How to Use Social Media to Grow Your Audience

Have you been posting regularly on social media, but you’re not getting the growth you want? Maybe you’re not getting as many likes or comments as you wish you were. In order to do make strong connections with your audience, you need to do more than just post good content. If you’re an author, Youtuber, blogger, musician, or own a small business, this article is for you.

If you want to use social media to your advantage, read on.

Create A Strong Profile

The first step in having a successful social media presence is to create a quality profile. Make sure you have a recent photo of yourself for your profile picture, and be sure that your profile is filled out completely.

Your “about” section (or bio section on Twitter) should include links to your website and links to buy your book. For example, Facebook allows business pages a place to expand on their business’ story. Go ahead and flesh out your bio there and give readers as much information as you’d like. On the other hand, Twitter bios are short and sweet. For example, you could write something like, “Romance Author – Check out my newest book at…” and link to your website.

Ideally, you’ll be on multiple platforms. Facebook and Twitter are two of the most popular social media platforms, but consider using Instagram or Snapchat as well if it makes sense for your audience base. At first, stick to two or three platforms that you know you’ll be able to update regularly. It’s better to focus on two platforms that you use really well than to spread yourself thin on four or five platforms.

Hold virtual events

Facebook Live is a great way to connect with your readers. You can hold virtual parties and Q&A sessions. Your readers want to know that you’re a regular person, just like they are. They also want to connect with you in any way they can. Facebook Live – or other streaming services, such as Periscope – are the best way to build hype and create strong readership.

Got a new book coming out soon? Do a Facebook Live event for your book release. You could even do a live reading of the first chapter of your book – a sneak peek for those who follow you on social media.

Allow readers to send in questions that you will answer in a live Q&A session. This allows readers from all across the world to ask you questions and connect with you in a way that feels personal. Your Q&A can last as long as you’d like, but generally, 45 minutes to an hour is enough time to answer several questions thoroughly.

Live streaming is easy because you don’t have to worry about any post-production or editing. Everything happens live. This is great for busy people who don’t have the time to create videos. Fans tend to like live streaming because it feels more authentic than a pre-created video.

Hold Contests

In order to get more engagement on social media, many pages like to hold contests. This could be something as simple as getting a free product to something bigger, like a VIP pass to a meet and greet.

Contests are easy to hold, too. Ask participants to like your page, comment, and share the post. Sometimes, participants will be asked to tag friends. Other times, you might ask participants to answer a question. Then, you can randomly choose a winner either on your own or with the help of an online bot that will randomly select a comment for you. Commentpicker and Woobox are good tools to use to help you choose a winner. These are great to use if you have a lot of contest entries!

Depending on your budget, you can hold contests as often as you’d like. Some businesses hold contests monthly. Others just do it if they have something new to promote.

Host a Reddit AMA

Yes, Reddit is a social medium! Even though most Reddit users are anonymous, it is still a great way to market your books. On Reddit, there is a subreddit where someone can hold an AMA – or an “Ask Me Anything.” Public figures hold AMAs as a way to connect with the public, promote new material, and answer questions their audience may have about their career and their life.

In order to host at AMA, you will have to get verified by the moderators. This is to make sure you are who you say you are, and not a random person just posing as you. You will be able to answer as many questions as you’d like. This is a great platform for people who are still a bit camera shy and aren’t quite ready for Facebook Live.

Ask Opinions

People love to get their opinions heard. Maybe you’re not sure where you want your next story to go. Ask your audience! Twitter is a great platform for these types of questions. You can create a poll or let your audience reply with their own ideas.

Don’t want to give your audience that much power? You can ask them about other things, too. Let them vote on a date for your next Facebook Live event. Or be personal and ask something totally unrelated to your books. Maybe you’re visiting a new city and you want to know the best restaurant in town. Ask your audience! They will appreciate that you thought of them – and they will remember it.

Your social media doesn’t – and shouldn’t – be all about your business. Let your personality shine.

