It certainly seems like almost everyone is on social media these days. According to the latest Global Digital Starshot from We Are Social and Hootsuite,
While many of us are on social media in some way or another, that doesn’t mean we’re necessarily doing it right. So how can you, as a burgeoning brand, truly stand out in the content-creation crowd and take full advantage of all that this powerful new tool has to offer?
You may have some captivating posts and a follower count in the six-digit range, but that means nothing if you’re not taking the time to engage with those followers and build relationships. It’s not enough to simply post once a day and walk away. You need to take time daily, if not hourly, to reply to comments and take note of which of your posts are liked and disliked, and why.
This relationship-building tactic will ensure customers will come back for more, as well as actively engage in liking, sharing and commenting on your posts, and even purchasing your product – very real returns on your investment. When you take the time to check in on your followers, you not only get to know them better, but you’re also nipping potential problems in the bud by avoiding negative social feedback. According to Forbes, negativity on social media can “determine whether your stories will be visible not only today but also in the future.”
Consistency and Commitment
Social media never sleeps. It’s a full-time, 24/7 commitment. This all ties back to engagement. If you’re not constantly engaged with your followers, you risk losing them to someone else. Although constant monitoring and planning may seem daunting, there are many social media management tools that you can use to schedule posts, such as the enormously popular app, Hootsuite.
You should also consider creating a social media content calendar. It’s one of the most popular tools, used by 90% of social marketers (according to Curata) to organize and plan content in advance. Doing so gives you ample opportunity to take advantage of marketing opportunities. Let’s say it’s National Pizza Day, and you run a pizzeria. You’ll likely want to post content related to the occasion and its affiliated hashtag, #NationaPizzaDay. Once you’ve got your post planned, the time that the post goes up can make a huge difference in terms of engagement. Make note of optimal post times, a topic discussed at length by Hootsuite.
Whether the focus of your social marketing is your business or your own personal brand, it’s also important to note that variety of content is key. Forbes asserts that in order to significantly grow your audience, you need to share a wide variety of content that interests your followers. This includes the latest news and information beyond your business. While it may seem surprising, recent research by Pew Research Centre found that 67% of Americans turn to social media as their news source.
Feeling uninspired when it comes to content curation? There are apps for that. Feedly, for instance, is an app that finds the right content for you, all in one spot, based on a simple keyword search.
Keeping up with trending hashtags and using them in your posts is also crucial to maintaining relevance and growing your following. This is because hashtags broaden your reach. Beyond hashtags, you can also turn to Google Trends to stay up to date on the most buzzworthy content.
So, how do you really know if your social media efforts are paying off? The beauty of social media is that there are countless free tools at our disposal, like Google Analytics, to track and measure success. When we talk metrics, we’re talking about more than simply keeping track of likes, shares, comments and followers. While these engagement metrics do give you a sense of what your followers find interesting, there are even more reliable ways of tracking engagement.
For starters, reach (the total amount of people who viewed your post) and impressions (the number of times your content was displayed) are underrated yet critical metrics that can help you maximize exposure for your content and brand. Reach, impressions and engagement can all be measured easily in a simple analytics app. Once you view your results, make note of patterns (good and bad), and make the appropriate changes to your content, then get ready to track some more. You’re on your way to making social media work for you.
Laura D’Angelo | The Edge Blog