If you’re a small business owner, you probably already know that social media is a great tool for DIY marketing. Here are some tips to make sure you are fully utilizing everything this great resource has to offer.
Determine your goals
Before starting to plan your social media strategy, it’s important to pin down exactly what you want the strategy to achieve. Do you want to raise brand awareness? How about increasing engagement? Are you trying to attract sponsors or investors? Or maybe a combination of the three.
At this point you should also figure out your brand message and how to represent that in your marketing. For example, what color scheme best fits your brand? If your mission is sustainability, try greens and browns. If you want high energy, use oranges. Color theory will really come in handy during this step.
Figuring out your target audience is also key because different demographics prefer different platforms. This blog post by Sprout shows social media usage by gender, age, location, education, and income. Finding the right demographic for your brand will lead you to the platforms best suited for marketing.
Create a strategy tailored to each platform
Now that you’ve determined which platforms you want to use, you need a custom strategy for each one. Every social media platform has its own algorithm, features, post types, and types of engagement. Research how each platform works to determine the best times to post, and types of posts to make. Try out different strategies to see what works best.
Create a structured post plan for each platform and stick to it. The social media algorithms that dictate how many people see your post favor accounts that post consistently. Posting regularly also lets your followers know what to expect. They will be looking forward to new content which will increase engagement.
You can become more consistent by creating a calendar to plan out your posts ahead of time. Research the best times to post for each platform and experiment to see when your followers are most active. You can also use a social media scheduling tool to make posting on time easier. You put your posts in the scheduler in advance and choose the day, time, and account(s) for them to be posted on. This way you can put multiple posts in at once and don’t need to worry about forgetting or being busy at a prime posting time. For more information about which social media manager is the best for you, check out our comparison review article!
Keep track of trends
Trends are a great way to boost reach and keep things fresh! Keeping track of trending hashtags, challenges, current events and more is a must. Try to get on as early as possible before they become too popular or else your post will get lost underneath all the others.
Don’t just look for new posting trends.Taking advantage of changes in the algorithm and new features and platforms is another great way to get ahead! If a platform unveils a new feature (ex: stories), they will want to advertise that feature by boosting your content if you use it. Getting on new platforms early can also be hugely beneficial if the platform becomes widely used, so keep an eye out for platforms that seem up and coming.
Get everyone involved!
People like people more than they like companies! Humanize your brand by showing as many faces of your company as possible. Posts with people in them tend to get much more engagement than ones without a human element. Showing satisfied customers and testimonials is also a great way to advertise authentically.
Nearly everyone has some form of social media now, especially younger people. Encourage employees and customers to share posts to expose them to a new audience. Even if they don’t share, interacting with the post in any capacity (liking, commenting) will give the post a boost in the algorithm.
Most platforms offer insights on things like reach, engagement, and audience retention on posts. Use a spreadsheet to organize your data and see what trends stand out. Maybe shorter videos retain viewers better than longer ones or posts with two hashtags get more views than posts with ten. Looking at these trends can help you experiment and see what strategies work best for you.
Use visuals (especially videos)
People are drawn to images! Social media users scroll past thousands of posts a day, make yours stand out with unique and compelling visuals. Also keep in mind that many algorithms (like instagram) will deprioritize posts that use stock photos, so try to use original images whenever possible
Videos are taking over social media. 66% of users would rather watch a short video than any other form of communication and Twitter found that users were 6 times more likely to retweet a video than an image. Incorporate videos into your post plan, especially ones with eye catching visuals and satisfying transitions. Digiday reports that 85-90% of videos on facebook are viewed with the volume off, so be sure to make the visuals the most important part! Adding closed captions is also a good way to offset this and make your content more accessible.
The Bottom Line
Social media is one of the most powerful tools for DIY marketing! Use these tips to make the most of your social media presence, but remember that creativity is key for making your brand stand out. Don’t be afraid to try something new or bold. Be sure to have fun and make your marketing express your brand’s unique personality and mission.
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