How to grow your social media presence organically

How to grow your social media organically

Whether you have a business Instagram page or Facebook site, LinkedIn profile or Twitter feed, chances are you’re constantly looking to grow your follower numbers. You’ll no doubt have received numerous e-mails from companies offering to achieve this for you – for a fee. It often includes one of two things – the first is they will ‘buy’ an audience for you. This is a big no-no if you want to keep your feed free of spam accounts and people who are not in the slightest bit interested.

Grow your social media presence organically

Alternatively, they will use an algorithm to follow and un-follow multiple accounts, with the view that people will start to follow you back out of reciprocal interactions. This is dangerous ground to play on though, as it can frustrate your audience before you’ve even connected with them and make them feel like you don’t actually care about them personally. As such, many brands look to grow their social media presence organically.

So how can you do this?

Consistent posting

Firstly, there’s a lot to be said for consistent posting. Try to find a frequency that is manageable and post as often as you can. People will get used to seeing you pop up at regular intervals, and will start to interact with you. When people comment or engage with your posts, make an effort to respond to everyone who is engaging with you. Additionally, find accounts that are relevant to your business or industry, and start engaging with them. When leaving comments, try to leave messages that are thoughtful rather than something generic – this will make them more interested in replying or following in return.

Use hashtags

Next up, start using hashtags in your posts. This will help your audience find you naturally through shared interests or similar posts. You will also find cross-promoting other people’s accounts will help to boost your audience, and you can do this through sharing their posts or regramming their images. Make sure you credit the original source though, with a tag to them. This will make it clear you are not trying to take their content as your own, and may also see them do a similar post with a tag in return.

Include emojis

Include emojis in your description and hashtags, as these are a universal language, regardless of the country, that everyone can use when searching on Instagram. As an example, including the camera emoji in your biography on Instagram can be hugely beneficial for photographers. It also makes it really clear to people browsing quickly what you do, in case they’re not sure from your name alone.

Theme photos and posts

When producing content, find ways to make your photos and posts have a sense of a theme. The more cohesive and on-brand everything feels, the more chance people will start to engage with it and feel as though they understand who you are and what your message is. Integrate competitions and incentives into your content to get people sharing and tagging their friends, drawing them to your feed.

As well as having a clear bio that describes what you do, ensure your social media handle relates to your business so it is clear for people to find you. Anything cryptic will go unseen. You should also make sure you have your website link in your About section, as this will help to turn social contacts into sales leads.

Growing your social media organically – how to get more help

We can take the pain out of managing your social media channels. Find out about our social media management services here.

We can help you turn your website visitors into active leads, including those from your social channels, with a 14-day free trial – find out more here

Can you delegate social media management to a third party?

Can you delegate social media

Can you delegate social mediaI often attend events where the speaker says “of course you can’t delegate social media to someone else, you have to do it yourself.”

There seems to be a belief that a third party can’t possibly know your every thought or opinion on what’s going on in the world, so how can they possibly post something on Twitter or Facebook on your behalf?

Another objection is that a third party won’t know all your contacts, so when a friend or business colleague posts a message to you and asks you a question like “so how was the seminar yesterday?”, a third party won’t know how to respond.

Of course, to a certain extent, this is true, and there will always be added value you can add to your own Twitter or Facebook account. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hire a third party to create fresh content, Tweet and Facebook it, and implement regular posts to engage with your social media contacts.

If you work closely enough with the right social media agency, you can delegate all the daily slog of thinking of things to post, finding followers, responding to messages, uploading photos or videos, retweeting interesting news items or running competitions. As long as you make sure you also have an admin login for your social media accounts, you can post your own thoughts whenever you feel like it and so your followers will get a good mix of off-the-cuff comment, corporate messages, news and views.

Let me tell you how we work with one of our clients, who travels around the world a great deal. He gives us regular updates by email when he can get online, then we turn that content into smaller posts, with photos if he has some, or with photos we supply. Occasionally he’ll also post stuff himself and he’ll sometimes reply to the contacts he knows best. Sometimes, we’ll get a question that we can’t possibly know the answer to, “Which hotel did you stay at in Sydney?” In which case, we’ll drop our client a quick email or ask him next time we talk to him, so we can reply on his behalf.

As long as you work closely with an agency who can give you a dedicated account manager who understands your business and your objectives for social media, and who also – crucially – has a good feel for your personality and how you’d talk to people on social media channels, there’s no reason why you can’t delegate this marketing activity to someone else.

