Any savvy marketer knows that figuring out how to grow your business on social media is a key ingredient to success. All of the social platforms offer unique opportunities to reach different audiences and expand your customer base.
What’s unique about social media, is that you have a captive audience—3.96 billion users worldwide—who are primed to become potential customers, if you play your cards right.
But it's not enough to simply start a few social media accounts and hope for the best. It takes research, strategy, and commitment to create a lasting presence in an ever-changing space. Here are our top seven tips on how to grow your brand on social media and the major reasons why you definitely want to do so.
1. Decide how social fits into your overall marketing strategy
The first order of business when learning how to grow your brand on social media is creating a clear, realistic, and executable plan. You need to make sure your social goals align with your overall marketing goals. You also need to make sure you have the resources necessary to execute a social media strategy.
Each platform has its own benefits, drawbacks, specific tools, and common user bases that may be more appropriate for some brands than for others. Take some time to analyze the types of content and users specific to each social platform. For example, you might find that Twitter users are more concerned with timely, newsworthy content, where Instagram users are more interested in brand-forward content.
Ask yourself the following questions when laying out the framework for your social media strategy,:
- Which social platforms are the best fit for your business?
- How much time and resources can you dedicate to social marketing?
- What is your target demographic? Which social networks do they use the most?
- How are your competitors using social media? What kinds of content are they posting?
Understanding how much of a role you want social media to play in your overall marketing strategy can help narrow down the answers to these questions. You’ll be able to identify the number of networks you want to use, to the type of content you’ll create, and even whether to hire new team members or solicit outside agency support. Also, having a keen awareness of your competitors not only jump-starts your creative juices, but also gives you an opportunity to customize or improve upon content that was successful for them.
2. Increase brand awareness
Your customers spend 144 minutes (nearly 2.5 hours) scrolling through their social media accounts every single day. If you consider that people are awake about 16 hours per day, they are spending about one-sixth of their waking hours on social media. It's no wonder social selling has become one of the best ways to grow a business and expand awareness about your brand.
Social media allows you to offer educational, interesting, and—most importantly—shareable content that expands your market footprint exponentially faster than any other marketing channel.
Here are a few proven methods of how to grow your brand on social media:
- Content, content, content. It will always be king, and it's the best way to offer something shareable that increases your brand awareness. Social media allows you to get seriously creative, sharing bold infographics, educational blog posts, and viral-worthy memes (which get shared 40 times more often than any other content on the web).
- Use paid ad campaigns based on demographics or keywords to reach people who are interested in similar products or topics as yours. Social analytics tools can be seriously helpful in this regard, showing you keywords that users search for, so you know where to target your efforts.
- Run a contest or giveaway that requires followers to share your content or social profile with friends.
Let’s look to Sophia Amoruso, the queen of bootstrapping businesses, for inspiration. To generate buzz for the launch of her entrepreneurship course, she created a series of cheeky videos on her personal Facebook page. They are memorable, heavily branded, and consistent in their aesthetic. Her creative approach to building brand awareness paid off: over 21,000 people signed up for the first free class! (And can you guess which awesome platform she’s using to host it?)
To make your efforts most effective, though, it's crucial that you know your audience well. Social media is a seriously effective tool for just this endeavor.
Do some serious research into your current and target demographics to answer these questions:
- Where do they live?
- How old are they?
- What education have they completed?
- What's their favorite pizza topping? (Perhaps helpful only for consumer goods brands, but you never know.)
These insights ensure you know how to grow your brand on social media by reaching the right people with the right message, rather than shooting into the dark.
3. Create the right content for the platform
Once you know which people you want to reach and where you want to reach them, make your efforts specific to those platforms. What gets attention in a Facebook post often doesn't fare well on Twitter. Typically, people on Facebook can spend more time browsing around and are open to longer pieces of content. On Twitter, people want the information quickly, making 240 characters feel like a novel.
Visual content plays wonderfully no matter which platform you use but is especially successful on image-first networks like Instagram and Pinterest. Keep your content appropriate to its medium, like Warby Parker does with its various social feeds:
A 14-second video is perfect for Twitter's short attention span. A longer-form behind-the-scenes video is perfect for Facebook, complete with a link to the company's site.
4. Build a loyal customer base
Social media gives you a way to connect directly with your audience in real time and build a rapport that results in repeat business. More and more, customers make purchasing decisions based on not just what you sell, but who you are and how your brand represents their shared values. After all, over 40% of online shoppers will research a company or product via its social profiles—so make sure you utilize that legwork to your advantage.
Brand education and customer appreciation strategies, especially those that combine social media and video, allow you to build lasting, loyal relationships with your customers.
