For businesses in the digital age, it is crucial to make your presence known online. Cultivating your brand on social media can build a community of advocates for your business - by gaining a source of repeat traffic on your website, this will grow your customer base and help sales to flourish.
With a rise in e-commerce websites, developments in digital marketing show how important it is to make your brand stand out. There are a vast number of highly active social media platforms for your business to benefit from, and with the right tools, these online networks can boost customer engagement and grow your brand online.
Here are ten tips to supercharge your social media efforts and optimise your online presence.
- Optimise your header images and profile descriptions
- Optimise images and videos
- Connect your store
- Start tagging your products in your posts
- Plan and schedule your content in advance
- Actively nurture your audience
- Use relevant hashtags to reach new audiences
- Have a growth strategy for growing your audience
- Invest in up-to-date digital assets
- Use more video
Optimise your header images and profile descriptions
Header images & cover photos
Having a strong first impression on social media is vital to generate identification and profile engagement. By following these steps, you can ensure that your profile pages across different platforms support your brand’s identity.
Customising your header image or cover photo is a great way to represent your brand. This space can display your professional work and showcase your business - always optimise your header by using the correct dimensions and high resolution images, and ensure any text stands out from the background. These are some recommended header dimensions:
- YouTube banner image: 2560 x 1440 pixels
- Facebook cover: 1920 x 1080 pixels (6:9 ratio)
- Twitter header size: 1500 x 500 pixels (3:1)
- LinkedIn cover photo: 1584 x 396 pixels (4:1)
You can now also upload a video header to Facebook - this is a great way to attract engagement and use beautiful moving images to represent your brand. Watch an example of a video header from one of our clients, Pipers Farm, here.
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Profile Description & Bio
Your profile description or bio is an opportunity to showcase what sets your business apart - keep these consistent across all platforms, and be concise and clear about what you do. Remember to include keywords in your profile name so you can show up within channel searches. You can also make use of emojis here (if your brand allows) to help break up content, direct the eye and keep things fun.
Make the most of any link spaces in your profile’s bio, as this will enable you to include a call to action in your posts and direct users straight to specific webpages. You can use a tool like Linktree or Linkin.bio if you’d like to share more than one link in your Instagram bio and direct followers to certain content, products or campaigns.
Optimise images and videos
Images are much better at communicating a message than copy alone. Where possible, it is always better to use original images than stock photos, as this allows customers to visualise what makes your business unique. You can forge a unique photographic style for your brand (more about that in point 9) that is instantly recognisable as your own style. Always use high resolution images and videos for your posts to maintain quality across each channel.
It is important to understand the ideal dimensions of different social media platforms and use the correct image sizing guidelines. On Instagram, portrait orientation works best for taking up space on the feed, whereas landscape images are more suitable for Twitter.
Here are some examples of dimensions for social media posts:
- Instagram portrait image size: 1080 x 1350 pixels (4:5)
- Instagram story image: 1080 x 1920 pixels (9:16)
- Instagram IGTV cover photo: 420 x 654 pixels
- Twitter landscape image size: 1200 x 675 pixels (16:9)
- Facebook image/video: 1200 x 630 pixels
- YouTube video thumbnail: 1280 x 720 pixels
Connect your store
Connecting your online shop or e-commerce store to social media allows users to make purchases with just a few clicks directly from your social feeds. Always be mindful of the user journey, with the intention to make purchases easy for the consumer - by reducing any unnecessary barriers to purchase, this will allow a seamless flow.
Integrated using Facebook’s Business Manager e-commerce tool, Instagram now has a virtual shop window of clickable products, enabling users to build a shopping bag. With Instagram Shop, directions from social media to a virtual store is now an entirely streamlined process. Here are the three steps to create your in-app storefront:
Step 1: Make sure you have an active Facebook Business Manager account
Step 2: Set up your Product Catalogue and Facebook Shop
(Many of the leading e-commerce website platforms such as Shopify, Woocommerce, Squarespace have built in connections that help you set this up automatically)
Step 3: Make sure your business meets the requirements for Instagram
Check that you are using a business profile and you are based in a country where Instagram Shops are available. Find a list of these here.
Step 4: Connect your Instagram to your store’s Facebook page
This enables you to upload your Facebook Shop’s product catalogue to Instagram. You need to use a Business Manager account to unlock most features, and the platform recommends keeping your inventory in one catalogue rather than creating multiple. For more information click here.
Step 5: Submit your account for approval
Once you upload your product catalogue, go to settings and submit your sign up for Instagram Shopping. Allow for at least two business days for approval requests, and to check your status go to the shopping tab in your settings. Once your account has been approved, turn on “shopping” in your business settings. This will enable you to start uploading your shoppable posts!
Tag your products in your posts
Product tagging is a business account feature that allows you to tag products in posts, allowing you to build a product-led feed that links directly to your online store.
