Do you often wonder if there is a way to make your social media content more visible and engaging for your audience?
Much of the time, when people think about social media marketing, they think about the money that they’ll need to spend to make it successful. Sure, adding an ad budget to your social media strategy can expand your reach by leaps and bounds, but it doesn’t necessarily have to cost a bundle to grow your reach on social media!
In this blog post, we’re going to go over some simple steps that you can take to help build your social media audiences without having to put money behind every single post.
When it comes to resonating with future and current customers, there’s one thing we know for sure:
NO ONE WANTS TO BE ADVERTISED TO!
As marketers, it’s our job to pump out relevant content on a regular and fast-pace to keep the audience constantly coming back. What happens when your ideas become stale and you’re no longer able to creatively produce high-quality content that they truly enjoy?
When it comes to Twitter, many people are starting to seriously wonder why it’s so important to keep this platform in their social media strategy. Sure, some people say that the platform is dying, but I tend to agree with Madalyn Sklar when she says that it most certainly is not!
There are some super cool features that Twitter has to offer that none of the other channels truly do, and today I’m going to take this opportunity to refresh your memory on what those features are.
Building a loyal community online via your social media channels doesn’t have to be as tough as it sounds! Just like any other community, your social community requires much nurturing.
Think about this: when you’re a part of a group of friends, or even a professional organization/association, you’re better-remembered when you actually take the time to talk to and interact with the other people who are present. Unless you’re the fly on the wall with purple hair and bright red lipstick, you’re most likely going to be overlooked due to your lack of engagement.
The same thing goes in your online community! When you consistently make yourself heard and then nurture the conversations, you naturally become more visible to people.
On Tuesday, July 18th, Facebook will no longer allow modifications to link previews. However, some started seeing this change as early as a week ago (myself included).
So What Does This Mean For You?
Any posts that you schedule on your page that have a modified link preview, will revert back to the original link preview. This includes the original title, description, and photo that existed before any edits were made.
LinkedIn is a platform that many of the people I consult with have questions about. I’m actually often surprised at how many professionals don’t have LinkedIn profiles! LinkedIn has proved to be a wonderful professional resource for me time after time, and I know that if people learn how to utilize it the right way to build their own personal brand, that they can experience some of the same amazing results.
(These topics were thankfully contributed by Backspace Media’s Instagram community!)
Getting started on social media can be quite intimidating, as is starting most new things. Common concerns are typically items such as
What platform should I be on?
What if I say something wrong?
Who should run my social accounts?
How do I gain followers?
How often should I post and what time of day and what if no one engages and what does engagement mean and what the HECK is Snapchat?!
The struggle is indeed real.
You are not alone! In this blog post, we’ll cover all of the above questions and concerns. These are all fairly common thoughts for business owners who are trying to embrace this "new era" of digital marketing, which very much DEMANDS a social media presence.
So let’s dive into it:
1. What platform should you be on and how do I gain followers? One thing that you need to understand about social media marketing is that different target demos hang out on different social media platforms. Trying to create a solid presence on all of the social media platforms will ultimately drive you to insanity, so take it slow and truly think this part through. Let’s examine each of the big platforms:
Facebook: Everyone and their grandma is on Facebook. This is a very family-oriented and casual platform, also making it the most-used. (Facebook just surpassed 2 billion users this week!) In my opinion, every business should be on Facebook. Many users of Facebook like to engage with brands and companies on Facebook, including "checking in" at their physical locations and at events, so choosing not to be on Facebook could cause a large amount of missed opportunities to engage with your target audience. To be successful on Facebook, it’s important to remember to get on and engage with comments that are left on your page. Leaving things un-acknowledged is a huge mistake. Show your followers that you truly care about what they think and say!
Twitter: Twitter is a very news-heavy platform. This is a great place to engage with professionals in your industry and develop a thought-leadership presence for your brand/company. It’s important to take 10-15 minutes each day to engage with your Twitter community in order to stay authentic and current. This can be a highly B2B platform if utilized the correct way. Engaging with influencers is a quick ticket to a high and steady followership.
Instagram: Not everyone belongs on Instagram. Instagram is a solely aesthetic platform, meaning that original and branded images are top priority. If your content is truly visual and intriguing, then YES! Instagram is a great place for your brand. Developing a solid hashtag strategy is a sure-fire way to launch your brand quickly into a community of your ideal followers and influencers in your field.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn can do wonders for brands looking for more professional connections and B2B engagement. This is another wonderful platform to establish your company as a thought-leader (expert) in your industry. However, the quickest (cheapest) way to build a company following on a LinkedIn page is via shares and organic engagement with your page. One thing that I would suggest in order to jump-start this is to kindly ask colleagues and friends to share your company posts on LinkedIn in an effort to expedite the growth of your LinkedIn presence.
Snapchat: Is your ideal customer a teenager or young adult? If the answer to this question is "yes," then there is a solid chance that your company will need to find a creative way to embrace Snapchat. While growing a following on Snapchat can be quite a challenge, there are ways around that too if you find a way to leverage potential influencers in your field to introduce your Snapchat channel on theirs. Another route you can take to grow this following is to promote your "snapcode" on your other social media channels! For awhile, Backspace Media used its snapcode as the profile picture on our Twitter account. Seemed to work for awhile, although the growth was slow and steady.
