if your goal is to enhance your social media presence and will definitely give you results when done properly.
Getting better at this social media game is not impossible, but remember that if you need help I am here for you! I'd be happy to answer any question you may have and discuss options if you were looking for a little extra help.