Gone are the days when businesses must spend a huge amount of money on traditional marketing tactics like print ads, commercials, and the like. With the rise of digital marketing, entreprofessionals like you can reach your target audience at a much more reasonable investment.
In this digital age, cultivating strangers into an interested audience has been made easier. The shift in online consumer behavior has also given professional services businesses opportunities to be seen by more people, increasing your chances to engage and be more visible to your target audience.
One of the most effective digital marketing strategies available for you is Social Media Marketing.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is a strategy that focuses on utilizing social media platforms to elevate brand awareness and promote your services. It offers a targeted approach to positioning your brand and services and is an effective means of achieving brand equity.
Many entreprofessionals consider their respective industries to be serious and of a highly-professional character. That being said, many practitioners hesitate with regard to maintaining social media profiles for their businesses.
We get where you are coming from. These social media platforms normally have an informal vibe and it is easy to think that businesses as professional as law or architectural firms wouldn’t thrive in an environment like Facebook or Instagram. However, the opposite is true.
Whether we like it or not, a very large percentage of the world’s population spends significant time on social media. This means that it is likely that most of the people you would like to reach can be found there.
Being on social media can be a really great way to engage with your audience. It supplements your website in being another hub of valuable content that can motivate your target audience to trust your brand more and engage with you. While it might not be intuitive, social media marketing could even help you increase engagement on your business website as well.
Many business owners believe that the key to success on social media is just producing large quantities of content. Content is just one part of a multipart equation. Remember, the reason why you dove into the social media realm in the first place was to cultivate an audience that is interested in your services now. So, the quality of content is critical. The relevance of content is critical. The timing of the content is critical. Actual engagement is critical. And there are many more things that need to be carefully considered to move you forward in your journey to leveraging social media for exponential growth.
So how exactly does an entreprofessional make sure that their social media platforms grow? These tips should help.
Ways To Grow Your Social Media Following
1. Choose the right platform.
The first step in growing your social following is, of course, choosing the right platform. You wouldn’t be able to grow followers if you do not identify a social media platform and research the dynamics and algorithms of your chosen social media channel. To help you out, here are some of the most popular ones:
a. Facebook. Considered to be the largest social media platform, it is home to numerous online communities which could be a good pool of followers for your business. It also supports various types of media ranging from photos, videos, article links, and a lot more.
b. Twitter. Suited for a more fast-paced relaying of information, Twitter focuses more on text rather than visuals. It can be a good platform for sharing whitepapers, case studies, and blog articles as well.
c. Pinterest. Mainly used by people for visuals and education, Pinterest is good for visual depictions of how-to guides. It’s also good to note that majority of this platform’s users are women. So, if this is among the demographics you want to target, Pinterest can serve you well.
d. YouTube. YouTube is considered to be the second-largest online search engine. It holds roughly 2 billion users who watch an unimaginable volume of video content daily. Effective use could include hosting how-to or educational videos. It can also be used to be a channel for your video marketing campaigns.
e. LinkedIn. If you have a business, you should be on this social media platform. It is undebatable that this venue is the most professional among all of the online social platforms. LinkedIn is a good place to connect with prospects and peers, as well as researching information about your target audience.
f. Instagram. If Pinterest is understood to be predominantly used by women, Instagram is most definitely populated by younger users. This platform, whose main content happens to be photos, is a good fit for entreprofessionals practicing in more visual fields such as architects. Of course, this is not to say that other fields won’t do well on Instagram.
2. Set SMART goals.
Why is your brand on social media? If you don’t have a definitive answer to this right at the top of your mind, then you might have to revisit your goals for your social media marketing. Having clear goals ensures that you don’t just launch campaigns aimlessly at your target market. Make sure that your existence on social media platforms serves your business purpose. Are you looking to grow your following on social media? Why do you want to grow your followers? What do you exactly want to get out of your social media presence? Use your answers to these questions to set goals for your business that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
3. Be human.
Always remember that social media is an online community. Focus on the second word of that phrase. Community. This means that it thrives because of people and human interaction (though done so digitally). That being said, make sure that your business doesn’t become just another faceless corporation lurking for follows on social media. People want to know your brand’s personality [Link to Guide to Creating a Strong Brand Strategy article] so make sure to make it as human as possible. Put a face to your brand, by putting yourself out front or through your employees. Interact with your audience through the comments section or even post questions on which they may be able to give their opinions.
