Social media is becoming a core part of almost every brand marketing strategy, but in an ever-evolving social space, it’s getting harder and harder to cut through the noise and make your voice heard. If you want to see an uplift in social engagement and followers, you must be dedicated to implementing your vision. Here our digital content manager Loren Aldridge shares five top tips for social success.
Knowing your social brand, developing a unique tone of voice and creating captivating content are the fundamental stepping stones to reaching the holy grail of social: engagement.
But with the best intentions in the world there are a few factors you simply can’t control. One: due to the decline of organic reach, as little as two percent of Facebook page followers are likely to see your posts according to Social@Ogilvy and two: humans now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish according to a report by Microsoft.
The upshot of all that is, it’s becoming increasingly hard to get your audience to interact with your content. It’s not all doom and gloom though, it is possible to ‘beat the algorithm’ and it all comes back to engagement:
1. Image is king Image is having a positive impact on engagement across all social media platforms, for instance Twitter posts show a 35 percent boost in retweets when using an image. In image sharing apps such as Instagram, it goes without saying that quality imagery is fundamental to increasing engagement, but this does need extra special attention if you want to make a dent in the competition.
Here are some top tips for taking high quality images for social:
Always shoot multiple versions of the same image, to get the best shot
Use natural lighting where possible, to ensure your images are bright and clean
Use an image editing app such as VSCO or Snapseed to add a filter, increase brightness or crop your shots
Finally, establish a visual style. Just as you set brand tone of voice or brand guidelines, do the same for imagery across social to ensure consistency and quality
2. Make your captions count Demand attention with your posts and captions. While an image speaks a thousand words, your caption can give your audience a reason to believe. Speak directly to your audience, in their language and make it snappy. Typically, captions are much more effective if kept short and sweet, used to make a statement or elevate the image content, providing context.
According to buffer! a general rule of thumb is 120 characters for Twitter, surprisingly only 40 characters for Facebook and up to 400 words on Instagram. This guide helps dictate how you use each platform: for example, Instagram is perfect for more in-depth context and storytelling. Don’t forget emojis too. Emojis can provide further emotional context to your posts and a scientific study has shown that we now react to emojis like real faces!
3. #Hashtag Using hashtags is one of the best ways to reach a wider audience especially on discovery social media channels such as Instagram and Twitter. Hashtags are less effective on Facebook and LinkedIn.
When writing your posts, limit yourself to using just one or two hashtags, ensuring they are relevant and that the post is easy to read. While it is a great idea to use trending hashtags, use them sparingly – it can be more effective to research your audience and competitors and find related hashtags which your audience are actively using, rather than chasing hugely saturated trending topics.
Branded hashtags are also another great way to make your content relevant to your business, these can be used for campaign purposes, to group posts or for collating user generated content. Use your hashtags wisely – track your community, be consistent and use them to inspire your content.
Instagram provides even more hashtag opportunities… A top tip is to add a comment on your post with a range of relevant hashtags, as they work exactly the same way as your caption hashtags. This way you can keep your post caption looking clean and ensure it is easy to read – we recommend using up to ten additional hashtags here. Also, Instagram stories provide a further opportunity for discovery, now with the functionality to add a hashtag to your story posts – this is a great new way to get more visibility in the search story.
4. Conversation Take time to listen to your community and create a dialogue with your followers. As engagement is fundamental to making your posts more visible to your audience, encourage interaction by consistently responding to any queries, comments and any posts. By doing this your audience will know you are actively engaged. Furthermore, seek out more people within your community by looking at your current followers and who they’re talking to. Make the most of the discover / explore / groups / hashtags and identify new people to reach out to, liking and replying to their posts. Embrace your core loyal followers – it is known that Instagram’s algorithm takes relationships into consideration too, meaning you’re more likely to see the content to regularly engage with. Showing you understand your community can get you far – make your content relevant to your community and engage them, ask them questions, take advantage of Twitter polls and ensure you are replying to comments!
5. Fake followers / fake engagement It’s simple: don’t do it! Fake followers can negatively impact your account, providing zero engagement and a high-risk audience. While in the past, many people/brands seemed to get around this by using bots to like or comment on posts, this is widely frowned upon across the board and is against the rules of many social media platforms. Instagram is knuckling down on this and has just shut down Instagress, an automated Instagram bot, used to like and comment on your posts. Don’t risk your profile authority for follower vanity, the best way to grow your accounts is through developing a solid social media strategy made up of a tried and tested content strategy, community management / outreach and advertising.
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There’s so much to social media, so come and have a chat with us to find out how we can help! Read more about our social media services here, or simply get in touch! Call us on 01603 252555 or fill in a contact form here.