Tips to Grow your Social Media Marketing and Improve Results

There’s no doubt that social media marketing is an important part of your digital strategy, particularly in 2021. The challenge is balancing your time and efforts while ensuring you are seeing engagement and growth.  

Paid social can be highly targeted, will help grow your audience and convert traffic when done well. However, if you are not ready to pay to play, you should be working to grow your online community with organic social posting. It can be challenging to figure out where to begin, but we’ve got the basics. 

Top three tips to expand reach:

  1. Set goals and determine what success looks like to your business. Don’t just post for the sake of posting.
  2. Use video – the algorithm prioritizes it, which means more people are likely to view your post.
  3. Use hashtags to target a new audience.

Determining your goals is a key first step. Running your social media takes time and resources. If you’re just posting day in and day out, or paying someone to, you’re not going to get very far in growth, reach, or engagement. Instead, think about what you’re looking to accomplish with each platform. Do you want to build a community and resonate with your audience? Build trust? Increase exposure and growth? Once you decide on your goals, you can decide what platforms and kinds of posts align with that goal. If you need some tips on which platform might be right for you, check out our blog “The Best Social Media Platforms for Your Business.”

Additionally, when deciding which platforms to spread your message on be sure to do your research. In order to successfully reach your audience and customers, you need to know what channel they spend their time on and what kind of content they want to see. 

If you’re a small team, don’t spread yourself thin. Just because all of these platforms exist doesn’t mean you have to be on all of them. It’s better to do a couple of channels well than try to do all of them poorly. 

Step 1: Determine Your Goals

Sephora: Determining goals across social media platformsAn example of a company that does platform-specific goals well is Sephora. They’re clearly a huge brand with a big marketing budget, but there’s still a lot to learn from the company as a small or medium-sized. Sephora’s channels include Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and even its own platform through its website, the Beauty Insider Community.

Each platform serves a different purpose in its overall marketing. For example, Instagram highlights non-Sephora products that the company carries; no doubt a huge incentive for other brands to be carried by the beauty sales giant. Meanwhile, YouTube is for video tutorials, while their own platform is for building community through two-way communication with customers and their fellow shoppers, industry experts, and Sephora staff.

Sephora does an excellent job of diversifying its content, reaching a wide audience and engaging with its customers and potential customers in a variety of ways. Take a look at each of the platforms your company is on. Do they each have a clear goal and purpose?

The Social Media Basic Tips You Need to Know

Once you’ve figured out your goals for each platform, what’s next? Here, we’ll break down trends in social media, what a social post should include, and why hashtags and video are key to expanding your reach. 

The Rise and Importance of Video

The importance of videoAs content becomes more saturated, marketers are turning to video to appeal to users. Video is proving to be a more effective tool than static images and graphics, with 70% of marketers reporting video converting better than any other medium. Marketers also see a substantial conversion rate improvement when video is included in email and landing pages. 

 Video is also dominating social: 66% of teens watch online video every day, TikTok and Instagram Reels have taken off, and Instagram Live usage increased by 70% in March and April 2020 as people turned to their devices during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The medium is sure to continue pulling advertising dollars, considering the improved ROI it brings marketers. The tech platform giants aren’t letting that opportunity slip: Instagram has rolled out 3 different lengths of video in the last few years (IGTV, in-grid, and now Reels). Additionally, 500 hours of video content are uploaded onto YouTube every minute and the average visitor spends 40 minutes on the site at a time. 

Video best practices:

  • Hook people early: You have 8 seconds to grab people’s attention, after that, they lose interest. So keep your videos short and punchy.
  • Add subtitles: Adding closed captioning is not only important for accessibility, it’s also key for ensuring your content is consumed by those watching on silent, and it turns out that’s a lot of people. 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound.  
  • Include CTA’s: Make sure your audience has a clear path to their next step. This might be to like, subscribe, and receive notifications for when you post more content. Or, it could be directing them to purchase or get more information. You can do this within the audio (and subtitles) of your video and/or with animations. 
  • Consider your platform: Different platforms allow for different lengths of video. Keep this in mind when filming or creating a video. A great way to repurpose video content is to edit new versions for social media. For example, you might make a long, guided demo of your product for Youtube and then edit a shorter version for Facebook, and multiple shorter versions and teasers for Instagram. Facebook allows for videos that are either 240 minutes long or 10GB large while Instagram is only 15 seconds for reels, 60 seconds for in-grid videos or 15 minutes for IGTV. On YouTube, you have a 15 minute cap unless your account is verified and then you can upload video up to 12 hours long, or as large as 128 GB. 

