We all know by now, social media is one of the most lucrative areas for marketing your business. It’s perfect for brand awareness, PPC is usually pretty cheap, and if done correctly, the return can be massive.
However, it can be difficult to know where to start, and even once you’ve got started, there are some simple things you should be doing that often get neglected. In this blog, we’re going to talk you through easy ways to kick start your social media marketing, and if you’ve already started, how to improve it.
Schedule posts at optimum times
This is a really simple way to make sure you‘re giving your content the best possible chance of being seen. There are certain times of day where your audience is most likely to be online, and more likely to engage with your posts.
Figuring out these times will take a little bit of trial and error on your part, as all audiences are different. However, once you’ve figured out what times are best for engagement with your brand, you should see a strong increase in the amount of interaction you get on social.
Facebook in particular is difficult to crack if you’re not using paid ads, so you’ve got to make sure you’re not making it harder for yourself by posting when your audience aren’t active. There’s an easy way to find your best posting times on Facebook, just using their basic analytics tools:
Click “insights” at the top of your page.
Click “posts” on the left of your screen.
You’ll then see a graph showing you when your audience is online, which you can also segment by day. Use this data to make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance of your content being seen!
Be everyone’s friend
Social media is all about interaction, and it’s a two way street – if you want to improve your engagement levels, you need to respond to your followers. Users expect a response from brands on social media, and by not giving it you run the risk of losing their loyalty, as well as giving an air of poor customer service.
If someone writes a comment on your post, make sure you respond to it, preferably within 24 hours. If someone follows you, give them a follow back. If they share or retweet you, click the like button. Nurturing your followers just a little bit will keep them engaged with you as a brand, and make sure that they come back for more.
Warning: be aware of spam or fake accounts. You might find that some bots have followed you, or you’re getting comments from fake accounts. If that’s the case, you don’t want to engage with them. Here are a few things to look out for:
- High follower count but low engagement levels
- An engagement rate that’s too fast to be realistic
- Very few posts
- Shady content
Take this account. We’ve blocked out the personal information for privacy reasons, but you can see that they have a follower count of over 70,000, yet only around 60-70 likes on their posts. This seems extremely disproportionate, and so we can assume that in this instance, this person has paid for followers.
Social networks are starting to clamp down on fake accounts now – you might have noticed a drop in your Twitter followers, when thousands of dud accounts were removed – but they are still knocking around, and you should still be wary.
Add a social media call to action to your email signature
A super easy way to grow your following on social media – pop a link to your accounts in your email signature, asking people to follow you. That way, people that you’re already communicating with will have a direct path to you on social. Do the same for any employees in your company with an email signature. Simple!
Fill in all areas on your profile
This sounds fairly obvious, but you’d be surprised how many businesses don’t complete their profile. It’s important to get all of your information in there – people use social media almost like a search engine these days, looking for services and checking things like your address and opening hours. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, chances are they’ll move on to the next company on the list.
Make sure you fill out all of your contact information, location, web URL, and your bio. Your bio is a chance to tell your customers all about your business, so don’t ignore it! Focus on things like your mission statement, values, achievements, what you can offer your customers or clients or what pain points you can alleviate.
Add a social media link to all your best performing pages
This is another simple way to drive traffic to your social media accounts! Use analytics to identify which of your website pages are the most visited. Then add in social media icons, and a link through to the page with a call to action prompting people to visit your profiles. If you’re not sure how to do this, your web developer or agency will be able to help.
Get your graphics up to speed
Social media is all about the visual; if you’re not using really great images alongside your posts, you’re never going to see the levels of engagement that you’d like to.
If you have a graphic designer, great – get them involved with your social media strategy and ask them to create some fantastic graphics for you. If you don’t have a designer, don’t despair! You can get just as good of a result by taking photos using your phone, or you can use tools like Canva that allow you to create fantastic looking graphics without needing a graphic designer.
There are also plenty of websites where you can download free stock images to use in your posts; here’s a list of some of our favourites.