Share your experience of delegating social media with us, good or bad, we’d like to know your views.

Don’t be an anonymous ‘egg’ on Twitter

Don't be an anonymous egg on Twitter

Don't be an anonymous egg on TwitterIf you’re on Twitter, it’s really important to fill in the Bio section. You can use up to 160 characters so make good use of them.

Your bio should include words that will help people find you if they’re searching on Twitter for companies or people that provide the services and products you provide. For example, if you’re an accountant, make sure you include accountancy words and your specialisms in your bio, eg “Accountant, Tax Specialiast,” etc. It’s ok to say you’re a fun-loving mother of 2, but if you’re using Twitter for business, get some key business terms in there as well, otherwise no-one is going to find you. Mine is: “Digital online marketing, web design & build, marketing expertise: SEO, social media, email marketing. Co-owner of Insight Group Marketing & amateur pianist.” There’s quite a lot you can get in there so make the most of it.

Another reason to make sure you fill in your bio is to help them decide whether to follow you or not. If they see a tweet they like or see that you are following them, they’re going to look at your profile to see what you’re about. If you haven’t got a bio, how will people decide if they want to follow you?

Twitter Egg

And finally – you absolutely MUST have a photo of yourself or a logo of your business. If you don’t upload a photo, Twitter will just substitute the anonymous “egg” image, so people will think at worst that you’re trying to hide, or best that you’re just incompetent. That is not going to make them want to follow you. So get a nice head and shoulders shot of yourself and upload that, so people can see who you are. This also helps when you’re at networking events as people can recognise you if they’ve been tweeting with you.

Social media management – where to get help

If all this Twitter stuff is too much for you to cope with, give us a call or drop us a line – we’d be happy to answer any questions or help with your social media management.

 

Creating online brand loyalty needs more work

Work harder nad smarter to create an onlien brand

Work harder and smarter to create an online brand

To retain online customers you need to work harder and smarter than an offline business.

Think about it – when you need that new gadget, new website design, or lipstick, do you automatically go back to the site where you purchased the last time or do you go straight to Google and search for the site that can give you the best price/service/delivery/support? If you opted for the second answer you’re not alone:

♦  66% of online shoppers buy because it’s cheaper,
♦  75% because of special offers and
♦  80% for the wider choice

Big business and retailers knew this and when the only option was to walk past their office or shop they needed to stand out – outside they had big metal corporate business signs or retail posters and sandwich boards. Inside it’s the environment – music, heating – or for business, that busy office combined with that friendly customer service, special offers and after sales service.

And it worked – as buyers we remembered that friendly sales person who explained the plethora of choices, the new special offer sign in the window or the ‘thank you for selecting our services’ letter with a promotional offer.

The essence of any shopping experience is front of mind and it’s still visual memory that drives buyers. Online you need to work so much harder to create and retain that image – but you have so many more tools. We all know that SEO is crucial to ensure people find your site and click to visit, adwords can entice buyers and online adverts provide endorsement and awareness. Getting people to purchase is your next challenge when they visit – clear information, interactive sites, lots of interesting activity (but not too much!) – guiding them through to what they need and that final buying decision.

But after they have made that first purchase the greatest challenge is to get them coming back – repeat purchases are the most profitable, you’ve already convinced them you are good to do business with, you just need to convince them to come back for more – again, and again, and…..:

  • Be intelligent – categorise your buyers, then communicate regularly with offers that influence them – if they are part of the 80% looking for a broader choice then don’t keep telling them that you are cheaper.
  • Keep reminding them a) that you are here and b) about what’s new
  • Use different marketing channels to excite them – keep sending them text messages every hour and they’ll soon forget you
  • When you send out links, make sure they go through to a new/special page – when your customer has made that clickthru decision if they see the same (tired) old page it’s a massive turn off
  • Entice them with offers when they buy and when they don’t – if they look at your site and don’t follow thru, chase them! Something got them there so find out what stopped them and turn it to your advantage with a tailored offer – but be quick about it, they’re in buying mode now! You can use Google remarketing to help automate this.
  • Let people contact you how they want – offer all options, just because you don’t like twitter doesn’t mean that they don’t – 47% said their customer experience was better when their supplier used social media

Most importantly you need to give your buyers a mental ‘shopping picture’ of your business – the massive office/store front with bright lights/impressive business signage, the warm memory of a great buying experience and the long term value from taking your advice, your offers and your after care service.

