Today, the gap between brands’ marketing effort and audience reach has become smaller. Businesses are competing to come up with fresh and innovative campaign ideas on their social media pages.
A new sense of community has emerged from the widespread of hashtags and shares. More and more businesses are gearing their focus toward nurturing user experience through social media communications. Through our guidelines on social media for business, we discussed the fundamentals of how business can benefit from social media marketing.
Here we will dive into proactive social media strategies to help your business gain more social influence.
How to Gain More Followers through Social Media Marketing
There are many creative things you can do to get people interested in you. We have summed up the top 21 social media marketing strategies to help you win more followers. Here’s what to do:
1. Join Communities
Actively participate in groups related to your industry. You can find many communities relevant to your line of business on Facebook, LinkedIn, or even Forums. In fact, almost every social media network has groups related to your profession.
Offer valuable insights into these communities and keep constructive communication going with members. Listen to other people’s inquiries, and offer useful responses. Include credentials and helpful links from your website if you have the appropriate information.
There are excellent opportunities to gain leads and referrals within these communities. However, refrain from spamming advertisements or overly promoting yourself because you can be ignored or even banned. Contribute genuine support can help you to establish a positive reputation and develop new business connections.
2. Look for Unanswered Questions
You are probably doing a great job getting back to all the fan questions and concerns on your own social media pages. However, there are many brands out there with millions of followers, and they just don’t have enough time in the world to address every single question.
If you look into these company’s social media pages, you are likely to spot a good number of unanswered inquiries you can pitch in. Give them your expert opinions and offer worthy solutions. Remember, you are answering as your business page, so do leave a respectable, professional impression.
3. Do Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is an activity where you contribute an article for someone else’s blog, or vice versa. When guest blogging is done right, both parties will benefit from the contribution.
When you reach out to other webmaster and ask to pitch in, make sure you thoroughly viewed their content and understand their audience group, writing style, and topic range.
Provide a short summary of what you are contributing in the outreach email. Talk about how this information can benefit their audience. Ask to reference you by linking your website and social media profile. It is also a great strategy for SEO link building.
Don’t worry about rejections in the beginning. Focus on improving your own work, building authority and producing great content. People will start looking for your expert opinion when they see the value you can offer.
4. Connect with Influencers
There are many influencers in your industry who have built sizable social media communities of their own. Their posts and shares often receive a lot of attention amongst their followers. When influencers share your posts on their own profiles, you can receive great opportunities of exposure.
Take the time to network with these key people. Look into their works, comment and offer thoughtful feedbacks on their posts. People are more willing to pay attention to you when you show interest in them. Spend the time to nurture these relationships and you can be rewarded with a bigger social circle and a much bigger audience.
5. Offer Exclusive Promotions
Everybody loves sales. Discounts, Coupons, free gifts, free shipping are all enticing promotions you can run to stimulate social media interactions. Offer exclusive discounts to visitors in exchange for a follow.
Even if your business is not product based, there are still plenty of bonuses you can offer users as part of your on-going marketing campaign. Utilize social platform analytics such as Facebook Insights and Pinterest Analytics to better strategize your campaigns and track responses.
6. Run Cross-platform Promotions
You’ve just announced another big sale on Facebook. Great! Now do it on all applicable social platforms.
You can run the same promotion across all platforms or tailor different campaigns for each social network. Take it one step further by cross-promote content on different social media accounts. For example, Share a Facebook post on Twitter, and ask your Twitter followers to like your Facebook page.
This may require some extra work, but there are versatile social media management tools such as Hootsuite and Sproutsocial that quickly does the job for you.
You can customize a wide range of functions, from scheduling posts across multiple platforms to running comprehensive analytic reports. It also organizes all of your messages into one inbox which can be easily tagged or marked for completion.
Both Hootsuite and SproutSocial allow Google Analytics integration. In addition, they provide comprehensive trend reporting as well as detailed user engagement reports. Take advantage of these efficient tools to combine your social media marketing tasks into one manageable operation, and save a lot of time doing so.
7. Host Contest with Prizes
Running a contest is a great way to gain followers through incentive offering. With contests, you have the added value of user contribution and engagement. Impressionable events also strengthen a company’s branding effort.
In addition to asking for a follow, you may ask participants to share their user experience and provide feedback to improve your business. For example, ask followers to share their opinions on new product or service.
Nevertheless, it is a win-win situation. You receive more traction on social media and make the fans happy by giving back.
8. Take Advantage of Current Events and Holidays
E-commerce widely adopts this strategy. It pays off to ride the waves of festivity because it boosts sales and brings in new customers.
In fact, many businesses and their social media pages benefit from the hype of holiday celebration or trending topics. It is the best opportunity to create a viral post and expand your fan base.
Make every Christmas sale, Halloween photo, or witty statement a conversation starter on Facebook or Twitter. Tag the related event or holiday to receive extra exposure. Remember to keep these social campaigns creative and relatable to your audience.
9. Promote Website Content
Content is the strength and core of any marketing campaign. That is especially true for social media marketing because good content creates conversation and generates conversion.
