Social media can be a powerful tool for businesses and nonprofits. However, it’s much more than creating a profile and sharing a few posts. To maximize social media’s potential for your organization, start with these easy-to-implement tips to grow your online presence and engagement.
Review your social profiles regularly
Whether your social media profiles are new or are more established with a solid follower base, it’s important to regularly review your profiles for accurate and consistent information. If you capture a person’s attention with your content and inspire them to take action, a worst-case scenario is for them to call an outdated number or visit a non-functioning webpage link.
This is also a good time to ensure you are utilizing business pages or profiles, which offer a more professional appearance and additional analytics insights.
Consider which platforms your target audience(s) uses
New social platforms continue to emerge, contributing to increasingly crowded competition for shoppers’ attention. If your organization has limited resources to put behind social media, start by focusing on a few networks that you can actively manage well.
However, don’t write off new networks altogether. What’s considered emerging today may be the go-to platform for your audience surprisingly soon. Before adding another page to your docket, do research and gauge if it’s where your target audiences are spending their time. If so, perhaps it’s time to claim that page and handle.
Engage with existing followers
If your social media profiles are relatively established, you’ve likely grown an engaged follower base. However, don’t take those followers for granted while trying to attract new ones. If users are commenting on your posts or tagging your profile in their content, like those posts and comment back. With their permission, consider recognizing them by sharing their content on your profiles. Just like the adage of it being easiest to maintain an existing customer, the same applies to loyal social media followers.
Ask for the follow
Even with more tenured profiles, I always come across organizations whose employees, board members, or customers aren’t following their profiles on social media. Start with low-hanging fruit, and remind those stakeholders of your profiles in your next meeting or email. Also, include your profiles’ handle on your print and digital materials including your email signature. Make it as easy as possible for folks to connect with you.
Develop a content plan and media library
While many great social posts are serendipitous opportunities, it’s important to have a plan behind the overall content you share. Develop a baseline posting cadence that is manageable for you, whether it’s once a week or more frequently, in order to prevent “binge posting” only when you find the time. Let that great unplanned pet photo be the icing on the cake of an intentional content plan.
Whether it’s digitally or on paper, map out the next week or even the next month of what you can post, taking advantage of special days such as the first day of spring or your newest employee’s first day. Also develop a library of images or videos you can fall back to if you find yourself needing additional content down the road.
Follow an 80/20 content mix rule
Let’s face it – people don’t enjoy being sold to. How often do you find yourself unsubscribing to an email list or unfollowing a page that only pushes products or services on you? The key to maintaining your followers is providing them with content they want to engage with.
Many organizations follow an 80/20 rule of 80% of their content being educational and/or entertaining with only 20% being an “ask.” Some organizations take that even further to, say a 90-10 policy. Focus on developing rapport with your followers so that when you do ask for a purchase, a donation, or another call to action, they are listening.
Hashtags have become commonplace from sporting events to news broadcasts and offer a way to explore a larger group of content. Users can search and follow hashtags to discover content from other users they might not follow or otherwise encounter.
Use relevant hashtags to increase your exposure to new potential followers, and if you’re ambitious, create a hashtag with your organization’s name or tagline; just do the initial research to ensure it’s not already being utilized by another entity. Once you begin posting with the unique hashtag(s) and encouraging others to do so, actively monitor it to gauge the content users associate with your hashtags.
Utilize free resources
Tackling these steps can seem daunting. Luckily, there are many great resources to make planning and posting content easy. If you’re short on original imagery, there are many quality websites with libraries of royalty-free images. One of my favorites is Pexels.
When organizing your content plan, Google Drive and its associated tools offer free documents and spreadsheets you can use for planning and collaborating with team members. Lastly, take advantage of social management tools like Buffer which offer the ability to post to multiple platforms simultaneously from one place and to schedule your posts in advance.
Social media is an impactful way to introduce your business to new shoppers and stay top-of-mind with your established customers. Though like any marketing channel, it does require consistent attention and effort. Begin following these simple steps today to gain a handle on your social presence and maximize it for the benefit of your business.