How to lift your social media game

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The power of social is undisputed, but for entrepreneurs or small businesses without a crack team of social media gurus behind them, it can seem like a big, scary world, complete with its own language (micro influencers, algorithm, hashtags anyone?)

Many small businesses simply jump online and hope for the best. But while your socials should be fun, they shouldn’t be a gamble. To get your engagement (and conversions) really soaring, you need to be strategic. Try lifting your social game with a few of the tips below.

"WHILE YOUR SOCIALS SHOULD BE FUN, THEY SHOULDN'T BE A GAMBLE."

Nail your visual flavour, but not at the expense of your story

There are so many aesthetically delicious accounts out there on social media; it’s easy to get caught up in the allure of creating juicy images for your social content and forget your words.

What’s just as important is telling your story in a clear, consistent way, which takes a combination of fabulous imagery and tight copy. Think catchy taglines and engaging, relatable social captions that really capture the voice of your brand.

Try creating a brand identity manifesto outlining who you are and setting some guidelines for consistent written and visual communication. Even though the details may change over time, laying a solid foundation will ensure you are always speaking a consistent language to your followers.

"CREATE A BRAND IDENTITY MANIFESTO OUTLINING WHO YOU ARE, AND SET SOME GUIDELINES FOR CONSISTENT WRITTEN AND VISUAL COMMUNICATION."

Show yourself!

Think about the brands that you follow and love—they all have a clear, unique identity, right? That comes by infusing some personality into their messaging. By telling your story, and being honest (and even a little vulnerable…we all have our off days!) you open up the space to connect with your audience. Remember, the person behind the brand is the power!

An example of someone doing it right is Zoe Foster Blake and her cult skincare company, Go To Skincare—followers absolutely lap up her sassy, honest and tongue-in-cheek style, which is carried through her business and personal socials.

Don’t be afraid to be a little different

While scoping out your competition is a no-brainer, same-same is BORING (especially on social media). Try looking further afield for your inspiration; check out what people in other industries are doing and see if anything jives with your brand that you could incorporate into your marketing efforts, think artists, musicians, interiors and homewares.

"SAME-SAME IS BORING."

Sharing is caring

Don’t lock up that knowledge and throw away the key—be generous with your expertise and share the tips and hacks you have learned along the way. This generosity adds real warmth and authenticity to your brand. Don’t think of it as giving away your knowledge to competitors; it’s how you implement your expertise that is the differentiator.

Invest in professional photography

Remember that point about not prioritising pictures at the expense of telling your story? Well that doesn’t mean letting your brand down with sub-par imagery—it’s a visual world out there, so make sure your imagery is crisp and professional.

Get around Insta Stories

It’s time to include Instagram Stories as part of your business strategy—not only are they fun and creative, but more people are tuning in to Stories every day, so they are great for engagement and building brand awareness, along with driving traffic to your website. Get a bit silly and post a variety of content, from product to a video of the resident office dog, or a pic of your team feasting over lunch at a fave local café. It all helps build brand personality.

The ability to search Stories by location and hashtag also gives you exposure to users who aren’t already following you. You can also view Instagram Insights (impressions, reach and other metrics) for Stories by opting in through the Insights icon in the top right corner and tapping ‘Get Started’ in the Stories section.

"USE STORIES TO HELP BUILD BRAND PERSONALITY."

Get your head into hashtags

If you aren’t using them yet, you should be. On Instagram, posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without—it’s a no-brainer.

Hashtag 101:

  • Do your research. Have a look at what hashtags your audience, competitors, and industry leaders are already using.
  • Use a variation of popular and less popular hashtags—widely used hashtags expand reach and visibility, while niche hashtags help you reach a target group of people.
  • Don’t overuse the same hashtags in every post—if you’re using the same hashtags extensively, Instagram might mark your account as spam.
  • Got your eye on trending status? Include three to five big hashtags that generate a lot of likes and comments (#instagood, #vscocam etc).

"POSTS WITH AT LEAST ONE HASHTAG AVERAGE 12.6% MORE ENGAGEMENT THAN POSTS WITHOUT."

Learn from the best

Lastly, it’s always a good idea to stay on top of your social game by learning from the masters. Here are three of our favourite social accounts to keep you loaded up with tips.

Why? It’s the best in the Australian social game. It provides workshops to tighten your knowledge and refresh your passion, and a Facebook group filled with expert social media managers.

Why? Genuine, frequent and seriously insightful social tips for the layperson through to the social media guru. Stevie takes the time to really break down common problems and explain in detail why and how things work.

Why? A newby to the socials but seriously, you can’t fault that content. The colour palette and content is on point, they are generous with their intelligence, and the grid looks flipping fabulous!

Now, go forth and conquer! We'll see you online ;)