Respond to your Audience

Someone tweets at you? Tweet back! While it’s not always possible to reply back to everyone, get in the habit of replying back to at least some of your followers. This creates a relationship between you and your audience. Think about how you feel if someone you admired tweeted back at you. You’d be ecstatic! Make your readers’ day by interacting with them. Follow back people who follow you. If you’re on Instagram, go ahead and like and comment on other posts! Just because you have a professional page doesn’t mean you can’t be personable.

On the flip side, don’t be afraid to respond to negative comments as well. Don’t take your time replying to trolls, but if someone has a complaint, let them know that you hear them. If it’s something you can resolve (maybe they ordered your book and it came damaged), resolve it. If you can’t resolve it, at least let them know that their voice has been heard and that you will take their thoughts into consideration. A little bit of customer service goes a long way.

Build Excitement

Got a new book, video, or product coming out? Post about it! Hold weekly or monthly Twitter chats – where you’re online to talk to your audience – once your product hits the shelves.

If you show excitement about what you’ve created, your audience will, too. This is a good place to use photos. For example, post a photo of you holding your freshly published book, with a caption that shows how excited you are. Or post a picture of your workstation, and mention how pumped you are about what’s happening in the chapter you’re writing. If you have the time, create a video tour of your workspace. Use social media features to your advantage. For example, you could do a Facebook 360 photo of your office. Your audience will love getting a behind the scenes look at what you do every day.

Cross Promote

There are two components to cross promoting here. First off, cross promote your own stuff. This means that if you’re holding a Reddit AMA, you need to post about it on your other social profiles, as well. Holding a Facebook Live? Make sure your Twitter followers know about it too. You can use apps like Hootsuite to make it easier to post the same content on multiple platforms.

Second, cross promote with others. If someone has a new book that you’re excited about, don’t be afraid to post about it! They might even see it and promote you back. Don’t hesitate to reach out to other creatives on social media and ask them about cross promoting. Creatives want other creatives to succeed.

By following these guidelines, you will see an increase in your social media engagement. If this seems overwhelming, that’s okay! Take it one step at a time. You don’t need to roll out all of these methods at once in order to start seeing success. Start with something that seems reasonable to you. Once you’ve got a strong hold on social media, your audience will be growing in no time.

Avoid These Social Media Marketing Mistakes

You’ve done your research and learned about what you should do to market your business on social media. But it’s equally as important to know what you shouldn’t do! Here are some habits to avoid when running your company’s social media pages.

Ignoring Negative Comments

Let’s face it: no one wants to see negative comments about their business on their post. But instead of deleting or ignoring these comments, you can handle them like a pro – and even convert a new customer!

You should have one person designated on your social media team to handle these comments. This person should be able to respond within a timely manner and in a calm way. Now, what should you say when you reply to a dissatisfied customer? First off, thank them for their comment. Then, apologize for the inconvenience. Try to use an informal tone, so it doesn’t just sound like you copied and pasted a response. Then, encourage the commenter to send you a private message so that you can resolve the situation.

You might be tempted to delete a negative comment, but here’s why you shouldn’t. If you’re a customer and you visit a business’ social media page and all you see are positive reviews and comments – nothing negative in sight – you might be lead to believe that your positive reviews are just a shill. You want to be honest with your customers, and for that reason, it’s best to leave negative comments and reviews up. A customer that sees your professional and courteous response to these comments will see that you have good customer service, and they will be more likely to use your business!

Now, if you see a comment that’s spam, or certainly a troll – by all means delete it.

Neglecting Your Company Tone

Your social media personality is crucial to your online success. No one wants to read dry, boring posts about your company. Customers want to know that there’s a real person behind the account. Think about your company and the tone you want to have online. Are you fun and playful, or professional and friendly? Be sure you choose something that fits your market – for example, if you run a funeral home, you don’t want to have a fun and playful tone online. You might want to have a personal and friendly tone, instead.

Look at some examples from other businesses who are successful on social media. One of my favorite accounts right now is Nadia Cakes on Facebook. They are spunky and a little bit edgy, which makes them stand out from other bakeries.

