Insightly Insider presents: Simple Social Media Tips To Help You Build Your Following From Scratch

 
 

As a small business owner, it's of the utmost importance to make people aware of your brand. One of the best ways to spread the word about your business in 2017 is by being active on social media.

Despite its huge, well-known potential, more than 34% of small businesses in the U.S. admit to not having a social media presence.

When used strategically, social media can become a vital part of your marketing and sales strategy; winning you valuable new customers and boosting your bottom line.

At Expert Market, we use social media every day to send high volumes of traffic to our website. These visits create opportunities for our sales team to close exciting new deals for our business.

In this post, I will share with you the tried and tested methods that I use to get hundreds of new social media followers every month.

 

Part One - Create a schedule and stick to it

A major mistake that many small businesses make is that they don’t post regularly enough on social media to be seen by their customers.

Neil Patel, one of the industry’s leading experts, recently said: “If you post too infrequently, your audience will forget that you exist and you will quickly fade into the deep dark recesses of their minds.”

Harsh, but true.

Consider the current social media landscape. The average person in 2017 will spend around 40 minutes on social media every day. In that time, they’ll see posts from close friends, family, breaking news stories and, if you’re lucky, your post.

A surefire way to cut through the noise is to post regularly. By sticking to a schedule, your brand awareness will go up and you’ll leave your audience with a reason to come back to your profile. Over time, users will anticipate your posts which makes it easier to build an engaged audience.

PRO TIP: Make it your goal to post once a day on all of your social media platforms. Post every day for a month and then assess the results using a free analytics tool.

When you’ve finished your experiment, you’ll learn which platforms are the most valuable to your business and where to focus your energies in the future.

 

Part Two - Save hours of time and hassle with free tools

Keeping up with your social media activity can feel like a challenge when you’ve got a lot on your plate. Thankfully, that’s where social media management and analytics tools come into play.

Smart businesses rely on the help of free tools to do everything from auto engage with influencers to schedule their posts in advance. Automating aspects of your social media activity will help you to gain momentum and quickly grow your following. If you’re stuck on where to start, Inc. magazine recently wrote a great article on seven free tools that will shave hours off your social media management.

PRO TIP: Schedule your social media posts in advance.

Hootsuite is a great choice for small businesses because it takes ten minutes or less to set up, is free for up to three profiles, and is easy to use.

 

Part Three - Get the help of experts

A perk of living in our digital age is that it’s easy to get the help of experts. Fiverr, Upwork and PeoplePerHour are freelancer hubs that are free to sign up to and connect businesses with more than 10,000 trained professionals.

Whether you need designs created for your latest Instagram campaign, or you’re looking for a social media expert to take over and manage your profiles for the month, you’re sure to find someone to get the job done. Working with freelancers is a great way for small teams to stretch their marketing budget and get superb value for money.

PRO TIP: Build a lasting relationship with your freelancers.

Don’t just pay once for an odd job and let the relationship cool off. Having a “go-to” freelancer in your pocket who really knows your brand will save you hours of work down the line that would have otherwise been spent briefing someone new.

My top tip for cultivating a strong relationship with a freelancer is to be generous with praise. If they’ve done a good job - tell them! Freelancers rely on positive reviews to win jobs, so by leaving them a well thought out review on their profile you’ll be doing them a service. Nine times out of 10 freelancers will be more likely to work with you again in the future too if you’ve been courteous, so it’s important not to burn any bridges.

 

Conclusion

To sum it up, the value of small businesses being active on social media lays in its massive user base. Around the world there are more than 2.3 billion active monthly users on social media waiting to be wowed and captivated by your brand.

To win the hearts and minds of users, make sure to follow these simple, proven tips:

  • Create a social sharing schedule and stick to it. Aim for at least one post per day across all of your accounts.
  • Use free social media management and analytics tools to automate your workflow and shave hours off your time spent on social media.
  • Schedule your posts in advance using a free tool such as Hootsuite, so that when life gets in the way you know your posts will be delivered on time.
  • Hire freelancers to help you make your content amazing. Services like PeoplePerHour and Upwork connect you with trained professionals who can help you with everything from photography to engagement and hashtag research.

My final piece of advice is to be patient. If you create a schedule and stick to it every day, then the results will follow. Don’t fall into the trap of quitting your efforts when you’ve only just begun.

