[Editors Note: This post is written by Payman Taei and it originally appeared on Hypebot.]
We use social media all the time; on our way to work, in our downtime, even early mornings. Naturally, businesses can take advantage of this; having your own Facebook page or Twitter feed can increase interest in your company and boost user interaction but as with all things, it’s not that simple.
With all the different pages out there, it can be quite difficult to make yours stand out. These easy-to-follow social media hacks can help you gain–and keep–new followers, as well as spreading word about your product around the web.
1. Consistent Updates
Having high-quality updates is obviously a priority for any business. However, if those updates are few and far between, people will likely lose interest in the product.
Updating often is obviously a great way to generate interest and make sure your name and product is remembered, but you can easily go further than that.
Having specific days or times that you post content can help drive traffic, as well as giving potential customers something to look forward to. If posts are always made on a certain day or at a certain time, then followers will get into the habit of checking your social media to see if anything new has appeared, creating a more dedicated base.
What days and times you chose depends on your audience. If your audience is mostly made of standard shift workers, then try updating in the afternoon on weekdays, when they’ll just be getting home and wanting to spend more time on social media. Want to appeal to teenagers and young adults? Try mornings on the weekends, where they won’t have classes and will have more time to look at their feed upon waking up.
Scheduling when to post doesn’t have to be particularly rigid, either, as you can post a few random updates between the normal to surprise and delight your watchers.
Take it one step further: Using missinglettr
Ian Anderson Gray—as shared by Lisa D. Jenkins—provides a helpful tip for those who have trouble finding the time to schedule posts. “I used to create a series of tweets for each of my articles and schedule them in a scheduling tool,” he states. “This took a huge amount of time and to be honest, I rarely managed to get around to it.”
With the help of missingletr, Gray’s work is significantly decreased, while he still gets the benefits of consistent Twitter posts. Missinglettr creates several posts based on the content in an article connected to it. You can use the application to your advantage by allowing it to make several posts for you while you focus on other aspects of your work.
2. Maximize Your Use of Visual Content
It’s no secret that visual content attracts a potential follower’s attention quicker than text. While scrolling on Facebook, which are you more likely to scroll back to: a block of words, or a vibrant image?
Mastering visual content on social media can greatly increase traffic to your page, especially since users are significantly more likely to share pictures or videos.
A great way to use visuals in social media is to take a picture. Jay Baer points out that the use of photographs as visuals has greatly increased, and it provides a wonderful opportunity to show your product in action. Images of people using your product in real-life can increase viewers’ interest in the item. You can also create your own graphic for social media using an online visual tool such as Visme.
Take it Further: Link to Your Site
Since one of the purposes of adding images is to generate traffic, it’d be remiss not to leave a link with the image—or, if possible, make the image itself into a link.
Donna Moritz, in an article by Cindy King, points out how useful visual content can be as a “gateway” to the rest of your business world. Let the visual content catch interest, and leave longer posts to the site they lead to.
3. Master Hashtags
Hashtags first started with Twitter, and have quickly become one of the best ways to locate a specific sort of information. Businesses can benefit from this across social media by using them to their fullest extent.
Jumping on popular subjects to tag is a great way to attract outside attention. All the same, Peg Fitzpatrick warns that having a variety of random hashtags isn’t advisable, even if those tags are trending. “Use a good hashtag to tie all of the pieces of your campaign together,” she informs readers.
Using hashtags strategically—by tagging relevant popular items without random extraneous bits—can not only attract attention, but keep it.
Take it Further: Make Your Own
Having a unique hashtag can distinguish you from others who might have a similar product. Your audience will quickly be able to identify your brand from your tag, and will be able to tag experiences related to your company in turn.
One of the best ways to go about this is to create a short, easy-to-remember tag that sticks in people’s minds long after they log off. Clever use of alliteration or wordplay are great ways to go about this.
4. Engage Your Followers
Actively encouraging your audience to participate can not only help generate traffic, but can also be a way to endear you audience to you.
Showcasing the work of fans or followers automatically makes them more invested in talking about your product. For example, you might want to share posts you see when someone talks positively about your product.
Promoting contests is a great way to go about this. Offering a reward means that more individuals will be talking about your product and generally vying to get the prize. At visme we created a socially engaging contest called “Visualize Me” which was a perfect example of social engagement driven by an incentive.
Of course, taking the time to personally respond to those subscribed to your page can increase engagement, as well.
Take it one step further: Offer Private Streams
Many individuals would like to have personal relationships with the companies that provide for them. Having private boards or groups where you can converse with your customers is one way to provide that relationship.
Many Patreon users have taken this into account. The site has different reward tiers based on how much a patron pledges users each month. In turn, the owner of the individual campaign can offer specific incentives, one of which can be private streams where patrons can watch them work, or Q&A’s only available for pledges.
Of course, you don’t have to use Patreon to provide the same feature. Martin Shervington talks about having private hangouts on Google+, where you can talk individually to those invited to join. If you’re a Pinterest user, you can also use group boards to your advantage.
You can even combine private conversations with contests. Whoever wins for the company will get a private audience with different members.
5. Make a Safe Space
If followers appreciate having their work and words shown off, then they’ll be equally appreciative of having a space where they don’t have to worry about being looked down on for their opinions. Keeping watch over your social media to make sure everyone’s getting along can not only foster trust and appreciation for your company, but also make others more likely to visit your page and be honest with you. With how aggressive parts of the internet can be, it can be an immense relief to find anywhere that’s decidedly not.
Speaking to individual on a personal basis—as mentioned above—and answering them politely and with general concern is one way to help users feel more welcome.
Another great way—for Facebook, at least—is to ban inflammatory words. Holly Homer describes how to do this: simply go to Page Settings, Page Moderation, and type in any words that could be used to insult or attack another user. Any comments with those words will be hidden, preventing arguments before they happen.
This can also work for provocative comments towards your product or service, as well, if you’re worried about the words blowing up into a full-blown fight.
Take it one step further: Hide the Trolls
Guy Kawasaki explains his trouble with trolls on his Facebook feed—deleting the comment simply resulted in the trolls commenting again to complain about it, while banning the user resulted in angry emails about being banned.
The solution to the problem was actually relatively simple: hide the comment.
When comments are hidden, the posting individual can still see their comment, but no other fans can. Kawasaki explains how this works to his favor; not only has he not received any more angry emails, but the comments, even though they’re hidden, actually help to boost his post, meaning the trolls actually end up helping.
While using the word ban hack (mentioned above) can help for specific words, it also helps to search through comments and check for any other sort of inflammatory remark.
You can take this ‘safe space’ even further by talking to the individual’s specifically and trying to allay any complaints or concerns, but simply moving the conversation to a more private medium. Of course, with spam comments, you’re probably better off just hiding the comment and leaving the conversation.
There are many, many different tips and tricks you can use to help boost your social media success. Some of the best include:
- Consistent Updates
- Mastering Visual Content
- Mastering Hashtags
- Engaging Users
- Making a Safe Space
Here’s a challenge: take these hacks (or others) and try and twist them into something unique. Then, post the results in our comments section, to let us (and others!) know how you’ve put these tricks into action.
Payman Taei is an avid technologist and the Founder of Visme, a Do It Yourself platform allowing everyone to easily create, manage professional presentations & infographics right in their browser. He’s also the Founder of HindSite Interactive an award winning web design and web development company.