If you’re a brand today, there’s a non-zero chance you’re on social media in some way, shape or form.
But many brands have an active, thriving social media presence?
And how much of them are just sort of there?
Reality check: you can’t expect much from social when you post random links, @mention a few folks and call it a day.
You need some structure. You need a strategy.
After all, you don’t reach the level of Wendy’s on Twitter totally by accident.
Remember when you were like 7 and thought changing your name to Thunder BearSword would be super cool?
Like that, but our cheeseburgers are still better.
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) June 11, 2018
And likewise, there’s a reason why GoPro’s Instagram posts get “likes” by the tens of thousands.
Photo of the Day: Not knowing where the path leads is what #TravelTuesday is all about. 🗺 @brymza explores the wetlands of Costa Rica while on vacation with his wife. 🛩 Share your #GoProTravel with us at gopro.com/awards. • • • #GoPro #CostaRica #LandscapePhotography #Exploring
A post shared by GoPro (@gopro) on Jun 12, 2018 at 9:50am PDT
And although some of these brands might have blockbuster budgets, the principles they use to create an awesome social presence can be replicated by businesses of all sizes.
Struggling for followers? Stuck on what to do with your social accounts? We’ve all been there.
That’s why we’ve broken the bite-sized tips any brand can follow to get their social media presence off the ground.
Now, let’s dive in!
Pop quiz: why are you on social media in the first place?
If your answer is resounding “Uhh…” or “Everyone else is on it,” you might have a problem.
The concept of SMART goals has been around for decades, but they are so important to your social media presence today.
In short, brands should set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
An example of a good SMART goal for social media marketing would be something like “Well increase our Twitter response rate by 25% by the end of the first quarter.”
Assigning your social media efforts a concrete purpose helps you avoid the trap of posting aimlessly.
After you’ve outlined your goals, you need to outline your target audience.
Pro-tip: “everyone” is not an audience.
Maybe it’s prospective customers. Perhaps it’s industry players and influencers. Either way, breaking down your audience will help you figure out the following:
Many brands spin their wheels because they don’t post content that speaks to a defined audience. Spend some time looking at your audience personas, understanding what their challenges are and what brands they already love via social. This sort of competitive analysis can help you understand how your own social media presence can stand out from the crowd.
This is a big one.
One of the worst mistakes to make on social media is coming off as the faceless corporation with zero personality. In the modern age of transparency, people want to get to know your company on a more personal level.
Many brands today crack jokes and aren’t afraid to talk to their followers like they would their friends. Whereas brands were once lambasted for coming off like robots, a human social media presence has become an expectation among many followers.
We got you 👀 https://t.co/Rw1tf3geVr
— Warby Parker (@WarbyParker) June 14, 2018
Similarly, showing off the human side of your brand means showing off the faces behind your social feeds. Whether it’s office photos or snapshots of your team “in the wild,” getting personal with your followers can help you form a much-needed connection.
Yesterday, #TeamModCloth took the day off to give back to Los Angeles Mission @thelamission, PATH West LA @hopeforla, Golden Gate National Parks @goldengatenps, Larkin Street Youth Services @larkinstreetyouth, SF Public Library’s #SFPride Programming @sfpubliclibrary, The Garment Project @thegarmentproject, Free Store 15104 @freestore15104, Heritage Community Initiatives @heritageserves, Raphael House SF @raphaelhousesf, Venice Beach cleanup, and #PittsburghPride cleanup. Watch our IG Story for more highlights from the day. #ModClothGiving #ModCloth ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Regram: @shibby_15 So proud to work at a company that takes time to give back. #TeamModCloth went clean the beach today. Also, our design team made us these super cute shirts. ❤️
A post shared by ModCloth (@modcloth) on Jun 13, 2018 at 4:45pm PDT
And hey, that leads us directly to our next point!
We can debate all day whether or not your follower count is a vanity metric.
