In March 2013, Nathan Chan launched Founder Magazine, a digital publication for startup entrepreneurs. He began an Instagram campaign in 2014 following a specific strategy. He grew his following to 10K within two weeks, 100K within four months, and now crushes Instagram with over a million followers. You should read his story, how he created his brand recognition on Social Media.
Any brand that does not have a social media presence is already in the dust. But even for those that do, trying to get recognition (and thus a following) can be a real struggle. The competition has never been higher and standing out in this sea of company profiles, accounts, pages, and posts is a huge challenge.
If you are struggling to get social media brand recognition, then this article is for you. In it, you will find some strategies and tips that have worked for others and may work for you.
Find Your Audience on Social Media
If you have not already developed a customer persona, then that is your first and obvious step. Beyond that, however, there is lots of data out there that you can access. If you have solid demographics on your customer persona, you can research where they hang out online, even down to the best times of the day and best days of the week to be posting to reach them.
Choose Your Platforms Wisely
Once the research is completed, you are ready to choose among the numerous social media platforms where you will establish a presence. Unless you are a Coca-Cola, you cannot possibly be everywhere – you don’t have the social media content team that such an enterprise has.
And so, you must choose just a couple of those platforms, based upon your research. Why? Because you only sustain and be consistent with your content creation and posting on just a couple of platforms. Remember, Nathan Chan began with Instagram, only branching out to other platforms as his success grew. It’s far more important that you do one or two platforms as well. Choose wisely, and you will reach much of your target audience. You can expand later.
Customize the Content Based Upon Platform
If you have chosen two platforms, let’s say Facebook and Instagram, do not think that you can simply create one post for both platforms. They are very different. Instagram is totally visual and your text is really contained in your captions, bio, and the discussion thread. Facebook, on the other hand, has no limits regarding text, and hashtags have never really been fully embraced. While the topic may be the same (and there should be some consistency of topics), the methods by which those topics are covered on each of these platforms will differ.
Focus on as Many Visuals as Possible
There is just an ocean of content out there on social media, and consumers just ignore most of it. They are busy, suspicious, and not moved by hard sells. And at this point, the use of mobile devices has exceeded the use of PCs. If you create walls of text, you will be ignored. Whatever you can say visually, you must – photos, other visuals, videos, etc. You will capture far more attentiveness and engagement if you do. There is a huge body of research that demonstrates this. You should read it so that you understand the importance of “saying it with visuals.” A great informal how-to or explainer video, especially if you can add a little humor, will buy you lots of goodwill.
When You Must Use Text
Yes, you will need to do this sometimes. You will need to create a compelling brand profile; you will need to use words to engage, educate, entertain, and inspire. When you do need words, make certain that they are couched in creativity, with amazing post titles/headlines, a format that is easily readable and “snackable,” and a conversational tone. Crafting an engaging text is a tough challenge. If you need help, get it. Find freelance copywriters with successful records, either on sites such as Upwork or on any number of online writing services, such as Trust My Paper. The point of social media is not to sell. It is to tell stories, solve problems, engage, and, above all, to establish social relationships. Be social.
Get the Right Balance
It’s called social media for a reason, and the operative word here is “social.” You are not on social media to sell your products or services. You are there to build relationships with an audience. At least 80% of your post content should have that as a goal. So, go forth, tell stories, entertain and inspire the folks, be a giver, and endear yourself to your following. Every once in a while, you can direct followers to a blog post you have posted on your site or to feature a new product or a discount. The point is this: you need to get outside of yourself and your sales and profits goals and get into serving others.
One of the most impressive and revered types of social media content is that of a company that takes on a social cause and gets its followers involved too.
Another major type of content engagement is surveys, contests, quizzes, etc. They don’t even have to relate to your niche – they only need to relate to topics that are of interest to your audience and/or provide a prize that is valuable. You can even make sharing the content as an “entry ticket” to a contest.
An additional great strategy is that of “newsjacking.” You can take a major news item and find a creative way to comment on it and start a discussion. And if it relates to your niche, all the better. How many bottled water companies do you think grabbed hold of the Flint water crisis and used it to make donations and promote conversations?
Find Indirectly Related Businesses and Collaborate
There are plenty of established businesses on social media whose audiences are the same as yours. When you can find those that are not in your specific niche, you can set up collaborative relationships to promote one another and both add to your followings.
And even better? Give shout outs to other businesses that share your audience, without any expectation of getting the same in return. Most companies have social mention software that alerts them when they are mentioned anywhere (you should have this too), and they will link to the post that gave them some free publicity. They will feel good about you and will probably feel compelled to give you some free publicity too.
Track, Track, Track
Social mention software is just one thing you can do to track. But the great thing about it is that you receive alerts whenever someone comments on a post. Then, you can go in immediately and respond to that comment in some way. This not only keeps relationships going but, if there is an issue posted by a customer, you can publicly resolve it.
All social media platforms have tracking analytics so that you can evaluate the effectiveness of your content. You will be able to see which types of posts are getting the most likes and shares and where your newer traffic is coming from. These insights should drive what you do going forward.
Begin with These
These eight tips should give you a bit to “chew on” as you review what you have done thus far and which of these you can use to boost your brand on social media. These strategies have proved successful for others, and there is no reason they should not for you. Go slowly and deliberately. You will probably not crush social media at the level that Nathan Chan did (he is the exception), but over time, if you persevere and keep consistency, you will crush it enough to gain a large following.