Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.
Everyone and their mother is on social media these days. I’m almost positive I can’t mention a single brand that isn’t active on at least a single social media platform today. Yes, social media is crucial to a brand’s growth in the world we currently live in, whether you’re a brick-and-mortar store or an e-commerce startup.
However, just being on social media doesn’t guarantee you all the clicks, leads and attention your brand needs. If you agree with me on this, you might have wondered at some point, “What’s the trick? How do mega-brands like Wendy’s pull off great social media campaigns that reel in thousands and sometimes millions of impressions?”
Well, such brands have spent years understanding their audience’s feelings and what makes certain demographics tick, while mastering their approach to reach this audience. But one thing to note is that these brands started somewhere. That’s what I will be discussing today: how to kickstart social media growth for small brands.
Create SMART Goals
Goals give our social media presence meaning; they also help steer us in the right direction whenever we feel lost. Ask yourself this question: What do I want to achieve on social media?
With this question answered, you can now create SMART goals. SMART is a mnemonic acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. It can be helpful to use this method and its criteria to flesh out your social media goals.
So, what’s a good example of a SMART goal?
Let’s say Brand X wants to increase its Instagram reach by 33% by the end of the year. Applying the SMART method, we can craft specific goals:
• Specific: The specific social media channel has been identified, and the key metric is audience reach.
• Measurable: Metrics like reach can be measured in-app or via various tools created for this purpose.
• Achievable: The goal can be achieved; in my experience, 33% in one year is quite doable.
• Relevant: Will accomplishing the goal result in significant results on Brand X’s growth? Yes, it will.
• Time-bound: Brand X has a set time and date to achieve the goal. This prevents Brand X’s team from procrastinating and prolonging the goal.
By meeting these SMART goal conditions, you will be able to direct all your efforts successfully and not aimlessly.
Know Your Audience
Now that you know what goals to work on, it’s time to research demographics. Who do you want to target? What times are these individuals active? Even going as deep as finding out what they like to eat can be highly informative, but don’t snoop too much. You might end up on the wrong side of the law.
I remember starting a social media campaign for my brand, Now Entertainment, some time ago on Snapchat. After identifying my goals and audience, my team and I ventured out into new waters. We were trying to increase our reach and spent a lot of time researching our audience. We found out that our ideal audiences used Snap Lenses a lot and decided to embrace it. Once the campaign was over, we got around 633,155 impressions just from Snap Lenses alone, with no advertising budget. A little research can go a long way when it comes to audience engagement.
It’s called social media for a reason. I see so many brands on social media using a corporate tone with their audience. I also understand that some industries, let’s say, law, call for such ambiance. But it helps if you aren’t scared to actually interact with your audience.
Tell jokes, be fun and create content that makes your audience understand that human beings are behind the brand, not machines. Here are some tips to come off as a friendly brand online:
• Ensure you answer questions.
• When someone writes something in the comments section, send them a thoughtful reply.
• Chat with your audience via DMs.
• Create interactive stories, as almost every social media app has stories.
It doesn’t matter if you have 100 followers or 1,000 — people appreciate it when their favorite brands are more friendly, interactive and fun.
Create a Social Media Calendar
Put simply, a social media calendar is a summary of the social media posts you have slated to go live. It functions as a calendar and tells you when and where to post. This might sound like a huge commitment at first, but I recommend you try it.
A social media calendar is probably on the top five list of weapons in your digital arsenal. It helps with consistency and clears the pandemonium that comes with not knowing what to post. And what’s more, you will never repeat content when following a social media calendar, unless you want to.
Are You Ready?
Today, most brands tend to overcomplicate social media and end up abandoning their socials due to a lack of results and growth. But the truth is that social media mastery is only as hard as you make it. By following simple methods that most big brands incorporate in their social media growth campaigns, you can see huge results. Luckily, I have listed these steps above. So, are you ready?