Live streams let you put a real face to your brand, answering questions or bringing users right into your workplace, and longer video posts give you the ability to share your story in a creative way that users will remember after they close out their app. You can also use polls to solicit feedback on new products or Stories to tease exclusive sneak peaks to your social followers.
In the end, though, there's no better way to encourage repeat business than showing appreciation for your customers, and social media is the fastest, most accessible way to do so.
Even your social accounts' comments section is a tool for creating positive interactions. A heartfelt reply can go a long way to making customers feeling seen and appreciated.
Food and recipe brand King Arthur Baking Company is a Class A example of using social media to create personalized interactions with their customers, with employees responding with lighthearted quips, specific advice, and even including their own names in the replies.
Forging real connections with your customers turns them into brand ambassadors, which are the secret sauce to growing your business on social media. Loyalty begets loyalty, and those who feel understood and appreciated by your brand will sing your praises to their friends and family, thus growing your business even further. Word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective form, so do all you can on social to acknowledge and excite your current customer base.
5. Drive traffic back to your site
Your social accounts are excellent tools to bring curious consumers back to your website and turn them into satisfied customers. The chances of your audience finding your site on their own depends upon an increasingly competitive and volatile SEO landscape, in which a single search engine remains dominant. Contrastingly, with a targeted social media campaign, your ads and posts can be seen by hundreds of people on multiple platforms at the same time.
Maintaining a steady content flow on social is important for driving customers back to your site. If you go quiet, quite simply, you'll be forgotten. We’re not suggesting you spam your followers with low-quality junk or repeat the same content over and over. Rather, planning ahead and offering consistent, valuable, and varied content increases your opportunities for users to see and act upon your efforts.
Make sure that your posts have clear calls to action (CTAs) that tell your audience precisely what you want them to do. Whether it's purchasing a product, joining your email list, or sharing the post with their friends. Putting a link to your website in your bio or "about" section is critical in this regard, so that users can easily find you. Make sure to reference it in your captions, if you're not linking directly from your post.
Online pet supply brand Chewy does this with style (literally):
6. Boost your email marketing program
Social media may be the new kid in town, but email is the tried-and-true marketing tool that continues to offer the highest return on investment. The marriage of new school and old school creates the perfect storm when figuring out how to grow your business on social media.
There are different ways to deploy email and social media integration. Some social platforms, like Facebook, allow followers to join your mailing list from your company profile. Others have built-in APIs that will share your newsletter directly to the platform. You can also promote "gated" content on your social networks, which users will need to enter their email address in order to access. And of course, contests and giveaways are surefire methods for generating email leads through social media, because everyone loves a chance to snag free stuff with minimal effort!
Conversely, make sure to include logos and links to your social networks in your emails. This creates a cohesive profile that signals your social presence to email subscribers, and effectively creates a marketing loop that encompasses your entire customer base. You can even announce giveaways and contests in your emails and require recipients to like or follow your social profiles for a chance to win.
7. Sell directly on social platforms
Selling on social media opens up an entirely new revenue stream for your business, so it's a no-brainer method for growing your business on social media.
It's your job to make purchasing from your accounts as easy and seamless as possible. Offering product links directly on your posts can turn an otherwise lazy Insta-scrolling session into a profitable purchase for your business. Setting up a native shop linked to your website within the social platform makes it even more likely you'll be able to snag that sale.
Look at how Brooks Running combines striking imagery with product links and a one-stop Instagram shop:
The two main vehicles for social selling are Facebook and Instagram, both of which require business accounts to enable selling directly within your social platforms. And again, contests and giveaways aren't just great for increasing brand awareness and loyalty—they can also be powerful social selling tools. Encourage customers to make a purchase via a dedicated social link to enter and watch your business grow!
Facebook and Instagram don’t have easy ways to directly sell digital products right now. Their shopping efforts are geared toward physical products. This is a great place to sell physical products if you have them.
Additionally, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Instagram and Facebook because a major place to sell digital products like your online courses, memberships and more. Keep an eye on the capabilities.
Using social media to sell your knowledge products
Use all the tips above to better sell your knowledge products like online courses. Here’s what the ideal journey would look like:
- Use social media to build an audience and credibility within your niche.
- You can boost engagement on each social media channel by creating content that’s optimized for the channel you’re using.
- Drive followers to your website through your social media content. It’s important to not always be “selling” on social media because that can turn some people away. Make your social media feed a great follow regardless of if your fans ever visit your sites or not.
- Use great landing pages to maximize that social media traffic to you site. Ideally, it’s for direct purchases of your products. But, you can also have the goal be to get that person’s email address.
Once you have their email address, use automated sales funnels and email marketing to drive home the sale. Tools like Kajabi have all the tools you need to maximize your social media followings.