As marketers, we live and work in an environment of instant gratification, where the competition for attention is fierce. No matter where you look – Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – standing out isn't easy.
Growing your brand on social media demands patience. Increasing followers, page likes, and engagement doesn't occur overnight.
The main obstacle lies in having to engage and entertain an already overstimulated audience. The content we create needs to be fresh, relevant and timely.
With brands seeing a 42 percent drop in reach on Facebook in recent months and Instagram introducing its algorithm, a documented social media strategy and "pay to play" are becoming increasingly more important for long-term success.
But, where does that leave us right now? What can we do today that will advance our brand and build awareness across our social profiles without having to pay for fans or engagement?
That's what I hope to offer you here. The following tactics can help you earn a few quick wins while your long-term game plan plays itself out.
1. Be Smart About Scheduling
Schedule your social media posts to publish just before or after the hour. I'm an advent follower of Jay Baer at Convince & Convert and what he said regarding this tactic makes a lot of sense.
"Meeting is scheduled from 1-2 pm. Meeting lets out slightly early at 1:57 pm, and attendees check Twitter on the way back to their desk. Meeting goes a little long, and that dip into social media occurs at 2:03 pm. You get the idea."
Dig into the numbers and determine when your audience is most active and schedule your posts around that time just off the hour. This is easy to find through various tools, but for Facebook, look in Facebook Insights under the post tab. Just because everyone says the best time to post to Facebook is on Thursday at 3 pm doesn't mean that's the best time for YOU to post. Strategically scheduling your social posts will lead to more views, higher reach, and ideally more engagement.
2. Add Social Media Links To Your Email Signature
Think about how many emails you send in a given day. Then consider how many emails everyone in your company is sending in a given day. Each one of those emails is an opportunity for someone to connect with your brand on social media. It's a simple change that can yield huge results.
Set up UTM tracking in your CRM so you can better measure and analyze who's clicking on your links. Turn your email signature into a call-to-action that encourages people to follow you on social media.
And, if you really want to stand out, add color to the text in your signature. This is just another way to get your social profiles seen by those who are already connected with you in other ways.
3. Optimize Your Website Pages With Social Media CTA's
In similar fashion, make sure the pages on your website that are getting the most clicks include links to your social media profiles. This will most often be blog posts and your homepage.
Add a little something extra in the form of a callout or snippet that draws attention to your social presence. Remove any barriers that prevent someone from engaging with your brand on social media. Do this by incorporating social sharing buttons across your site.
There are a lot of great (and free) plugins in WordPress.
4. Vary The Types Of Posts You Share
Every social media post will have two common elements: the content and the caption. How you use these elements to your advantage is up to you.
Use different content forms such as video or slideshow, which seem to be outpacing photos, and see what kind of content your audience responds to. Use text to ask questions and Twitter polls to get inside the mind of your fan. Vary caption lengths as well.
These types of posts will help you analyze how engaged your audience is and tell you if you need to spend time nurturing and engaging with your audience, or adjusting strategy and build a more active audience.
5. Research New & Popular Hashtags
Hashtags will get your posts seen by more people. By including these in your posts, you'll have the opportunity for your content to be seen well outside of just those that follow you. Consider these statistics:
- Tweets with hashtags receive 2X more engagement than those without
- Tweets with one or two hashtags have 21% higher engagement than those with more
- Tweets that use more than two hashtags show a 17% drop in engagement
People searching for keywords and phrases will follow related hashtags. As they click and click, they'll come across your posts with similar hashtags.
6. Reshare Your Blog Posts
Extend the life of your blog post by sharing it on sites like BizSugar, Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, Facebook Instant Articles, and yes don't count out StumbleUpon which can actually drive thousands of visitors to your site and generate a lot of good backlinks.
And, if you've optimized your blog posts with social media CTA's, each time you reshare a blog post, it creates countless more opportunities to increase your brand's presence on social media.
7. Create Your Very Own "Newsroom"
This may be my favorite which is why I saved it for last. The best part about this tactic is that you don't need to convince anyone to create new content or add any new tasks to their workday. It takes advantage of something they've been doing all along – naturally sharing content.
Creating categorized Twitter lists provide you with active feeds of constant content to curate and share. In my experience, I've had people follow me back after adding them to a list, thank me for adding them to a list, and following me after I've shared content from other experts in the content marketing industry.
Some brands are very effective at growing a social presence through the use of curation and automation tools that allow them to find, optimize, schedule, and share great content from around the web in just a short window of time. My personal favorite is Buffer for social publishing and their integrations with Twitter makes it as easy as a few clicks to fill your queue with excellent content.
I'll pass the baton over to you. What would you suggest as a quick-win tactic for growing your brand's social identity? What have you seen work or not work?
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* Adapted lead image: Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com