On Facebook, tag your products in your organic posts to connect users to your Facebook store. After creating your Instagram Shop, you are able to tag up to 5 images per single post, or up to as many as 20 products for multi-image posts. As Instagram uses product catalogue information from Facebook, ensure the correct product data is inputted in your feed.
Here is a great example of product tagging from Pipers Farm. Once these tags are clicked, users are able to access more product information and a direct website link to your online store.
Plan and schedule your content in advance - don’t post too much (or too little)
Having a content strategy in place will improve your social media management, allowing you to make the most of key dates such as events, launches and partnerships.
When determining how much content to post, this will depend on your business, your audience, and your resources in-house. Visual content is popular among all demographics, and make sure that your posts are always relevant and of a high quality.
Scheduling tools can boost your marketing workflow and improve your efficiency - this will give you more time to develop content and interact with customers in real time! Our favourite tools for social media scheduling include:
Social media scheduling tools
This comprehensive platform enables you to view and manage all your social media in one place. You can schedule, publish, and track the effectiveness of content across channels.
Creator Studio lets creators and publishers manage posts, insights and messages from all of your Facebook Pages in one place.
As an official Instagram and Pinterest Partner, Planoly allows you to easily plan, manage and schedule content, and analyse their performances.
This is a visual content calendar with a drag-and-drop tool. Later will tell you your unique best time to post, and allows for seamless scheduling and publishing.
Content Cal supports a team workflow system, and can delegate, edit and send content for approval to managers or a client. It also handles the publishing.
Nurture your audience
Make your audience feel valued. Interact with all comments on your posts and any direct messages to your page - the more you can encourage your audience to interact with your posts, the more likely your following will grow.
Word-of-mouth is a very powerful marketing tool. You can use techniques to increase awareness for your brand, including incentives for your audience to engage with your business, such as competitions and encouraging followers to tag other users on your posts. This will allow you to gather insight into your most successful posts, while driving traffic and spreading brand awareness.
This comment thread shows examples of further engagement on Pipers Farm’s Instagram post.
Use relevant hashtags to reach new audiences
Using hashtags is a great way to nurture organic growth for your business. Hashtags are designed to make it easier to discover social media posts with the same topics, as identical hashtags are aggregated together. This enables you to connect your social media content to a specific topic or conversation.
Research relevant hashtags for your brand to best boost engagement. Which hashtags are trending? Which will generate more engagement? Use a balance between a narrow and broad mix, and ensure not to use too many to detract attention from your main messaging.
Popular hashtag topics include:
- Daily hashtags, including #MondayMotivation and #FridayFeeling
- Product and service hashtags
- Seasonal and special events hashtags, e.g. #summerdays #newyear
- Location hashtags
- Niche hashtags like #photooftheday, #foodblogger
- Community hashtags, e.g. #instadaily
- Contest hashtags, such as #competition #giveaway and #win
You can also incorporate brand and campaign hashtags to promote your business and drive conversation. The most successful posts and campaigns strike an emotional connection with users. Hashtag use varies between different platforms:
On Twitter, maintain the focus of your message, and ensure not to dilute your brand by over-using hashtag topics. Use a combination of relevant and your own branded hashtags, only engaging in trends that matter to your audience and that you can add value to.
Using hashtags effectively on Instagram in posts and stories can be a real game-changer for expanding audience reach. As irrelevant and repetitive use may frustrate potential followers and damage your placement in Instagram’s algorithm, it is vital to use post insights to see the number of impressions from each hashtag. You can then use this data to improve future posts.
Using hashtags on LinkedIn will make your content more discoverable and help you connect with new users. It is important to keep hashtags work appropriate and relevant, as LinkedIn is a social platform for professionals.
You can add hashtags to a post directly or you can add them to the comments section of the post, as to separate them from what your post content is telling your audience. There isn’t a right or wrong way of doing this, just whichever you feel most comfortable with.
Some of the scheduling tools mentioned above offer a “first-comment” posting system which is often used for adding hashtags.
Have a growth strategy for growing your audience
Delivering planned content for increased engagement is crucial to grow your audience and reach online. However, each channel might have a different growth strategy - when posting content on different platforms, it is essential to understand your demographics so you can tailor your message to generate the strongest impact. Here are some ideas for growing your audience without putting the emphasis directly on the content:
Run competitions & giveaways
Running giveaways is a great way to reward engagement from your social media followers and drive traffic to your profile. To encourage entry, make the reward relevant to your brand and appealing enough to catch your audience’s attention. As algorithms are often favoured towards posts which generate conversation, asking users to save, share, like and comment is a highly effective way to increase entries.
Setting up brand partnerships is another powerful way to increase your audience following. Find a connection between your businesses, and encourage users to interact with both brands. This could take place in the form of competitions and product launches to extend your audience reach. Producing co-developed content will give you a competitive advantage to share customers and opportunities, helping to drive organic growth for your brands.
