Because millions of Americans log into their social media accounts daily – particularly younger generations like millennials and Gen Zers – a social media presence is crucial for brands. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and more allow companies to interact with prospects and customers, spread the word about products and services, and connect authentically and emotionally with followers.
But having a social media presence isn’t enough. Businesses must step up their social media marketing and actively seek followers, interactions and engagement. We’ll explore ways companies can improve their social media presence and share mistakes to avoid.
Tips for improving your social media presence
Growing your business social media presence is crucial if you want to get in front of more consumers and make more sales. Here are six tips for boosting your social media presence.
1. Use the right tools to optimize posts.
To improve your social media presence, you must post often and at optimal times – and best practices differ according to the platform. For example, according to Constant Contact, it’s ideal to post on Facebook three to seven times a week, but when you’re on Twitter, you should shoot for two to three daily tweets.
The problem is, business owners are often too busy to be logging into social accounts constantly and generating content. Fortunately, social media management tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can help automate your social posting, saving you time while ensuring your continued active presence. These tools let you manage all your social accounts in one place, schedule posts weeks in advance, post at preferred times when the most users will see them, and analyze how well your posts are doing.
Taking advantage of built-in social media business tools on various platforms is also helpful. For example, Facebook business tools offer audience insights and advertising channels, while Twitter offers tools for advertising and growing your presence.
Tip: Hiring a dedicated social media manager is an excellent way to ensure engaging content, active social media accounts and engaged users.
2. Focus on customer service.
Social media has become a customer service platform. Instead of calling a business or waiting hours (sometimes days) for a company to respond to an email, many customers experiencing issues now turn to social media for help.
Focusing on helping people is an excellent way to grow your social media presence. Using social media as a customer service platform will funnel more users to your accounts and make resolving their issues easier. For example, using Twitter as a customer support channel publicly showcases your service efforts, which can positively affect your company’s public perception – especially if you do a good job.
According to McKinsey data, customers spend 20% to 40% more with companies that respond to customer service requests on social media. Companies that don’t end up losing 15% more customers per year.
Tip: Use a social CRM tool to communicate with customers via social media and address social media complaints promptly and systematically.
3. Promote your social media accounts.
Don’t expect your customers to know about all your social media platforms and search for them. Instead, you must share your social accounts with prospects and customers. If you make it easy for customers to follow or like your social media profiles, they’ll be more willing to take action.
Promote your social media presence to your customers and ask them to interact with you on your accounts. Here are some examples of how to promote your social media accounts:
- Add social media icons to your website.
- Add your social media feeds to your website sidebar.
- Include social links in your email signatures.
- Tell people to follow you on social media at the end of your blog posts.
- Promote your social media accounts in your email marketing.
You should also cross-promote your social media accounts within and across platforms. Include hashtags and account names in each social media bio section to encourage followers to engage with you on multiple platforms. The more people who are aware of your presence on social media, the bigger it will be.
4. Pay attention to what’s trending.
One of the best ways to create a bigger social media presence for your business is to track social media trends and catch hot trends at the right time. Riding a popular trend can get your profile in front of new users and could even help your posts go viral.
Stay on top of trends by keeping an eye on what’s popular. For instance, on Twitter, you can see the top trending hashtags on the left side of the homepage in the Trends for You section. Look at what hashtags you can use to get more views. While it helps to use hashtags that relate to your business, they don’t have to be strictly relevant. If your accounting company can come up with a fun post for #NationalDonutDay, go for it.
5. Focus on eye-catching visuals.
Getting noticed in crowded social media feeds is a challenge, so you must make your business stand out. Focusing on attention-grabbing visuals is one of the best ways to stand out on social media and increase your presence.
Avoid using too many boring stock photos. Instead, focus on images that will connect with users. Share high-quality, behind-the-scenes photos and images of people using your products. Encourage customers to send in photos of them interacting with your product – a strategy that also builds social proof and consumer trust.
