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11 Ways to Grow Your Social Media Audience

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Brands, organizations, and institutions use social media platforms every single day to connect with their audiences, raise awareness, and drive leads and business.

With an engaged following on one or more of the major social networks, brands can effectively spread the word about campaigns, new initiatives, and new products and services. However, simply having 1,000 Facebook fans or 200 Twitter followers is not the best indicator of social media success.

It’s possible to have thousands of followers who never read your posts or click on your links. The key is to build a thriving online community of your ideal fans, the ones who’ll actively engage with your content, share it with their networks, and ultimately, become paying customers.

It takes work to establish such, but that effort can pay off, big time.

Looking to grow your social media audience? In this post, we’ll look at eleven simple ways in which you can grow your social media following.

1. Hold contests

Contests can be a great way to get new people to Like and follow your accounts, while also keeping your current fans engaged with your Page.

It’s worth experimenting with contests on every social network on which you are active. Some examples of social media contests include:

  • Comment to win – Participants leave a comment or answer a question
  • Caption contest – Either the best caption (you choose) or the one with the most likes wins
  • Fill-in-the-blank Contest – Ask participants to answer a trivia question
  • Photo contest – Either the best photo (you choose) or the one with the most likes wins
  • Multiple choice contest

Tips for a successful social media contest:

  • Promote it everywhere – Use your website, email list, and other social networks to drum up participation.
  • Do not give away prizes completely unrelated to your brand – For example, if you give away a new iPad, you might drive a lot of engagement and participation, but not necessarily from people who will eventually become customers or lifelong fans.
  • Follow the platform rules – Each social platform has its own rules and regulations around contests – here’s an overview of the key details.
  • Follow up with entrants who don’t win – Send them a thank you for participating, along with something about your brand/organization’s work.

2. Include a visual with every post

Visuals are high-performers on social media, so be sure to include an eye-catching, colorful image or graphic with each post.

Consider these visual marketing statistics, compiled by HubSpot:

  • Content with relevant images rack up 94% more views than content without images.
  • Compared to other types of content, visual content is more than 40x more likely to get shared on social media.
  • Instagram photos showing faces get 38% more likes than photos without faces.
 

You can use free graphic design tools like Canva to add graphics to your blog entries and social media posts.

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3. Share more video

Video is the most engaging content type on every social media platform, so if you can, it’s a good idea to create at least some form of video content to maximize engagement.

Be sure to upload your video directly to your platform of choice, rather than posting a link to an outside website (like YouTube). This way, your video will autoplay as people land on it while scrolling through their feeds, grabbing more attention.

Lots of views can lead to increased reach, engagement, and exposure for your brand.  

4. Be proactive in listening to and responding to your online community

Did you know that 83% of your Facebook fans, and 71% of your Twitter followers, now expect a response from you on the same day that they pose a question on each respective platform?

In fact, 32% of Twitter users now expect a response within just 30 minutes.

Give your followers a fantastic user experience on social by being exceptionally responsive. Listen to their needs, and respond accordingly.

You should also look to publicly recognize people who retweet, favorite, and mention your organization on Twitter, and thank users who comment on Instagram and YouTube.

When you make your online community feel heard and acknowledged, they’re more likely to become raving fans, and your most loyal social media ambassadors.

5. Change your Page profile photos and cover photos

Your profile photos and banners are some of your best and most-viewed social profile elements. Use these visual tools to showcase the impact of your work, and the stories of those who benefit from your services. 

On Facebook, consider changing up your cover photo at least once per month, and remember to write a great caption.

On Twitter, use your profile picture and banner photo to highlight your great work.

Don’t just stretch out and pixelate a horizontal version of your logo – no one wants to connect with just a logo on social media. Personalize, humanize, and customize every channel you can, with a visual image that speaks volumes.

Also, make sure you use the right social media image sizes for each platform.

6. Give people a reason to follow you

Give both prospective and current fans reason to follow you on multiple platforms.

Don’t simply “set it and forget it” with generic, automated links blasted across all of your social media channels. Tailor your content for each channel’s users.

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For example, you should use Twitter to share latest news and real-time alerts, while you can use Facebook to tell more compelling, longer stories about the people who benefit from your work.

You should look to strategically use each social media channel based on its strengths and demographics, and give your target audience a good reason to connect with you on that specific network.

What value are you providing? What are you offering that will entice them to stay tuned in?

Think about the reasons people use each network, then formulate a plan to consistently post and share content that will resonate with your specific audience, wherever they congregate online.

7. Encourage tagging

An effective strategy to engage your followers is to encourage them to tag other people who may benefit from, or enjoy a specific post.

If you post an inspiring quote, write “Tag a friend who needs this today”; If you share a video about Mother’s Day, encourage your online community to tag a friend (or better, friends) who means a lot to them, and with whom they would like to share your message.

Ideally, these new people can be drawn into the fold, and join your online social media followers.

But a word of caution – ensure you employ this method sparingly and only where it makes sense, or it can look spammy.  

