With so many brands competing for attention online, your content needs to be engaging, inspiring and relevant; with a strong enough hook to prompt a response. Incorporate these  ten tips into your social media strategy to grow your following, build your presence and enhance your reach.

1. Engage and inspire with optimised content

With so many brands competing for attention online, your content needs to be engaging, inspiring and relevant; with a strong enough hook to prompt a response.

If you create an emotional connection with your audience, they’ll be more likely to respond – whether that’s commenting on or sharing your latest post, liking your page, or visiting your website. Facebook remembers this interaction and will show more of your content to those who engage with you.

There’s a fine balance between creating great content, marketing it well and building an active community – all three elements need to work together for your social presence to grow successfully.

With that in mind, it’s absolutely vital that you set out a comprehensive content strategy from the outset, asking (and answering) fundamental questions about your campaign:

  • What are your objectives and how will you measure them?

  • Who is your audience and how will you reach and engage them?

  • When are they online and what are they doing?

Mix sales messages with fun, interactive campaigns. Be relevant, timely and interesting.

Give your brand a voice and create conversations.

Make a weekly detailed content calendar covering all of your social profiles and use this to schedule accordingly – the more planning you do, the less hassle you’ll have trying to think of ideas at the last minute.

2. Optimise images, graphics and visual media

A strong, branded presence on social media is crucial for increasing your reach online, and can only be done if images, graphics and other visual content are optimised accordingly.

Facebook and Twitter will automatically resize images to fit the corresponding timelines so if images are not the correct size and resolution, you may find your team shot published with heads cut off, or your beautiful product photo reduced to a tiny, nondescript thumbnail image  

The same goes for Instagram – resize, redesign and reformat all images according to the platform specifications they are for.

If appropriate, add your logo to the corner of the image too.  

The easiest way to find out the correct image dimensions for social media platforms is to download a design guide. That way you always have a handy reference point when working on your content.

3. Consistency is key

Make sure whatever you post online fits with your branding, represents your values, and is targeted at your audience.

What works for one company may not work for yours – so always keep your brand values in mind when thinking about sharing humorous or non-product related content on your pages. Don’t try to be funny if it’s not right; leave the cat pictures alone if it’s not relevant; try not to align your brand with too many political or current news stories if it’s potentially controversial or confusing for your audience.

Of course, this tone wouldn’t work with all brands, but the point is consistent branding across all online channels is key to success.

4. Beat the Facebook algorithm with PPC

With Facebook’s regular algorithm updates all-but-banishing organic reach for brands and the introduction of Twitter Cards, Promoted Pins and Sponsored Instagram posts, it’s becoming clearer than ever that social media marketing is no longer free.

The content that appears in the News Feed is a carefully constructed product of Facebook’s algorithm, EdgeRank, which decides what is relevant to each user based on interest, post-performance, creator of the content, post type and time that it was created.

Boost the reach of your posts quickly by using the ‘Boost Post’ button or use Power Editor to manage multiple sponsored posts and utilise call-to-action buttons to maximise engagement. Decide on your objective – do you want to boost engagement and reach, increase your page Likes, or drive clicks to your website?

Optimise images and copy for desktop and mobile, bearing in mind the 20% text rule for sponsored image posts.

5. Make use of Twitter Cards and paid Twitter campaigns

These re-usable tweet extensions with additional images, content and calls to action are a great way to maximise your Twitter engagement.

Users can sign up to your email list, download apps, play video and media content directly within the tweet, with one tap or click. You can share blog posts, web content and other news or products with thumbnail image previews, descriptions and teaser content to entice users to click through.

There are eight types of Twitter Cards: Summary, Photo, App, Player, Product, Website and Lead Generation, and all are free apart from the Lead Generation card, and all are created and managed within the Twitter Ads dashboard.

All Cards apart from the Website and Lead Generation require you to add some meta tags and code to your site to pull the correct data.

6. Instagram optimised content and sponsored posts

Unlike other social networks, you can’t schedule posts or include clickable links within your Instagram updates – so it’s very much a real-time exercise, based on brand awareness than driving web traffic.

This means each photo has on average about a four-hour lifespan before it disappears underneath the stream of other content. 

Think about the best times to post for your audience – when will your customers be checking Instagram?

Make sure all images are resized and optimised to the correct dimensions – don’t just crop the landscape photo you uploaded to Facebook. Don’t post complicated link URLS (if at all) in the description of the image as people cannot click through. Optimise your bio to include a link and a short, sharp intro to your brand here instead.

With the introduction of Sponsored Posts in the UK and more recent launch of autoplay video ads in the US, start thinking about allocating a budget to push content on this channel to increase your reach and engagement.

7. Use analytics to gain insight

Perhaps the most crucial element of your social media campaign is analytics. If you’re not already monitoring your campaigns you need to start now. How can you measure success if you’re not monitoring the response?

At the beginning of the campaign you should’ve set out your content strategy and metrics to measure success and return on investment. This doesn’t have to be a monetary value – social media is about having conversations, building communities and brand awareness in a social, informal space.

Whether it’s website traffic, product sales and enquiries, social page likes and engagement, email signups or more, decide on your objectives at the beginning and use Google Analytics alongside other insight platforms and scheduling tools to gain insight and inform your future decisions.

The newly updated Pinterest Analytics dashboard, for example, offers a wealth of information on your Pinterest Business profile, audience and activity from your website, showing impressions, repins, clicks and likes.  

Pinterest is a great platform for ecommerce – its users usually have more money and intent to buy than Facebook users, and use as inspiration/mood boards. If you’ve got a product or service to sell make sure you’re maximising your presence on Pinterest to connect with this audience.

Setting out objectives and metrics to measure ROI by at the start will give you clear targets to meet and benchmarks to work by – making the whole process much more streamlined and focused.  

Monitor and adapt your paid content, strategy, chosen platforms and future plans on a continual basis. Listen to your audience and keep monthly statistics and engagement reports so you can look back and see how it worked.

8. Be different

Each social network serves a different purpose, with different audiences, and different interactions – and should therefore have its own content strategy.

With the host of scheduling tools available online nowadays, it’s tempting to recycle content and post the same updates across all channels but if you’re not giving customers different reasons to follow you on every channel they’ll find the one that suits them best and stick to it.

Try to be creative with your content across all networks – set up competitions and incentives, share engaging and optimised visual media and news that works well for each platform respectively, and your follower base and online presence should grow across the board.

And don’t ignore Google+ if you want your business to show up in local listings.

9. Website social integration

Make it as easy as possible for your content to be shared across social media. That means integrating social plugins, icons and functionality throughout your site – from the social login to the Facebook Like/Share and Tweet buttons.

Install the Pin It button to your site and images, allow Facebook comments on your blog if appropriate, and make sure sharing and interacting with your site on a social basis is as seamless and hassle-free as possible.

If there is facility on your site to login and create an account, set up social login options so that users can register using their Facebook, Twitter and other social IDs. Swapping the multiple-field signup form with a one-click process is quick, easy, and holds a host of benefits for brands.

10. Blog

Google loves fresh content, and your customers will too. Not only is a regularly updated blog a great channel to push your product and content out there, it also provides additional content to promote via your social channels, driving more traffic to your website and keeping your customers engaged.

Google gives precedence to sites that continually update content, and keeping your blog fresh is a good way to keep customers coming back to your site naturally.

Avoid keyword stuffing but do pay attention to search trends that are relevant to your product or brand and try to create content in these areas to aid visibility.

Content is King – make yours exclusive, interesting and relevant. Turn your website into a constant source of interesting and valuable content that users can’t keep away from.