By Louisa McGrath
For most businesses, a solid social media following makes all the difference. Facebook is a great foundation, but it might not be enough. Now that it prioritizes pages which pay for advertising, it’s more difficult for businesses to get seen by their ‘fans’. Some might find the power of their news feed limited.
But this doesn’t mean businesses should shy away from Facebook — or any other channels. In fact, they should make sure to invest in cross-channel social media marketing tactics. Once you build a strong following, you’ll be able to put your content directly in front of a relevant audience.
If you can boost the number of people who’ll see your organic posts across different platforms, you’ll be able to garner lots of traffic with little investment. One way to do this is to get more followers. Check out the tips below to help with your strategy:
Choose Your Networks Carefully
Sure, it’s a good to have access to huge audiences, but you should be careful about spreading yourself too thin. If you overstretch yourself, you might find you don’t have the time or resources to meaningfully engage your followers.
Ask yourself, how many channels can I really manage? What are your business’s best performing social media channels right now? This should help you figure out where to focus your time. Consider using time-saving automation tools like Buffer, MeetEdgar or Bulkly to maximize what you can do.
You should also figure out which channels your competition is using successfully. And before you put together a plan for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn, consider whether the user demographics of each platform overlaps with your target audience.
The Pew Research Center offers an in-depth look at social media usage demographics.
via Pew Research
Don’t forgo your own ideas, though. If you’re great with video, this will set you up for success on video-sharing sites. If your product is visually enticing, use Pinterest and Instagram to market it.
If you’re prioritizing lead generation, Facebook and Twitter are your best friends. Despite any effect its recent algorithm change has had, Facebook is still a powerful brand awareness platform. In fact, if you have a budget for social media advertising, Facebook offers the best ROI opportunities around.
However, if you’re jumping into the B2B world, it probably makes sense to use LinkedIn as your primary engagement platform. A campaign making use of carefully chosen platforms that are suited to your brand, products and are home to your target audience is a recipe for success.
Find Relevant Followers
You probably want a lot of followers, but they need to be the right followers too. You need to get your marketing messages in front of the most relevant audience possible if you want your social media accounts to impact your company’s bottom line.
On platforms like Instagram and Twitter, use hashtags to present your message to audiences that are interested in your industry and what you do.
Tools like Audiense will let you see what hashtags you can use to engage with your current followers, while Ritetag will help you pick hashtags that can get your posts trending on Twitter and Instagram.
And don’t be afraid to be a follower yourself. Find and follow people and pages relevant to your business. There’s a strong chance they’ll return the favor and engage with you.
On Twitter, find relevant consumers based on the hashtags in their bios. Or you could use tools like Audiense, ManageFlitter or Followerwonk to take out the manual labor. You can also find people to follow by checking out public lists related to your area of business. While on Facebook and LinkedIn, you can connect with relevant people by joining groups and communities.
Create Engaging Content
Where content is concerned, you should prioritize quality. People follow businesses which are interesting, offer unique insights and have quality content that will provide value to them. Don’t opt for a sales pitch. Instead, start a blog, post white papers and share informative videos.
Do your research. According to stats from LinkedIn, 64% of social media users think industry news and thought leadership make a business more attractive. Straight-to-the-point, inspirational content, meanwhile, is responsible for roughly 44% of audience outreach. So, it’s a good idea to brush up on your long-form writing skills. It’s also a good idea to immerse yourself in industry news, trends and tips, as approximately 89% of consumers and B2B representatives are attracted to them.
Consider your brand personality when putting together a content plan. If you’re a fun-loving, quirky brand, perhaps the value you provide to followers is entertainment, rather than information. Share gifs, on-point memes and videos that will appeal to your audience and build your following.
Get Involved with Content Curation
Creating your own content is essential for social media marketing, but there’s only so much you can make yourself. Industry-related curated content greatly increases your value to potential followers. Share news, opinion pieces, thought-leadership ideas, and influencer content.
If you’re an avid reader of industry news and publications, this is any easy task. Use an app like Pocket or Flipboard to save interesting pieces of content as you come across them. That way they’ll all be saved when you go to schedule some social media posts.
Network with Influencers and Thought Leaders
Sharing curated content from third parties will also help you get some shares and retweets from authors and industry publications. Where appropriate, make sure to tag and mention them in your posts.
Content curation can be a sturdy foundation for influencer networking too. Share content from influencers and start a conversation they might take part in. Sharing content from publications and other business blogs can open the door to link-building, social shares, company collaborations and maybe even land you some media coverage.
Beyond content curation, you can also engage with influencers by tweeting at them or partnering with them as an official part of your marketing strategy.
Create memorable messages that will stand out
Whether you’re entertaining or educating your audience, once you have great content to share, it’s important to make sure followers take notice and interact with it. There are a number of ways to make your posts more attention grabbing.
Using visuals is key to making an impression on social media. Some research shows that people remember 80% of what they see — compared to just 20% of what they read. While another study shows that Tweets which feature images get 150% more retweets than those without. So make your posts pop by adding videos, photos, infographics, emojis and colorful imagery that will garner more shares.
You can also boost your online branding and the click-through rate of your social media posts by using a custom URL shortener. This allows you to create short links, which feature your brand’s name, a standout TLD and a keyword that will encourage viewers to click. Branded links make for a great CTA in your social media messages and can increase CTR by up to 39%.
New domain extensions are ideal for your custom link shortener and can really grab your audience’s attention, letting them know what your brand is about. Use a short link ending in .STORE to direct followers from your Instagram bio to your online store. Show some personality with links ending in .FUN. Or highlight the fact that your brand is driven by technology with a .TECH domain.
Use Paid Advertising
Paid advertising is a brilliant way to boost your brand’s visibility on social media. And the more you’re seen, the more your following will grow. Targeting your ads will help get your social media accounts in front of the right people too.
Paid social ads generate leads, follows and allow you to promote specific content or products to large audiences. Use Facebook as a starting point. Its plethora of ad formats make it effective as a B2C campaign tool. LinkedIn can be used to target ads at a very specific, professional demographic, right down to their job titles. This is invaluable for B2B interactions.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and successful social media marketing campaigns aren’t either. To get more followers, connect in meaningful ways. Share exciting news, engage influencers and always make sure to measure your efforts so that you can optimize your ads, posts and approaches. This will help you improve everything from engagement and click throughs to the size of your following.
Louisa McGrath is a content manager at Rebrandly, the URL shortener empowering marketers to put their brand on their links. She can be seen blogging around Dublin city center, except on Sundays when she stays in to pore over the newspapers.