As a digital marketer, one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned managing social media profiles is that change is a really good thing. Even if you’ve got a tried-and-true social media strategy, the state of the internet is *constantly* changing. Plus, some of it is incredibly difficult to decipher — even for experts — meaning that even the best advice can sometimes be guesswork. (Seriously, have you tried to understand the Facebook algorithm?) That’s why it can be super important to try new things in order to boost your social media presence, even if those things don’t take a lot of time or effort.
Think about your audience.
If you only had five followers and you knew exactly what kind of content those five people loved — and what time they logged on — you probably wouldn’t need to change your strategy very often. But with every new follower you get, that data changes just a wee bit. Over time, as social media networks also change the rules (like when Instagram ditched the chronological feed) that means brand new variables are also added into the mix. This means that as your audience grows and changes — and as social media continues to evolve — your strategy should change too!
This doesn’t mean you need to ditch your social media strategy every time you get new followers. In fact, it’s better to change only one or two things at a time so you can actually tell which new thing is working and which isn’t. Instead, be flexible! Test things out, and see if they work. If they do? Cool. Try ‘em again to make sure. If they don’t, that’s fine too! There’s no universal “right” way to manage social media (except auto-DMs, don’t do those) because every individual — and every audience — is unique.
Here are a few of my favorite ways you can boost your social media presence right now.
1. Update your profile.
Social media profiles are the first thing I check when I start working with a new coaching client. A majority of the time, I can spot several changes that need to be made within the first few seconds.
Your profile photo matters more than you might think. This is the face you’re showing the world (literally). It needs to not only match you and your brand voice, but it should also be recognizable, appealing to your ideal audience, and somewhat professional. This doesn’t mean you need to book a headshot session, but it does mean that you should match your photo to your goals. That pixelated photo of a horse? Might not make sense if you’re a science fiction author trying to connect with your readers. Even if you aren’t comfortable using your own photo, try creating a logo that is unique and memorable.
Your bio is an extension of who you are online, so it needs to contain any relevant information you want your audience to know about you. Are you promoting your small business? The company name and website should probably be somewhere on the page. Don’t make people work hard to understand who you are and why they should follow you.
Just like your profile photo, your header is a great opportunity to make an amazing first impression. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to put together something visually appealing. Try using Canva to create a branded image, or simply use a free stock photo from a site like Unsplash that makes sense to your brand identity.
Pinned posts are a great way to highlight your work. You can update them regularly with new content like a blog post, promotion, or freebie — or you can try using something that already has engagement that might appeal to your ideal follower.
Content. Freaking. Matters. If you’re starting a business selling t-shirts, your most recent posts probably shouldn’t be about llamas. (Unless your t-shirts have llamas on them.) There’s some wiggle room in this when you have a personal brand instead of a business, but people should be able to identify the general types of things you post about just from glancing at your recent posts.
2. Improve your hashtag skills.
Yes, there is a right and a wrong way to use hashtags. (And it varies based on which social media platform you’re using.) If you’re on Twitter, the general rule is to never use more than 2-3 hashtags in a single tweet.
Otherwise, your #tweet ends up looking like #spam and no one wants to #retweet #that. #seriously #fact #thisisscience
While creating your own hashtags can be fun from time to time, you should also avoid using them too often. Remember — hashtags are a way for people who don’t follow you to find your content. If you’re hashtagging something that no one else is using, what’s the point?
Try not to hashtag random words in the middle of your #tweet either. It disrupts the flow of the tweet, and it’s not actually necessary. These days, when you search a single word on Twitter (like ‘entrepreneur’) it will show tweets that contain both the word itself AND the hashtag. This means the hashtag on a single word is usually unnecessary.
Rules of hashtags are different on each platform.
What works on Instagram won’t work on Facebook. Adding a single hashtag to your Facebook post actually *decreases* engagement, while Instagram is perfect for using several hashtags.
You can also do some hashtag research to make sure you’re using the best tags to reach your audience. Try using Hashtagify.me to find new tags that you might not realize exist to find new followers.
3. Ask a question.
Questions are an easy way to boost engagement on social media, and more engagement typically equals more followers. If you’re not sure what kind of questions you should be asking, keep it simple!
Think about what your ideal audience enjoys to talk about — if they like knitting, you probably don’t want to ask them about heavy metal music. (Or maybe you do! Knitters can like metal too!) If you need ideas, you can find a few tips here.
4. Engage with new people.
Sometimes you have to give to get, and social media is no different. Remember that social media isn’t just about you shouting into a megaphone at people. It’s an opportunity for engagement, to build a relationship and trust with your audience, which requires some intentionality.
Even taking a few seconds to search through a relevant hashtag or answer someone’s question can be a great way to gradually boost your social media presence. This keeps your profile from being stagnant and encourages people to engage back!
5. Find a lookalike audience you can target.
This is one of my favorite ways to revitalize my socials and gain a few followers in the process. Think about someone with a similar brand to yours — if you’re a historical romance novelist, find someone with books like yours and take a look at their content and audience.
If you’re using Twitter or Instagram, you can scroll through their old posts to see who’s engaging with their content on the regular and follow some of those people. You already know they like historical romance. Plus, with a little intentionality, you can connect with them over time, they might follow and engage with your content as well!
(Hint: Don’t just unfollow them later. It’s fine to clean up your following list from time to time, but nobody likes the follow + immediate unfollow strategy.)
6. Get visual.
Adding video or images to your social media accounts is an easy way to boost your brand, especially since images drastically increase engagement rates. The key here is to use *good* images that are also optimized for your social media platforms and for mobile. More people are using smartphones to access social media than ever before, so you need to make sure that whatever your posting looks great on a smaller screen.
7. Give something away.
Freebies are a tried and true way to increase engagement and potentially attract a few new followers, and they’re totally manageable. You don’t have to give away something expensive — or even something physical — to create a freebie.
One option is to create a free download like a mini e-book, a guide, a preset pack, or something similar. This can help you grow your email list in the process, and your followers are getting something valuable.
Another option? Do a giveaway! (Make sure to follow the rules of giveaways on social media first.) You can partner with other people to pool your resources, or do a giveaway that doesn’t require a huge investment. This could be a coaching session, a free chapter critique, or something entirely different. Think of something that your ideal audience might find valuable — you could even ask them if they like your giveaway idea before you launch it. On social media, the possibilities are practically endless.