4. Focus on relationships.
As cliché as it sounds, don’t leave the ‘social’ out of social media. Related to the third point, it is important that you make your followers feel that you are there to build relationships with them instead of just trying to get them as an additional number to your follower count. Start by mentioning people on your posts, tagging them in your replies to their questions, or simply resharing a post from them that mentions you.
5. Help more, sell less.
Social media platforms are integral parts of inbound marketing. With that comes the responsibility of providing your followers with valuable content that they find useful in addressing their pain points. Get a feel of what your audience is talking about. What are their concerns and what are their common issues? Try to offer insight into this through articles or informational posts instead of always trying to sell your brand. Doing so establishes trust and will help you grow your numbers.
6. Post consistently.
The last thing you would want is for your followers to forget your social media exists. So, make sure that you stay active and that they consistently see posts from your page. Creating a social media calendar helps in mapping out your monthly content. Post as much as 3-4 times a week, and make sure you switch up the topics of each content so as to provide variety and not become too dull. Having a posting schedule also establishes some sort of routine with your audience, giving them an idea of when to expect content from you.
7. Create interest-focused content.
You may create a ton of content, but it won’t be useful at all if it’s not what your followers consume. So, make sure that you always provide content that sustains interest among your target audience. Below is a list of possible content types that keep your page interesting.
a. Trending topics. Go with whatever is trending. Find a way to link it to your industry and post about it. Take the pandemic for example. It’s been trending for quite some time now, and it obviously holds the interest of a large number of people. So, you can use it to share content that resonates. If you’re a doctor, talk about information about this virus. If you’re a lawyer, post about the legal implications of the lockdowns. If you’re an architect, inform your followers on what changes to design and/or architecture will occur due to social distancing. Things like this keep your page interesting and current.
b. Videos that speak. Video marketing is a separate entity in and of itself, and it is so because videos are highly effective tools of stirring up emotions among your viewers. They can evoke feelings from your target audience that compel them to act on something. You may approach this in several manners, but the most important thing to remember is to keep videos within your branding.
c. Visuals for information. Sometimes being informational gets tricky because you’ll need to present facts and statistics and potentially some overwhelming numbers. Keep it interesting by packaging them in an infographic or a series of simplified photos that would help your audience digest them easier.
d. Human element. We can’t stress this enough. Be human. Add human elements to your posts by showing your brand has emotions and personality. Share your new office or your team building activities. Highlight a specific employee in a post, or simply share photos during a typical day. Having human elements on your posts make it more relatable and gives you a higher chance of getting followed by people.
e. Informal/humorous content. Humor solves everything. Well maybe not everything, but almost everyone likes humor. Unless of course, if you’re a grumpy green creature from Whoville. But the point is, despite the professional nature of our industry, you can still throw in a good laugh or two from time to time with your posts while keeping them on topic. For sure there are numerous doctor/attorney/dentist/chiropractor jokes out there that you can post as memes that will land you pretty good engagement.
8. Monitor and adjust accordingly.
Your social media growth will highly depend on how willing you are to spend time and effort in consistently studying your audience and platform. This is why this tip is the most important. You can’t go around continuing with your strategies without checking if it’s working or whether it’s getting you closer to your set goals. That said, always make sure to have a monthly review of your page’s insights/analytics to see which posts are working and which are not. That way you can make more informed decisions for the months ahead.
Maintaining a social media account entails dedication and effort, but all of this hard work won’t go unpaid as these platforms really deliver results. You’ll just have to put in the work, especially in coming up with and creating content.
If you think the above steps are too overwhelming for you but would like to pursue a social media marketing blueprint, click here to see if you qualify for a Vimagery Strategy Session. Together, we can help you to gain an unfair advantage regarding your efforts to cultivate, convert, and close new clients in the weeks and months ahead.