Buying has changed dramatically for both business and consumers. The online web tools are here to make you a smarter supplier. Next time they buy make sure your customers have an image of your website at the front of their mind.

Online brand loyalty – Where to get help

If you would like to find out how we can help you generate brand loyalty amongst your prospects and clients, please get in touch.

 

* Shopping trends from Lab24: “How People Shop Online”

Google+ but not as we know it and how the G+ break up affects your SEO

google-plus-breaking-up-2015Going, Going, Google+ Gone

Since Google+ was introduced it became one of the must haves to help boost your SEO. G+ and YouTube from Google gave website owners the optimum resource for search engine optimisation. No matter whether it was personalised search results you were looking to improve or gaining increased organic reach G+ was a key driver to get Google on your side and to build on SEO for your businesses. Anyone searching for terms would see posts in Google+ being posted in top spots and YouTube helping with video promotion was also part of the social move by Google. But all this is set to change with Google’s change to G+ and its reorganisation into:

  • Communication
  • Photos, and
  • Streams

The three new areas were announced by Bradley Horowitz, the new VP in charge of the changing face of Google social media. In a recent Google blog on 27th July, Bradley commented:

“When we launched Google+, we set out to help people discover, share and connect across Google like they do in real life. While we got certain things right, we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we’ve needed to rethink. So over the next few months, we’re going to be making some important changes.”

And these changes are still in an embryonic stage and include:

  • A more focused Google+ experience
  • Moving Google+ Photos to the Google Photos app
  • Putting sharing into Google Hangouts
  • Using Google without a Google+ profile (hurrah!)

The move makes perfect sense because since G+ was installed in our mindset the general concensus was that it didn’t quite hit the mark of knocking Facebook or Twitter off their respective pedestals. It had some nice features, some confusing features and a lot of irritating features like not always being able to access other Google products without a G+ profile. With photos becoming increasingly important (e.g. Facebook acquiring WhatsApp and Instagram) the move makes sense and Google+ has seen a lot of pick-up in the image area. Google Hangouts has had a solid following and the move to breakout Google+ into streams signifies that Google has recognised that it has strengths but not the overall Social Media clout it thought it might achieve.

Changes to your SEO activities

Q: Should I ditch my Google+ business page?

Definitely not! You should keep your business page (and if you haven’t got one, then set it up now!) The “Google My Business” section of Google+ is still key to search results and allows you to add and verify business listings – these are the details that appear in organic search results and in Google Maps. You should ensure that you manage this business page to enter all correct business details, add up to date photos and videos – and to make sure that you stay on top of, and respond to customer comments.

 Q: Is it time to split my YouTube & Google+ accounts?

Again, not yet. On YouTube’s own blog they say:

“Do NOT do it right now or you’ll delete your YouTube Channel!”

Google+ has been a good tool for locating people with similar interests but in its new guise it will help ensure that the people are actually using it, and where useful, should help it thrive. Your activity on Google+ has been sharing itself across the platform and once the separation occurs (G+ split from YouTube) comments will only appear on your YouTube channel. This is great news as it should raise engagement on YouTube. At the moment comments include Google+ activity and these tended to go to the top of the comment section, which discouraged interaction as the comments just listed the activity of a video being shared – not a lot of meaningful feedback. Keep an eye on the split as you’ll need to make a positive change to split your G+ & YouTube channels to take advantage of the SEO gains of a focused YouTube offering.

 Q: How do capitalise on the changes?

Reading between the lines of the announcement and the focus on ‘Photos’ the clue here is that Google are still placing a major importance on imagery. This means ensuring that you are using images liberally across your website, when they add value and when they are relevant – just posting holiday photos on your business website doesn’t hack it with Google search! But also make sure that the images are setup correctly, tagged correctly and pushed to Google search with Webmaster tools and if used in a blog use blog posting indexes. So if you are moving to a new generic/vanity TLD you won’t have a loss of SEO – but remember Google needs to know what’s happening, just moving without following the SEO rules WILL upset your current ranking. You can read more about getting on top of Google SEO with our guide

To see other areas of website SEO check out these links:

► Learn more about ranking techniques with examples of client rankings and approaches: ‘How to be found in Google Searches

► Why Social Media is so important to SEO and Google: Using Social Media Profiles for SEO