7 Tips to Grow Your Business with Social Media Marketing
September 28, 2020
Without effective research, on-going testing, and yes, a little bit of patience, social media marketing can prove an unpredictable effort at best. It can seem like you’re just getting your foot in the door with Facebook or Instagram when the algorithm changes and suddenly your audience can’t see your content organically with necessary regularity. Or, you find yourself chasing that “shiny object”—the latest emerging channel—only to find yourself, your resources and your time stretched thin. Remember Vine, Foursquare, Google+ or dare we say Snapchat? (Too soon?)
Sometimes it’s a simple fix. Sometimes it’s a strategy overhaul or refocus. But, sometimes it requires leaving your comfort zone, and, having a little patience. As a business attempting to navigate the ever-changing currents of social media in an effort to leverage effectively and grow your business, it’s more important than ever to prioritize. Here are just a few of our top recommendations on what remains essential for us at Commit Agency.
1. Remain Consistent Even When You’re Not Seeing Immediate Results
If you’re not seeing results on social media, one of the easiest things you can do today is to work on consistency. Many social media accounts publish content one or multiple times a day. Some post less, depending on their strategy. Whatever your plan is, stick to it. Remember patience (and long-term steadiness) is a virtue, most especially when it comes to social media.
Remember, social media’s primary purpose is not necessarily to “make the sale”. Effective, compelling, and optimized social media content should only be considered one component to your brand’s larger sales funnel. Social media is essential to the sales process, but it is about brand-building; it’s about content marketing, storytelling, and awareness. It helps connect the dots by educating, motivating your audience to do what you need them to do. Think of social media as your brand’s ultimate “wingman”. It’s part of the larger sales team, per se, but it’s not the actual salesperson.
Publishing content with consistency means showing up for your audience on a regular basis. Once your followers begin to see or interact with your content on the various social media channels, they will begin to form a subtle relationship—and a bond—with your brand. And, not only to their expectations set in, so does a platform’s algorithm. Break the algorithm? Break that bond. If you lose steam, skip a week here or there, you run the risk of eroding those priceless expectations with your audience.
The trick with consistency is to stick to it even when you’re not seeing results immediately, which can feel demotivating for anyone who oversees a brand’s social media efforts. If you’re looking to grow your business on social media, but can’t seem to break through, have patience and continue to publish content while simultaneously completing an analysis of your social media accounts so you can eventually implement a long-term strategy that works best for your brand.
2. Expand Your Reach With Targeted Ads and Boosted Content
One of the tried-and-true ways to grow your business with social media is simply to expand your reach. You want to communicate and share your content with as many people—including as many of the right people—as possible. While expanding your reach used to mean organically gaining more followers, businesses can now generate awareness, interest, and potentially leads just as effectively with paid targeted social ads and boosted content. While this tactic will require additional budget, if you do your research, you can learn how to stretch your marketing dollars in a way that allows you to do more with less.
Targeted social ads and boosted content work by creating ad sets with specific groups of people in mind based on your brand and what you’re trying to communicate. Facebook, for example, will then automatically show your ad to those people who will be most likely to do what you need them to do, whether it’s simple impressions, engagement, website referrals, lead forms, etc.
In Facebook Business Manager, simply visit the Ads section of the dashboard. Facebook will guide you step-by-step through the process by asking you exactly what your goals are and, essentially, how you want to grow your business. This is where having quality research and data on your ideal customer will benefit you tenfold.
There are three audience segments that you can use to further target your audience: core, custom and lookalike. Core audiences can be customized by things like age, interests and location. Custom audiences include those people who have engaged with your business before. It’s a way to remain in constant contact with them. The third, lookalike audiences, reaches new people who have similar interests to your most engaged or “highest performing” followers.
Getting granular with your social media advertising—compelling content, clear goals, targeted audiences, etc.—is where the magic happens. And, as Facebook’s algorithm continues to learn more and more about your audience, it will continue to adjust and re-target for even more effectiveness and budget efficiency.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, continuing to monitor and collect essential audience data, providing timely strategic analysis throughout your campaigns, will allow you to know and understand your audience and its behavior almost instinctively. You can then pivot or continue to develop great social media content that will resonate.
3. Use Subtitles on Your Video Content
Sounds simple, but sometimes a small tweak is all you need to get more engagement on your content. One thing that many content creators tend to overlook is the use of subtitles on video content. When users are scrolling through their Instagram feed, for example, they most likely do not have their sound on. So if your video is playing with a voiceover, they may not hear it. Subtitles signal to the audience to turn on their sound to hear what you have to say.
Subtitles may also encourage your followers to read what you’re saying, which is still quality engagement. Many business accounts now include subtitles on all Instagram Stories knowing that not all of their followers will want to turn on their sound. Creating subtitles doesn’t have to be fancy. You can use the font tools in Instagram Stories to type out the words you’re saying in your videos.