You can use your social media tone to make your company seem more approachable. For example, take a look at JetBlue or General Electric on Twitter. By taking the time out to retweet back at customers and post interesting content, you’ll have happier customers who are more likely to return.

Not Creating a Strategy

Social media is huge. Without a strategy, you’ll be all over the place, not posting consistently, and unfocused on your goals. There are many ways to come up with an effective social media strategy, but the first step is creating a goal. You want to create a SMART goal: something Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Do you want to gain 1,000 followers by the end of the year? Do you want to achieve a 10% click-through rate on your posts? Whatever your goal is, make sure it’s doable. Then, create a plan for getting there. What platforms will you use? What kind of content will you post?

Keep in mind that it’s better to focus on two or three social media platforms instead of spreading thin on all of them. Think about your customer base. Are they mostly Facebook users or Twitter users? Use analytics to find out how your customers get their information online and use that to your advantage.

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Social media marketing is more than just making a post and leaving it there. But in order to have excellent relations with your customers, it’s worth it to spend the time to create a strong social media presence.

 

Four Ways to Use Local SEO to Grow Your Business

Your business website still isn’t getting the traffic that you’d like. Perhaps your competitors are coming up first on Google searches. How do you fix this? Well, this local SEO guide will help you grow your business and get more traffic on your website.

Google My Business

Google My Business is a free way to list your business online. By listing your business, you will be more likely to show up at the top of the search results. Make sure you fill out as much information as you can. Add photos, your address, your hours, and what type of business you are. The more information, the more likely you’ll come up when someone searches for your service.

Local Reviews

Local reviews help determine your placement in search engine rankings. According to a study by the Now Digital Marketing Works, the more Google reviews you have, the better your ranking is. The higher your reviews, the better your ranking as well.

Do you have a Yelp or Google reviews page? If not, create one! Encourage your current customers to leave you a review. Many companies will offer a discount on their next purchase when a customer leaves a review.

NAP

NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. It’s important to have your full NAP on every page of your website as well as on any listings outside of your website (such as Google My Business). These need to be consistent – make sure everything is spelled and formatted the same across your entire online presence.

When Google is determining your rank, it scans the web for your business name, address, phone number, and other similar pieces of information. If your information is consistent, you’ll be more likely to get a higher ranking.

Keywords

What keywords are people searching to find your business? Use Google Analytics to find out what people are searching for, and keep that information in mind when you’re writing copy for your website. Since Google now uses searchers’ location to determine search results, you can use broad keywords along with more specific ones.

Now you have some tips and tricks to bring more online traffic to your business. So, what are you waiting for?

Engage Your Social Media Followers with These Tips

You’ve made your social media accounts for your business, but you’re not getting the likes, comments, or follows that you expected. Here are five things you can do to increase your following on social media.

Share content consistently

Get on a schedule of posting regularly. The exact amount you post depends on your target demographics and your business. You don’t want to overwhelm customers by flooding their feed with your content, but you don’t want them to forget about you, either.

Decide how many times per day or per week you want to post, and stick with it.

Be Responsive

If a customer comments on your post, reply back! Strive to answer questions about your business. Thank a commenter if they say something positive on your post. You can’t always respond to everyone, but make a point to look through the comments every day and reply to a few.

Post sharable, interactive and viral content

Not everything has to be serious or directly related to your business. Post a funny meme, a viral video, or even a photo with a question. Encourage your followers to interact with you. If they like it enough, they’ll share the content, exposing you to potential new customers. 

Follow and engage with others

Follow people that use hashtags related to your business. Comment on their posts – not about your business, but about what they posted. This works better on some platforms rather than others. For example, I wouldn’t use this so much on Facebook, but I would for Instagram.

You can also share others’ content, or feature certain followers. For example, you could create a unique hashtag for your business and share a photo that a customer posted using the hashtag.

Use analytics

Finally, use data to determine which of your posts are most successful. Then, post more like that one. Find out what times of day your followers are most likely to be online. Generally, people are online most often around noon and then again in the evening. However, your target demographic may be different.

With a little bit of work, your business will be successful on social media. Feeling overwhelmed? Consider hiring a social media expert who will create content and post it for you.