It cannot be denied how powerful social media is for individuals, brands and small business owners alike. Investors like to ask about current reach and audience for brands that are raising, and individuals who are looking to land book deals, sponsorships, or record deals are also asked about their social media following.
It's so much more than good content, too. Unless your business landed large-scale exposure due to a TV segment or a celebrity endorsement, the ability to grow your social channels requires strategy and consistency.
Some feel so intimidated by the many demands of a robust social media content plan that they ditch it altogether. This is a mistake – simply because the opportunity available on social media is every digital marketer's dream. According to Social Media Examiner, 66% of marketers saw an improvement in lead generation simply by using social media platforms for at least six hours each week. Studies show that millennials are, on average, 62% more loyal to brands that they follow on social media.
By implementing these best practices for growing your social channels, you can expand your exposure, gain online authority and likely establish deeper loyalties amongst your current customer or client base.
Post at peak times
The time of day in which you post can spell a major difference in exposure. Peak times, like 9:00 a.m. or 5:00 p.m. on weekdays are far more likely to result in better engagement than 2:00 a.m. on a Sunday. This exposure is necessary for that engagement. Engagement (ideally) can lead to post shares or the ability for your post to show up on Instagram’s Discover page.
While these 9-to5 times are standard peak times, your audience may operate differently. Make sure you have a business account where you can access analytics and see how your posts are performing as well as glean insights into the behaviors of your followers. Instagram analytics show the peak times that your followers are on the app, hour by hour, day by day.
This can also help you to plan content. Even if you're excited about a post at the moment, wait until a peak time to post. Your engagement levels will thank you. If your small business is looking to scale social media, you could also consider creating a content hub to track your top blog and social media posts, and any positive brand mentions that your small business has garnered. In that way, this can help leverage your resources with data, plus it's easier to plan out your social content in advance.
Go live for interviews or conversations with other accounts
This is a great opportunity to cross-pollinate audiences and create a real relationship with your followers. Think about it: When you open your own Instagram app, any account that you follow that is currently live is shown right in the top bar in front of everyone's stories. This also makes your brand top of mind for followers.
Celebrities like Lori Greiner from "Shark Tank" have made their Instagram live interviews make the viewer feel like they're right there in the same room. She calls her interview series "Bed Talks with Lori" – where sits on their bed to come together for real, fun and raw conversations.
Turning an Instagram live stream into a show can create a sense of dependability that your audience looks forward to. And, if you're collaborating with other accounts every time, you'll naturally get more exposure. Look for accounts similar to yours so you know their followers comprise your target audience. Plus, it helps you understand your demographics, behaviors, likes, interests and needs.
Get on TikTok
When we think social media, we usually think of the big dogs: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and maybe YouTube or Pinterest. But, there's a new social media site in the game now: TikTok, formerly known as Music.ally. Although many believe it's for high schoolers and dance trends, the growth opportunity for businesses on TikTok is enormous.
Here's the premise: Post up to 15 seconds, or 60 seconds, with your post featuring a trending song. Use hashtags, and your video may be shared on what's called the For You page. Here is where it will be exposed to people who may have never heard of you before.
Every single time you post, the video is shown to new people beyond your current following. Gary Vaynerchuck is a major advocate for the platform's potential since someone could post once and get millions of views. He says brands are majorly missing the boat by dismissing TikTok.
Another common misconception is that you have to have a large audience elsewhere that you can promote your TikTok channel to. That isn't true. You can start from scratch and grow organically, and it's best to get on the bandwagon now. So far, TikTok is the most downloaded app on the app store in 2020, according to Hootsuite, but it isn't so popular that it’s become saturated.
Consider outsourcing while you focus on the artistic side
Finally, it should be noted that not everyone needs to be a jack-of-all-trades. If maneuvering social media with its ever-changing algorithm and rules is stressful to you, consider outsourcing. Outsourcing can entail outsourcing every detail of the social media management process, including content creation.
Or, if you particularly love creating posts and just don't want to think about how to post or promote them logistically, services allow you to do what you love creatively while leaving the rest to professionals.
It's true that the platforms are always changing their algorithms, and a team that studies them in-depth may help you grow faster than you can do on your own. Try for yourself first; there are so many resources available today that can help your business scale on social media.
Final remarks about growing your social channels
Whether you're brand new to the business scene or you've been around awhile, creating content across social media channels is one of the best ways to build organic reach and connect with customers.
It may be your favorite or least favorite part of running your business, but it's one of the most important. As content marketing becomes more mainstream, make sure you're building your brand visibly and consistently on the mediums with the highest ROI. There's no excuse not to take advantage of the opportunities available online today