As many of our purchasing decisions come from word-to-mouth marketing, building an army of influencers can increase your brand’s following and credibility. There are social media influencers in every industry, providing a brilliant opportunity to grow your sales base. First determine your target audience, before identifying and outreaching to the most suitable influencers for your brand’s identity.
Invest in up-to-date digital assets
Never underestimate the importance of sharing strong assets. From photography to video to design, investing in beautiful digital assets is a crucial way to make your social media feed stand out.
Social media platforms typically favour brighter images with plenty of white or background spaces, with lots of texture. Imagery with human faces also attracts more engagement. Creating easily-consumable imagery improves the rate of user engagement, benefitting any call to action in your post captions.
Take a step beyond stock product images by using professional photographers where you can. This will enable you to showcase the authenticity of your brand’s services and products. Plan shoots in advance with a detailed shot list and mood board - having a strong concept with interesting locations and props in advance will help you to enhance your message and the emotions you want your audience to feel. As you build your imagery, highlight any gaps in your assets and focus on acquiring these in the near future.
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Use more video
Video provides a huge opportunity to increase your audience reach across social media channels. Post a variety of video lengths - long-form videos can generate as much engagement as shorter clips if the video emphasises a more complex story. This can be a great way to provide users with an insight into your business in a short space of time.
Instagram’s video platform IGTV is a great way to share longer-form videos with your audiences in a separate section of your profile. IGTV videos can be up to 10 minutes for most accounts, and support both vertical and horizontal orientations. Each Instagram user has a “For You” section on their account, where they can discover new IGTV content, providing an opportunity for wider reach for a business. Engaging content types which work well include tutorials, recipes/cookalongs and behind the scenes footage. Like Facebook videos, viewers can like and comment on IGTV videos while watching them.
Instagram Stories are short, chronological posts which update at the top of followers’ feeds when you update your story. You can use these stories to temporarily highlight a recent post, event or update, and can direct viewers to find the links in your bio to drive traffic to blog posts, your website, or any other web page you want to share. This is a brilliant space to share more timely content that is a little more unfinished and unedited, saving the pretty content for the feed.
Instagram users can record and edit together 15 to 30-second video clips set to music and share these to Stories and the new profile Reels tab. Similar to TikTok, these short, dynamic videos are an engaging way to put content out online. For a wealth of knowledge, tips and resources on Reels, follow videographer and Reels expert @videobyvictoria.
On this platform you can share content with your followers in real-time. There is no chance to edit, so the first Instagram Live you broadcast can feel pretty daunting, but we think that’s the beauty of this platform, giving your business an authentic, transparent and human touch.
As soon as you ‘go live’, your followers should get a notification which results in many tuning in right away. Followers can also interact with the broadcast in real-time through comments and emojis, which provides additional material for the broadcaster to bounce off during the broadcast.
Some ideas for how you could use Instagram Live for your business:
- Launch a new product (E.g. give followers the first look)
- Do a cookalong recipe (E.g. featuring a product of yours)
- Share thoughts as they happen (E.g. current affairs or new legislation)
- Give users a sneak peak behind the scenes (E.g. your manufacturing process)
- Explain something about your product/business (E.g. why you use a certain material)
- Show ‘how to’ do something (E.g. clean a hot tub)
You can go live on your own or with another person in the room, you can go live on another profile as a ‘takeover’, or you can ‘co-host’ with another brand or profile as an interview/discussion style broadcast. This latter option is great for collaboration and partnerships and to grow your following even further as it reaches the other party’s audience too.
In addition to the broadcast itself, your Instagram Live recording will stay on your Instagram Stories for 24 hours. This opens your broadcast up to a much larger audience with more opportunities for it to be watched by your followers. This type of broadcast can generate a particularly impressive view count, especially if you continue to promote your Instagram Live across different social platforms and elsewhere on Instagram.
Facebook is a great way to increase awareness for your brand. From live streams to advertisements, there are multiple ways of producing organic and paid content to extend audience reach. It is important to be mindful of video sound - while 60% of Instagram Stories are watched with sound on, 85% of users play video without sound on Facebook. You can account for this by providing closed captions and descriptive images in your videos to keep viewers more engaged.
After setting up a YouTube business account, building a strong channel presence will help you to streamline content and generate viewer engagement. Direct users to your channel from different platforms - tweet the link, post it on Facebook, embed videos on your website. For the best outcome, upload regular and interactive videos - tutorials and product demos work especially well for this - and use YouTube analytics to optimise the performances of your videos.
Video content on LinkedIn is favoured highly in the platform’s algorithm. With a maximum of 10 minutes, keep your videos short and professional, and link back to the video elsewhere on your profile. This will allow you to your boost brand awareness and further your connections on LinkedIn - sharing your story will increase your engagement rates and connection counts.
Using these social media marketing tools and techniques will enable you to grow your audience reach and establish a strong digital presence online. Mistakes and successes will provide you with an invaluable opportunity to learn - experiment with different strategies, and keep your content fresh, honest and exciting.
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Written by Leoni Fretwell, Junior Creative Copywriter