Each second, there are over 61,000 searches made on Google, 7,698 tweets and 794 Instagram posts made…
So how can you make sure you stand out in such a concentrated arena? It’s every person for themselves out there and if you don’t stay on top of it, you might get lost in the crowd.
Long gone are the days where posts showed up in chronological order, now each social media platform has their own algorithms, which largely remain a mystery to most of the people using their platforms. The good news is that there are simple things you can do to make sure your posts stay at the top of the feed for as long as possible, so you get plenty of bang for your buck.
The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing for Business
1. Post early, post often
Don’t give your readers a reason to forget you. There’s no need to be annoying – Hubspot thinks that the optimal amount is 16 times a month – but posting content regularly means that you stay at the forefront of their mind and the more they see you the more they’ll recognize your brand and trust what you’re telling them. If the optimal amount is 16 times a month, work on an average of about four times each week.
Your posts don’t always need to be articles – although it’s good to keep them as the central part of your content . It’s a good idea to support your articles with Instagram posts, accompanying YouTube videos, tweets and sharing other relevant articles that are helpful for your audience. The balance is up to you, but be an all-rounder!
Sound overwhelming? That’s because it is. Stay on top of it all by preparing early. Write your posts and articles at least a week in advance so that you are staying consistent and there’s no last-minute scramble. There are plenty of tools out there to help you schedule all of your social media posts as well – your social media posting can be relatively hands-free, taking the stress off you week-to-week.
2. Know your audience
If you’re using social media to boost your business, there’s a good chance you already have an idea of your ideal audience. Who are they? What do they want? What kind of article would they like to read? Really zero-in on who they are and what problems they need to be solved.
When you know who your audience is, you can put yourself in their shoes and understand the kind of content that they are used to seeing. From there, you can emulate the tone they are used to, while simultaneously focusing on being different from the content that they may be bored of. Make sure you stand out from the ordinary content so that they have to look twice.
3. Be ready to share
At the end of the day, your post on its own will only reach so many people. By focusing on making your posts shareable, you’re ensuring they’ll reach a wider audience.
What makes a post shareable? Short captions and eye-catching visuals.
Nobody wants to read through a 500-word caption just to know what you’re going to talk about in your article. Keep it short and snappy so that anyone can see what you’re talking about at a glance. If you catch their eye with an interesting or funny caption, they’ll be more likely to click through and read more of the same tone. Once they’ve clicked through, your content should speak for itself and, if you’re doing it right, they’ll want to like, comment or even share.
Images are a given – never post anything on social media (with the exception of Twitter, perhaps) without an image; you’ll be easily lost in the crowd. Take it to the next level with an animated GIF or a video – both of these are often optimized by social media algorithms and keep your reader hooked for a little longer.
4. Keep the conversation going
You can post all you like, be the best at writing captions or find the most eye-catching images to accompany your content but it will all be for naught if you don’t invest in real engagement. In the age of automated responses, everyone is looking for a real conversation.
There are plenty of social listening tools available, like Google Alerts, HootSuite and TweetDeck which allow you to scan digital conversations so you can see what other websites or customers are saying about you online.
Like and reply to these conversations whenever possible and appropriate. If your readers aren’t responding to your content, shake it up so that they know you care about what they want. Take a look at the way Woolworths and the NSW Police Force run their Facebook pages – they’re great examples of businesses and services who are investing in real conversations and engagement.
If you’re a business, consider taking the time to follow other businesses back and initiate conversations – it’s a great way to learn about what others are offering and it could be the beginning of a great business relationship that benefits you both for years to come.
5. Use dollars to drive
Never be flippant about using a bit of money to help your social posts go further. Many of the big name companies have budgets that are far beyond anything a small business will ever consider, but a small amount of money can go a long way if you know how to target your audience.
Think about the specific post and who it would benefit, and tailor all your advertising specifics to that audience. Age, location, interests, occupations – consider all of these things as you set up your paid posts to make sure you’re reaching the right people.
Using retargeting with your ads can also make sure that your potential customers always know where to find you. If your social media posts are working, plenty of potential customers will be making their way over to your website. Unfortunately, not all of them will stay there to buy into your products or services. When those customers are searching through Google, later on, your retargeted ads will pop up to remind them that you exist.
Every business all over the world is struggling against social media algorithms, but if you follow the five commandments above and make sure your content is always amazing, there’s no need to fear getting lost in the crowd.
Guest Author: Faye Ferris is the APAC Sales and Marketing Director for BusinessesForSale.com, one of the world’s largest online global marketplace for buying and selling small-to-medium sized businesses. Faye is passionate about helping Australian small business succeed and regularly writes about entrepreneurship and business management.