Updated: May 13
In today's binging and buzzing world, social media serves as a brands easiest and fastest communication platform. Unlike traditional media, it allows users to respond with their concerns, questions, feedback, and general thoughts. Most businesses know that social media can be a large contributor to their success. However, many don’t know how to use it effectively.
Adopting social media is quick and easy, but taking the time to interact, engage, and grow a following takes time and patience. Creating and growing a social media following involves strategy. It is important to remember that engagement is a part of social media growth. Having a high following and low consumer engagement does nothing for your brand, sales, and reach. There are several steps and strategies to keep in mind when planning your road-map to social media success.
GOAL SETTING & STRATEGY
Setting objectives in social media planning is not only necessary, but they must be done SMART. SMART Guidelines stand for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Planning out your posts through content calendars and setting SMART objectives are important when setting goals for a brand’s social media development process.
It is essential not to focus on small measurements such as likes or comments. Rather, focus on specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely goals. They should relate and contribute to larger business objectives and should be specific. This can be difficult to grasp when attempting to grow your social media web. It might make you think, “Wait, isn’t the whole point to get more likes, comments, and followers?” The answer is no. It is important to remember that while these things do come along with increasing your engagement and following, they are not the overarching goal.
There should always be a bigger business goal that drives the use of social media in the first place. The social media goals and strategy should go along with the company’s long term goals just as any other department’s would.
Too many brands treat social media as another traditional media platform. Adding social media into the marketing mix can often be an unexpected difficult transition for brands.
Unlike traditional media, social media provides a unique form of interactivity that other advertising and communication channels do not. Consumers are able to respond, share, and interact with the messages, not just absorb them. This feedback is instantaneous and effortless.
Marketers should respond to their consumers concerns and remain in brand and let go of the traditional message-control model. Brands should get involved in multi-touch-point engagement in order to reach a broader audience and satisfy customers.
To increase overall engagement and following, consumers must feel listened to. Responding to user’s comments and posts can dramatically increase brand awareness and customer satisfaction. So respond to '@I_love_puppies' comment with enthusiasm and genuine intent to listen.
Obviously, creative quality content helps the brand stick out in this large digital world and is a big part of social media growth. Creative content is important when trying to grab the attention of social media users. Much like in traditional advertising, users would change channels when a boring commercial comes on. Today they will swipe away from the post in even less time.
Users are more likely to follow and interact with posts that interest them or are unique and stand out on their timeline. Moral of the story is don’t go posting boring content. Come up with something unique and creative.
BRAND VOICE AND STRATEGY
Sometimes brands lose their voice and authenticity when trying to create content that doesn’t stay true to them. Remember to think outside the box, but inside the brand. Don’t get lost in the world of social media, keep one eye on your company goals and values at all times.
Stay on brand, and post about topics that make sense. If you’re a restaurant, don’t go posting cat video’s because that’s what’s popular at the moment. Post what makes sense to your brand and interests. The users don’t want another surface level “fake” company. They want to know the brand as they know the rest of the people they follow. Creating an intimate profile that stays true to the company’s followers is essential. Users can see right through inauthentic and basic profiles.
COLLABORATIONS AND INFLUENCERS
We have undoubtedly scrolled into the age of influencers. Collaborating with users that have similar core values to the brand can often increase followers and post engagement dramatically.
Influencers have made a mark on the world of advertising, often acting almost as native ads of social media. People frequently have favorite bloggers, Insta-famous users, YouTubers, or Tik Toker’s, and they trust their advice and product recommendations. This can be very useful and can easily help create a strong loyal fan base of followers. Micro-influencers serve the same purpose, on a smaller and sometimes more personal level.
As we discussed earlier, the transition from strictly traditional media to interactive social media can be very difficult, and can often require you to act on your feet. Creating content calendars in advance is important in creating timeless content. However, social media also involves trends and what is happening in the world at that exact moment.
Something hot can come and go in a matter of days, hours, or even minutes. Jumping on a trend and relating it to the brand can be a great way to increase engagement and gain awareness. Trends can vary from memes to the format of posts to popular current events or situations. It is important to also note what channel they are popular on, as some trends are only used on one specific social media channel. For example, memes and comedy are typically reserved for blogs and microblogs such as Twitter. Remaining in the know can prove valuable in expanding social media engagement and reach.
CONSISTENCY AND FREQUENCY
Providing consistently creative and original content can do wonders for the social media numbers. Jumping all over the place and posting about content that doesn’t relate to the brand can be confusing and pushes away from the brand voice. Users want to feel like they’re getting to know the brand, and they can’t do that if the posts don’t correspond or relate to their values.
Consistency is important in posts themselves, and frequency of posts is also important. Users will unfollow if they notice you only post once every three months. Social media channels are great for updating followers on new products, services, or things happening relating to the company. Try to post as much as once a day, but remain consistent in your posting schedule as well. Users like to know when they can expect content from you.
ADVERTISE YOUR ACCOUNTS
Get those usernames out there! Use other platforms to advertise your social media accounts. As important as it is to dig deep and far on your social accounts, it can never hurt to advertise your social media in other places. Put the handles at the bottom of flyers and posters. Get the word out there and remain active on the accounts.
Creating an expanding following on social media can be a stressful and time consuming project, especially when you have been trying for a long time. It takes time and patience, but don’t give up!
Creating a loyal social media following can provide large sales increases and brand awareness, and can be beneficial for all aspects of business overall. Remember, when thinking of content to expanding your following and engagement, think outside the box, and inside the brand. Reach out to the student professionals at KAZ with questions about social media following and interactivity!
Blog post by Skylar Moore
Quesenberry, K. A. (2019). Social media strategy: Marketing, advertising, and public relations in the consumer revolution(2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.