At this point, we’ve covered the 5 largest social media platforms (besides YouTube…(if you do video content at all, YES you should be on YouTube!) Now is a great time to talk about our second question:
2. Who should be running my accounts? Here are some things to keep in mind when truly answering this question for your company:
Who can best speak about/represent our brand in a real-time setting?
Who has wonderful communication skills and truly understands the brand voice?
Who has the time to commit to curating content and engaging with your fans in real time?
Who has a strong understanding of public relations and how to handle a crisis?
Who has an ability to naturally handle risky online conversations about your brand? (ie negative comments, negative reviews, digital trolls)
Who has tremendous customer service skills?
Too often social media management gets pushed off onto college interns who don’t care too much about your brand and representing it well, they care about whether or not their payment will come in. Your social media channels are your digital frontline! Don’t let them go to waste. Think critically about who it is that you want out there digitally representing your company. This is a crucial decision to make!
The person driving your social community needs to have a firm understanding of how to handle a digital public relations crisis, and they need to know how to find/create content that will resonate with your brand’s fans. They need to keep a human element to your brand voice, after all, we are all human beings! Sometimes we do say the wrong thing on social media, but showing transparency is a great way to build trust with potential and current customers.
3. When is the best time to post? Ok, this one is an easy question to answer.
Consider this: when is your target audience using social media? The best time for your specific brand to post on your social channels is going to be different from everyone else’s. Again, it all depends on a day in the life of your target customer. Are they online in the morning before they go to work? Are they entrepreneurs who are also scrolling social media platforms throughout the day? Are they so tired of their phones during the week that by the time the weekend rolls around they need a break from social media? Maybe they check their social accounts first thing in the morning because they are a millennial? Maybe they hangout on Instagram in the early evening to find out what kind of events are happening that evening? There are a lot of things to consider so it’s important to know your target audience like you know your best friend.
4. What if no one engages with my content? Here’s the real answer to this question: if no one is engaging with the content that you are currently putting out there, then you need to change your strategy. Add more visuals. (BETTER visuals) Bring more value. Find creative ways to truly answer your followers’ questions and to continually bring them value. Incorporate live-broadcasting into your strategy. (Yes, I know that can be intimidating but it truly does work!) You have to consistently bring the value. No one wants to get commercials on social media. They want to learn something. They want an experience. They want to have fun! Make your brand fun to engage with, and make sure that you are constantly answering comments. As Brian Fanzo always says, "Think like a fan!"
I hope that you have found this post to be helpful, and I hope that it has encouraged any of you out there who may have a legitimate fear of social media marketing. A solid social media presence is imperative for digital success, but more than that, it has to be done in the right ways.
If you have more questions after reading this post, please feel free to send me a message or leave comment below. And as always, THANKS FOR READING! -Jen
Winning at Instagram takes creativity, will-power and tenacity. Instagram is solely an aesthetic platform, meaning that posts must be eye-catching and purposeful in order to make an impact and grow a devoted following. A solid Instagram page tells a story. It has an established look and feel, a general vibe to it.
An even stronger Instagram page uses Instagram Stories! Did you know that Instagram, like its parent company Facebook, rewards early adopters? It’s true! Simply weaving in some moments out of your busy day into an Instagram Story can significantly benefit the visibility of your account. Need some inspiration on how to implement Instagram Stories into your social media strategy? Jenn Herman of Jenn’s Trends gives some excellent examples in this post.
In Wichita, KS, we have a vibrant community of Instagrammers who post about everything from protein shakes to gardens, from photography to fashion, and quite literally everything in between. In this article, I’m going to highlight ten specific accounts who slay at Instagram, day in and day out. Each account has their own clear-cut Instagram strategy, personality, "look & feel" and culture.
But Backspace Media didn’t select these fabulous accounts alone! Oh no. There was quite an amazing team who helped narrow down a robust list from the Wichita area. Special thanks to Phil Mershon of Social Media Examiner, my business partner Julie Riley, Jenn Herman of Jenn’s Trends and Jeff Sieh of Manly Pinterest Tips! After some solid collaboration, we came up with this inspiring list of rockstar Instagrammers in Wichita. Starting with a list of hundreds of accounts selected by Digital Wichita members, the judges narrowed the list down to these ten accounts who demonstrate examples of excellent Instagram best practices such as: photographic appeal, style, engagement, and consistency.
Our 10 Instagram rockstars include:
1. @igwichita: IGWichita is an account that is solely comprised of user-generated content from Instagrammers who take highly-compelling photos of sites and happenings in the Wichita area. This account does a phenomonal job of capturing and showcasing local photography talent, and gives outsiders an attractive window-seat view into Wichita culture. Engagement on the account is very high, and when you look at the page itself, it’s very much like looking at an art gallery.