4. Try A New Feature Like Stories or Audiograms
It’s not uncommon to get in a social media rut. You’re staying consistent. Posting beautiful creative content. Engaging with your followers. Yet, you’re not seeing the growth you want. It’s always a good idea to keep your eye on new social features, trends, and platforms. When TikTok launched a few years ago, many businesses took notice at its quick rise in popularity among younger generations, leading many of them to consider creating a business account. Even if some of those businesses ultimately decided not to engage on TikTok, it’s a good idea to do the research on new features or platforms in order to rule it out.
Facebook and other social media companies are always rolling out new ways to engage with your followers. Instagram Stories for example, which launched in 2016, allows users to post short-lived photo and video content that disappears in 24 hours. Some businesses were reluctant to adopt this new feature at first (it can be time-consuming and confusing without a clear-cut strategy in place), but for those who are still reluctant now years later, consider these statistics:
- According to Instagram, over 500 million accounts use Instagram Stories every day. (Sprout Social)
- Instagram Stories has increased the amount of time spent on Instagram to more than 28 minutes. (Mediakix)
- 1/3 of the most-viewed Instagram Stories come from business accounts. (Mediakix)
- 70% of Instagram users watch stories every day (TechJury)
Of course with new features like this comes the challenge of knowing which content should be published in the feed and what should live in Stories, but not putting in the time to adopt new features could cost you valuable leads.
Other ways to give your social media presence more texture is with the content you post. It’s widely known that your Instagram feed is a more polished representation of your brand, but are the photos you’re posting still resonating? Experimenting with audiograms, lifestyle photography and text graphics can be one way to re-engage your followers.
5. Tell a Compelling Story and Stick to It
One common mistake businesses of all sizes make on social media is not knowing, strategically, the best content to post and when. Instead of crafting on-brand messaging and developing compelling visuals that align with and consistently reinforce their brand, they often post spontaneous and short-term content that ends up having little effect on their larger goals. Do you speak to the value of your brand, products, or services? Do you showcase contextual content that your audience will find interesting or important? Beyond promotions or sales, think about your content as telling your brand story. If you were to imagine your customer using your product or service in real life, what would that look like? Tell that story.
6. Implement an Influencer Program
Think of social media influencers as modern salespeople or spokespeople. An influencer campaign can be a highly effective, strategic way to grow your social media reach by leveraging authentic outside voices and content creators to advocate for your brand. One of the benefits of partnering with influencers is they do most of the creative heavy lifting for you. A typical partnership might include you sending your product or service (in addition to a fee) to the influencer in return for a predetermined agreement of produced content.
Choosing the right influencer includes finding someone with the right audience—one that aligns with your brand’s existing or aspirational audience. Campaigns can range in cost from simply product or service trade or separate fees, so it’s good to have a budget in mind for potential partnerships. Larger or more prominent influencers can charge a lot in exchange for their content and access to their audience, but if you do your research correctly, and when you consider the potential results, it can be a smart move.
7. Be Intentional With Your Time and Talent
Social media is a long-term game. And, it’s easy to experience burnout or frustration. This is why it’s so important to have a plan—a vision. You don’t want to be that business who posts so infrequently or irregularly and with no clear strategy or adherence to the larger brand visually or messaging-wise. To be frank, you could be wasting your time if you’re not being strategic.
Knowing who your target audience is and how that audience ultimately behaves is the first step. Why? Because this will determine which platforms you should invest resources into. Pinterest, for example, is a commonly overlooked platform. However, if the average Pinterest user matches your ideal customer or their interests, then publishing on Pinterest might be an essential focus.
Another way to stay competitive, relevant and interesting on social media is to simply invest in, and produce high-quality content. Remember, social media is content marketing at its core. It’s ultimately about brand awareness and storytelling. This requires investment in top creative talent like strong writers, capable photographers, and team members who possess working knowledge or skills in simple graphic design and/or art direction. In social media today, you are required to wear many hats to get the job done well. Don’t delegate to people inside or outside the organization who don’t possess a shared creative and strategic eye for sharp content. Also, planning out a monthly social media content calendar will help you plan ahead and better reinforce your long-term strategy and brand goals. Most popular third-party social media management tools allow for content to be scheduled so you’re not forced to post content natively or in the moment.
Sharing the content creation burden is a unique and intentional way to generate content and be consistent without overwhelming your own designers. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your followers to ask if you can repost their photos or videos. User-generated content is extremely valuable to businesses and can even lead to long-term content partnerships.
Most modern marketing teams include an entire social media department or an agency that can invest quality time and talent into social media marketing. For more information about how Commit Agency can help your business grow with social media, don’t hesitate to reach out today.