Whether you’re just starting out in the online space, or have been trying to build an audience for a while without results, there are some best practises you can implement that will serve you and your profiles!
These aren’t about your follower count exploding overnight or having every post go viral, but are instead about creating a sustainable social media plan you can follow time and time again to build an audience who is interested in you and your business.
In the long run, having engaged followers who are actually consumers or potential customers for your services will serve you much more than having a large audience of people that aren’t interested in your content.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to do all of these at once! Rather, start with one or two areas you might be struggling with most and look at how you can start to improve in those areas, before expanding into all of them.
Be intentional with which platforms you are on in the first place
Sometimes if you’re finding it challenging to grow on social media, or to get motivated to post, it might simply be because you’re focussed on the wrong places!
In order to determine where your time and energy are best spent, ask yourself these questions:
- Who is my target audience?
- Where are they spending their time?
- What types of content do I like creating and consuming?
We recently wrote a blog that outlines these questions, why you should be asking them, and how to use the results of these questions to determine what social media platforms you should be on. Check it out here.
Rather than trying to create content for all platforms, start by focusing on just 1 or 2. If you decide to expand beyond those platforms after gaining some traction or potentially growing your team, that’s great! But also recognize that you don’t need to.
Similarly to above, recognizing why you’re on social media in the first place is imperative!
If you’re an aspiring author you might want to get feedback on your writing or book ideas, connect and get inspired by other authors, or commit to showing up and sharing your work regularly to prepare for your dream of someday having a book out there. You might also be looking to grow an audience that you can show a publisher, or so that when you self-publish, you have people to promote your book to.
If you’re already a published author, showing up on social media might be important to connect with those who are reading your work, to get feedback, and/ or to create a community surrounding your book. Or, it might be helpful in getting in front of new audiences of people who might be interested in your content and therefore are potential customers!
In each of these cases, the goals you set might be slightly different. For example:
- Share a piece of writing each week and ask for feedback
- Connect with 4-5 people interested in _______ who might therefore be interested in your book
- Connect with 1-2 publishing authors per week to see what their audience has to say and/or what their experience has been and/or offer them your support to keep going
- Ask 2 questions weekly to determine what people are interested in reading about
Once you know your reason for showing up, it’s much easier to create goals that serve you.
Plus, you’ll be able to gauge your success using different metrics. If your goal is to get in front of more people, maybe social “shares” and followers are more important to you, whereas if you already have an audience (no matter how big), looking at comments and likes might be more important.
Create content with a purpose
When you know why you’re showing up, it can be easier to create content as well. What you post should serve a purpose! Are you helping to educate your audience? To entertain them? To engage with them and ask their opinion?
If there is purpose and intention behind your content and you’re providing value to those in your audience, they’re more likely to appreciate it, engage with it, and share it with others.
Your content doesn’t have to be life-changing, but if you focus on going beyond your own goals and creating content that’s aligned with what your audience would appreciate and how you can serve them, you will likely see more success.
Show up consistently
People go on social media to consume content, and so if you’re not showing up regularly for them, chances are they’re going to get annoyed, bored, or simply forget why they followed you in the first place, and unfollow you.
Resolve to show up consistently – using a schedule that is realistic and sustainable for you. We’re not suggesting you try to post multiple times every day, especially at the start! That would likely result in overwhelm and a tendency to give up.
Instead, start small. Choose a frequency of posts that feels good to you. Know that you can always post more one week, but at least give yourself a minimum to aim for.
Here are a few quick tips that you might find helpful in creating a consistency plan:
- Plan your content in advance (anywhere from 1 week to a month in advance is helpful!). This way you aren’t looking for inspiration every day, to help you write engaging posts; get in the zone and write a bunch at a time.
- Create an ongoing list of post ideas so that when you need to post or plan content, you aren’t starting from scratch.
- Choose certain days to post so that you have a pre-determined to-do list and your audience knows when to expect posts from you.
Know that there isn’t a magic number of times you should be posting, though many studies have set out to establish suggested frequencies. This article from Coschedule combines stats from 14 studies and is a good article to review if you’re looking for some structure to start out!
While this definitely can come over time as you develop your online voice and the type of content you want to share, establishing some kind of branding can help your audience to know what to expect from you.
Keeping a consistent colour scheme, fonts, or post structure will help your audience to begin to recognize your content and what you offer.
As well, the colours and fonts you use can help tell your story. They help to portray your brand voice — is your content fun or serious? Is it for young adults or seniors? Is it outgoing or more subdued? Beginning to hone in on these elements will help to attract your ideal customer – the person who is going to resonate most with your brand and what you offer.
It may also make things easier for you as you will have a starting place for all your content!
With so much content out there, it’s important for you to stand out! Establishing some branding elements can help to do that for you.
Use all parts of the platform
This is another suggestion that you can work on over time as you become more comfortable with the platforms you’re on and the process of creating content.
Social media platforms pretty much all operate with the goal of getting users to spend more time on the app, because that’s how they make their money. Because of that intrinsic goal, they are often rolling out new features with the goal of getting people to stay on the app longer.
Consider Instagram for example, which started as a place to simply share photos and now has IGTV (allowing for longer form videos), IG stories (15 second clips that disappear after 24 hours), IG highlights (to save any stories you wish to into set categories for future viewing), and Reels (for 15-30 second short-form videos).
Though there’s no set way to “hack” a platform algorithm (algorithms which are always changing, by the way), a general rule of thumb is that when you use all of a platform’s features, you’re more likely to be rewarded by the app – almost as a thank you!
Especially when these tools are new, being an early adopter might be helpful in getting your account in front of new faces.
Plus, diversifying your content will likely help engage your followers or new potential followers!
Engage with your followers and others in your space
Posting content is great, but if people are commenting on your photos or messaging you and aren’t hearing anything back, they’re likely not going to continue to interact with the content you put out.
Set aside time daily or at least a couple times each week to answer all of the messages you’ve received, respond to comments, and interact with people you follow or other people in your industry or niche.
You’ll gain trust with your audience, and are more likely to gain followers if you’re diligent about being present and sharing value with those who already follow you! Plus, engaging with new accounts is a great way to get new eyes on your account. However, a small disclaimer here that if you start spamming accounts with comments like “go check out my profile,” not only will others be annoyed, but the platform is more likely to see you as a bot and may actually penalize your profile.
When you engage, do so meaningfully, with people who you are genuinely interested in connecting with, or who you feel will truly benefit from your content.
There you have it! A few ways you can begin to show up on social media with more purpose and intention. These practises will hopefully not only help you to show up more confidently, but will help you to begin attracting or growing an audience that’s interested in your content.0