5 Ways to Build an Authentic Social Media Following

One of the first questions many people ask when getting started with social media is “How do I get more followers?”  This is a completely valid and valuable question.  While using social media just to get “followers” isn’t always an indication of business success or more sales, it does provide credibility to your brand while augmenting your visual identity.  People want to partner and work with a company that others view as a leader and expert in the industry.  More followers also mean more eyeballs on your posts and more visibility in searches.  Nevertheless, keep in mind that having a smaller number of engaged and loyal followers is still more important than having a large following that was acquired through a bot program.  (We never recommend using a service that claims to get you more followers through a software.) 

    Increase an Authentic and Loyal Social Media Follower Base With These Top 5 Recommendations:

    1. Choose one platform to focus on first – It’s important to have a clear call to action when asking people to follow you, especially if you are just starting out. If you are personally asking people to follow you after meeting at an event or conference, focus on one channel. Same goes for when you ask someone to follow you through a message or email. If you ask someone to follow you everywhere, they might follow you nowhere because they don’t know where to start.  If you ask someone to take a specific action such as to follow your business on Instagram, they are more likely to take that one step.
    2. Feature your social media pages on other marketing material – Integrate your social media pages on your business cards, print material such as flyers, your email signature, your email newsletters, etc.  Make it clear and visible for people to find you on social media when they are already connected with you on other platforms.  You can use social media icons to represent where you want people to follow you as long as you follow the brand guidelines of each social media site.  Here is an article that keeps you up to date with the social media brand guidelines that you can use for each site.
    3. Cross-promote your social media channels – Create incentives for people to follow you on different platforms by featuring exclusive content on each site.  This allows you to easily cross promote your social media channels.  Each site serves a slightly different purpose.  While many of your posts will cross over and be the same on each platform, sometimes it’s valuable to have specific content that can only be found on one platform to incentivize people to follow you on there.  For example, you can share on Facebook that if people want to be the first to view your newest videos, then they should subscribe to your YouTube channel. You can share on Twitter that if people want a behind-the-scenes look at your business, they should follow you on Instagram and check out your Instagram Stories.
    4. Partner with other similar businesses and brands – Having other brands feature you is a great opportunity to get exposure to a new audience and vice versa.  On the flip side, when you feature other brands, you are viewed as a great community partner.  Introducing your audience to a new complementary business is also a great way to be a resource.  Make sure the brands you partner with are aligned with what you offer. For example, if you are a company that focuses on teaching fitness classes, a complementary business is a fitness clothing company.  If you are a real estate business, a complementary business is a mortgage company.  Start by making a list of 10 businesses you feel will be a good complement to your company.
    5. Create opportunities for user-generated content – People love opportunities to get creative and be featured. Ask your audience to share photos of themselves using your products in an online photo contest, ask them to use a specific hashtag or share their insight on something related to your industry.  When an audience contributes in this way, it gives you content that you can then share on your own accounts.  This kind of promotion motivates people to send content because everyone loves to be featured.  People are likely to reshare their own content that was featured which may spark additional interest from their followers to check out your profile.  User-generated content creates a fun experience and positive exposure for everyone.

    When social media is done well, it can truly set your company apart from the rest and cultivate life-long customers.  If you are ready to ramp up your social media and ROI, or just have a few questions, let’s chat!

5 Ways to Grow Your Brand with Social Media Marketing in 2019

One of the biggest challenges of using social media for business is that each site is constantly changing. While it may not be easy to keep up with every new update, it’s important to have a consistent social media strategy that’s aligned with your business goals. Every social media site and post within a site is a part of your brand messaging. Here are 5 things you can do consistently in 2019 to ensure your social media presence is adding value to your online brand and helping you reach your business goals.

