By January 2021, worldwide social media users reached an estimated 4.2 billion. With these high numbers of users, having a social media presence is vital for any brand. Brands can interact with their customer base through social media channels, building trust and long-term loyalty. Not only that, but social media can act as a catalyst for lead generation and can even empower in-app purchases.
The problem is that with the uptick in the use of social media, the number of businesses joining social media has also increased dramatically. This makes it difficult for brands to differentiate themselves through these channels.
For businesses looking to improve their social media engagement, the following 10 practical tips will help create a presence that stands out from the rest.
1. Start by Choosing the Right Channels
The reality is that most businesses do not have the time and resources to join every social media channel available. And, when you spread your brand too thin, you can wind up with a bland presence across all channels.
Instead, it is better to begin by choosing a few channels to focus your energy on.
The following data points can help your brand determine which channels match your current needs and will give you the best access to your target audience:
- Facebook has 2.7 billion users, with the average age ranging from 25-34. This channel is ideal for building relationships with consumers and improving brand loyalty. With the largest share of users, Facebook is a foundational piece of any social media strategy, ideal for brands spanning industries.
- YouTube has 2.3 billion users, spanning all ages. The largest video platform on the market, this channel is ideal for brand awareness and lead generation with a vast opportunity for creativity. Due to the large number of users on the platform and the strong reach of videos both in-platform and in Google search, most brands will do well to engage at least on some level via this channel.
- Instagram has 1.2 billion users, with the average age ranging from 25-34. With the conversational tone of Instagram and a heavy focus on stunning imagery, this platform is a good pick for lifestyle brands looking to increase brand awareness, build customer relationships, and offer in-app shopping.
- Twitter has 353 million users, with the average age ranging from 30-49. The majority of users are male, and businesses best use the platform for PR purposes. With limited character space for each Tweet, brands that use Twitter need to be poignant in their approach to content.
- LinkedIn has 740 million users, with the average age ranging from 46-55. With a heavy business focus, LinkedIn is ideal for B2B brands looking to increase brand awareness and generate new leads.
- TikTok has 689 million users, with the average age ranging from 18-24. This platform is ideal for building brand loyalty and community when your target demographic is Gen Z.
- Pinterest has 442 million users, with the average age ranging from 30-49. Nearly 80% of users are females who use this platform as a form of digital scrapbooking. This makes the platform best for lifestyle brands looking for lead generation.
2. Know Your Audience
Social media content is not one-size-fits-all. What works well for one brand might not work at all for another, and this is largely due to the preferences of your target audience.
Before you post content to any channel, make sure you understand your audience and what will resonate with them.
The best way to stand out from your competition is by posting highly personalized content targeted toward your specific audience. You can learn what your audience prefers through a few methods:
- Take note of what content your target audience is already engaged with on any given platform. Look for trends and important facets of the content.
- Follow your competition. What are your competitors posting? Learn from both the good and the bad.
- Ask your audience. Use a survey or panel to dive deep into what social media content your target demographic finds compelling.
- Look at the greats. While you might not have the same budget as GoPro or Nike, you can learn a lot from the way they create compelling copy and utilize stunning imagery. Take what they do well and adapt it to your own strategy.
3. Use High-Quality Visuals
The imagery you use for your social media channels will play a large role in helping you stand out from the white noise. This is particularly true when you engage with your audience on Instagram and Facebook.
Make sure that you’re not only using high-quality imagery and graphics but that you’re sizing everything correctly. This will help ensure that images are not cut off and that graphics are easy to read.
When possible, invest in your own product and brand photography. Stock images will quickly be glossed over, whereas unique content will increase brand trust.
4. Create Unique Copy
Along with your imagery, your copy will play a vital role in engaging your audience. Too often, brands stick with bland, vague posts. While these posts might not offend, they are not compelling.
Instead, stand out from the rest by creating unique copy written in your brand’s voice. If you haven’t established a voice yet, now is the time. The right voice for your brand will have a lot to do with your audience and your business model.
