Just as traditional publishing advanced decades ago, the digital marketing world is following a similar trajectory of rapid evolution. Take Instagram for example. Since the company’s inception in 2010, user activity has increased by 1,400% with a heavily active user base of 500 million daily users in 2019.
As this expansion continues, the importance of building a unique online presence is critical. Social media offers brands the opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competitors, drive brand awareness and stimulate consumer engagement. As a result, social media growth is crucial for continued success.
What fuels social media growth? There are a variety of ways in which brands can drive growth, namely through content, engagement and investment.
In a world saturated by content, brands must communicate value and spark an immediate interest for their followers. “Value” here is defined as content that drives engagement, virality and follows, ultimately leading to a substantial return on investment.
Consider your core audience and develop authentic and relatable messaging that will resonate and encourage action. For example, food and beverage brands should consider sharing recipes that offer serving suggestions or demonstrate innovative ways to integrate the product into cooking and recipes.
Videos, polls and GIFs are just a few examples of content that encourage user interaction. In order to keep an audience engaged, share fresh content at least 3-5 times per week. While every profile is different, a sample ratio of in-feed content could include images, videos or gifs, user-generated content and influencer content.
Since the launch of Snapchat in 2011, ephemeral content has kept consumers coming back for more. Sharing daily stories, whether created in-house or by users, is a vital component of social media marketing strategy that offer followers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at a brand, product value and benefits.
Above all else, it’s important to remember that good content is good content. If branded content doesn’t resonate with your target audience, you have failed.
Rich content drives engagement, another factor directly correlated to growth on social media. Engagement demands consistent interaction with audiences through community management. Firstly, ensure that all questions and comments are addressed within a 24-hour period. In addition to customer support, social strategists should develop content that addresses customer feedback or frequently asked questions to demonstrate the what, why and how of the featured product or service.
Outside out of the necessary customer support activities, strategists should implement engagement tactics and share interactive creative to inspire action. Consider including swipe-up links in stories to drive followers to a website or event page, use trending hashtags, integrate polls into stories to create customer feedback loops and partner with other brands on giveaways to expand reach on social and ultimately drive growth.
Ultimately, every piece of content should inspire engagement, whether that’s via commenting, sharing, reacting, signing up, saving a post or any of the other various ways that users can interact on social media. Of note, social strategies should always include goals and KPIs. What is the purpose of the content, who is the target audience and what are the desired results? Setting benchmarks for success will allow brands to monitor, correct and expand strategy based on results.
Currently, 88% of businesses are active on social media. As a result, investments in advertising and influencer marketing are becoming increasingly popular tactics for brands hoping to grow their social media presence.
Social media advertising is a direct way to reach new audiences in this pay-to-play market. Putting dollars behind posts or campaigns allows brands to more effectively reach target audiences with precise messaging and creative. Moreover, brands can select types of ads that directly relate to overarching goals. For example, a company that wants to increase sales in an underperforming market can develop traffic ads driving customers to its website using geo-targeting.
Investing in influencer marketing is another way to extend reach to new audiences and build organic trust with these audiences. Influencers are no longer there just to promote products on their profiles – they are part of creative, marketing and sales strategies. Oftentimes, long-term influencer partnerships utilize influencers as the face of a brand at events, trade shows and in-store. These brand partners are content creators, developing recipes, styling product and providing images, videos and more to drive awareness.