2. @reverieroasters: If you’ve been to Reverie Roasters, you already know how delicious their coffee is. They have a diverse menu of caffeinated beverages, and they do a fantastic job of portraying this on their Instagram page. What else do they do well on Instagram? Well, as many of you may know, they host classes and other events quite regularly at their shop, They do a terrific job at creatively promoting these in a visually-appealing way. So yeah, they do post beautiful cliche photos of lattes, but they do so much more to engage the community! Their engagement is high and their page truly tells a story.
3. @locallegacy: If you’re not familiar with what Local Legacy is, then this is your chance to learn, and in turn appreciate their Instagram strategy. First off, did you know that Local Legacy is a program run by Legacy Bank? It’s the truth. This is a rewards program where Legacy Bank has established partners throughout the community. Bank members who hold a Local Legacy card receive rewards when they present their card to Local Legacy partner establishments. So how are they winning on Instagram? Here’s how: they have established a truly genius strategy of highlighting each partner in Instagram posts throughout the week. Each image portrays a lifestyle image from these local establishments, along with social tags and local hashtags to showcase what these partners have to offer card holders. This is a wonderful strategy for growing organic engagement as well as a devoted followership, and I’m sure it does wonders for their sales funnel!
4. @wichitarealestate: Paul and Kacey Bowen are quite the dynamic couple in the real estate world, but they’re also making an impressive mark on Wichita’s Instagram scene with their witty videos and englightening Instagram Stories presence. One specific thing that they regularly do is take snippets from their educational Facebook Live broadcasts and post them to their Instagram page, which not only lets their audience know that they have a Facebook Live presence, but also demonstrates their personality and thought-leadership in the real estate business. Their videos and posts range from adorable housing listings to how-to’s for fixing up parts of your own home. To take it one step further, their behind-the-scenes posts on Instagram Stories truly capture a day in the life for the couple.
5. @theadoredlife: Alissa has style for miles, and she does a FANTASTIC job of displaying it all on her Insta page. She does such a top-notch job on Instagram that she has a sponsorship from Old Navy! This is undoubtedly a sign that she is positively slaying. Her look & feel is bright, happy and consistent. Her captions are very well-written and bubbly, they tell her story quite wonderfully, and the engagement on her page is buzzing. Oh! More intriguing facts about Alissa: she has worked on the Instagram account for Protection 1 as well as the Instagram account for ADT!
6. @akempphotos: Andrew Kemp is quite the photography prodigy in the Wichita community. Compared to our other showcased Instagrammers, Andrew is quite young, having just graduated high school this past May! When you scroll through his Instagram page, you’d never know it. His photos consist of professional-quality images, a fascinating gallery of life in Wichita through his own eyes. Andrew has a strong following of over 9K, with soaring engagement rates. His captions are often short and to-the-point, while still successfully telling a story.
7. @blue.eyed.fish: Looking through Angela’s Instagram page feels like visiting a clothing boutique! Her style is fresh, her posts are bright and very appealing. Her captions are highly sophisticated, and her audience is quite devoted to her. Angela manages Instagram for several brands/businesses as well, so she is no novice to Instagram strategy. Angela also does a brilliant job of remembering to keep the link in her bio fresh, in order to lead her followers to the online listing of whichever clothing item she is featuring on a given day.
8. @eventsanddesignbyashley: With a whimsical style, Ashley demonstrates her event planning and design proficiency. Her page is clean and colorful, with a nostalgic touch to it as she highlights event details and magical moments that occur in the midst of her events. By showcasing these tiny details, she portrays to her audience that she will deliver with excellence.
9. @themonarchwichita: Everyone loves the bar where when you walk in everyone knows your name. While scrolling through The Monarch’s page, this truly is the vibe a peruser might get. The Monarch captures not only moments that take place in their bar, but also moments from events that they proudly sponsor. They do a lot throughout the Wichita community, and it really does shine through in not only the posts on their page, but also in the amount of engagement they receive on their posts. Sure, everyone likes a good drink special, but The Monarch’s Insta page is about so much more than that!
10. @wichitaflag: One thing that our city has that not many other cities do have is city flag pride! What’s more? Wichita’s flag is pretty dang amazing when it comes to aesthetics. Within the past couple of years, a movement revolving around our flag has taken flight in a huge way, with murals and pieces of flag art found in random nooks and crannies all over our city. This account is run by the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, and does an incredible job of showcasing Wichita’s "flag pride." From user-generated content to flag swag giveaway contests, this account is thriving with excellent demonstrations of people wearing the flag, displays of flag art, and even people playing with Wichita flag fidget spinners.
Needless to say, Wichita knows how to use Instagram, and above is a wonderful sample of the talent that we have in our amazing city.
Want to see some of these Top Wichita Instagrammers talk about how they do it? You won’t want to miss Social Media Day Wichita on June 30th! Digital Wichita is hosting a phenomenal Social Media Day event at Abode Venue from 11:30a-1:30pm. The Anchor will be catering a tasty lunch menu, and adult beverages will be available for cash upon arrival. Shannon Johnson from Alaska Airlines will be our keynote speaker on How Alaska Airlines is Winning at Instagram, and Alyson Acklin from KAKE News will be moderating a panel of Wichita’s Top 5 Instagram accounts, as selected by Digital Wichita, Jenn Herman, and Jeff Sieh. Hope to see you at #SMDayICT!