You might not like it, but here’s the truth: Social media presence, to a large extent, defines your brand identity and value. The more followers you have, the better perceived-reputation your company will enjoy. You will attract more attention and sales and be better positioned to tackle industry competition.
While you shouldn't focus on vanity metrics, you also cannot afford not to.
For higher scalability and greater prospects, you need more targeted followers and better engagement. Because that’s what many people see before interacting with a brand. It is one of the factors that influence their decision to engage with a brand or not.
So how do you improve your social media following and engagement?
There are no textbook answers to this. Different strategies work for different brands. But the key is to proactively invest in social media marketing, track results, and constantly improve.
That said, there are fundamentals you can follow to help you achieve improved following and engagement in 2021 and beyond. Here are 12 tips:
This is as fundamental as it is essential.
The quality of your content is important. However, so is quantity. You need to produce high-quality and targeted content in large volumes.
The more content you produce, the more opportunities you get to achieve your goals.
So don’t just put out one post on Facebook and forget about it for a week.
You need to post a lot of content daily across all relevant social media platforms. This is the most fundamental requirement in social media marketing. If you want more followers and higher engagement, you have to put out regular, quality content.
Now, posting something that delivers value every single day, as you might imagine, isn't an easy task. One of the ways to get around it is to repurpose your old content. We've talked about it in length in one of our blogs. Please check it out to know more.
But for now, let's take a look at a quick example and understand how Hub International did it:
Instead of starting from scratch, Hub International decided to repurpose a blog of theirs into a video. And how is this useful? To start with, it reduces the time taken to write the script since much of it comes straight out of the blog. Adding to that, once the video is made, it can be repurposed further into GIFs and YouTube Shorts (or even an Instagram story, if that's where your audience is).
You can read more about our collaboration with them in Hub's success story!
This is the next most important thing.
Your brand likely has a presence on multiple social channels. A common mistake many people make is publishing the same type and form of content across these channels.
Why is this a mistake?
One, because your presence on different platforms ends up lacking exclusivity. You’re posting the same thing everywhere. So if people have followed you on Instagram, they won’t care to follow you on Twitter.
Two, the psychography of users varies across different platforms. For instance, people on LinkedIn use this platform with a distinct mindset, as opposed to Instagram or Snapchat. So you can’t serve the same content everywhere.
You need to contextualize your content for every platform that’s tailored to the needs, expectations, and culture of that channel.
This is not really a secret anymore: Content with video outperforms everything else on social media. In fact, social media posts with video have 48% more views, and social videos get shared 1200% more than text and image content combined.
There are far too many statistics to list here, that prove how critical it is to incorporate videos into your social media strategy.
So, audit your existing strategy. Scale up your video content on relevant platforms. Fill the gaps with relevant videos to drive better results.
Videos do great in getting more likes and driving engagement on social media platforms. But what type of videos are we talking about here?
In recent times, animated social media video has gained massive popularity, even rallied behind by many of the world’s leading brands.
Animated videos are appealing and engaging. They can tell better brand stories. They can simplify complex ideas and offerings, hence drive consumer action more effectively.
What’s more, if done right, animated videos are unique and can position one’s brand separately in the crowd.
Most importantly, social media marketing animated video is affordable, which is why more startups and SMBs are drawn to it.
So if you haven’t already, it’s time to make video marketing a key priority in your social media strategy. Invest big in animated videos to maximize your returns.
People won’t engage with a social media post that doesn’t prompt or entice them to engage. They will just keep scrolling.
You need to trigger people’s participation. You need to encourage them to engage with your posts.
So, avoid static content. Instead, shift your focus to content type and CTAs that drive action. Conduct contests and polls, ask interesting questions, dare people to take action, ask people to share their experiences, tell them to tag their friends.
Engage them with your content, and give them relevant reasons to engage.
