On one long, empty stretch, back from the road, in a field, I saw what had once been a nice home. It had obviously been abandoned for some time.
Most of the paint had weathered off, exposing gray wood. A large picture window was boarded up. There was a large hole in the roof and the yard was full of weeds and debris.
Sure, I’d seen sights like that before. It’s always a reminder to me that things don’t stay the same all by themselves. You can’t just paint a house once and expect that it’s going to look as good in 20 years. They need routine upkeep and repair.
The same is true for your social media marketing. Social media is a great opportunity to potentially reach large numbers of people, deliver your message to them, help them, and also benefit from it.
If it’s hit a plateau for you—the same number of followers, the same degree of engagement, the same amount of sales—you’ve got to do something to get it moving again. Otherwise, like that house, it will begin to decline.
So here are four actions you can take to get your social media reach growing again:
1. Increase the Number of Posts
If you only post once a week or once a day, you’ve got plenty of opportunity to create an increase.
There are people and businesses that post several times a day—even several times an hour.
Will this volume of posts annoy some people? Definitely. But if you’re posting valuable and helpful content (see #3 below), the majority of your followers will welcome it and will share it, which will help increase your followers.
This doesn’t mean you’ve got to be thinking up new content on the fly. Work out your content plan and then use a social media management tool like Hootsuite to automate it so that it posts at intervals over a period of time—even while you’re asleep.
2. Include Photos in Your Posts
To increase fan and follower interaction, photos are indispensable.
An analysis of 30,000 brands’ Facebook posts worldwide over a one-month period showed that75% of posts included photos.
Even better, those Facebook posts received an 87% engagement rate. No other kind of post (status, video, link, etc.) even came close.
It’s a similar story on Twitter, where an in-house analysis of more than 2 million tweets showed that using a photo URL had the greatest effect on re-tweets: a 35% increase.
3. Provide Valuable Content
“Valuable” doesn’t necessarily mean posts with coupon codes and discounts.
So, what is “valuable?” Braveen Kumar of content marketing automator Uberflip.com gives what I think is a good comprehensive definition: “relevant, consistent, engaging, trustworthy, useful and authentic.” For more definition, I will paraphrase:
- Relevant: Does it relate to your customers’ interests? Their problems? Their dreams?
- Consistent:People follow you because they identify with the various aspects of your brand—topic, messaging, tone, etc.—and they expect more of the same.
- Engaging: Make the content enjoyable and easy to absorb. This could mean acquiring or improving your writing and/or design skills (or farming it out to someone with the skills).
- Trustworthy: Are you credible? This covers a lot of ground, from correct spelling and grammar to citing solid, verifiable references.
- Useful: Can your audience benefit from your content right now? Does it make them better informed? Inspired? More knowledgeable about your product or something else?
- Authentic: You’re a real person who cares about your business and your customers. In your content, that’s how you need to come across. Use your personality, sense of humor, quirks, etc. People will appreciate it.
Creating valuable content means that if you’re a company that designs women’s fashion, you’re probably not giving your audience value by posting talking dog videos.
4. Continue to Learn About Social Media
There are two good reasons to continue to study what’s happening in social media:
(1) To stay informed about what’s working, social media-wise, in your particular industry or profession
(2) To find out about new social media methods and channels
The quickest way to achieve #1 is to read blogs written by people in your industry, profession or niche. The web is full of people creating valuable content. By experiencing what they create, you see what works and what doesn’t. This is knowledge you can use to improve your own content. You can also learn about how others in your niche are using social media. In both cases, it’s content you can use now to improve your social media performance and reach.
The best way to achieve #2 is to read books about social media and books about marketing. The fact is that social media marketing is really just marketing. There are certain things that are specific to social media but the underlying rules of marketing still apply. So, it’s best to have a good grasp of marketing essentials and also understand how they apply to social media.
So, if your social medial marketing is stalled or declining, the worst thing to do is nothing. Try one or all of these four suggestions. Monitor your results and note was caused the improvement, then continue that and strengthen it: If adding photos caused a big change, keep doing it. Do it more often. Find or create even better pictures.
And shortly, you may find that your social media situation has improved.