“if cash flow is the life support of a business, engagement through social media is its oxygen”
Before the advent of the internet, entrepreneurs relied heavily on traditional advertising and marketing to grow their business. This approach of course was quite expensive and only the big brands played the advertising game because of their deep pockets.
With the advent of internet came social media and digital marketing. Entrepreneurs now have an unmatched opportunity to advertise their products and services, even with the smallest amount possible.
However, while social media provides a perfect avenue for entrepreneurs to build their brands and grow an audience of followers or customers online. Not every entrepreneur is getting the right result with their social media contents creation strategy online.
The reasons vary, but are not far from the singular fact that entrepreneurs seem to approach socials with the singular purpose of creating awareness and selling their products. And that’s a problem.
If your business is struggling with social media engagement, here are seven strategies to move your brand from obscurity to being known and building an army of engaged audience online. Let’s dive right in.
I’m sure you might have heard the saying “fake it till you make it”. Well I don’t know the reason behind such an advice but, it sure looks like a recipe for failure in the long run.
Being real with your contents creation strategy is the surest path to building an engaged audience. I tell you why in a bit but first let’s take a quick story…
Kani (not real name) posed as the chief executive officer of an investment agency. He always posted pictures of himself in exquisitely furnished board rooms and offices. He would occasionally post images of himself relaxing in a gorgeous hotel apartment and stuff like that- he showed affluence. In a short time he started making offers online, inviting people into his investment plans, with a promise of a very high return on investment(ROI).Because he has been showing off wealth and affluence, many of his followers fell for his investment plans and were swindled. Afterwards, he disappeared- profile picture, accounts and all deleted for good.
This dude may have succeeded in deceiving, cheating and swindling a handful of people with his fake social media lifestyle. But he sure has mortgaged his future.
Being real confers originality to your brand and positions you as someone that is to be liked and trusted. If you are intentionally real with your personality, your audience would warm up to you and even see you as someone they feel confident to transact with.
Being real is critical to a strategy I would be sharing with you later on in this post.
How can you be real?
Let your audience see you for who you are. Don’t go telling your audience that you live in a duplex while you are squatting with a friend in a bungalow. Or by claiming expertise in areas where you’re not competent in. Being real means being bold enough to share your limitations, your journey and imperfections with your tribe.
While I would’ve loved to take credit for the term “infoedutainment”,I can’t.
I learnt about the term from a video sales letter from Foundr.com.
It is a combination of three words:
Information, education and entertainment-infoedutainment.
I have always advised entrepreneurs to know their customers first, before executing any marketing plan in the market. Why is this coming up here in a post that is supposed to show you how to be successful with your contents strategies online?
Well for starters, if you know your target customers very well, it will help you know what kind of contents to create for them. What this means is that whenever you publish contents, your audience will resonate with your contents and engage with it because they can relate with what you are sharing.
One way of ensuring your audience stay engaged and hooked to your brand is by constantly and consistently providing them with a combo of:
- Education and
This way your audience would “hang out” more with you and even recommend your brand to their tribes.
The type of information you provide should align with their areas of interests and must be perceived to be valuable.
If you toe the education line, then, you must educate them on such issues like: industry news, current best practices and updates in their niche.
While entertainment is a potent way of giving your audience a dose of dopamine. You are not to be a clown in the bid to entertain. Moderation is key.
Don’t be salesy
It seems natural to always promote your brand’s products and services on socials-well, isn’t it why you created your social media pages in the first place, right?
There’s a good reason these platforms are called social media. They are to be just that- social. Not a warehouse, supermarket or business premises. People are on socials to recreate, unwind and connect. They want to escape reality by socializing with friends and catching the latest gist online. So, constantly pitching your audience every now and then comes to them as offensive. Imagine sitting in your lobby trying to have some fresh air and someone comes by screaming “buy my stuff!, buy my stuff!”
How would you feel?
I guess you will scowl at the person and ask him to get going. But of course,you will be a gentleman and gently ignore the sales pitch that comes your way.
