May 12, 2016
There are so many people out there trying to go viral on the Internet, it seems as if it is impossible to stand out among the crowd. However, social media success is not necessarily that complicated. Going viral is hard, but being successful at social media does not have to be. And being viral can easily follow.
Ten Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence
No matter how big or small your company is, there are things you can do to improve your social media presence.
1. Use Lots of Images
People are visual. They like to see lots of colors and pretty things. And when they are bored at work, discretely skimming the feed of whatever social media account they happen to be using at the moment, they are not taking the time to read every tweet, post, or status they see along the way. They wait to find that special thing that catches their eye. Often, that is a clever image, gif, meme, video, etc. You know this is true because, admit it, that’s what you do isn’t it? It is the truth for me.
Take this knowledge and run with it. Don’t just create content, create visuals as well. If you want to share small tidbits of information, add it to a chart or put some text on an image and use that instead.
Some examples of the visuals you can use include:
- Pictures overlaid with quotes
Plus, it is easy to add images. Almost all social media platforms put a button to add an image right there in the same area you use to make a post. Just save the image you want to use to your computer, and then upload it into the post. It really is that easy.
2. Stop Using Lots of (Stock) Images
What is worse than not using visuals at all? Sticking to stock images. When people see a stock image, they can tell. And if you can’t be bothered to put a little bit of effort into creating your own image, why should anybody believe that you would put any more effort into the content itself?
It actually is not that hard to come up with unique images. Nor is it hard to create GIFs or memes. So if it does not take a lot of time or effort and it can result in great things, why aren’t you doing it more?
Here are five great resources you can use to create great images
1. Photos and videos: your own camera
3. Catch up on the 4-1-1
How often do you tune into the 24/7 Advertising Channel? And when was the last time you flipped through a magazine just to get to the ads or searched the Web for commercials to watch? Assuming you are not in the advertising field and/or are not boning up on your slogan and logo knowledge for your trivia team, the chances are you do not actually seek out ads and marketing programs – though you might see something you like when a commercial pops up on whatever it is you are watching.
If your social media channel is all marketing, then nobody is going to want to tune in to listen. If you really want your social media campaign to be successful, then you need to give people content they want to see, and then throw in a few promotional pieces along the way.
To do this correctly, there is a recommended ratio to use called the 4-1-1 Rule. For every self-serving tweet, retweet someone else’s relevant tweet and tweet four pieces of related content that were not written by you. In other words,
- Four tweets on topic that are related to you, but were not created by you.
- One retweet on a topic that is related to you.
- One tweet about you own content.
4. #Learn #How #to #Use #Hashtags
#Even #though #it’s #social #media, #people #are #still #trying #to #read #your #posts. And as you probably just noticed, when you are trying to read something full of hashtags, it gets annoying fast. Plus, it just plain looks like spam.
Not only is it annoying to read, but it is counterproductive. If you are just using tangential hashtags, people might be finding your posts, but it might not be the people that make up your target audience.
To have a successful social media campaign, you need to use hashtags. But, more importantly, you need to use them correctly. There are several tips you can use when it comes to picking hashtags that will make all of your “hashtagging” efforts much more successful.
- Don’t just use hashtags on Twitter. Twitter might be the original “hashtagger,” but it is far from the only one.
- Never use more than three hashtags in a post.
- Use hashtags that your audience uses. Hashtagify is a great resource to use when you are trying to find good hashtags.
Another thing you should keep in mind when you are choosing a hashtag is just what a hashtag does. Hashtags let people follow a thread about a specific conversation. You can make a hashtag out of whatever you want, but if other people are not using it, then it does not help you. Also, if you choose something too broad, you are likely to be lost in the shuffle.
- #YouMightSeePeopleDoThisWithHashtags, but it is not a helpful strategy. Instead, make your hashtags one or two words or a popular phrase so that you are more discoverable.
- Hashtags end at any form of punctuation. So #It’sTimeToVote would only get you picked up by people following the hashtag, which is both too broad and not followed by enough people.
- Capital letters do not matter, but they make it easier to read.