The success of a social media post is measured by its ability to capture interest in its rather short lifespan. However, once you have successfully captured interest, the goal is to turn it into a conversion. Lead the post engagement back to your website by promoting content from your website.
Make sure the landing page to that social post contains relevant, informative and valuable content. It should provide visitors with more opportunities to understand your product, service, and brand.
The more value visitors see in your business, the more likely they will give you a follow. Learn more about how to optimize content for better website conversion.
10. Share Trending Topics
When you observe past social media posts, you may notice that some topics generated much more response than others. Don’t you wish that you always know which topics make viral posts?
No need to ask the magic ball, social media tools like Hootsuite, Sproutsocial, and Buzzsumo can help you out. These tools identify top trending topics within your own posts and within the niche. You are automatically notified when a topic is gaining unusual momentum, so you can be the first to respond and share the news. In addition, these tools offer advanced analytics to help you better research, create and analyze marketing campaigns.
As your business gain more authority on social media, you become the trend leader within the industry. In turn, your content receives more shares, and more people will start following you.
11. Share Peer Content
This is another effective technique to network your way to more followers. Share, comment and like posts from other authoritative leaders in your industry.
Include your own thoughts when reposting or referencing someone else’s content on your own profile. Share engaging posts from other brands that benefit your followers.
Don’t forget to give full credit to the author. You can observe a higher chance of receiving a share or like back when you express genuine interest in other people’s work.
12. Present Memorable Images
According to online marketing expert Jeff Bullas, articles with images receive 94% more views than text-only articles. When there are millions of social media exchanges daily, you want to make sure that your messages get across before they drown in the abysmal sea of shares and tweets.
Add attention-grabbing images to bring more traffic to your posts. Design tools such as Adobe Photoshop or any other image editor can make photos look and display better. Great visuals enhance user experience, and people are more likely to share these attractive and interesting images.
13. Add Charts and Infographics
Charts and Infographics are great visual aids to present ideas more expressively. You can convert any text or data content into easy-to-understand graphic presentations.
Infographics and charts do well on Pinterest and Google Plus, so they work especially well in gaining followers on these two platforms. Make sure the visual elements are appealing, and pay attention to the format, color, and font size when you design.
You may opt to use premade templates to easily build and customized charts and infographics. Tools like Infogr.am or Easel.ly can help you save time and money. They have thousands of themes available for easy drag-and-drop designing. You can even customize elements to match your brand’s look and feel.
Both Infogr.am and Easel.ly offer free accounts. You can upgrade to a fee-based subscription to access even more features.
(Insert Infogr.am and Easel.ly Module)
14. Include Engaging Videos
According to Adobe, 51.9% marketing professionals worldwide says video is the content with the best ROI (Return on Investment). In addition, Retailers observes a 40% increase in purchase as a result of having videos.
Today, videos have become many marketers’ prime choice of product or service demos. Videos are stimulating ways to show and tell content.
With today’s technology, you can easily produce quality short films straight from a smartphone. An easy way to start is to first create a YouTube or Vimeo account. Third party video hosts save you bandwidth and have little effect on pagespeed (SEM article about speed test). Upload all of your videos and embed them into your website, then share it on social networks.
You can even make animated films with tools like Animaker. The cloud-based animation tool creates animated infographics, presentations and short films. It provides a library of effects, props and characters or you can upload your own assets. Brand it with your company logo and contact information for effective call-to-action. Try it for free:
Take advantage of Facebook’s auto-play function to run videos as they appear on a user’s screen. You can win more followers with content that deliver an engaging user experience.
If you are making promotional videos, it is a good idea to keep them short and to the point. Experts suggest that the ideal time frame for a promotional video should be less than 2 to 3 minutes. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, the average attention span of adults is about 8.25 seconds. So don’t lose your audience before they’d gotten to the “promotional” part.
15. Make Use of Call-to-Action
Call-to-action is the ultimate component that makes conversion happen. It can be in the forms of text links, buttons, or URL embedded images that direct users to perform an action.
This action can be anything. Such as to make a purchase, to subscribe, to take a survey, to visit a particular webpage, or to participate in a poll.
One of the best strategies to get more followers with call-to-action is to make your content one-click sharable. Apps like SumoMe or AddThis can be easily plugged into almost any CMS (Content Management System). The best part of all, both are free to use. They allow social media icons to toggle on webpages, so visitors can quickly share articles onto their social media pages with a single click.
16. Update the Cover Page
The often neglected cover page image is actually a good way to improve branding. More than often it is amongst the first things visitors see when they come to your social media page.
According to Xerox, the world’s leading printing solution, color can improve brand recognition and gain leadership by up to 80%, and makes an impression that is 39% more memorable. So don’t just stick any picture on the cover page to fill up space. Use colorful and captivating images that represent your brand to get noticed.
In addition, cover pages are great opportunities for marketing. Many brands take advantage of their cover page photo space and use it as an effective advertising medium.
Change up the covers on Facebook and LinkedIn to show your latest promotions. It is the perfect top-position spot to show off your brand’s personality and stand out from the competition. When you get more attention, you can attract more followers.
