It can be hard to know where to start with social media

Ways to improve social engagement

Social media has grown into one of the most important ways to reach and engage with an audience today.

While popular social media platforms started as a way to stay connected with your professional and personal networks, social media has evolved into a powerful way for brands to connect with buyers.

As a professional tool, social media also plays an important role in maintaining and building your own personal brand. Platforms allow you to connect, engage and help you gain knowledge and learn from the biggest influencers in your field.

Here are some top tips to help you get ahead and really use social media to its full potential.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

When first starting out on social, a good place to start is finding your niche audience. These people may work in the same industry as you, share information which you find interesting or helpful, and/or generally have the same interests as you.

As you start to connect and follow people which share your passions, you may find that your audience starts to grow naturally and you’ll begin to build a community around your area of expertise. Also, posting about something which you find interesting and know a little bit about will help you with my next tip.

Top Tip: Use the search function. Search for your favourite hobby, sport or pastime activity. Follow people and groups which look interesting and have good engagement.

ADD VALUE

When joining social media for the first time, knowing what to talk about and share can be quite a daunting task. If you’ve followed the first tip though, you hopefully have more of an idea of what content would be of interest to your audience.

Following people with similar interests or who work in a similar field will influence the topics of discussion and information you share. You might have found an interesting blog post or have top tips of your own. For example; on how to keep massive spiders from coming into your house in the winter?! If anyone has any good tips please let me know (@phillmaddick).

Top Tip: Talking and posting about a topic you know well is the best way to grow an engaged and interested audience. Stick to what you know.

GET INSPIRED

Another way of helping you with your content ideas and/or to better increase your knowledge in general, is to follow, connect and engage with people of influence.

Major influencers on social who have hundreds of thousands even millions of followers, do so for a reason. They provide tonnes of my second tip, value. Following influencers will not only improve your knowledge, you can use them to increase your visibility too!

Different people find different influencers interesting, but if want to see a great example of an influencer and my personal favorite in the digital marketing space, check out @garyvee.

Top Tip: Try commenting on a blog post or responding to a tweet of a major influencer on social media. Other followers who see your comment will likely follow you too, meaning you improve your follower count and also find new people to engage with. Also, if the influencer finds your comment or question interesting you could see your post shared with millions of other people. Win, win.

THE POWER OF VISUALS

In my opinion, there is nothing more dull than a text only post. Not only are they dull, they are a waste of a tweet or update and time, as it will be ignored. When constructing your tweet or social post, think twice about your followers. Imagine them thumbing through their social feed and the hundreds or thousands of other posts that you’re competing against. What is it about your post that will stand out from the crowd?

To avoid your lyrical or grammatical piece of genius being ignored, include an image. Better yet, a short video. Social platforms allow images, and more recently video, to dominate greater real estate of a social feed, so increase the probability of a post being engaged with. So don’t be ignored, get visual!

Top Tip: The news items uploaded to the Michelmores website are optimised for social, so by using the share buttons your post should automatically be populated with an image.

BE GENUINE

The most important Top Tip I can give you, I’ve saved for last. Be yourself! By pretending to be something or someone you’re not on social is a recipe for disaster and can seriously destroy your own personal brand and reputation. People aren’t stupid and your lack authenticity will be obvious. Transparency is key to building an engaged and loyal audience.

Top Tip: People buy from people