Anatomy of a Social Post

Consider the best way to reach your audience and what kind of content they like to consume. Once that customer or potential customer reaches your page, be sure to impress them with consistency across platforms through your branding. Consistency is key, and your platforms should include branded content like graphics, videos, and gifs. 

Tip: if you’re looking for more info on how to create consistent branding across your channels, check out our blog on “How to Use Canva to Create Graphics and Video.”

Once you’ve posted, be sure to regularly check your insights to see what kind of post and content performs best on which channels. 

Types of social media posts for the best engagementTypes of posts: 

  • Text Only: The ultimate no-go in modern social media. Gone are the days you could post a status on Facebook and get loads of engagement. The algorithms have changed and these types of posts won’t get any eyes. 
  • Text with graphic: Alway include colourful graphic or appealing images as your posts.  Long captions are proving to be more successful these days, and things that boost engagement like polls, stickers, and asking questions in comments are key to growing your following. 
  • Text with video: Upload video content to all of your social channels for best results.
  • Curated: User-generated content is a great way to increase posting and share your product without devoting extra marketing dollars. You can also curate other great content from partners, like-minded sources, or thought-leaders in your industry. Add your take on it in the comments or when you re-post to share. 

Why Include Hashtags?

Hashtags are key for driving reach and engagement, but they don’t necessarily need to be used on all platforms. Hashtags are most important on Instagram, where you’re permitted to include 30 per post, but adding at least one can improve engagement by 12.6%. Twitter is also a great platform to improve reach with hashtags, while Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest also allow them but don’t gain as much traction. 

Do your research
Regardless of the platform, hashtag research is key. Find hashtags that your audience follows, create branded hashtags, and go small, as niche hashtags are the best way to grow engagement. Rather than only using #love (1.8 billion posts) or #dog (267 million posts) get more specific and target smaller audiences to find people who are actually interested in your posts. 

On Twitter, it’s best to stick to one or two very specific hashtags that are relevant to your tweet or the conversation you’re following. This is a great way to follow an event (virtual or in-person), breaking news, and what’s trending. When possible, do your research around an event hashtag or product launch and create your own branded version so your followers can follow your coverage of it. 

How to choose your Instagram hashtags

A good rule of thumb is to start your research here.

Have 6 hashtag groups and 5 hashtags in each group:

  1. Hyper focussed and niche, like your branded hashtags and exactly what’s in your image
  2. Under 10,000 posts 
  3. Between 10,000 and 50,000 posts
  4. Between 50,000 and 100,000 posts
  5. Between 100,000 and 500,0000 posts
  6. 500,000 posts+

Once you’ve found a good group of hashtags to use, think about which ones are really going to resonate. Go too big and you’ll get lost, go too small and you won’t have strong reach. It’s a tough balance, but it’s better to reach quality interactions than going too broad and being seen by people who won’t take any notice. Try to prioritize hashtags that will get in front of people who are likely to engage with your content and create lasting interactive followers.

Creating your social media strategy

There are a lot of moving parts to consider when building your strategy. Ultimately, your platforms should each have a definition of success and be a way to connect and interact with your audience. Once you know your goals, choose the platform that will help you reach them. If you need some tips on which platform might be right for you, check out our blog “New to Social Media Marketing? Get Results With the Best Platforms for Your Business.”

Once you get going, the insights you gather from your channels are extremely valuable, so don’t shy away from them. Regardless of your business, there’s likely a community that you can tap into or create that your brand can benefit from. 

If you need help getting started on your social media strategy, or could use an audit of your online channels to see what is performing and what’s not, schedule a free call with Coach Kelly.