5. Step in Front of the Camera
What is better than using visuals? Using videos! You’ve been reading reports all day, and your head hurts, your eyes hurt, your whole body hurts. You pop open Twitter just to scroll through your feed, and you see an article on some skill you’ve been meaning to study and you see a video on the same topic. Which do you pick? Remember, you’ve been reading work material all day. So why read when you can watch?
Social media time is not about in-depth study sessions. People use these tools to be entertained or to get information fast and focused. Videos allow you to just sit back and listen. Plus, they are super easy to make. Were you already going to write about that topic for your blog? Just film yourself talking about it in an interesting manner and then upload it to YouTube. Add a paragraph or two about the topic and share your video on your blog – now you have a video to share on Twitter and a new post on your blog.
6. Chat It up
In order to be a social media success, you need to build engagement and interactions. If you are having a one-way conversation, you aren’t really having a conversation. If you want to really build up your social brand, you have to start real two (or multi)-way conversations with other experts in the field and with your audience.
Ask questions. Conduct polls. Answer other people’s questions. There are a whole lot of opportunities here.
- Set a goal of how many conversations you want to have in the next month.
- Define what you mean by a conversation. For example, you might consider a conversation any interaction with at least three responses from someone who is not you.
- Create a list of experts in your subject matter and examine their social media content. See what they are doing differently than you. But also see if you can start a conversation with them.
7. Give Something Away
Another good way to get people involved with your accounts is to have some type of contest. People love to win things. So, create a giveaway that will get people liking, sharing and responding to you in ways you would not believe. Even small companies can get insane results when they add a simple competition to their feeds.
There are many different types of competitions you can have, and there are an equal amount of prizes that could be won during those competitions. Plus, this does not have to be a one-time thing. Set up a competition on a regular basis (e.g., weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually) and people will keep watching you to make sure they do not miss the latest prize.
8. Roll with the Changes
Social media is a river, so if you act like it’s a lake, you are going to drown. The world of social media is changing daily. What works today might be less than successful tomorrow, and the hot new platform now is made old by that cool tool all the kids are going to start using soon. You have to be able to keep up.
When you create a social media plan, one of the most important things you have to be able to do is be flexible. If your plan is not working or has been made outdated by the latest trends, you have to be willing to scrap everything you just created and start all over again. If you keep trying to swim right where you are, the currents are going to sweep you away.
9. Keep up with the Analytics
One of the best things you can do to boost your social media success is to keep up with the data. Study your analytics to see what is working for you and what needs work. Study everybody else’s data to see what is working in general. Use the data that is being made easily available to you to readjust your social media plan.
Here are two ways you can use analytics to fix your social media problems.
1. So you think because you have a lot of followers, you are doing everything correctly? That does not mean a lot. Look at the stats to see how engaged those followers are. How many people are clicking on your links? How many shares are you receiving? Is anybody commenting on your posts? The answers to these questions are the ones that will really tell you where you need to adjust.
2. Find topics that matter to your audience by examining just what trends are out there working. Maybe you are focusing on articles around the topic of graphic design, but the people you are trying to impress are searching for graphic art. Recognizing this and making the small change can drastically affect your success levels.
When you study the results of your social media posts, you can easily find ways to improve yourself without a lot of effort.
10. Be a Person, Not a Robot
Robots are really cool when you see them in person and they are walking around or doing cool things like cleaning up for you like Rosie from The Jetsons. Nobody likes the robots that talk to you on the phone in lieu of a customer representative or who drone on in a robotic voice about things that nobody cares about, though.
So while creating a robot sounds like an awesome idea, it is not a great idea to do it on your social media accounts. People want personality, and so you need to develop one if you want to become successful.
Here are some suggestions on ways to add some personality to your social media persona:
- Tell jokes – appropriate ones of course.
- Tweet soft stories as well. For example, if you use social media to discuss the world of sales, do not just post the news story about how homebuilders are not confident in sales prospects, tweet something a little more fun like the best Memorial Day sales you do not want to miss.
- Follow several of the other steps already listed in this post like using videos and images, having contests, and starting conversations.
So now that you have all of these easy ways to boost your social media success, what are you waiting for? Images and videos are not going to create themselves. Get out there and start blowing away the competition with your amazing social media skills.
Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.