Video branding is also an effective social media strategy, as users enjoy engaging with videos. Post videos on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. And don’t neglect the newer short-form video platforms like TikTok – especially if your target market is young.
Tip: When using visual content on social platforms to sell products, post photos of a hand touching the product from the viewer’s point of view. According to Ariyh, this makes people like the product more and increases the likelihood they’ll buy it.
6. Actively engage with your audience.
Would you keep talking to someone who never returned your messages? Probably not. Users won’t want to follow or interact with you on social media if they get nothing in return. Actively engaging with your audience on social media is crucial.
To grow your social media presence, your social media accounts must become a community.Here are some ways to connect with your audience:
- Like and reply to comments on your posts.
- Pose and answer questions in posts.
- Show appreciation to your followers and customers by thanking them and sharing user-generated content.
- Provide social-only discounts with coupons for followers.
- Preview new product launches.
- Hold contests and giveaways to add fun interaction and active engagement.
- Follow back interesting followers, influencers and members of your target audience.
Each social media platform caters to a different audience, so tailor your social media posts to the platform. For example, keep LinkedIn posts more professional and sales-oriented, share light-hearted GIFs and memes on Snapchat, and showcase intriguing photography on Instagram.
Tip: Hosting Facebook Live Q&A sessions is an excellent way to engage with your Facebook followers and get your business in front of the eyes of new people in your industry.
Social media mistakes to avoid
Social media is a complex universe with many details that are important to get right. Avoid these common social media mistakes.
- Sharing low-quality content. Social media users have endless accounts to peruse if you don’t give them valuable social media content. Don’t use generic or predominantly sales-focused content. Focus on your target market’s interests – find what will surprise and intrigue them or make them laugh. Use high-quality, preferably original images and videos. Nobody wants to see stock footage or images all the time, so use those judiciously.
- Not optimizing your bio. Every social media platform has a profile or bio section. Social media platforms use keywords in profiles to rank accounts in searches, so include relevant keywords in yours. Social bios are also a great way to introduce your company to people who may have never heard of you. Tell your story and express your brand’s personality to capture potential customers’ interest. The bio is also the perfect place to include links to your website or email newsletter sign-up page to move people down your sales funnel.
- Using a personal account instead of a business account. Even if your business relies on your name and background, it’s best to use business accounts for your social media outreach. In addition to looking more professional, a business account gives you access to analytics tools that would otherwise be unavailable. Monitor these analytics to see where you’re doing well and what areas need improvement.
- Buying followers. If you only have a few social media followers, you might be tempted to buy followers to give your accounts some credibility. Don’t do it. These so-called followers are mostly bot accounts and people who are not genuinely interested in your business. They won’t engage with you, share your posts, or promote your content. Fake followers will also make it difficult to get accurate information about your promotion and engagement strategies. Commit to the long road of actually earning your followers.
- Neglecting captions. Captions are an often-overlooked way to maintain attention after your photo has caught someone’s eye. A caption can give users more context and might prompt them to comment. Additionally, every video posted to social media should have subtitles. This allows people to watch them with the sound off at work, in public or in a noisy environment.
- Ignoring comments and mentions. Unlike most other marketing channels, social media is interactive, so reacting to and engaging with others is essential. Someone should monitor your social media accounts and respond to comments and questions as soon as possible. Monitoring your mentions is also crucial, so you can thank anyone who takes the time to promote your business. If you need help, social media monitoring tools can track internet chatter and alert you anytime someone mentions your business.
- Not being authentic. Authenticity is highly prized on social media, and looking fake is a big mistake that will alienate potential customers. Use photos of actual employees rather than models, and express your brand’s personality on your accounts. You should also be authentic in how you handle comments. While you may be tempted to remove negative comments to protect your brand reputation, don’t do it. Social media users know there will always be unhappy people; if your comments look too sanitized, they won’t trust you. Instead of removing negative comments, respond to them, apologize for the situation, emphasize your commitment to customer happiness, and express appreciation for the customer feedback. Then, contact them directly to resolve the issue if possible.
Syed Balkhi contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.