Social media is a bit like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it. Many cannot live without checking their social media accounts constantly throughout the day, whilst others avoid it at all costs. However, now that the coronavirus and social distancing has made it difficult to interact with customers face-to-face, we have to look at other ways of building our audience and social media is the perfect way to do so.
Thankfully you no longer need to be a celebrity to build your social media following, but using the various platforms can fill you with dread, which is where I come in. I’m here to help you through the process, with some of my pro-tips on how to use social media to best advantage you and your business. So if you’re fearful of Facebook, terrified of Twitter, or intimidated by Instagram, my social media hacks can help you!
1.Create a schedule
If you don’t want to spend your life glued to your phone, a scheduling app is for you. What is this I hear you ask? Scheduling apps are programmes that allow you to create and schedule all of your posts across a variety of social media platforms. It means you can sit down once a week, create everything you wish to be posted and plan the day and time for when you want them released to your followers. And many of them allow you to monitor all of your platforms from one place, so you don’t have to hop from Facebook, to Instagram, to Twitter, to see any reactions you’ve received to what you’ve posted.
2. Hashtags are key!
Hashtags are your way to reach a wider target audience, but need to be used in the right way. Too general, such as #love or #summer, may see you get lost in a huge sea of off topic posts. But, if you use niche hashtags, something more relative to your business, you’ll be able to reach your specific audience. As an example, a wedding business in San Diego, California, would consider using #sandiegowedding in their posts, along with the wider used #wedding. Also, these hashtags can now be used in your profile description, directing more views to your site.
3. Use social media to boost your blog traffic
Blogs and online articles are an excellent way to keep your followers interested in your business. If you don’t have a blog already, go get one once you’ve finished reading this! Posting links to your blog on social media will help your followers find your posts easily and boost your views. You can schedule these using the apps mentioned above, making sure you get maximum views at key times for your audience.
4. Partner with micro-influencers
Online influencers are huge right now! And you don’t have to be friends with a Kardashian to boost your following. Micro-influencers have anywhere from 2,000 to 50,000 followers on social media, who focus on specific topics or products. Research which micro-influencers would best be associated with your business and contact them about promoting your brand or product. A great way to find influencers in your niche is to search hashtags (see hashtags are definitely key!). You may have to give them a small fee, but their reach is worth it.
5. Understanding when to release a post
When to release a new post can mean the difference between 10 views and 100 views. Determining the best times to release posts is incredibly important, as you want to gain the maximum views from your target audience. Many social media platforms can give you information on when most users are online, but these are very general and may not be the people your business is looking to target.
This is where research is key. You need to think about when your audience might be online – could it be during their lunch break? On the commute to or from work? Whilst they’re making their evening meal? Put out some feeler posts, see when you get the most interactions from your followers. This will give you an idea of when your target market is online and you can therefore schedule your posts for that point. But do be aware that these times do change, especially with many people still working from home at the moment. Pay attention to these changes and adjust your scheduling as needs be.
6. Focus on quality engagement
Quality over quantity is something to focus on with your social media engagement. Quantity, or vanity metrics, are the number of likes and followers you receive on social media. And whilst you may feel the more the merrier, vanity metrics are not quality interactions. Concentrate on comments and messages, as these demonstrate your audience is actually interested in what you’re posting. These can provide much better feedback from potential customers than someone merely clicking ‘like’.
Most social media platforms also offer free analytical tools which can provide information on what types of content earn the most quality engagement on your page. Here you can see what type of posts your followers are responding to, as well as when they’re engaging with you. Keep an eye on these analytics as these will help you to create quality posts at quality times.
7. Use Stories to the maximum
Stories can be found on both Facebook and Instagram. These are short posts that are only visible for 24 hours, and can be a goldmine for reaching followers, interacting with them and gaining valuable feedback. Not only do Stories show pictures and videos, but they also have options to create online polls, ask questions to your customers, add countdowns for events and add interactive stickers, or GIFS. However, do be aware that too many Stories can put off followers, leading them to skip through rather than engage with you. Try to keep it to around 10 Story posts to fully share your content, whilst also keeping your audience engaged.
Still feel you need some inspiration? Search hashtags for similar businesses, see how they’re interacting with their followers. A fantastic account to follow on social media is Colourpop Cosmetics. They have utilised Instagram Stories to share beautiful posts that earn feedback on the products and content that their audience would like to see.
So there are my hacks. Hopefully they’ve boosted your confidence (and audience) and you feel ready to tackle the world of social media. If you’re still feeling worried, remember you’re not alone. It can be overwhelming to keep in touch with your target market whilst also remaining socially distanced. But these hacks will help you to build your social media strategy, allowing you to engage with your followers, whilst also building your audience of future customers. And remember, interesting posts are bound to gain quality responses that support your business. Happy posting!