8. Use hashtags to get found

There are two great ways to use hashtags to increase your social media followers:

a) Use popular hashtags strategically and sparingly

I suggest using one popular tag per tweet or Instagram post, such as #OOTD (outfit of the day), #TBT (throw-back Thursday), #fail (self-explanatory), #FOMO (fear of missing out), etc.

There are thousands of hashtags out there – check out Hashtags.org and Hashtagify.me to find ones that are relevant to your audience and your content.

b) Participate in relevant trending topics and current events

I check my Twitter feed regularly to see what’s trending for the day. If it’s something that I think would be of interest to my followers, I share a tweet with the relevant hashtag.

For example, on Monday you could use the trending hashtag #MondayMotivation to share a quote or an inspiring story with your followers.

People searching that particular hashtag might come across your post, and will hopefully check you out and even follow you.

PAHO Foundation Twitter  

9. Be entertaining, and use humor to engage

Take a note from the Frederiction SPCA, an animal adoption and protection agency which often shares entertaining memes and photos on their page.

Fredericton SPCA post

Brands that show a bit of humanity and humor do well on social media – but that said, you should always ensure that any content that you do share makes sense for your particular audience and your brand voice.

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There’s no point in sharing cat memes for the sheer sake of sharing cat memes. Even if such posts do get a few likes, it can confuse your messaging, which won’t help in your broader brand-building effort (i.e. connecting with the right people for your organization).

10. Explore paid social

Leveling up your social media success often involves allocating ad spend, however limited it may be.

One of the best ways to grow your audience and gain more exposure is to invest a modest amount into paid social advertisements. When done well, paid social ads can promote your content, increase conversions, and help you reach new people.

Precise audience targeting enables you to focus your ads on “warm” audiences – people who’ve visited your website (if you use the Facebook pixel), people who are subscribed to your email list, and your current fans and followers.

Facebook’s advanced options, in particular, can be hugely beneficial in reaching just the right people with your paid outreach.

11. Never, ever buy followers and fans

Some people assume that purchasing fans and followers is a shortcut to building a huge online community. This is not only bad practice, but it will largely end up being more of a problem than it’s worth.

The biggest issue here is that it pollutes your audience with robot profiles, which will ruin your audience insights, limit your ongoing performance, and will end up restricting the organic reach of your posts. And that’s before you consider ads. For example, if you tried to boost one of your Facebook posts, Facebook’s system would look to show it to more people like those who already follow your Page. You’d essentially be paying to reach bots, and the same implications apply to various other ad targeting measures.

You should focus on creating posts and sharing information that will attract the right people – the people that you need to engage, take an action, and cultivate for a deeper relationship along the line.

When used strategically and thoughtfully, social media platforms can be a great way for brands and organizations to connect with stakeholders, cultivate loyal followers, and expand their reach and audience.

Try out some of these tactics to start building your social media following today.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Snapchat Publishes New Report into the Importance of Privacy Tools in Facilitating Online Sharing

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Snapchat Publishes New Report into the Importance of Privacy Tools in Facilitating Online Sharing


Snapchat has published a new report which provides some deeper insight into the importance of online privacy, and the key concerns that users have in regards to the content that they share online.

The report, based on a survey of over 13,500 people in 11 markets, uncovers some valuable considerations for both platforms and marketers, and reinforces the logic behind some of the latest social app developments, in regards to increased user control, encryption, and more. It also sheds light on how such controls – or the lack of them – can influence people’s behavior online.

It’s an interesting overview – you can download Snap’s full, 28-page report here, but in this post, we’ll take a look at some of the key points.

First off, Snap notes that both Snapchatters and non-Snap users are concerned about online privacy, with 81% of respondents noting that online privacy is important. At the same time, only 65% indicated that they’re satisfied with their current privacy options.

That’s a key gap in the current digital connection process which underlines the need for increased control measures on this front, and more options, like private messaging and audience controls, to help reassure users.

Which is the next key point – the report highlights the three key benefits of digital privacy, based on responses.

Snapchat privacy report

Each aspect facilitates more open communication, and without relevant measures in place, social platforms are not able to cater to these needs.

Self-expression is one of the most important elements, with users feeling more free to communicate when they’re comfortable with the available privacy tools and options.

Snapchat privacy report

Indeed, the majority of respondents indicated that privacy concerns impact what they share online, and how they communicate.

Snapchat privacy report

It’s an interesting consideration – originally, with the arrival of MySpace, Twitter and Facebook, there was a new sense of freedom and capacity to share your voice, and connect with like-minded people around the world, based on shared interests. Over time, that’s gradually shifted, as more controversies and concerns have arisen from over-sharing or past post insights, which has seen more people become more enclosed once again, and shy away from public sharing.

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Which makes sense, but it also means that what we see online is often not representative of the breadth of views out there, because many people are concerned about what sharing their thoughts and opinions could mean, and how it could potentially be used against them. Which is why more privacy controls can open up greater levels of expression and engagement, and why more people are looking to advanced tools, like messaging encryption, to gain that extra level of assurance.

