Social media has grown exponentially in recent years for both individuals and businesses. With over 3.48 billion (yes, BILLION) people who use social media today (which is approximately 48% of the population), it’s a great way to share news and updates, promote products, and connect/engage with people all over the world. So how can you make the most of your business’ social media?
There are a few tricks to master for using social media to grow your business. Of course, each brand will take a different approach, but it’s crucial that you find the best one for your target market. After all, you want to be reaching the specific demographic of the population that you know your content will most resonate with.
Here are just a few ways you can use social media to get your business or brand more exposure:
Make it a Priority
A lot of brands don’t see the actual benefits of social media right away. It may seem like something that can be put on the back burner and still work: wrong! Social media should be a priority and something that your business commits to – and commits to doing regularly. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes research and planning that should go into your social strategy.
To make social media a priority, you may want to hire someone (or even bring on a marketing agency) to work on it (because yes, it takes a lot of time). Their focus should be on creating and scheduling content for your social media accounts, monitoring those accounts, and engaging with those that reach out to interact with your brand. By having someone (or a team) focused on these activities, you’ll begin to easily track growth and create stronger brand awareness for your company.
Most social media platforms, especially Instagram and Facebook, follow an algorithm. So, the more you post and engage the more visibility your content will get. If you are not posting frequently, your content will not appear at the top of your followers’ feeds. However, if you are posting regularly, your content will not only be at the top of your followers’ feeds, your content will likely appear on the explore page or “people you follow,” etc…
If you want to be recognized and want your business to grow its reach, you must make social media a priority.
Have a Plan
If you’re in the process of launching a new brand, you may be super excited and want to start posting to your new social media accounts immediately. Don’t. There needs to be a considerable amount of planning before any content goes public. You should have a marketing strategy defined and thoroughly know your brand’s voice.
First things first, what are your goals? Who are you trying to reach with your content, and what message do you want that audience to hear? If you are selling a product or service, you should already know your target market. Do some research and have a good understanding of the content that will accurately represent your brand and will best resonate with your target demographic.
Know your goals, mission, and have a strategic plan for your content. Following a SMART goals guide can substantially increase your success. Your content should be specific to your target audience and always be posted at the optimal time to reach that audience. All of this information can be sourced from Instagram itself (in Instagram Analytics) or through other third-party providers, such as SproutSocial.
Once you have a good understanding of these components, you can create a social media calendar. This is a great way to see all of your posts laid out and make sure you are posting the right content at the right time. It’s also a great way to see any gaps you may have in your schedule. If you do have gaps, you’re able to develop additional content ahead of time as opposed to the day something needs to go out.
Understand Your Audience
Your audience or target market “refers to a group of potential customers to whom a company wants to sell its products and services.” Your audience should be narrowed down to a specific group who are most likely to buy your products. With a more narrow group, you’ll be able to better understand these individuals and what they want. As your business grows, your target market will likely grow as well, but it’s good to start off with a small group and really know exactly what they want.
So, who is your target audience? What do they like? What do they want to see? How will they interact with your content? These are all great questions to ask yourself and keep in mind throughout the duration of your social media journey. There are a few steps to follow in order to find your perfect audience, check them out here.
Research your audience and collect data on them when they engage with your accounts. By looking at analytics on your social media pages (most social media platforms have their own analytics) or SproutSocial, Hootsuite, etc. you should be able to get frequently updated information on the different demographics of who’s looking and interacting with your content.
Engage with your Audience and Establish Relationships
After you’ve found and established your audience, you need to reach them. A good way to start this process is by posting quality content and boosting or sponsoring the posts. When doing this, you are able to select your target market based on different demographics, interests, jobs, and so much more. Here are some other ways you cand find your target audience as well.
Now that you’ve got some followers, keep them! To keep your followers (and customers) you will need to interact and engage with them regularly. Respond to comments, post stories with questions or polls, run contests, and create shareable content. These are just a few ways to engage with customers and have customer service that people can rely on.
Of course, as you grow, you’ll likely hit some issues. You might have a customer or client that will have a question or an issue that they will post to social media. Listen to your audience and understand what they are saying. Whether its positive or negative feedback, it can be used as a way to grow and better your brand. Plus, you’ll not only be creating relationships with your customers, but you’ll also build trust with them. If they trust the company behind the products and/or services, they are likely to continue to purchase them and recommend your brand to others.
Know the Competition
It’s essential to know your competition. There are likely brands and businesses doing something or selling something similar to you.
Do a little research on other similar brands and see what is working for them. What type of content results in the most likes? The most shares? The most comments?
Of course, don’t copy them. Your brand has a different offering and thus a different voice. Celebrate and highlight what makes you different. Stand out in the crowd with the photos and videos you post that stay on-brand with your company. Your content should look professional, but should also be relatable to your audience. You don’t want to post a bad quality graphic, picture or video, because that will only reflect poorly on your business and its products. Here are some tips on taking the perfect quality photos for your business and having a great looking feed.
Knowing your audience is especially important when just getting started, but keeping up with them is also important. You may have great numbers on your social media and it’s levels of activity, but how does it compare to the competitions? Here’s a free template on how to perform a social media competitive analysis.
Grow Your Audience
Once you have your social media plan defined, you can start building a foundation of customers – better yet, a foundation of fans. From there, you can start growing your audience.
Looking for an easy way to get started with growing your audience and increasing the reach of your content. The easiest way is to boost posts and run ads. You can run Facebook ads and boost or sponsor posts on Instagram and Snapchat. These platforms allow you to define your audience by location, age, gender, and interest – making it incredibly easy for you to reach EXACTLY who you want to reach.
Another option is to run contests that will catch people’s attention. If you decide to do a giveaway on social media, make sure your contest includes rules “You must be following us,” “Share to your story,” or “Tag three friends.” Brands do this all the time and are continually gaining new followers because of this strategy.
Now that you’ve got down the basics, you should be ready to make the most out of your business’ social media presence. We hope these tips help you grow your following and spread the word of your brand!
If you have a small business on social media, drop a link below in the comments below – we’d love to become a fan of yours!
Alyson Pittman is a contributing writer for WBD and a JR marketing associate for Excite Creative Studios, an Atlanta-based creative agency.
Alyson graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelors of Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing. She was in multiple organizations at KSU where she held leadership positions. As a part of the Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority, Alyson held the Social Coordinator position and planned/promoted large events.