There's a secret formula to growing on social media
I often say that, as a company, you don't have to be on all social platforms, but you should go all-in on the platforms you're on. That sounds simple enough, but we all know that in the real world, the practical application can be tricky... without the proper strategy.
Understanding the Algorithms
All social platforms have one important thing in common: they are run by multiple AI-driven algorithms whose only goal is to increase the utility (happiness) of the end-user. That's it. There is no evil intention, no scheme to rule the world, the AI's only job is to keep users happy. The happier the user, the longer they will stay on the platform.
These algorithms are programmed to "reward" those who are active on the platforms. They're always learning, always testing, and always trying to provide the best possible experience. What it defines as "active on the platform" is those who "get social" in the most ways. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, all want you to try their newest features, engage and encourage meaningful connections with others, and provide value.
The good news is you don't have to know all the newest features (unless you're me), to make the most of the platforms. Here are 3 quick tips for growing on any social platform:
1. Follow others
As you are building your brand voice on the social platform of your choice, it's important to do a bit of competitive analysis. You should be sure to follow industry experts and influencers. Not only can they provide valuable insights you may not have known of, but you can also study the type of content they put out and how others are interacting with it.
Next, simply do it better! Add your insights, thoughts, and reflections and re-share the content you find and see others engaging with. Speaking of engaging...
2. Engage with others
There's a reason that the insights (analytics) of almost every platform include "Engagement" as a measurement metric. When you engage with content, you tell the algorithm what kind of content you find valuable. You also get the added bonus of organic exposure in front of the original poster's already-established audience. To put it simply, you get found by those you likely would not have otherwise.
Quick tip: When you engage with other's content, make sure you do more than simply "like" a post. Specific actions have values in the eyes of the algorithm that show it how valuable your post was. For example, simply liking a post typically is seen as the lowest value. Leaving a long, thoughtful, positive comment (and yes, the algorithms can tell sentiment), is more valuable, Sharing with your own thought is even higher, and saving a post (Instagram) is one of the highest because you plan to come back to it later.
3. Plan and Schedule ahead.
Planning a social schedule is one of the easiest ways to ensure consistent posting for an omni-channel or solo platform approach. When you plan and schedule your social media a month in advance, you never have to worry about what to post that week. Scheduling helps you plan ahead, stay strategic, and avoid content burn-out.
Planning your strategic content also helps you train your audience what to expect from you. Humans are creatures of habit. We love consistency and look for things that can reliably provide us value. A social schedule is a great way to do just that.
Pro reminder: A social schedule is great, but it isn't a "Set it and forget it" scenario. Make sure you're monitoring your platforms, responding to every comment, message, and share, and keeping you community engaged!