 

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Comments

61 comments
  • Thanks!  More questions... How can Insightly help us identify our customer's social media accounts?  Is there a way to pull reports with all of their twitter handles so that we can connect with them there?  

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  • Hi Sam! Thanks for reaching out. :) It really depends on what line of business you're in. For service businesses, weekdays tend to be better on average but for customer-facing businesses this could easily be weekends and evenings. 

    I recommend posting every day for a month and then looking back at which days were your high performers to find out the exact answer for your business. That's what we do at Expert Market and we've found that Tuesdays and Wednesdays work well for us.

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  • While we have a good handle on social media scheduling, we continue to refine our editorial calendar. Our question for Karla is:

    At what point are you posting too much? Of course, Twitter has a shorter message life cycle than does Facebook and Instagram. Generally speaking, how many posts does it take to become too much? Does 2 posts on Facebook per day (spread out) constitute as too much? How about 4?

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  • How can or should we be utilizing the "live" features offered on facebook and instagram? If yes, then what are your top tips for leveraging these functionalities? 

     

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  • Hey Dwayne, great question. 

     

    The tipping point is when you start receiving less engagement and reach on your posts. If you start to lose followers as well this is a red flag. 

    My advice is to always scale slowly and keep an eye on your metrics and then you'll find your sweet spot. 

     

    The fact that you're already refining your strategy though is great work - keep it up! 

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  • Hi Stephanie, I'm on the Insightly Support Team :)

    Insightly will automatically bring in social media information for public LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages into your Insightly contacts.  This article goes over this in full detail - Managing social media links

     

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  • Stephanie - Marketing Land published an excellent article not long ago which talks about brands who are using Facebook Live to engage and inspire their fans. We don't do much of it at Expert Market because we haven't found it to be very successful for our audience but this should point you in the right direction: http://marketingland.com/facebook-live-3-top-video-leaders-share-theyve-learned-facebooks-live-streaming-video-180373

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  • Thanks. Having to read something on the screen while I'm trying to work doesn't really work for me. I don't know if anyone else feels the same way, but having this is an audio or audio/visual live interaction would work better for my hectic schedule.

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  • Hi Lisa - thanks so much for your feedback! We're always looking for new ways to share content with our customers, so we'll definitely take this into consideration. This page will be live after the event, as well, so please feel free to circle back and give it a read when you have time if the topic is interesting to you.

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  • Everyone - Part 2: “Save hours of time and hassle with free tools” has been posted! Please refresh your page to see it. And don’t forget to share your questions for Karla in the comments here!

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  • Karla, we just received this question on our social media, “We are an older company and are new to the social media world. We schedule our Tweets through Tweetdeck, but haven’t figured out a way to schedule an Instagram post in advance. Is this possible?

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  • Hey Sam, thanks for that question. Yep, that's possible to do!

    You'll need to look at using another tool though. What we use here at Expert Market is Hootsuite which you can link up to your Instagram account for free to schedule your content in advance.

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  • Do you have an tips for utilizing gamification techniques throughout different social media platforms?

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  • Hi Karla, 

    How do I gain more users to our website using Twitter, and along with that how do I gain more Twitter followers for the company?

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  • Great question, Stephanie! 

     

    Gamification is a surefire way to increase your engagement on social media in 2017.

    There's lots of ways to do it, but one of my favorite brands for this type of content is M&M's. M&M’s introduced this game as a part of its Pretzel marketing campaign. In a nutshell, users on Facebook were given scattered M&M’s in a large image and were asked to detect one small pretzel inside.

    You can check out other examples here too using this link: https://adespresso.com/academy/blog/10-facebook-gamification-examples-you-need-to-learn-from/ 

    M&Ms "eye-spy" content has been hugely popular with their audience, and wouldn't take long to produce either!

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  • We LOVE using tools. We use Hootsuite (Pro version since we have a lot of needs) and the free version of Buffer in an effort to mix it up a bit. We even use a bit of Klout and Triberr to expand our content so we are having good ratios (instead of every post being SELL SELL SELL). With that said, I offer one comment and one question.

    Comment - Schedule Facebook Page posts natively as it seems Facebook punishes external posts a bit (but, you can schedule within Facebook).

