In today’s digital world, social media marketing is one of the single most important parts of an entire business plan. Depending on your industry, a strong and vibrant social media presence might just be the missing puzzle piece your business cannot survive without.
How can you ensure that you have a strong foothold in the social media sector? Well, you’re going to need an audience, and ideally, an active audience, rather than a passive one.
The social media landscape is ever-changing, and what used to be considered a fresh new field to explore, is now a standard required area of attention that is brimming with competition. You’re not just vying for the attention of customers against your competitors, but essentially you are trying to cut through all of the social media noise. Mostly, you are trying to stand out among everyone your target audience follows.
Audience engagement is one of the most important ways that your accounts can help drive new traffic, improve conversions, spread your content, and build your brand identity. An engaged audience will help grow your social media following, and your social media following can then help you bring in a larger audience that will, in turn, consume more and engage more with what you offer.
Let’s take a look at some key tips on how to bring in a broader audience, and encourage engagement once you have attracted more eyes.
- Learn Your Audience
To grow your audience and make sure they will be engaged in the content you provide, you first must know your audience. This applies to both your targeted demographics, as well as the statistics surrounding audiences of different social media platforms. Knowing your audience and how they interact with different platforms can help you build a firm grasp on what kind of content you should focus on, and what kind of interests you should cater to.
There are many tools you can use to study your audience’s preferences. Analytics and metrics tools can be used to break down what your audience is most interested in and what they are most likely to interact with. Maybe your audience prefers photos? Perhaps they prefer video content? What time of day is your audience the most engaged? If you target a younger audience, you may find lunchtime and early evenings perform better than late nights and day times.
It is also crucial to be aware of the personality and tone of voice. Your audience will have expectations and preferences in how you deliver your content. By studying what they engage with most, and even by comparing to audiences of your strongest competitors, you can get a look at what kind of language and style appeals to your targeted viewer base.
That’s actually a really big benefit of social media in general. It can allow you a window of insight into how your audience thinks and what drives their interests. Social media can break down many of the walls to market research. A lot of this information is simply just available and visible.
- Build A Strong Strategy
Success in social media marketing from the ground up requires building a strategic plan. Whether launching your presence or trying to grow your audience further, a carefully developed plan can be the key to thriving in your online presence and across all social media platforms, you are involved with.
You don’t want just to be throwing things at the wall randomly and hoping they stick. With a strong knowledge of your audience, you can cater your content to those most likely to engage and plan your social media strategy around how your content will be interacted with. It is very valuable to set clear goals. Vague goals equal vague results. Work across all divisions of your web department and collaborate with your web design company to ensure you can make the best out of your strategy and action plan.
Set specific goals that you can measure. Make sure you know they are achievable. Shooting for the stars is great, but you better make sure you have a rocket first. Your resources need to be in place to achieve what you are setting out for. Don’t overshoot your available resources. Set a clear timeframe that is realistic. Once you have set these benchmarks, constantly monitor your process, and track your progress.
When growing your audience, this kind of strategic outline can play out very well. Decide on goals and benchmarks based on where you are starting. Set measurable statistic goals for post impressions, comments, likes, and views. Growth in this area can be exponential but still be realistic about your timelines—track increases in the performance of all-new content. Adjust wherever necessary to push growth results.
- Develop Video Content and Understand Your Platforms
Video content is essential to the landscape of online media. As technology has improved, so have the capabilities for quick loading, quality video content. All across your web presence, video should be a priority, but on social media specifically, video is the #1 preferred type of branded content. Facebook statistics from 2018 show that 100 million hours of video are watched daily through the platform. Video is now the leader in content for LinkedIn feeds as well. Video is shared 20x more than any other content forms across the platform. If video is not yet at the top of your content priorities, it is clear that it should be.
Video really is the most important content across almost every social media platform, and building engagement in your fan base along with spreading to a wider audience is greatly aided by original video content. There are several things to keep in mind when tailoring video content for your social media platforms.
Facebook: Videos through Facebook can have a very vast reach. This platform still has one of the largest audiences available. Video is uploadable both natively or through links (Youtube, Vimeo). For the best results on Facebook, videos should target about 45 seconds for optimum engagement, and possible repeat plays. Use subtitles or videos that engage without audio as people can scan their feeds and see auto-plays before clicking for audio in some situations.
Instagram: Instagram has a 1-minute video limit, though when posted on IGTV, you are now allowed longer videos. Stories allow for a unique take on video content. Top influencers post 6-7 Stories daily, and 40% of all users post stories every day.
Twitter: Twitter offers native uploading and recording with the Twitter app. Some editing and formatting is necessary as they can only be 2 minutes and 20 seconds long and be of a maximum size of 512 MB. People watch 2 billion videos on Twitter per day!
LinkedIn: This platform originally didn’t allow for video posting. Luckily, that has now changed as video content is now the most popular on the platform. Consultants take advantage of this to cover industry topics specific to their businesses.
Pinterest: Allows you to share video links and upload short-form video content. Because of how Pinterest boards function, this can be a great sharing tool and a positive way to spread video content on another platform.
There are so many types of video content. Understanding your options is pivotal to building an audience that is highly engaged with your content. How-to videos, product coverage, event promotion, customer service, and detailed looks at your company and processes are all good ways to draw your audience in. Videos that help to explain, build your brand identity and personality, and offer transparency to your business are likely to connect, spread, and encourage follows. This kind of value-based content is, of course, great, but you can also never undersell the value of humor and excitement!
- Use A Content Calendar and Posting Schedule
Organization is so vital to content posting. Build a calendar spreadsheet to manage the types of content you will post and when, and keep track of performance results. There are many available metrics on all social media platforms to show the most effective times specific to each platform for you to post content. Every platform has built-in analytics that you can take advantage of in scheduling a posting plan.
Once you have built a content calendar, stay on target! Track your progress and make sure you stay in line to meeting your goals. Monitor the success of your posting plan, and adjust accordingly as you move month to month. Breaking down goals and results is crucial to any business model, and social media marketing is no different. By closely planning and tracking a schedule, you can clearly see if your expanding goals are on track. This also helps you ensure that you will have continuous content, which is key to your ability to grow a wider audience.
When growing your audience and encouraging engagement, sometimes strong basics are the most important. Don’t think that these steps are easy. They require serious attention and consideration and far too often are overlooked and under-addressed. Yes, everyone wants to “break the internet” with that next big viral post, and consideration should be given on how to target that possibility. Still, by building a strong foundation and understanding these core tips to succeed, your social media presence can grow strong and be almost self-sustaining.