Look at this video we made for FactSpread for example:
It tells a story that most of the audience can relate to and it compels them to think. When you combine those with its visual appeal, you get a video that drives conversations. Videos such as these are highly likely to be shared and commented upon.
This is the ultimate truth of social media marketing in 2021: Organic growth on channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is tough.
You need to rely on paid ads to attract top-of-the-funnel attention to your social media profile.
Therefore, a significant part of your marketing budget should go towards social media ads.
Run interesting ads on key channels and reach out to targeted people. For this, you would first need to create a buyer persona.
This is a simple tactic that can do wonders if your website gets decent traffic.
Prompt your website visitors to connect with your brand on social media platforms.
For instance, if your blog posts are attracting organic traffic, end those posts with a CTA box that prompts people to follow you on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other relevant channels.
In between your website content, embed your social media posts for higher exposure.
There are several ways to do this, from pop-ups to hello bars, to redirect your website traffic to social media.
Many people make two common mistakes with this:
First, they don’t use hashtags in their caption.
Or second, they use unnecessary, irrelevant hashtags.
Don’t be either of them!
Ensure that with each post, you’re including the right hashtags that target a fitting audience base. This is a very basic tactic to attract attention.
Consumers don’t want to engage with a static company. They want to engage with brands that seem to have personalities.
You must break out of this shell wherein your brand presence on social media is formal and almost robotic. You need to adopt a more human persona that’s engaging, interesting, and lively, maybe with a subtle sense of humor.
Many leading brands have adopted this strategy, and for good reason.
Respond to people’s comments. Join their ongoing conversations. Talk about the latest (non-controversial) happenings in the world. Crack a good-natured inoffensive joke or two.
In all, make sure your brand acts as a human on social media platforms and not a robot.
The goal here is that when people interact with your brand online, they should feel like they’re chatting with someone who has a personality and a soul, rather than interacting with a bot.
Look at this video by Cartoon Network, for example:
By talking about a sensitive topic that is highly relevant to its audience, Cartoon Network managed to come across as more relatable and humane than it normally would as a channel.
Let’s be clear about this: Unfortunately, there’s no proven formula or hard-and-fast rules that are guaranteed to make your strategy work.
For instance, you could imitate what works well for your competitors-- and it can turn into a PR nightmare when you do it.
This is why experimenting, aka A/B testing, is very important.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different things. Post unique types of content; post different types of images and animated videos. As you do, keep track of the effectiveness of different CTAs. For example, watch what day and time brings you more engagement. Focus your attention more on what drives better results. Calculate the combinations that work best for your social media marketing.
Automation is a fantastic tool that can help scale up your efforts.
You could post five pieces of content on Instagram and get a reach of 5,000. But with automation, you could post ten pieces of content and reach 10,000 with less effort.
Many social media marketing tools offer powerful automation. Invest in them and unlock exponential scalability for your social media marketing efforts.
Automation can provide you with direct and indirect opportunities to grow your social media presence.
This is not a “tactic” per se. But it’s a key piece of the puzzle worth mentioning.
On social media, your direct industry competitors aren’t the only competitors you have to deal with. Thousands of brands are also vying for consumers’ attention. That makes all of them your competitors.
The first and most important step is hooking people’s attention instantly, or else they would keep scrolling. This is especially true if your brand positioning isn’t strong enough.
After all, no matter how much content you produce and how many ads you run, if you can’t grab people’s attention, nothing else will work.
There are many ways to hook attention instantly on social media and then funnel down those individuals into a meaningful conversation. And this is a whole different topic of discussion altogether. But one good option is to try animated videos combined with big giveaways to get people’s attention instantly.
These are all just a few tips to increase your social media following and engagement in 2021.
It can sound daunting, but the good news is that it’s really not as difficult as some make it out to be. This is a goal that you can absolutely achieve, no matter what size your business.
But you do need the right plan, strategy, and approach to grow on social media platforms. Start today, execute the defined steps, aggressively track results and consistently improve.