It’s common knowledge that you should be using social media to grow your business, and yet, there are so few who do it effectively.
There is just so much noise in the social media marketing world. Listicles of 50 tactics to grow your follower count are all over the place, but more often than not, those will leave you scratching your head – when it comes to what you should actually do to make a difference to your bottom line.
Using smart tactics can increase your engagement while also providing better engagement for your effort and time investment. The key thing to foster, though, is the right kind of engagement where you not only increase the number of people who interact but also the loyalty of those people.
Through social media, potential customers can learn to trust you, which will then make them more likely to buy your products in the future. If you’re using social media to market your business, then it’s this kind of trust-based audience engagement that you’re after, because that’s what’s eventually going to drive sales.
The social media world moves fast, and it’s tough to stay on top of the latest trends. But often you don’t need to if you want to create a reliable brand. A lot of marketers waste their time by trying to analyze every new feature and hack, rather than just focusing on their audience. Most social media trends are predictable, and you can wait to see how it works for others before investing.
The best tactics are timeless and can simply be tweaked slightly and iterated upon to fit timely messaging and the latest algorithm changes. That’s why I thought I’d write this piece, going deep on three timeless tactics which actually make a difference.
You’ll find many examples of successful companies who’ve done what is outlined below. Sure, these ideas can take significant investment, but once you have your systems set up, you can outcompete others in the long run.
1. Repurpose your best performing content
So much time is wasted by those trying to reinvent the wheel with every post. Some experts estimate that only 10% of your Instagram followers will ever see what you post. Based on our experience, Twitter is even worse on average. If most of your followers on each platform don’t see your posts, you don’t need to worry about reusing older content.
If you know there’s content from the past that really resonated then use it again, as you know the chances of success are high.
While you need to take into account the nuances of each platform, you should be tweaking content to fit not coming up with completely different content for each platform. This is a far more efficient way to use your time, as it helps you to maximize how many people you can reach with minimal amounts of work.
Other people feel they don’t have enough time to be on every platform – yet with a smart system, the effort needed is low, and each platform exposes your ideas and brand to a new audience who could potentially become loyal followers.
Look at whatever is your primary social media platform and use the analytics inbuilt to find out what performed the best. Here’s how to do that on Twitter and Instagram.
Starting with Twitter, when you’re on the desktop web app, click the More button and select Analytics. If you’ve never chosen this option before, you’ll need to turn it on. Below you can see an example of what the Twitter Analytics dashboard looks like for blogger Jennifer Gregory.
As you can see, the top tweet of the month is clearly marked, and you can rank posts by engagement in different time periods.
On Instagram, you must have a Business or Creator account to see these metrics. Once you do, just head to your profile and simply click the Insights button. The part we are interested in is the “Content You Shared” section. From here, just click on “Posts,” and below you can see the posts that yielded the most views.
Now that you’ve identified your top performing posts, you need to repurpose it either for other platforms or make a variation for the same platform. Neil Patel points out a useful schedule for some of the popular social media platforms of how often to repost the same content.
The crucial thing is to never post the exact same thing twice. When an item of content performs well on social media, then you should start thinking about different ways you can promote it, using different types of assets. You can use excerpts from your articles as quotes, create infographics and slide decks from your content, or even create short video teaser promotions.
All of the primary social platforms favor native video formats in their algorithms, so this last idea can often be especially impactful. A template-driven video creation app for web, iOS and Android, Boosted by Lightricks is great for this.
The app’s templates are created by designers in dozens of categories, optimized for different social platforms, and you can use it to easily and quickly create several iterations of your videos.
Just choose a template, plug in your teaser text, add your logo and brand styles, and export the video for each social platform.
2. Use freebies to build an email list
Even with the best strategy, you can never truly have the power to address your entire social media audience, and this is why it’s imperative that you begin to collect email addresses of the people who care about what you’re doing.
This past summer, Instagram accidentally banned Olympic gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah for a couple of days because she used a video of herself without broadcaster rights. No doubt if she wasn’t world famous, it would have taken longer to fix, so us mere mortals must be cautious.
The average email open rate should be around 15 to 25% according to CampaignMonitor, and this is significantly higher the proportion of your social media followers you can expect to see each post.
