David Einstein (pictured below), director at digital consultancy Orange Line, says having a large social following is obviously good news for brands. Not so if you have no idea what to do with them, however. Here are his tips to better engage…
Gone are the days when a large social media following indicates the success and popularity of a brand. With Facebook’s well-known restrictive algorithm, a brand is no longer guaranteed that their content will be seen by their followers. It’s common to see brands with hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook, with little to no engagement on their posts.
So, if you’re a marketer with a brand that has a large social following, how can you avoid falling into this trap? Here are some tips on how to make the most of large social following and help boost reach.
Pay to play
Facebook is trying to push businesses into buying advertising — but this doesn’t mean you should try targeting everyone under the sun. While Facebook claims that their algorithm is designed to put better quality content in users’ feeds, the drastic drop in organic reach has many brands frustrated. The best way to make sure important content, such as a new product launch, is being seen by your fans is to pay for advertising. Use your Facebook and Twitter ads to target your existing fans and their friends only, rather than pushing to gain new followers. This will help to re-engage followers who actually want to see your content.
Utilise your fans for content
Followers can be the biggest champions for a brand, after all, they wouldn’t be following a page unless they had some connection to it. User generated content not only gives brands more exposure, but it actively engages with audiences and fosters a positive relationship with them. After all, when someone goes to the effort of taking a picture and tagging a brand in a post, they’re usually actively seeking engagement from that brand..
Some brands are naturally going to have better options for content than others, such as food or fashion-related brands, that will have a higher number of users already sharing their experience with the brand. If your brand doesn’t normally receive a lot of user generated content, launch a campaign or initiative to encourage users to create and share (and also tag) content about your brand.
Create different content
Facebook, despite its faults, is still the preferred social media channel for many brands. Unlike Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and other platforms, the advantage of Facebook is the availability of uploading different types of content. While Instagram is restricted to images and videos, Facebook allows you to post plain text, images, videos and links. With such a variety of content options, why wouldn’t you upload diverse content?
Some brands can easily fall into the trap of posting one type of content. While it might be acceptable for an online news site to post mostly article links, not diversifying the content and its delivery can harm reach and engagement, as a lack of variety can become stale.
It’s a no-brainer that when it comes to Instagram, you must have a hashtag strategy in place. Without using the right hashtags, how do you expect people to find your content? There is so much more to a hashtag strategy than jumping on a hashtag bandwagon by using only trending generic hashtags. A user actually looking for a #coffee picture isn’t going to want to like or engage with content that has nothing to do with coffee. There are a few things to consider when finding the right tags for a brand.
Put solid research into what tags are related to your brand and/or what you sell.
Out of those tags, pick a couple of the big players but balance it with tags that have less competition (#coffeelife has over 2m tags, but #coffeeislife has over 600,000).
If your brand is more than one product or service, make sure you’re only using hashtags that apply to the content you’re posting about but keep a few of your standard and branded tags in.
Experiment, test and learn — the only way you’re going to know which tags work for a brand is if you try different things out until you have the right formula.
A giveaway goes a long way
You might be wondering whether giveaways and competitions on social media channels still work. Of course, they do — who doesn’t like freebies? First, make sure that whatever is being given away is a good enough prize to get a solid response.
Pick which platform you want to run your competition through and what is the best way to run it. Think about what the aim is with the competition — do you want new followers, engagement from existing followers or content that can then be shared to your platform/s? These questions will help determine the best way to run a competition.
Drive traffic from one platform to another
Most brands will generally have more followers on one social media platform than others. Utilise the audience where you have the largest following and highest engagement to drive traffic to other social platforms. Make sure there is an incentive for users to follow the brand across to other platforms, like posting different or unique content on each of your social platforms. For example, post snippets of video on your Instagram Stories to drive traffic to the full video on YouTube. Instagram’s Stories feature is fast becoming one of the best ways for brands to share content direct to users, especially if it has a web link attached to it.
Prompt for engagement
Sometimes all it takes is to prompt followers into engaging with content, such as asking a question. If you want new followers or at least a larger reach, create content that is shareable and encourages users to tag their friends. Competitions can be great for encouraging people to tag friends, and any content that is specialised, relatable and funny, is usually the type of content followers will want to share with their friends.
It’s amazing to see just how many brands tend to ignore even the simplest of social media best-practice rules. Test and try out different approaches in order to find what suits the brand and its audience. Don’t forget that even if a brand has a huge social following, it doesn’t guarantee an active and engaged audience, so marketers need to put some effort into leveraging it successfully.