17. Run Email Campaigns
When you are sending off email blasts to customers, remember to promote your social media profiles in these messages. This is another great way to encourage customers already on your existing communication list to follow you on social media.
These email communications can be weekly campaigns, thank you emails, and even auto responses.
Make it easy for people to follow you. Put the social links in visible places, or make them into call-to-action buttons. Make it even more motivating for viewers to follow you by throwing in an incentive. For example, you can make an exclusive email campaign to "take 10% off when you like us on Facebook!"
18. Retarget Warm Leads
There must be customers, friends or colleagues that are familiar with your business but are not one of your followers. For example, those in your immediate circle, vendors, people you met at networking events.
Send them an invitation to reconnect on social media. Include your company page in the message and ask people to follow you.
Better yet, run a retargeting campaign on Facebook to specifically target visitors who have visited your website but have yet to follow you. Targeting warm leads can give you a better chance at converting them into followers.
You need to have Facebook custom audience set up first before you can create this campaign. So when visitors come to your website with your custom audience code, they will be added into the "Custom Audience" category. Go to Facebook Ad Manager and select this "Custom Audience" in the Audience option to start your retargeting campaign.
19. Find Your Best Time to Post on Social Media
Is Friday better than Wednesday to make a post? Should you post at 8am, not 8pm? There is no guarantee on when to post on social media that will make it go viral.
However, there are things you can do to predict the best post timing that generates more response. The key is to find out the best timing from data – your own data, because it is different for every business and industry.
Post scheduling is a great function that allows you to choose the date and time you publish posts. Facebook has this handy function built in and is free to use. It is an easy and convenient way to publish your posts so you never miss the peak activity hours again.
Use analytics from Facebook Insights along with Google AdWords or Bing Ads to identify the prime hours with the most active users. Target your posts at the right time can bring more opportunities to gain followers.
Use social media management tools such as Sproutsocial or Hootsuite to sync all your social media marketing into one platform. You can schedule posts, respond to inquiries, and get in-depth analytics all from one place. It helps to cut through all the tedious and repetitive steps and can really save you time.
20. Invest In Paid Advertising
Paid advertising is available on most social media networks. Social platforms have become the gold-mine marketing spaces for businesses because of their invaluable user database.
For example, Facebook alone is the second most visited website right behind Google. It has 1.09 billion daily active users as of Spring 2016. It aggregates a massive amount of user information such as demographic, interest, behaviors and preferences. These comprehensive user data help brands to target ads with more precision while better control their marketing budget.
Paid social media advertising does a wonderful job at raising brand awareness and gaining new followers. When you run ads on social media, first set a feasible budget and start with one or two networks to test out your market.
Try Facebook boost to promote one of your most popular posts. You can target an audience based on interest. Then expand that group with Facebook’s Lookalike audience function to include a bigger market share with similar criteria as your original selection.
Social media adverting can effectively target prospects and quickly grow your follower base. Learn more about social media advertising strategies.
21. Bring on the Power of Hashtags
Hashtags was first introduced in 2007. It then became an evolutionary way to connect social media searches and communications.
Brands innovatively utilize it to create successful marketing campaigns. When used appropriately, the little “#” (pound) symbol can make a big impact at a rather small cost.
One thing to note: #HashtagAbuse #isnot #suchAGreatIdea! #IfyouknowWhatImean?!
How 7 Most Influential Social Media Networks Use Hashtags:
- Twitter is the early adopter of #hashtag, and probably does the most daily exchanges of the little “#” within its Twitter Stream. Hashtags in Twitter works like keywords. They are searchable within the community for related topics.
- Facebook links hashtag to users’ posts as their privacy setting allows. Facebook also has a “Trending” section within its Newsfeed featuring the most discussed topics.
- LinkedIn made an announcement that as of July 29th, 2013, they are no longer supporting the LinkedIn Signal feature. It originally allowed users to search for news, status updates and hashtag phrases from the network. The retirement of LinkedIn Signal was the official drop for hashtag use from LinkedIn.
- Instagram is another hashtag heavy social network. It categorizes photos according to hashtags added by users. This makes photo searches within Instagram easy like a piece of cake.
- Pinterest is unlike most popular social media websites.The hashtag in Pinterest does not direct users to search results that are exclusive to the tagged phrase. Only the hashtags contained in a Pin description can be clicked on and redirected to a general search result. It may return any variations of phrases related to the hashtagged phrase.
- Google+ automatically hashtags relevant or content worthy keywords as determined by Google+. However, you may remove any tag or include your own.
- YouTube uses tagged phrases to yield search results of videos. This is widely adopted by commenters, and is a useful tool to instantly search for mentioned videos.
Social Media Marketing Goes Beyond Strategies
There are many tried and true ideas out there for social media marketing and the best plan for your business still comes from what is receptive to your customers. As internet and technology bring us closer, social media forever changed the way people connect with each other and with the world.
Now every business has the opportunity to expand outside of its physical location and possibly reach any part of the globe. There are many opportunities out there and always room for growth, so don’t worry if your campaigns are not perfect on the first day of launch. As you continue to nurture your fan base, your ROI goals will begin to experience steady progress over time.