While I’m not against selling on socials, don’t make every post a sales pitch. There are smarter ways of selling on socials. You could make a post that gives valuable information and at the tail end of the post pitch your offer. This approach is a subtler way of selling and your audience would engage with your message and be exposed to your offer without even knowing that there is a pitch in there waiting for them.
You could also invite them over for an event outside of your social media platform. For example, get them invited for a webinar, after your presentations you can now try to sell them something. This approach is quite smart because your audience would get the inkling that they could be exposed to some sales pitch down the line.
Build two way engagements
So you have congregated your audience online. They engage with your contents by liking, sharing and commenting. Do you also follow them back to their pages and comment, share and like their posts on socials when they make a post?
Communication is a two way street ain’t it?
If you want to get your audience to stay connected to your brand and contents, you’ve got to reciprocate the attention they give you by engaging with your audience’s post on socials. It builds a bond and a kind of camaraderie between you and your audience.
Create your own influence
I know you’ve been told to approach influencers in your niche if you really want to attract the right audience and put your message out to a larger audience. While this may be good counsel, the question is-how easy is it for you to access influencers in your niche? Can you afford their fees?
Here’s a better deal.
Learn to study these influencers. What do they do to keep their audience engaged? Can you model-not copy a few of what they do?
If you could, then, start modelling your contents to mimic those of your influencers in your niche. Another way of creating your own influence is to get your team members to be your brand ambassadors. You could teach them how to create contents with your branded contents and share on their social media channels. Because, whether you want to admit it or not, your team/employees are active on socials and also talk about your business with their friends. Wouldn’t it be a better deal to harness their network of friends and design a content strategy that involves them becoming co-creators with you on socials by publishing your branded contents and messages? Now imagine you have a team of five employees who are active on social media. Let’s assume that each of these five employees have a following of 2000 friends.
If you teach them how to create influence in their circle of influence or tribes with your brand’s contents. That would mean a potential 2000×5 persons = 10,000 persons that could be exposed to your brand’s message. This is one sure way of creating your own influence and “buzz” on social.
Create a content calendar
It’s said that he who fails to plan, plans to fail. This is not only true with running a business or going through life. It also applies to your contents creation strategies on social too. Figuring out what to post could pose a great challenge for you and stall the growth of your brand on social. Why? Because you would be smacking your head all the time trying to figure out what contents to publish. With a content calendar it all becomes easier. You could use an excel spread sheet to generate your contents calendar. And decide on what types of contents to publish on certain days. A look at your contents calendar would give you a bird’s eye view of what your contents strategy for a month looks like and enables you to make adjustments where necessary.
Creating contents is not a job for the feeble mined. The reality is that we are all on socials to get a dose of dopamine. How so? When you make a post and someone likes, comments or shares it. You get to feel good (primary work of dopamine)and that validates your idea and makes you feel like you are loved and accepted by people, which encourages you to do “more”. Sadly it’s not all the time that you get the desired “love” and engagement with your post on socials. When this happens, the tendency is to retreat into our shells and be assaulted by your self sabotaging inner talk:
“I knew I wasn’t cut out for this work”
“I suck at this “
“I don’t have the right contents”
“content creation is for marketers”
You shouldn’t patronise yourself. That’s why the right mindset is a prerequisite if you want to grow your audience on socials.
I have always advised entrepreneurs that the first content you should create should be for your mind. You’re your brand’s first audience. Create positive contents for your mind first. This way, you will be prepared for any challenge that you may face on the way while trying to engage your audience.
Having gotten this off the road, you have to be consistent in your contents creation strategy. That’s one thing the contents calendar will do for you. It will help you to plan your contents ahead of time so you don’t run out of contents and fall away from the path of value creation.
If you’re not consistent, your prospects and audience alike will find it difficult trusting you in the long run.
And that’s it friends!
I hope you start implementing these strategies as you try to grow your audience. If you need help with any of the strategies I have just shared, I am just one e-mail away.