That said, having 100 followers who regularly engage with you and your content are infinitely more valuable than 10,000 that ignore you.
It might be cliche to say, but don’t leave the “social” out of your social media presence. The beauty of social is that you can form relationships in an instant with followers from just about anywhere.
For example, Sprout Social’s own #SproutChat gives us the opportunity to regularly connect with our lovely followers who are likewise stoked to get in touch with us.
Got my jams going for #sproutchat with sprout-stagram famous @sproutdarryl!! My desk dance isn’t as good as his data dance but whatevs… pic.twitter.com/p9Any0zmVZ
— Shannonigans (@mausi_nana) June 13, 2018
If you’re not exactly sure where to start when it comes to relationship-building, here are some quick ideas:
Spoiler alert: sticking to a content schedule isn’t just something “extra” that brands do.
If there’s a common thread between the biggest brands on social, it’s that they post on a consistent basis.
Chances are you’re juggling multiple social channels and are trying to make sure you tick a lot of boxes in terms of descriptions and when to post, right? Consider how a content calendar can make the process much easier by…
In short, taking the time to make a schedule does double duty of keeping your social media presence organized while also maximizing your contents’ reach.
Automation is all the rage in marketing right now, and for good reason.
However, you can’t expect to successfully put your social presence on autopilot and walk away.
For example, mass auto-replying has gone the way of the dinosaur as it typically comes across as insincere. This now-classic tweet from Bank of America is a good example of how to turn your social followers off via improper automation.
Fast-forward to present day and it’s clear that customer care is a piece of social media that should be personalized, not autmoated.
That said, automation in the form of scheduling or curating content is totally fair game. Just avoid it when you’re dealing with actual customers or followers’ questions.
This is why brands rely on social tools to help curate pieces of content already approved by marketing leaders. Bambu by Sprout Social, is in fact, just that piece of software needed to turn your employees into brand advocates. Tap into your workforce to help build your presence!
Although social selling is indeed on the rise, rarely should your social media presence be about the “hard sell.”
Sure, if you’re in ecommerce it makes sense to push offers and deals to your followers. What’s more important, though, is answering the questions of followers whether through replies or content marketing.
Thanks for reaching out! For information on where savings for Prime members are available, see https://t.co/tx5kV2YYCf
— Whole Foods Market (@WholeFoods) June 14, 2018
If your followers ask a question, you should respond in a timely manner.
And if your followers seem to be buzzing about a particular problem, you should craft content that speaks directly to it.
By offering solutions to problems instead of just pitching your products all the time, you’re proving your company is an authority and potentially earning a lifelong customer.
First thing’s first: don’t let the word “optimization” freak you out.
Unlike SEO, social media optimization isn’t particularly technical. That said, profiles can be optimized through imagery, keywords and fully filling out your account information.
For example, brands can use their Instagram bio to link to promotions, advertise their hashtag and let their brand’s voice be heard.
Similarly, a well-crafted Twitter profile with the right @mentions and HD imagery can signal your authority, helping you attract more followers.
And as noted in our guide for conducting a Facebook audit, a fully optimized page with complete business info can actually help your page rank better in Google.
Some quick ways to optimize your social media presence across your various accounts include:
No matter where you’re posting, photo and video content are totally killing it right now.
Instagram’s image-based platform is exploding.
Facebook notes that Live videos get six times the engagement versus any other type of content.
And for those looking for more Twitter followers, graphics and videos get way more shares than text-based posts.
The highest exposure of fake news:https://t.co/9uerk7wZBI pic.twitter.com/QX2ZhoVUzL
— Forbes (@Forbes) June 15, 2018
The good news is that getting visual doesn’t mean you need any sort of insane equipment or a full-blown production budget. Instead, consider imagery such as:
Juantastico: Break the Trend
It’s easy to get stuck in a routine, but creativity lives outside the lines. Take it from Juantastico, grab a #Sharpie and Break the Trend! #SharpieSquad
Posted by Sharpie on Friday, December 1, 2017
And with so many tools to create social images and videos already out there, it’s easier than ever to get visual with your audience.
