Social media is often a sore point for some small businesses. It sometimes seems like you can’t get the results you crave despite your best efforts.
Some of the brands you follow have thousands of followers and you’ve barely scraped past the 300 followers mark. You’re a one-person show so it’s not surprising that you’re tired of trying to manage your social media profiles with everything else you need to do to keep your business in Jamaica afloat.
It’s all just too much!
I won’t even suggest hiring a social media marketing manager because you’re already pretty strapped for cash. Any social media manager you could possibly afford probably wouldn’t be worth the spend anyways.
Instead, I’ll be guiding you through five questions I’ve asked myself as I try to navigate the nuances of social media marketing. I’m in the same boat as you so I feel your pain on a deeply personal level.
However, I’ve increased Success Lifestyle Magazine’s Instagram following by approximately 60.25% over the past year and I believe this achievement has given me some insight I can share with you. It doesn’t matter that the improvement only represents an increase from 400 followers to 641 followers. My primary concern is that there has been growth amidst everything I’m trying to do to keep my business, CEM Writing Services, afloat.
So, here are the questions I’ve used to guide my social media strategy. I’ve literally sat down and had conversations with myself using these questions as a guide. (Maybe I need to go to the looney bin soon. )
What Does Your Audience Want to See?
Social media sometimes seems confusing to me. I post something I think my audience may find useful but get nothing from it. You see, I was focusing too much on what I think is important to post and less about what the audience wants to hear.
In fact, the post that got the most engagement is one I least expected. Here’s the image below.
This post received 20 likes and 22 comments. I’ve posted how to content, posts with valuable information and several other things I thought my audience would find helpful. Yet, this was the most popular post.
I tried a similar post the day after father’s day but it didn’t work out the way I had hoped. My guess is that the image and call-to-action were effective enough to grab the attention of the people who commented and liked the post.
Regardless, the point I’m trying to make is that you should pay attention to your insights and use them to better understand what your audience wants to hear. All social media platforms have an Insights section.
Instagram is my primary social media platform. Therefore, I’m providing you with the steps to access your insights on that social media platform. However, the steps tend to be roughly the same on any social media platform you use.
Get Insights Per Post
- Click the post.
- Click “View Insights”.
- Scroll up to view details about likes, comments, shares, saves, interactions and discovery.
Get Insights For Your Entire Profile
- Click on your profile.
- Click the three horizontal lines at the top right-hand corner.
- Click “Insights”.
- View the “Content”, “Activity” and “Audience” tabs.
- For “Content” click “See All” and then use the filters to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Bear in mind, however, that focusing exclusively on what the insights are telling me isn’t enough. all my posts can’t be about tagging someone right? This leads me to my next question.
What Strategies Can You Use to Get Your Audience’s Attention?
I then started to think about how I could reach more people, and engage my existing followers, with value-added content. That’s when a light bulb went off in my head. Why not create a series of virtual networking sessions?
You see, I had noticed a problem. People who own a business in Jamaica are not actively engaged in networking opportunities where they can meet other Jamaican entrepreneurs. They also aren’t putting themselves out there enough to get the knowledge they need to increase the chances of business success. These virtual networking sessions would help solve the problem.
The sessions would also allow me to direct more people to the magazine’s Instagram and Facebook pages through paid social media advertisements. There’s also another benefit that I’ll probably discuss in another article but let me not digress.
Only one session has been held so far and the other will be held this Friday. Guess what? It worked! What has warmed my heart even more though is the fact that the first session truly helped those who attended. I hate doing things that don’t add value to people’s lives.
Therefore, I was elated when I read the feedback. Participants said they learnt a lot and were able to tell more people about their businesses. I’m sure the upcoming session will be even better!
It’s important for you to look for ways to add value to your audience. Some strategies you can use to get your audience’s attention include:
- Hosting live videos where you interview industry experts or people on your team who can provide valuable insights.
- Showing behind-the-scenes videos.
- Getting endorsements from influencers.
You should attend Friday’s virtual networking session. It’s going to be great!
How Can I Get Direct Feedback From My Audience?
It doesn’t hurt to ask your audience exactly what they want to hear. Their feedback can hep you better plan your content strategy.
A few months ago, I asked my audience what they want to learn from Jamaican entrepreneurs. One person commented and my team and I used her feedback to guide the content for our upcoming magazine issue. I also think that her comment has been directing some of the topics I’ve come up with for the virtual networkign sessions.
So, take the time to literally create a post asking your audience for feedback. Read the comments and use them to guide the content you create for social media marketing.
How Often Should You Post?
Consistency is crucial for social media success. A dormant profile won’t do you any good.
I read this article from Foundr Magazine a few months ago and thought it was very insightful. You should read it too. Regardless, an important point I wanted to highlight that was mentioned in this article was how consistently we should post on Instagram.
The author, Nathan Chan, recommended posting once every three to four hours. I instantly knew that wasn’t going to happen because of my workload and other obligations. Therefore, I chose to create a weekly content schedule where I would post three times per day from Sunday to Friday.
Here’s what the schedule looked like.
|Sunday||3 am: Quote of the Week|
12:31pm: JA Picture of the Day
7pm: Quarantine and Grow Tip of the Week/Business Success Tip of the Week
|Monday||3 am: Motivation Monday Quote|
12:31 pm: JA Picture of the Day
7pm: Tag Someone Post
|Tuesday||3 am: Throwback Tuesday Magazine Issue Quote|
11 am: JA Picture of the Day
7pm: Quote from Previously Featured Entrepreneur
|Wednesday||3am: Productivity Tip Post for Working Wednesday|
11am : JA Picture of the Day
7pm: True/False Post
|Thursday||3am: Business Playbook Quote|
11am : JA Picture of the Day
7pm: Blog Post of the Week
|Friday||3am: Friday Sneak Peek on the Work for The Next Issue|
11am : JA Picture of the Day
7pm: Question of the Week
The times were based on what I discovered about my audience from Instagram Insights.
It was a great schedule that I stuck to 100% for about two weeks. I couldn’t keep up with it because it requires a lot of planning and I just don’t have the time to make it happen. However, my follower count did increase because I stuck to the strategy for two weeks. Imagine if I had stuck to it even longer?
Try to create a posting schedule that works for you and stick to it.
What Hashtags Should I Use?
Hashtags are important for organic reach on Instagram and Twitter, less so on platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags and the more you use, the better.
But, what really is a hashtag? HubSpot describes hashtags as Instagram’s sorting process. They help categorize your posts and reach your target audience. If you use the right hashtags, more people are likely to engage with your posts.
So, you have to think carefully about your target audience and the hashtags that would be relevant to them. My target is small business owners in Jamaica. Therefore, I tend to use hashtags that focus on Jamaica and small business in Jamaica. These hashtags tend to give me the best results.
Hootsuite’s hashtag guide provides some tips you can use to identify the right hashtags for your brand. You can check it out by clicking here.
Social media marketing is one of the most difficult things I’ve done for my brand. I won’t lie to you and say that I’ve mastered. However, I began seeing results when I started asking myself the questions outlined in this article. Trust me, you’ll also start seeing results when you implement these strategies.
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