Cutting through the noise: how to make your business stand out on social media
To anyone using social media to market their business, it has become clear that algorithms are just not in our favour. Why would they be? Let’s not forget that social media platforms generate their income from advertising. So, how do you go about getting your voice heard?
In the past, getting heard on social media meant posting more and more frequently but now that algorithms aren’t really based on time anymore, this is no longer effective. Think about it – how often do you log in to Facebook or Instagram and see posts from yesterday, or the start of the week? Social media platforms are no longer showing you posts in a chronological order, but instead are showing you posts that have gained more of a reaction first. This is what we need to be doing for our businesses – posting content that generates more of a reaction.
To do this, think about the problems that you solve for your customers and the emotions you can evoke in your target audience. A post that makes them feel happier, or amused, or smarter than they were before, will gain engagement. Keep in mind that there are 2.5 billion new items of content are shared on Facebook alone each day, most of them doing the same old thing, so just competing with these voices is hard. To stand out from the crowd, you need to offer something of value.
It’s well known that research shows that images and videos engage people on social media.
However, simply posting photos isn’t a quick fix. Firstly, make sure that you get the dimensions correct. Each social media platform has differing image sizes. Bear in mind that the majority of people access social media using a mobile phone and will not stop scrolling through their feed unless an image stands out – your image will stand out if it displays nicely on their screen with any text easily readable.
Using hashtags can help people to find your content. Although, overusing hashtags and hijacking a trending hashtag just because it’s trending is seen as spammy and should be avoided.
Another way to increase engagement is to directly ask your audience a question. Do this creatively – let’s say your business is in the travel and tourism industry. Simply asking ‘where do you like to holiday?’ may not gain much engagement, but asking a similar question with an interesting graphic could gain more. Turn this into a poll (both Twitter and Facebook have in-built poll options), and your audience only has to choose one option from a list. Easy!
You might hear that a sure-fire way to increase engagement on social media is to hold a contest. While this can work, it’s worth remembering that social media contests are incredibly common and to stand out, you really have to offer something of value. Come up with something that your target audience will want to participate in.
If you’re sharing blog posts on social media, consider curating content. Put together a blog post based around a particular theme that’s relevant to your industry and quote other people’s content. Then, when you share this on social media, tag those who you have quoted – this will get the attention of the people who originally created the content and it’s most likely that they will share the post or at the very least, post a comment thanking you for mentioning them.
Once you’ve had a go at posting this type of content, the next step is to track success. Using
Twitter Analytics (analytics.twitter.com) or Facebook Insights (from your Facebook Page, click ‘Insights’) will help you to achieve this. They will show you which of your posts got Shares, Likes, Retweets, Comments, Replies, and so on. The key here is to look at the posts that gained the most engagement and create similar content for future posts.
There is no easy solution to increasing engagement on social media. You must connect with people by offering them valuable content. Remember that social media is not about your business, it’s about other people. Alongside this, a little research can help you to make the most of your efforts – the only way to know what’s working and what isn’t is to track your metrics and amending your strategy accordingly. Above all… just show up regularly and be an active participant, not just a broadcaster.
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