If you’ve gone through the legwork of establishing your social media presence, you need to let the world know.
From homepage feeds to icons on your site footer or email signature, anyone who comes in contact with your brand should only be a click away from becoming a long-term follower.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram feeds can all be easily integrated into your site with little more than a copy-paste code. Check out how ThinkGeek makes their social feeds a must-see on-site.
Cross-promotion on your website and through other social channels is a proactive way to grow your following over time.
Inactive social feeds are a bad look for brands, plain and simple. Rather than let your Facebook or Instagram gather cobwebs, you need to “show up” day after day with fresh content.
Some quick tips to help you stay active include:
Staying active on social doesn’t have to be a total time-suck. Through scheduling or simply blocking out 10-15 minute chunks throughout, you can post content and respond to customer concerns without wasting time. Also, you can try to base your activity around best times to post on social media to maximize engagement.
Between breaking news, trending hashtags or whatever the latest meme might be, brands always have room to get topical with their content. This is a great opportunity not only to build off of buzz of an existing trend, but also show off your brand’s personality.
Oreo came through with a jelly donut flavor just in time for #NationalDonutDay. Would you try it? https://t.co/IjPsqB1Uhc pic.twitter.com/xIrvEb8pxQ
— Complex (@Complex) June 2, 2017
For example, understanding the in’s and out’s of hashtags can help you brainstorm time-sensitive topics you can piggyback on. Of course, tread lightly with anything overtly political or controversial that could isolate your audience.
Like it or not, social media at large isn’t the totally “free” channel it once was. While there’s still plenty that can be done organically, Facebook’s updated algorithm and new business features being rolled out Instagram signal a clear need for businesses to experiment with ads.
It’s not just ads that deserve your attention, though. Looking at the recent boom of influencer marketing, paid relationships among social movers and shakers is becoming more and more common.
The good news is that both social ads and influencer marketing can have an insane ROI. Between laser-targeting on Facebook or tapping into hyper-engaged influencer audiences, a paid strategy certainly has its time and place depending on your business’ social goals.
When people complain about the lack of ROI they’re seeing from social, there’s a good chance they aren’t taking social seriously.
Just like we’re often knee-deep in Google Analytics data, marketers need to treat social with the same sort of scrutiny. There are tons of analytics tools out there to help you identify your top-performing content, performance trends and essential break down your social media presence by the numbers. These data points can help you treat social media less like a guessing game and more like a science.
If you want to stand out on social media, you can’t just parrot the content everyone else is posting.
In short, you need to create.
Whether you’re trying to build yourself up as a thought leader or want to stand apart from your competitors, original content is exactly how you’re going to make it happen.
Perhaps it’s your original blog posts, research or infographics.
Maybe it’s an eye-popping snapshot you took during your last vacation.
Or hey, it might be an opinionated rant on the state of your industry.
Either way, you should strive to post content that forces your followers to stop in their tracks. There’s a lot of noise out here on social media: make it a goal to break through it.
@ronnaldong takes creativity to new heights 🦒. This month we’re sharing images that are out of the ordinary. Share your eye-catching work using #Adobe_Unexpected for a chance to be featured.
A post shared by Adobe (@adobe) on May 1, 2018 at 3:28pm PDT
Listen: there is no “secret” or turnkey solution for a better social media presence.
Instead, there are small tactics and strategies that can help you build toward social accounts that prime for engagement.
And yeah, fifteen tips might seem like a lot on the surface. That said, these principles are staples of brands killing it on social right now. If you can follow them yourself, you’re already way ahead of the game.
We want to hear from you, though. What’s something you struggle with when it comes to your social media presence? Any tips or tactics that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
This post 15 Tips to Building a Better Social Media Presence originally appeared on Sprout Social.
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