Social media has evolved over time and today it is that much harder to stand out of the crowd. It isn’t just about posting some text with a link and hoping that your audience will click it, read it, like it and ultimately re-post it. It takes much more finesse to craft the right message geared to the right audience. With these 6 tips you will be on the right track to grow your online presence. And if you need more make sure you sign up for our newsletter to get a Free copy of How To Rock Social Media – 25 Essential Tools & Tips for Biz & Bloggers Guide + get entered into great contests & giveaways!
Tell a Story
Audiences respond to genuine, personal and compelling stories. Organizations, companies and brands need to focus on creating content that will resonate with their audience. A good way to tell a story is through its people. Whether it is consumers, patients, volunteers, staff or partners, make sure you build those relationships by allowing these stakeholders to have their say. It is far more interesting and engaging to read about a consumer being helped by your company than the organization simply advertising and promoting its services. A volunteer testimonial or a day-in-the-life of a staff member blog post can show people the human side of your company. This is also a very cost effective way to use your existing resources. Check out TIFF’s Facebook post for National Volunteer Week to see how they acknowledged the work of so many year round volunteers.
People respond to visuals far better than plain text. A recent Buffer study shows that tweets with images receive 18% more clicks than without, 89% more favorites and 150% more re-tweets. That is a huge incentive for you to get creative. Here’s a summary chart they used:
Use all the tools in your company’s arsenal such as pictures from events, volunteer profiles and staff photos to include in your online content. If you have the funds, invest in a good camera and take it along with you to important events. If not, use a good cell phone camera and use free online software such as Gimp (similar to Photoshop but free) to fix any issues such as blurriness or wrong lighting. It’s easy to use and available in Linux, Mac and Windows.
Another creative idea for content is infographics. Easily display important statistics that your audience cares about in a visual snapshot. You can use your existing software such as Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator to add text and graphics or use one of many free online programs that can create content for you such as Canva.com or Infogr.am. I used Canva to create my website logo, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube covers and various info graphics for my clients. I also used it to create custom Pinterest graphics.
Here’s one of my Pinterest graphics created with Canva.
I used Infogr.am for some additional info graphics as well. You can still create awesome graphics even if you have the free versions.
Here’s an example of a great info-graphic.
One of the best ways to attract audience is with great videos. These can include footage from your events, staff parties, thank you message to volunteers or a fun way to launch a campaign, contest or promotion. If you can afford a professional videographer then you can make sure your videos really stand out. If that is not in your budget, there are programs out there and tools you can use to do it yourself or have one of your staff do it. Incorporate your videos from office parties, programs and various interviews with volunteers and staff. Put it together in a 30 second to 1 minute montage using programs such as Windows Movie Maker, iMovie, Lightworks (some learning curve is necessary) or web based programs such as YouTube Editor. Here’s a an overview of some great video editing programs: http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/best-free-video-editing-software.
For a good read on video storytelling in your marketing videos check out Social Media Examiner.
Engage Your Online Audience
To increase your audience’s engagement rate create content that gives them a voice. Ask questions, post surveys, create contests and give your audience a way to interact with your organization. This type of content will also show your stakeholders that their opinion matters to you and they will be much more inclined to share it with their followers. A great survey creator tool is available at Snapsurveys.com.
Attach a ‘Call to Action’
Another way to increase engagement is to attach a ‘Call to Action’ to your online content. Include action words such as – Please Re-Tweet, Please Visit Our Facebook Page, Please Like Our Page. You can also give people an extra incentive to engage with you such as offering a fun contest with a prize going to the most engaged audience member. The prize can be something you already have in your stock such as promotional items or an item from your valued partner or sponsor. The sponsor can promote the contest to their audiences and therefore further increasing your online reach.
Publish Your Findings
Once you have gathered all your findings do not forget to let your audience know how you did. Post a visually creative statistical image to illustrate your survey results on all your social media platforms.
Also, make sure you announce the contest winner to your online audience to legitimize your contest. That way you can entice people to participate in one of your future polls or contests.
Your Take Aways
Growing your digital audience and engagement is a work in progress but you can take these 6 easy steps right now. Many of them can be done quickly and are not cost prohibitive such as using the free online tools and software. Let your creative juices run wild! Collaborate with all your stakeholders to generate great stories supported by visually engaging content. This will help you stand out from the crowd.
Let me know your tricks and share your success stories in the comments below. I love to work with people & brands to help them master social media so feel free to get in touch with me if you want to collaborate.
Want more tips? Make sure you sign up for our newsletter to receive your Free copy of How To Rock Social Media – 25 Essential Tools & Tips for Biz & Bloggers Guide + get entered into great contests & giveaways!