For example, if you’re a B2B brand, you might stick with a professional tone and opt for high-level educational content.
If you’re a B2C brand targeting millennials, you might opt for a conversational tone of voice and take bold stances on social issues that match your audience’s passions.
Establish your voice and get creative with your copy, creating fresh, compelling posts each week.
5. Engage with Followers
There is little to no point in investing in social media channels if you don’t use them to engage directly with your followers. This is one of the most important tasks in social media management.
Engagement can mean responding when your brand is tagged. It can mean replying when a customer leaves a comment on your post. And, it can even include spending time commenting on customer posts or engaging with similar lifestyle brands.
In fact, data shows that the average consumer expects a brand to respond to their social media interaction within 24 hours.
Make sure that you have either an internal employee or an outsourced agency monitoring your social media channels.
6. Share Content
While creating unique content is a vital part of any social media strategy, sharing content via your social media platforms is also valuable.
When sharing content, look for content that will provide value to your audience. For example, if you’re an auto dealership, you might share a post by AAA about roadside safety. This content would offer a value add to your customers and allow your brand to engage with a company that might have audience crossover.
You can also share content from your own customers. This is a great way to build relationships with customers and increase brand engagement.
7. Tap into Trends
Social media is a 24/7 cycle. Every moment, users are generating new content and tapping into the latest trends. Make sure that you’re also paying attention to the trends that your audience cares about.
One of the best ways to ensure that you’re engaging with the latest trends is to use Google Trends. This handy tool allows you to tap into global or localized trends based on your audience’s specific interests.
Not only can you search specific terms and see where these topics are trending, but you get data on related trends, and you can even compare another topic to your initial search.
Another great option for seeking out trending topics is to use Instagram’s search feature. Open up the app, type a hashtag topic into the search bar, and you’ll see a list of related hashtags along with the number of posts utilizing these tags. In this way, you can discover which hashtags will help boost your post’s visibility.
8. Be Helpful and Human
When you think about your social media strategy, make sure you’re not simply looking at these channels as a way to promote your brand. Rather, think of them as a connection between you and your customers.
Use social media to be helpful and make sure that you keep the human element at the core of all you do. When a customer needs assistance with something, jump in and offer advice. When your staff members participate in a volunteer day in the local community, make sure to showcase this on your social media channels.
People don’t want to follow a lifeless brand. They want to engage with another human.
9. Use Automation Wisely
Realistically, you probably do not have the time or resources to post to your social media channels frequently. For this reason, many brands automate their posts to ensure consistency in content creation.
While automation is a great solution for this problem, make sure you use it wisely. If you intend to automate your posts, be sure that you still have a plan in place for responding to followers.
Make sure that you also review your automated content frequently. This can help you catch errors more quickly. Not only that, but you might have scheduled a post at the beginning of the month that is no longer relevant due to a world event or a shift in consumer trends.
Automation can be helpful, but it should never replace careful management of your social media channels.
10. Utilize Data to Inform Your Strategy
While social media management relies heavily on creativity and personal engagement, make sure that your strategy is also informed by data.
The good news is that social media channels offer detailed levels of reporting, allowing you to gain clearer insights over time into what is working well and what isn’t. Pay attention to key metrics, such as post engagement, channel engagement, and conversion rates.
If you have outsourced your social media management, be sure to request detailed reporting on at least a monthly basis. This will prevent you from wasting money on channels or post styles that are simply ineffective for your brand.
Talk to J&L Marketing about Increasing Your Social Media Reach
Social media is an excellent way to increase your brand’s reach. However, it is easy to get lost in the noise with so many businesses already engaging across channels.
At J&L Marketing, we can help you increase your social media reach through a strategic approach. From paid Facebook ad management to creating a consistent brand image across channels, our goal is to help you stand out from your competition across all digital channels. Talk to our team today about how we can help.