Yet people are far more protective of giving away their email addresses than clicking “follow” – with good reason, given the amount of spam email circulating. This is helpful to marketers, through, as it means that when someone does trust you with your email address, you’re well on your way towards building a relationship that could eventually lead to business.
Freebies are, of course, essential to persuading potential customers to sign up, as it makes for a reciprocal value exchange. People essentially need to know they are going to get something guaranteed in return for granting you access to their inboxes.
There are many different options of what you could use as a freebie, and it depends on your skills and your audience tastes:
- Exclusive content
The best part about this is that there are free ways for you to build your email list and send out your freebie. The number of email providers can be overwhelming and they offer a million features, but to start with you can just use Substack. Take the example of Flow State.
Subscribers know they will get two hours of free music every day. Your freebie doesn’t have to be of this scale, mind you – just focus on what your loyal followers might want from you.
There’s also no need to go overboard with the technical setup for delivering your freebie. If it’s a pdf, you can simply send subscribers the link in the welcome email. If it’s a webinar, then you can just use an exclusive private YouTube link.
It’s a good idea to make the email signup form your main bio link on social media, as it’s the most important thing for your future. Once someone has signed up, then you include links to your main website in the signature to encourage them to visit ,and generally you’d want to include other links pointing to your website in the body.
As Isaac Rudansky points out in the MobileMonkey blog, it’s also relatively easy to set up a landing page that integrates with Facebook Messenger chatbots, where open and response rates are even higher than email. By asking people to enter their email addresses in the chat prompt, you can even use this strategy to build audiences on both email and on Messenger simultaneously.
3. Go behind the scenes
Advances in editing and videography mean high-quality polish on social media is far more common than it used to be. There’s some level of backlash from audiences who originally saw their Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds filled with their friends’ charming amateur work.
Going behind the scenes bridges this gap and makes you feel more human to your followers. It means people can feel invested in your journey, as if they are getting a sneak peek “behind the curtain.” The key is showing the process and the care that goes into what you produce. People care about people who care.
Many of your followers may be inspired by what you do and are curious to understand how your day-to-day life is. Regularly broadcasting live on Instagram and Facebook is particularly impactful, because it’s unfiltered and ephemeral. It creates a sense of urgency, and people don’t want to miss it.
Going live on a regular schedule also helps you to compound your audience over time. Non-followers can discover you more easily, and followers will start to form habits around tuning in to you. Simply by going live consistently and talking from a vulnerable place about what matters to her,
There is a perception of shallowness among those who want to grow their social media following, so through your behind-the-scenes content, you can show people your real why and demonstrate how much your work matters to you. It humanizes you compared with more generic posters that feel like machines.
It also means when they read your more sales-like posts, they have greater appreciation of the work that went into it and are more likely to check out what you’ve done.
There are a few things to keep in mind, however. Make sure you aren’t posting anything that goes contrary to your brand. If your brand is about using cruelty-free products, it’s a major faux pas to have brands you claim to boycott in the background of your video. The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to never create misleading content so that your brand accurately reflects you in the first place.
Peter McKinnon is a famed YouTuber with over 5 million followers and is world famous for his exceptional video quality. Yet he has begun experimenting with more natural videos because he has been analyzing the trends and is seeing more natural video start to perform better on TikTok and YouTube. He’s documenting his journey, asking for feedback along the way, and sharing the results, which makes it all the more authentic, vulnerable and therefore engaging.
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There is no reason you can’t start all three of these tactics this week. When you have a content asset that resonates with your audience, repurposing it for cross-platform and multi-format promotion is a no-brainer.
Perhaps the hardest task is choosing the right freebie but it could even be something you used to sell but no longer do. You can even ask your followers what they’d like from you. Once that hurdle is overcome, you can easily check your stats and repurpose content and dip your toes into live broadcasting with a commitment to consistency.
The best thing to do is start and overcome your fear then slowly expand. Let’s say you do one live video this week, but as you build confidence you might find yourself doing them several times a week. You might not see instant results from these tactics as trust can take a while to build up but it’s important to be consistent to reap the benefits.