    Question - what free scheduler do like best for Instagram? When we use Buffer and Hootsuite, the setup is different since it send a notification to your mobile device to post it (then copies the image and message to your device and proceeds with posting). However, I wish more free tools would post directly (I have somehow missed a notification). I have tried Onlypult, but that is a paid tool after the 7 day free trial. Do you have any other recommendations for Instagram scheduling in particular?

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  • Hi Gabby, 

    Thanks for joining us today. :) 

    Good question. You can drive huge levels of traffic to your site using links in your posts. To maximize the amount of people who see your posts, don't forget to include hashtags too! Using hashtags - 2 to 3 per posts - will also help build your following.

    Hope this helps.

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  • Hi Dwayne - you and I sound a lot alike! I love testing new tools to find out ways we can improve our strategy. 

    Unfortunately I think a lot of free tools are still playing catch-up when it comes to Instagram and none so far that I've found have developed a great solution for scheduling posts in advance. We rely on Hootsuite here at Expert Market but we're always looking for better tools, so if you do manage to find one then please do reach out to us and let us know. We'd love to hear from you!

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  • Hi all! Part 3: “Get the help of experts” has been posted, and it includes some great ideas for how build successful working relationships with freelancers.

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  • Be sure to check out the Onlypult option (but, it is not free after the trial).

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  • Thanks for the tip, Dwayne! I'll be sure to check Onlypult out straight after the event. 

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  • Hi Karla, thanks for the awesome responses so far!  - I have another question that came in through support, “I’m a little nervous to let a complete stranger have full access to all of my social media. What’s the best way to get comfortable with letting a new freelancer have access to such an important part of our brand?”

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  • Karla, quick thing about the scheduling, do you find bulk editing easy? I love Hootsuite, but I wish they'd allow me to put the date in one column and the time in another column. Any tricks of the trade there? 

     

    Also, I do wish that Hootsuite allowed more customization for the RSS feed option (auto-post). Any other good RSS-feed schedulers that you turn to?

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  • Hey Sam - my pleasure! 

    My pro tip is to start with a small job, like writing social media posts, and then progress up to complete social media management. That way you can make sure that the freelancer's tone of voice is right for the brand before giving them access. 

    Another quick point I should mention is to be sure to read the reviews on freelancer profiles. If someone's an expert on social media and they have dozens of positive reviews then you can rest assured they'll do a great job. Freelancing is their livelihood so it's unlikely they'd want to jeopardize future opportunities by doing something that's not best practice.

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  • Karla’s final thoughts have been posted :-) Please make sure to get your final questions in before we close at 10am PT. Thanks!

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  • Hey Dwayne, certainly sounds like you're an expert in this area too! So great chatting to you online today. 

    I can share with you dlvr.it, which is one of my all-time favorite tools for auto-sharing posts from blogs I love. For free you can connect your profile with up to three RSS feeds and choose a schedule that works for you. I'd recommend capping out at 3 posts per day per blog since you don't want your feed to only consist of someone else's content! The problem there is that you always want to try and get traffic to your own website, so it's vital to make your own content visible too. :)

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  • Also, I find bulk editing a bit of a pain too Dwayne.

    The way I get around that is by setting aside some time on a Monday to create and schedule only two weeks' worth of posts.

    That way the volume is never too high that it makes the task a pain and it also gives me the chance to review what I sent out previously to gauge what worked well and what didn't so I can adjust our strategy accordingly.

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  • Hi Karla! We received this message on social media from a customer, “”We currently use our Twitter account more for marketing and sales, and feel like we have a strong presence in this aspect. But we also utilize it as medium to share news about our company in a public relations sense? We see very low engagement rates on this type of content, however. Would you recommend trying to accomplish all of these goals under one account or should we have separate accounts?”

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  • Hi Sam, thanks for sharing that great question. It's one I get asked a lot! 

    I think 9/10 that it's best to do it under one account. What you can try is sharing company news on other platforms and see how it performs. We have a lot of success sharing our company wins on Facebook or LinkedIn for example. 

    It's amazing that you're already so active on social media though so don't forget to give yourself a big pat on the back!

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  • Hi everyone! I’m afraid our time is up. I want to extend a huge thank you to Karla for being our guest host today, and sharing such helpful tips about growing your social media followers!

    And thank you all for attending this Insightly Insider session! If you’re looking for tips on content marketing, social media marketing, and digital strategy, I recommend following follow Karla on Twitter.

    The Insightly Insider series will take a short break for the summer, but you can catch up on our past sessions here until we start back up again.

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