Keys to Growing Your Social Media Audience Like the Pros

It is no secret that social media is ubiquitous and a key marketing strategy for businesses of all sizes. Unfortunately, most companies are not getting the best bang for the buck in their efforts and are not realizing the full value that social media can bring to the table. This article assumes that you are putting the work and time into creating great content for your audience. But what if you are not seeing the right return on your investment? You are not alone if you go through this problem and growing your audience is the solution. Growing your audience is the key to your social media success. It may seem daunting at first, but it is achievable if you take the right actions discussed below. 

The Best Laid Plans

With an engaged following on social media, it opens the door to more business opportunities, but you need to have a strategy in place in order to grow your audience. First and foremost, who are you targeting? This is the most important question when you are trying to plan out the best approach to your company’s social media channels. Figuring out who exactly you want to engage with is crucial, otherwise you will be wasting your efforts on people who don’t care. Once you know who you want to see your content, figure out a content creation plan. This plan should include what you want to say and then post it on a regular schedule in order to keep viewers engaged.

Set Social Media Goals

Goal creation allows your company to define specific steps and actions that can be taken to achieve success on social media and more importantly measure how successful you are. If you create certain goals for your social media usage, then it will hold you accountable and help avoid unnecessary time spent. The top 3 goals that marketers use for social media include increase brand awareness (70%), sales/ lead generation (59%), and increase community engagement (48%). A best practice for creating goals is to use the SMART framework, i.e. making the goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive.  If you aren’t reaching these goals, you can go back and see what you did and didn’t do within the time frame, ramp up efforts, etc.

Know Your Platforms

Every social media platform has its purpose, so ask yourself “why should someone follow me on this platform?” This will help you to understand the specific content that you need to post in order to create an engaged following. Please remember that you do not have to be on every social channel, so it is important to understand where your audience is before going any further.  Here is a specific breakdown of our company’s favorite four platforms:

  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn places an emphasis on professionalism and companies use it as an “online resume.” This is the best place for B2B companies to connect and build professional relationships. This platform is the place to post job and career information, company news, and professional content.

  •  Instagram: The most successful posts on Instagram include high-res photographs, experiences/ stories, as well as quotes. Instagram is a people-centric platform that is a place for you to find potential sales, but it is still first and foremost a place to share experiences. This is a great platform for visual companies.

  • Facebook: Facebook’s main attribute is that it is a community builder. This is a great place to showcase your company culture and values. Don’t try to sell here, instead focus on creating discussions within your community. Types of posts that are advantageous on Facebook here include videos/ live videos, blog posts, and curated content.

  • Twitter: Twitter is a way for businesses to engage their customers in real-time and stay relevant in the industry. The life span of a tweet is short, so do not post anything you want to last for long periods of time.  The best types of content to post on Twitter is news, blog posts, gifs, and infographics

Basic but Overlooked, Optimizing your Profile

First and foremost, this goes for all platforms, think of your profile as your company’s home page, and make sure your profile page is up to date with relevant company information including name, bio, location, contact information, link to website, etc. If it does not look professional and well put together, then you may lose the follow of a potential customer if that social platform is the only thing he or she looks at from your company.

Curate the Right Content

Creating the right content is key and developing a monthly plan is your key to success. Things to consider are what is relevant to your audience, what would help them through education, inspiration, and being a thought leader. Also important is to be brand consistent. If every one of your posts looks different, the viewer will not make the connection to your company.

The important idea to learn here is to inspire the right audience with the right content that resonates with them. Your ultimate goal is to have people view your content, and even potentially go viral, here are some points to consider. Content with relevant images rack up 94% more views than when they don’t include an image, infographics are 3x more likely to be shared than regular posts, and video encourages the most engagement.  Given that so many people are posting on social media, it is critical that you use your creativity. How can you stand out amongst this sea of noise?

Hashtag, Hashtag, Hashtag

Hashtags are the SEO of the social media world, i.e. they help to bring in more traffic to your posts. A hashtag is a keyword or phrase written within a post or comment, preceded by the “#” sign, to help facilitate a search for it. Posts including at least one hashtag score more engagement than those that feature none. Neglecting hashtags will make your posts more difficult for users who don’t currently follow you to find, therefore putting you at a disadvantage for growing your audience. Do research on the popular hashtags in your industry and find the ones that will put your company in front of as many eyes as possible See our article on Hashtags for more in-depth information.

Engage with your Audience

Consider social media as a huge party. If you go to the party and you stand there like a stiff, who will want to engage with you? Like a party, social media is no different. If all you are doing is posting and not engaging, you will not likely to grow your audience. So, don’t’ be shy and start a conversation.

Another important aspect of engagement that will increase your credibility and your audience size is how you create a user experience involving replying to comments and messages from your followers. 83% of your Facebook Fans and 71% of your Twitter Followers now expect a response from you on the same day. It even goes as far as 32% of Twitter users now expect a response within just 30 minutes. The more discussion that occurs, the more people feel like they are getting out of their experience with your brand.

Social Media Golden Nuggets for Growth

  • Tag relevant and influential groups or organizations in the hopes that they will repost or share your content. Try to piggyback on their following to boost your own.

  • Promote customer advocacy by reposting your followers’ content that has to do with your business or sponsor user-generated content. Customers love to be acknowledged and will encourage others to follow if they know you care.

  • Sponsor a contest and or giveaway. These are a great way to get followers to interact with your brand.  Set requirements, like following your page, sharing your post, or having their friends follow you in order to be eligible to win the “prize.”

  • Inspire (or pay) social media influencers to promote your products or content. 92% of consumers are more likely to trust a social media influencer over an ad or celebrity endorsement. If the influencer says they like your product, then it is probable that their following will give you a chance

  • Leverage other people’s audiences through social media takeovers. This will make their following engage with your page.  

  • Promote from beyond the app. Bring in followers from your different network lists because they already know who you are, so they will be an engaged audience. Also make sure to promote your different platforms in your stores, offices, and websites.

  • Explore paid social media including ads and boosting content. This will allow you to precisely target audiences through demographics, education level, etc. It will also help your content to get a further reach that you are not getting organically.

  • Involve your team!! This is a way of getting different points of view within your organization and this is key in building your brand. Get them on the same page, share your content plan, strategy and make them advocates.

Social media is a learning curve that takes time and dedication to truly master, so don’t be discouraged if it not producing the results you want right away. During those times of discouragement, remember your “why” and the goals you have set. Stick to it and you will begin to see the numbers steadily increase and maybe one day blow up exponentially. Ultimately, with hard work, you will see the fruits of your labor in terms of more customers gained and greater brand awareness.


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