- Creative Market
- Photo Dune
Get ahead with your scheduling
It’s important to have a steady stream of content on your social media, but who has time to think of content, write the post, find some media to go with it, and make sure it’s going out at your optimum time? Luckily there’s an easy way around this – scheduling.
Using a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer, all you need to do is set aside a couple of hours a week to sit down and write all your posts for the week. You can then put them into your scheduling tool, set them to go out when you want them to, and then forget about it for the rest of the week – perfect!
You can also use a content stream tool like Feedly to find interesting and engaging content to share on your socials. All you need to do is add lots of websites to your Feedly that regularly publish content relevant to your industry. You’ll then see all of their posts as they happen, all in one place. Just scroll through your Feedly, pick out the best content, and schedule the links to share at the time you want them to go out.
Use hashtags (but only if it makes sense)
Hashtags are the perfect way to get your content seen by more people who don’t already follow you. If you add a hashtag to your Twitter or Instagram post, anyone who then looks at the stream for that hashtag will be able to see your content.
Make sure you use hashtags that are fairly specific – using ones that get millions of uses every minute won’t help you as your content will get lost in the stream. So for example, rather than #contentmarketing which has over 1 million posts, we might use #contentmarketingtips, which has around 25,000. Still an enormous amount of people using the hashtag, but not so many that your post will get lost within seconds.
You should also be careful to make sure your hashtags are actually relevant to your post. Using irrelevant hashtags means your post will show up to users who don’t want to see it, and that’s an easy way to get yourself blocked or hidden. It also makes your post look unprofessional, which of course, you don’t want! For more about hashtags, check out our blog: Using Trending Hashtags To Boost Your Social Media Reach.
Cross-promote your social accounts
Another simple way to drive traffic to your pages – cross-promote across your channels. For example, you may have some followers on Instagram who don’t follow you on Facebook.
Let’s say you’re a makeup artist. Try posting a really strong, eye-catching image on Facebook, and writing something like “follow us on Instagram for daily makeup inspiration.” You can then add the link to your Instagram page, and watch your follower count grow!
You can, and should, use this technique across all of your channels to make sure your follow count is consistent across your platforms.
This is an important one. Video on social media is growing by the day, and it’s the most engaging form of social media content by a mile. It can feel like a scary concept – but it really doesn’t have to. Gone are the days where a video advert would cost you thousands and require days of shooting with a full crew, armed with a bag full of expensive equipment. All you need is your smartphone, and something to talk about.
The easiest way to utilise video marketing is to simply record a vlog. All you have to do is set up your phone, press record, and chat for a minute or two about your area of expertise. You can edit it in your smartphone, just by cutting out any errors and polishing up the intro and outro, and then post it. It’s really that simple!
You can film a day in your office, make a video showing off a product, or even create an animation using a tool like Biteable. If you’re feeling brave, you could even go for a live stream using Facebook Live. Whatever you decide to do, you can be sure that by uploading regular video content, you’ll start to see your engagement levels grow.
Pack it full of great reviews
Social media reviews are a fantastic tool for businesses. People are more and more inclined to look for reviews before buying a product or service, and trust other user’s opinions more than advertising alone. So make sure your customers can find what they’re looking for! There are a few ways to prompt your customers to leave you a review:
- Add a call to action to all your communications, asking for reviews
- Hold a competition, offering a prize for the best review
- Give a freebie or discount in exchange for a review
- Just ask! If you’re speaking to a customer and they say something nice, ask them if they’d mind leaving you a review.
Use analytics to fine-tune your efforts
Finally, remember it’s no good putting in all this effort to get your social media marketing going if you don’t know how well it’s performing. Use the inbuilt analytics, or a social media management platform, to monitor what’s performing well and what isn’t. You can then refine your strategy to make sure you’re posting more of the content that works for you; giving your social media the kick-start it needs to start driving your business.
Do you need some more help getting your social media off the ground? Chat to one of our social media team today; they’ll be happy to help.