Which is also why Snapchat has been able to maintain and grow its audience, despite rising competition in the space.

Snapchat privacy report

Snapchat has always presented itself as a key alternative for more intimate, private discussion, a place for friends to connect, not to broadcast your life to the world. And while that is also more restrictive, in a content sense, Snap’s approach has clearly resonated with a lot of people, and enabled it to carve a niche in the broader social and messaging space.

The report also goes into depth on the full reasons that influence how and why people share on social, and the tools that people rely on to enhance their experience.

Snapchat privacy report

There are some interesting insights and considerations here, which, as noted, largely reflect the latest social media innovations in improved audience controls, evolving private messaging tools, safety functions, reporting and more.

Without these elements, people simply won’t share, and won’t engage online at the same rate. And as we move into the next stage of digital connection, where we’re likely to spend even more time online, and potentially expose even more of ourselves, such measures will remain critically important in order to keep people safe.

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You can read Snapchat’s full ‘Global Perceptions of Privacy’ report here.



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New Report Underlines the Importance of Social Media in Connecting with Gen Z Consumers

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New Report Underlines the Importance of Social Media in Connecting with Gen Z Consumers


Consumer expectations are rising, as is the importance of shared brand values, according to the latest data from market research provider Qualtrics.

To glean some insight into the shifting state of customer expectations, Qualtrics surveyed 9,000 consumers, across a breadth of age brackets, to measure the variance in importance on a range of measures between Gen Z, Baby Boomers and everything in between.

The findings highlight some key considerations for all brands – first off, the data indicates that Gen Z is the most likely to be upset by a negative interaction with a company.

Gen Z is the generation least likely to report being happy with their customer experience (on a scale of upset to delighted). Gen Z was the most upset by their interactions with federal agencies (only 13% gave a positive rating), followed by investment firms and airlines. Gen Z gave the highest ratings to social media and retail stores.

Gen Z consumers have grown up with social media and eCommerce, and they increasingly expect brands to cater to their specific needs, while they also know that they have both the means to publicly criticize a company due to negative interactions, and the capacity to easily switch, with a simple online search providing a range of competitor brands.

That’s increased their expectations around customer service and response, and it’s important for brands to consider this in their engagement and actions.

Younger consumers also value public health response, with Gen Z respondents twice as likely as Baby Boomers to stop purchasing from a brand because they felt their safety measures were insufficient. Which also works the opposite way too.

Gen Z consumers also put more emphasis on brand values – potentially a side effect of the social media era – with younger shoppers almost three times as likely as Baby Boomers to say that they were very familiar with the brand values of the products they choose.

Qualtrics consumer survey

With brands now able to communicate more about their business online, that’s opened up more capacity for consumers to also get an understanding of their stances and approach, and that expanded capability to connect with a brand on a deeper level can be a very powerful draw to generate stronger bonds and business.

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Indeed, for Gen Z consumers, maintaining a social media presence was the second-highest ranked way for brands to maintain relevance. No other generation ranked social media presence in the top three.

If that insight doesn’t underline the importance of building and maintaining a social media presence, I’m not sure what will – younger consumers want to feel more connected with every business that they buy from, and social media is the key linkage that facilitates such for this group.

There’s a range of additional insights in the full report from Qualtrics, which you can check out here. Some key considerations for marketers, especially those looking to connect with younger audiences.



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Instagram Adds New Stickers and AR Features to Celebrate Lunar New Year

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Instagram Adds New Stickers and AR Features to Celebrate Chinese New Year


Instagram has added some new features to help users celebrate Lunar New Year, including new, themed stickers and a custom AR effect.

As you can see here, the new stickers commemorate the Year of the Tiger, with art by Hong Kong-based Ophelia Pang. The stickers provide a simple way to mark the event, which will be celebrated from January 31st to February 15th.

In addition, Instagram’s also added a #MyLNY2022 AR effect, which provides another way to engage with the celebration.

There’s actually a range of Lunar New Year effects available in the app, which you can find by using the search option at the end of the effects carousel.

Instagram released a similar set of Lunar New Year tools last year, which is part of its broader focus on maximizing engagement around cultural events.

 As explained by Instagram chief Adam Mosseri:

“When it comes to celebrating cultural moments, we want to be a platform where creators showcase their work.

Showcasing creativity is where Instagram is increasingly looking to align itself, as it works to differentiate the app from TikTok, which is more based on communal expression and meme-based sharing. If Instagram can put more focus on creative output, specifically, that could be a way to lean into the rising Web3 movement, in which, theoretically, creators could be better rewarded and celebrated for their work.

These Lunar New Year tools showcase the art of some creators, but the larger vision for Instagram is that it may be better placed to provide a platform for more artists in the same way, which could help it regain its momentum in the face of the TikTok challenge.

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You can check out Instagram’s Lunar New Year tools in the app.





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