Hands down, strengthening your social media is an excellent way to grow your business, your network, and your career. The problem, though, is that quite a lot of people don’t actually know how to use it correctly. While having a large social media following can be super helpful in getting the news spread about your brand or services, it’s not essential. Even the best of the best can agree—having followers doesn’t necessarily translate to sales.
So how do you strengthen your social media—in both quality and quantity? And how do you grow it without spending hours and hours emailing, pitching, creating graphics and scheduling posts? As a freelance writer and business owner, I’ve spent a lot of time running social media for various companies and websites, as well as multiple accounts to build my personal career. The truth is, social media doesn’t have to be a burden. Here are some tips to boost what you have without burning you out.
1. Identify your brand and build around it.
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen (and made!) when it comes to social media is trying to do and be too much. Every single day we’re inundated with images, graphics, videos, etc. all promoting business, people and products. It’s a lot! And it becomes human nature to try to emulate all that we love and come across.
My suggestion? Don’t. Rather than trying to copy ideas, colors, and designs from a multitude of places, focus in on what you want your brand to be. Creating a unique brand will, of course, help your content and pages to stand out, but it will also keep you from becoming a montage of everyone else. This also takes the pressure off when it comes to creating. Rather than trying to come up with new designs all the time, you can incorporate the branded colors, logos, and concepts over and over again, but in new ways.
2. Think ahead and get an online scheduler.
When it comes to strengthening your social media, thinking ahead is key. Though there are probably a million things you’re thinking about each day, try to focus ahead and plan out your content as much as possible. This will not only save you time in the long run, but it takes pressure off your day-to-day and gives you more time for other obligations.
You’ll also want to use an online scheduler. Buffer (among many sites and services) is an excellent tool that offers both free and paid plans, depending on how much you want to post and how many accounts you have. Using a tool like this can help you schedule out your posts to run automatically—hassle free!
3. Use call-to-actions to do the dirty work for you.
Call-to-actions are great ways to engage your followers. What are these? Basically captions or prompts that encourage the viewer/follower to do something upon seeing the post. Some examples are book giveaways, captions soliciting responses with text/tag/emoji, contests, etc.)
Make sure you do the research on what, exactly, you can include in your post (Ex: You might want to specify what your giveaway is affiliated with, and what it’s not). You’ll also want to make sure you are using fair methods to select winners and backing up what you advertise as free, if that applies.
Call-to-actions are great and easy ways to encourage followers to ‘like,’ ‘share,’ ‘tag friends,’ and get your content spread outside of your immediate network. They also create a buzz about you/your company, which will speak for itself!
4. Focus on consistency.
Staying consistent can help tremendously in strengthening your social media presence. With multiple sites working under algorithms, making sure you’re posting frequently is a must if you want your content to be seen. This doesn’t necessarily mean posting the same type of content, but making sure you’re putting yourself and your work out there.
In terms of your graphics, see if you can create some consistency in regards to color or layout. This is especially important with visual platforms, like Instagram, where followers are drawn to ‘cleaner,’ well laid-out pages rather than disheveled, hard-to-read ones.
5. Collaborate with other influencers, brands, companies, etc.
Regardless of how ‘niche’ yourself or your company is, there are plenty of other brands that are similar in content, or can resonate with your message. Rather than seeing them as competition, see them as an opportunity for collaboration.
Reach out to other people in your network and team up for giveaways, contests, product releases, etc. Not only will this help you tap into another audience pool, but you can also grow into another network of people in your specific industry.
6. Use a 60-40 rule.
Social media is a great tool for selling products and services, but that’s not its sole purpose! Regardless of how badly you want to sell content on your pages, make sure that you’re following a 60-40 rule (or similar). 60% of your content should be unrelated to what you’re selling/offering. Perhaps you can share an anecdote about the company, a behind-the-scenes feature on you, an inspirational quote or photo, etc. The other 40% can be salesy nature. This balance will show viewers/followers that you’re genuine and looking for engagement over purchases.
7. Tap into old content for fillers.
Don’t have enough time to create and post new content? Don’t stress. Instead, tap into older content and use those pieces/graphics etc. as fillers. You can also use things like reviews, or even re-shares from other brands to keep your pages active.
Strengthening your social media isn’t about always making things new, new, new. Create a look and feel that you desire, stick to a schedule, and let your pages reflect you naturally and organically.
Marisa Donnelly is a Midwest-born, West Coast-based writer, poet, essayist, editor, and founder of an independent writing coaching/editing services company, Be A Light LLC.
She is the author of the poetry collection, Somewhere On A Highway, and has published thousands of articles culminating over 21.2+ million page views for Huffington Post, Bustle, Thought Catalog, and Briar Cliff Review, among many others.