  1. Optimize your social media profiles for search engines — Social media sites have extremely high search engine rankings. More than likely a few of your company’s social media profiles will come up on page one when someone searches for your business name. Let’s use LinkedIn for example, Google previews up to 156 characters from your business page so your company description on any social media site should be updated with relevant keywords. We recommend updating all of your about sections so they are consistent with both the company descriptions and keywords.
  2. Optimize your social media posts for search engines — It’s important to have an SEO Strategy for your posts. Each time you post a photo, video, or share an article, try to include a keyword at the beginning of the post. If there is ever a description field such as with Facebook, YouTube, and IGTV videos, add keywords. This will make a difference in your ranking when people search for content related to your post on both search engines like Google and search engines within social media sites. We recommend having a list of top 10 keywords for social media with a goal to include at least one in each post.
  3. Start creating social media videos — In 2015, the Washington Post made a prediction that in 5 years, 80 percent of the whole internet will be online video. Well, it’s almost 5 years later and video continues to dominate in online view counts and searches. Almost every social media platform has a video element now including Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and of course YouTube which is where video is the primary feature. While having professional video production for social media can provide a lot of value, sometimes a simple and casual video shot on your phone can humanize your brand. We recommend including video in your social media posts at least once a week. You can start by just choosing one site to incorporate video.
  4. Be an engaging brand on social media — If you’re posting on social media and hoping that your post will garner thousands of likes and comments without reciprocating, you are missing the point of social media. Social media involves interaction and engagement not just on your own page, but on others. We recommend dedicating time each week to comment, like, and engage with companies related to your business and participate in industry-related group discussions. This helps establish your business as an expert and leader in your space.
  5. Track your social media activity — Posting on social media serves no purpose if it’s not helping you reach business goals. Many companies want to be online because that’s where everyone else is, but few companies are strategic with tracking their activity. Properly setting up and tracking analytics on your social media activity will allow you to create actionable steps to keep improving and growing. We recommend setting up KPIs (key performance indicators) for each social media site your company is investing time in.

Is social media still overwhelming you? Let’s connect. At ParkerWhite, we have all the resources to help you excel in integrating social media marketing into your brand strategy.

Meaningful Instagram Updates for Businesses

Whether you post daily on Instagram for your business or a few times a week, if you want to get the most out of one of the fastest growing platforms to reach your target audience, keeping up with the ever-changing nuisances is a must!

We know that staying attuned to all the social media technologies can get overwhelming given the fast-paced nature of updates. This is why we put together a brief and essential summary, based on Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference. You do know that Facebook owns Instagram, right?

Use this as a guidepost to what is current and coming soon within the Instagram environment to help you market your products or services in the most compelling way for your business.

Instagram Stats To Know:

Instagram is a proven marketing powerhouse for both B2B and B2C businesses and is consistently becoming more useful for businesses.

With this in mind, we thought you should know about the most recent Instagram updates shaping the future of the app.

 Instant Shopping On Instagram:

While shopping on Instagram has been available for a few years now, Adam Mossieri, Instagram’s CEO, recently announced that there will soon be a, “fully native checkout experience” on Instagram.  Meaning shoppers won’t have to leave the app to select products and pay.  This will be available for brands as well as for certain creators.

Currently, there are a number of businesses and creators beta testing the new checkout and reporting back on efficiencies before a wider roll out.  Look how seamless it will be:

This change will be especially impactful for direct to consumer (D2C) brands.  Many experts agree that in-app checkout could improve and accelerate the customer journey, allowing for higher conversion rates. In addition, this change may allow companies who use influencers to more accurately track the effectiveness and ROI from influencer brand campaigns.

Private Like Count:

Speaking of brand campaigns, Instagram seems to be on a mission to rebrand itself as having a less competitive, less stressful atmosphere. To accomplish this, the app is testing the ‘hide like counter’ feature and making follower counts less prominent. The hope is that by making like counts private the focus will be more on meaningful content, engagement, and inspiration without the judgment of how many likes a brand may have.

This may sound strange to you, especially if you currently gauge the success of your brand’s influencers partially on like counts for their posts. Instagram knows this and seems to be focusing on how to convey creator value to audiences in new, organic ways.

In our opinion, it’s great to know that Instagram, an already proven marketing platform, is prioritizing meaningful, uninfluenced content, so the Instagram user can truly be a judge of the content’s value.

If you’d like to improve your Instagram presence or if you just got inspired to expand your business reach on the IG platform, let’s talk!

Instagram Stories:

What struck us after pouring through the reports from Facebook’s F8 Conference were the new, attractive ways for users to quickly create content in Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories is a very strong way to get noticed on Instagram.  As of January 2019, there are 500 million daily active users. But sheer numbers aren’t the most important thing to know about stories today. Stories’ ease of use should be a reason for everyone to boost engagement through the feature.

Recently announced at the F8 Conference were additional camera features such as the Create Mode, seen below.  Create mode makes it easy for anyone to utilize bold colors, polls, questions, and countdowns, giving followers improved ways to interact with a brand.

If you aren’t already using Instagram Stories to share updates and inspiration with your followers, now is the time to easily create them with the swipe of your finger!

While stories are fun, light and easy, if you truly want to professionally support and grow your brand, consider hiring design and branding professionals for the best possible outcomes.

Coming up with beautiful and valuable content on a daily basis can be very time consuming for brands. Which is why at ParkerWhite, we have a team that executes engaging content for our clients. As you strategize the future growth of your brand, make sure to keep in mind how it will include Instagram’s audience. At ParkerWhite, we are constantly keeping a pulse on the latest updates on all social media platforms and would love to answer any questions you may have about Instagram for business – or just nerd-out on new updates! 🙂