Social is easy – if you have solid content and the means to distribute it.
As a marketer, however, your attention is split between a bunch of tasks at hand.
It isn’t easy to give social media marketing the undivided attention it needs to get your approach to it right.
Sometimes you overlook a tactic that is clearly working, or fail to optimize one that you are working with.
Here is a list of tactics to improve your social media reach.
Create a social media sharing contest
You could use social media contests to engage and reward people who have been following you for a while.
They also work in acquiring new interest for your pages, and increasing reach for the content you include as part of the contests.
By powerfully branding your contest you can also increase your brand awareness on social media.
One easy way to increase reach for a new product or service is by involving it in a social media sharing contest.
The ideal goal here would be to get people to participate and share/bring in other participants.
To do that, you have to ensure that the reward is exciting and that the contest involves something that your audience is likely to do.
The simpler you make it, the more likely your audience is to participate.
Ensure that the platform or app you use to conduct the contest is user-friendly and prompts your audience to share something that furthers the reach of your contest.
You could begin with the simplest contest idea you have in mind – like, share or comment to participate.
Analyze the participation on that contest and slowly work your way up to more demanding activities with subsequent contests.
Fully make use of the data you pull from contests because they tell you important things about your content, your audience and your brand’s presence on social media.
Build a targeted social media following
If you want better engagement on your social media pages, you need a targeted social media following.
Followers on your page who don’t add value to your brand or business are simply a number.
While large numbers are indicative of popularity, low engagement numbers affect your brand’s credibility and hurt your SEO efforts.
Irrelevant followers can also damage your brand’s identity if they decide to include you in less than desirable content.
To build a targeted social media following, you first need clarity on your target audience persona(s).
Define your demographic, identify what makes them tick and what their concerns are.
Go to where they are located on the internet/social media and bring them to your social media pages – with the right content and follow-back links.
A good way to do this is through the influencers in your niche.
Follow their followers, who are highly likely to be part of your target audience.
While following these people, scan through their social media descriptions and match their interests to your ideal target personas.
Also, judge by their following/followers ratio to see if they are likely to follow you back.
Another great method of building a targeted following is by sharing content specific to your industry.
Leverage keywords that are likely to drive traffic to your social pages
You can optimize your search for social media, just as you do for other search engines.
If people are searching for something on Google, the same trends are likely to follow on social media.
When was the last time you analyzed the performance of your social media content?
If you have noticed, some keywords may work for you better than others, on different social media platforms.
Monitor them and apply them to every post that you share on your social media pages.
Here are a few words that generally perform better on different social media platforms:
- Twitter: free, top, how to, blog, 10, great, media, follow
- Facebook: comment, post, discount, when, where, take, deals, amuses
- LinkedIn: researched, developed, created, won, improved, under budget
Search trends generally don’t undergo drastic changes, but subtler ones that are also observable in your audience’s language.
By optimizing your content to reflect the subtle changes, you can consistently build and grow the traffic moving to your social pages.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by referring to what is working for your competition, on a regular basis. You could call this topic mining.
By using this tactic you can avoid doing the leg-work yourself and feed off what your competition is doing.
The only catch is the choice you make for the topic mining.
Choose one of the giants, a company that you know does its research before implementing a content strategy.
You could, of course, go by the popularity of any post that you see is working.
But when committing to a strategy in advance, follow only the best in your niche, or a large company targeting the same audience as you are, but with a slightly different product/service.
Build a peer/employee advocate network
Why add shares when you can multiply them?
By building relationships with peers and advocates (who marketers are now referring to as ‘micro-influencers‘) on social media, you can increase your reach up to 300X times (where X is the number of advocates you create and 300 is an approximate average follower count each of them has on all social media platforms).
Imagine what would happen if your employees fill the variable X.
The larger an organization is, the more they have to benefit from employee advocacy. Besides, according to marketing benchmarking guru Nielsen, ‘people like me’ place highest on most social media users’ trust barometers.
When building a peer/employee advocate network, you have to be considerate.
This relationship works like any other, there has to be give and take.
You could reciprocate your peers’ sharing efforts by helping them promote some of their content.
With employees, you could help them build their authority on social media while helping you push out your content.
You can also create an advocacy program and reward your best advocates.
Post more often and on a calculated schedule
At any given time, your social media reach is limited to your audience’s real-time activity and the position of your content in their feeds.
Sometimes, your audience may not even get to see the content you have created, stunting your content performance.
You may have to schedule your content multiple times to reach most of your social media followers.
A good frequency of posting is clearly necessary to engage and grow your social media following.
Take State Bicycle Co. for instance.
The page grew its following about 100X in three years by posting simple but engaging content on Facebook 2-3 times a day.
It is a good idea to focus your posting to fit the period when your followers are most active on each social media platform.
People generally use Facebook and Twitter in the afternoons, while LinkedIn usage happens in the mornings.
But it isn’t enough to rely on generic research.
You should optimize posting times to fit your social media followers’ activity.
You could do this by setting up a simple experiment.
Take one piece of content and schedule it to be posted on different days and at different times on each day.
You could choose four-time intervals to test (early morning, mid-morning, afternoon and evening) and see the exact time when your content performs the best.
You should do this on each social media platform you intend to be active on.
Once you have your results, you can plan a content posting schedule to make the best of high engagement time intervals.
Interact with your social media audience
There is no point in building a social media audience if you don’t interact with them.
To build strong and lasting relationships with your audience, you have to care, and as Gary Vaynerchuk says, “Giving a shit doesn’t scale”.
You have to pay attention to the people who make your social media audience.
People appreciate if you take the time to respond to them or to initiate conversations with them, it makes them feel special and gives them the impression that they will be cared for by your brand.
How do you expect to turn your social media audience into customers without engagement and conversation?
It is easier to manage your social media mentions when you have an app to help.
Social media listening apps can monitor certain keywords, related to your brand, and give you real-time alerts when a mention has been made.
Some of them also let you delegate tasks to a team to make your response streamlined and efficient.
The key to succeeding on social media is a good content strategy and effective reach.
To optimize both for your brand, it is important to be observant of everything you put on social media and how it is received.
Focus on the tactics that work better than the others, and ignore the ones that don’t.