Those of us who are old enough to remember social media in its infancy know that getting a social media profile to worldwide popularity has always taken a lot more than simply sending every internet user a ‘friend request’ and hoping for the best — and it’s more complex now than ever before.
This is because the social media landscape keeps becoming more powerful in terms of societal and advertising influence. Having reached maturity in its acceptance and understanding, it now has a solid framework that allows it to move and change faster.
And with this rate of change, any social media user would be forgiven for feeling concerned about their long-term prospects. Popularity can come and go in a flash, bringing a brand to prominence or sinking it forever.
All you can do is ride the wave as flexibly as you can, adapting to the zeitgeist as it shifts. Here are some tips on how you can stay popular in the edgy social media world.
Use Your Time Effectively
Extensions, plugins, apps and other pieces of software exist to make your business faster, slicker, and more efficient. It’s important you have the facility to add them to your operational model, and that you are using everything available to help automate your social media marketing and advertising.
You can use post-scheduling tools and constantly analyse data to help you properly target your ads and posts. You have to be strategic in order to succeed on social.
Tips For Using Your Social Networking Time Effectively:
- Consider hiring a freelance social media manager if no one on your team has the time to develop your social media strategy. For not a whole lot of money, they could make a big difference.
- Use scheduling tools to strategically post during peak times, and keep recycling popular content or themes.
- Create a social media calendar to help you manage your time, and stick to it. Leave a few hours in the calendar for ‘engagement time’ every month. Make conversation with your fans, and answer queries promptly and professionally. Having a social media guide that documents your process step by step will also be a huge help.
- To expand your influence fast, invest in some paid advertising campaigns for Facebook — these are especially valuable for ecommerce and startup brands seeking to raise their profiles fast.
Look To Influential People (And Their Audiences)
Whether you’re just starting out, or looking to build worldwide fame on social media, you will do well to follow the example of others and use their audiences to help you build yours. Strive to work yourself into influential ‘circles’ to get more eyes on you and your content.
You should also consider collaborating with influencers as a way to ‘seed’ your brand and content efficiently. Influencer marketing is relatively new, but it’s already one of the best marketing strategies for driving online sales, and there are plenty of niche users on Instagram that have hundreds of thousands of followers. Better yet, they often openly advertise in their bios that they’re open to collaborations.
Tips For Hiring Social Media Influencers:
- Make a list of users within your niche who have follower counts of over 10,000 as a starting point.
- Take notes on how they use imagery, how they structure and style their posts, and how they mention products — use this information to tailor your proposal.
- Follow their account and start interacting with their content before sending your pitch.
- Accept that once you have had your proposal approved, the creative control in exactly how the influencer promotes your products or content lies with them.
- Track the number of views from the resulting promotion and analyse your findings for future campaigns.
Find Your Voice As A Brand
When you’re experimenting with your social media image, it helps to clearly define the brand story that you’re trying to get across to your audience.
With a wealth of customer and competitor research behind you, get to work on creating a set of brand values that could instil trust in potential customers and set you apart from the competition. These should form your main ‘pitch’, influencing every aspect of your campaign creation and implementation.
Keyword research can also inform this process in a highly effective way. For example, if you’re looking to appeal to first-time customers, your messages and terminology should be stripped-down to increase understanding. Likewise, if keyword search results bring up more specialised product jargon with high search volumes, you can adapt your tone of voice and messaging to suit ‘expert’ customers.
Position Yourself As An Expert
Expert voices get approached for comment from journalists on a regular basis, especially if they offer targeted insights that truly aim to solve wider problems. Social media is a great place to develop your network and become known for insightful commentary and opinions.
Make your brand’s niche expertise clear in your social media bios, then regularly share and comment on news stories relevant to your target audience. Let members of staff go out as themselves on social media to help create a network of experts.
Also, look to sites like Reddit for industry news stories and opportunities to add your own input, but be cautious in coming across as too ‘salesy’ in your responses.
Keep Up With The Latest Trends
If you want to future-proof your business for years to come, then you will need to keep an eye on content consumption trends and do your best to keep up with the changing landscape.
- Video and live-streaming have become hugely popular on social media in recent years. Using tools like Facebook Live and Periscope, millions of people are capturing their audiences’ attention for extended periods by creating immersive and highly authentic marketing experiences.
- Short ‘disposable’ video clips on networks like Snapchat, Musical.ly, Instagram, and Facebook are also being successfully used by many fashion, travel and lifestyle brands. Try them with or without sound, as full videos or as GIF variants, and recut them for fresh use down the line.
- VR and AR content can get some real ‘buzz’ for novelty, even when the implementation isn’t all that great. If you sell products, add slick 3d pans to your store pages (easily done if your eshop software framework has compatible add ons), then reuse the content for eye-catching social media content.
If you want to maintain your social media popularity, invest in a mixture of engaging long-form video content, short-form visual ‘snacks’, and bleeding-edge technological gimmickry. Your users will stay engaged and keep wondering what you’ll do next.
Be Open & Approachable (And Approach People)
No one likes talking to a person who is unresponsive, or worse, only talks about themselves. The same can be said for brands who want to make it in the world of social media. You need to be constantly out there engaging, commenting, and community-building — not planning your next media ‘broadcast’,
Social media profiles and accounts that have few comments and little organic engagement look sad, so make sure that you are encouraging people to interact with you. One good way to encourage interactions? Take the first step and approach people, rather than waiting for them to make the first move.
One of the best ways to engage people is through user-generated content campaigns. Distributing branded hashtags, many businesses have used competitions as photo and video opportunities to get people involved in their marketing and spread word to their friends.
Tip: If you want to make your hashtag campaign accessible to a wider audience, try adapting a well-known hashtag like #ootd (outfit of the day) for your own branded needs.
In the world’s biggest popularity contest, the brands and personalities who dominate are those that constantly look for new ways to innovate with content. Take the same approach, and you’ll have the opportunity to become an influential voice in the crazy social media world.
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Victoria Greene works as a brand consultant and freelance writer. Her blog, Victoriaecommerce, is dedicated to helping business owners make the most of all online channels to draw in new and loyal customers.