By Jim Belosic, Published November 14, 2014
Social media provides wonderful–and often free!–tools to help you grow your business. But it requires time, patience and strategy to use effectively. And sometimes, when it’s technical and tedious, the pay-off is minimal. But don’t despair; there are plenty of ways to develop an engaged fan base with potential to grow. If you’re in a rut, try these steps to revamp your strategy!
Streamline Your Presence
Brands with successful media presence have a very distinct style, and they use consistent design and copy across their platforms. One of the best rules I ever learned about social media is to “use the same bio on all of your profiles.” That might seem obvious to some, but it’s a useful tip that many people with multiple social profiles may overlook. This helps solidify your branding so that users remember and recognize you across the web.
Taking time to streamline gives you a good place to start and evaluate what works or doesn’t work across platforms. Start first with updating your profile photos to be the same, or very similar, images. Ensure that your bio or mission statements match or use similar wording throughout—if you have a tagline or a motto, it should be clearly stated in your “about” section.
Do Some Housekeeping
If you’re not getting the engagement you want, try cleaning up your profiles. Some marketers call this process a “social audit.” Make a list of all networks you’re currently on, and go through each, getting rid of anything detracting from your brand. This is also a good time to see how you’re representing yourself on different sites. If your Instagram looks wildly different than your Pinterest page, evaluate which platform has been more effective at connecting with your fans.
If some profiles are doing better than others, this might be time to evaluate which ones you should focus most of your energy on.
This is also where you should make sure that there are prominent social icons on your main website. There should be an icon for each site you want to use to connect with potential leads.
Try Something New
The best way to get out of a rut is to try out other social networks. This doesn’t mean ignoring the platforms you’re already invested in, but trying a new network can help you get more exposure with an audience you may have been overlooking.
I’ll give you an example from personal experience. When I was a spring chicken in the world of social media, I was relying almost exclusively on Facebook and Twitter to generate some buzz for a web magazine I started. But we weren’t getting as much engagement as I had expected, even though I knew that a potential readership was out there somewhere based on what I had seen on forums.
Around the same time, I had signed up for Tumblr, and wasn’t yet sure what I’d use it for. But it turns out that Tumblr had an active, diverse community of people looking for the type of content we were creating for the site. We started posting there frequently, and quickly created a loyal group of readers and followers. Then were able to invite those same people to like our Facebook page or follow us on Instagram, so it benefited more than just one of our networks.
Put Money Behind It
Sometimes, building your presence means paying for it. This doesn’t mean that you can’t also succeed at organic engagement! Some networks, like Facebook, make it difficult for everyone to see your presence there without forking up the bucks for it. Sponsoring a post will boost the exposure of your Facebook page or post, and you can use the demographic settings to help reach your target audience.
Ads are another great way to gain exposure. Make a list of the sites that you read frequently, and look for opportunities to have an ad posted on their site. While this can impact your budget, starting small–like with Facebook ads or small but popular blogs–might help you spread your reach farther and faster.
Sometimes it takes a strategic friendship to help propel your presence beyond your circle. Collaborate with other brands and companies who will help introduce you and your brand to their fan base. Write guest posts for blogs, or take over their account for a day–this works especially well on visual sites like Instagram. Offer to return the favor so that you can help spread the word about them, too. You’ll tap into audiences you might not have reached out to yet, and you’ll develop relationships with companies who can vouch for you, too.
Make Awesome Content
People like to immerse themselves in great, engaging content. And you know what? They’ll share it, too, if they think it will have value for their peers. Establish yourself as an expert–or, as my old writing teacher used to say, establish “expertise” instead to help demonstrate that your content is relevant, well-informed and well-crafted. Add an awesome graphic that people will gladly want displayed on their profiles. This can draw in new or existing users if they’re inspired or intrigued by what they see.
Most web-savvy people experience information overload regularly, and have developed ways to filter out good content from the noise. To get around this, you can forge meaningful connections with people by getting personal with them. One simple way to do this is by replying to every comment you receive, and providing an insightful response acknowledging their input. This goes a long way with helping people feel like their presence matters and is noticed.
Humans, in essence, are simple creatures–we like getting something in return for our time and energy. Reward this by creating incentives for people engaging with you. Run a contest, ask for feedback, or give away a coupon code for those who sign up for your newsletter. This helps draw new users to your social media, and allows you to collect information from them, too. (And you can do all of these things with ShortStack!)
Still stuck? Check out our graphic below for more suggestions on expanding your presence on Facebook!