Every Friday on Instagram, we are answering your marketing and communications-related questions on Stories! That includes topics such as media relations, advertising, social media, influencer relations, blogging, content marketing, planning, pitching, SEO, and more. This week's Q&A notes are below, and be sure to follow @FACTEURPR on Instagram to see our past and present Q&As, too!
Q: How do I grow my social media following?
A: This topic is HUGE. So huge, we spend a minimum of three months with our coaching clients researching, developing a strategy, and working together on creative, narratives, schedules, measurement, and more. (You can learn more about that offering here.) However, that doesn't mean there aren't tactics you can use now to see results. The new year is anticipated to be a tough one for brands on Facebook and Instagram due to algorithmic changes, but all that really means is pivoting our strategy just a bit to focus on conversations around content rather than strictly selling. (Related: Grow your brand or business with content marketing)
1. Post more video content
For several years now, predictions about the mounting impact of video marketing have only escalated. Year-after-year, video content consistently claims the top spots of seemingly every must-have marketing list, and ours is no different. Just take a look at these incredible statistics released by Hubspot just last year:
- Video will account for 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
- 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
- 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.
- 80% of customers remember a video they’ve watched in the last month.
If you're looking to gain awareness for your brand and sell products, consider video as part of your marketing strategy this year. And we don't just mean fancy, expensive videos. Platforms like Instagram Stories and Snapchat were set-up to steer users away from uploading rehearsed or professional video content. Instead, consider tip number 2.
2. Go live or go home.
That's live as in live video, not living life (although hey, we should all do that part, too!). Before you changed your notification settings, if you ever did, you may have noticed that many times when a page or person goes live on Instagram or Facebook, you receive a notification. This isn't happenstance. This is a feature these platforms are pushing to encourage meaningful, real-time conversation. Make a date with your audience and take the time on Facebook or Instagram Live to announce a new product or service, or answer questions about a specific topic. (Related: Friday Q&A: Your PR and marketing questions answered)
3. Use hashtags wisely.
Each Instagram post allows for 30 hashtags to be attached to your photo. That is 3-0 opportunities for people to find your content. Use every opportunity available, meaning all 30 hashtags if you can. Vary them up post-to-post and make sure you are only using hashtags that are pertinent to the content you're posting and/or your brand. Pro-tip: At the end of 2017, Instagram rolled out a new feature where you can follow hashtags. This is a great new way to discover content and interact with it while scrolling through your feed. Follow those hashtags!
4. Focus on relevancy and relationships.
People are following you on social media for a reason. Never lose sight of that reason and make it crystal clear for potential followers. Focus on a strong bio, solid branding, and consistency in your message and voice. For example, if your company offers interior design services, chances are the majority of the people who are following you are interested in seeing and learning more about interior design (but of course, check your analytics to confirm!). That should be the focus of your feed. It's great to break things up with a post here and there from your lunch outing or vacation, but make sure you are balancing that with the content folks signed up to see. We often suggest creating a "social media formula" for your page, and would be happy to help with that. And don't forget, engagement is a two-way street. There's nothing like building valued relationships with returned likes and comments, too!
5. Remember quality over quantity.
We always say social media is an art as well as a science. The way you present your brand is just as important as the hashtags you use and the frequency you're posting. Be sure to spend extra attention on crafting your creative, prioritizing quality content (photos, captions) over content to post for posting's sake. Pro-tip: Hire a professional photographer once a quarter to take "stock photos" of you, your team, your newest products, your store, etc. to share on social media and use for PR. Need content ideas? Be sure to check out our curated content calendar downloads for story ideas!
Have additional tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!
Need more assistance? FACTEUR is here to help. We would love to work with you on a tailored public relations or integrated marketing and communications strategy for your brand and business. From planning to pitching, and consulting to creating, we're as hands on as you need. Learn more here.