16 Rules to Build, Engage, & Convert Your Social Media Audience

16 Rules to Build, Engage, & Convert Your Social Media Audience

2019-03-15 14:00:00 | Karen Cummings | social media marketing

Managing and growing a social media following for your brand can feel exhausting – maybe even excruciating – at times. Your team is putting so much time into creating a social community, but you’re consistently falling short of expectations and goals. This is especially the case when you or someone on your team has been tasked with social media, but have no background in this area. You’re unsure of what you should be doing, or worse, you’re doing it wrong.

And yes, there is a right way and a wrong way to ‘do social media’ for your brand.

The amount of time you spend building your online community can quickly take over your week if you’re not careful. Oftentimes we find that the time spent is resulting in little to no tangible return on that time investment.

So, we took it upon ourselves to compile what we believe to be the most important social media ‘rules of engagement’ based on what we’ve seen work for our clients over the years. Some of the rules have changed with the ever-evolving platforms and algorithms over the years, but many remain true year after year.

Below are the 16 rules that remain true. Follow these to successfully build your online social community, engage your fans, and actually see a return on your social media investment.

  1. Set specific goals for each social channel – there are so many different actions you can take, and so many different outcomes you can see when it comes to social media. Before you get started, identify what exactly it is you hope to accomplish with each of your social channels and then build your plan of action out to support those objectives. For example, if your Facebook goal is to increase traffic to your website by 10%, your aligned actions would be to share in-depth blog content to educate your audience and encourage them to read the full articles on your site.

  2. Know your audience – if you don’t know who you’re talking to, how will you know what to say or where to say it? Intimately understand your Brand Soulmate™ and their challenges, needs, pain points, goals and values. Make sure your ideal audience is active on the social platforms that you’re using for outreach and advertising.

  3. Establish your brand voice – this is important no matter what, but particularly important if you’ve aligned with an outside agency to help support your social initiatives. Clearly define what your brand stands for, the personality and voice of your brand and even what you DON’T want to say, do or represent. The better you know your brand voice, the easier it is to communicate with your ideal audience and the marketing agency who’s helping support your campaigns. All of this should tie back to your Brand Soulmate™ and what appeals to them.

  4. Be authentic – if you aren’t authentic, it shows, and it can hurt your brand. Be true to your brand mission and infuse your voice and purpose in everything you do.

  5. Be consistent – there is no better time than now to establish a consistent engagement plan and schedule. The most effective way to grow your following and engage your audience over time is by taking small, aligned and consistent action each and every week. Be consistent in the time you’re committing, the message you’re sending and the goals you’re working towards. In addition, give yourself time for your plan to unfold before you completely change direction because something “isn’t working”.

  6. Get your whole team involved – We’re not suggesting that everyone on your team post to your social channels, but rather that everyone on your team plays a specific role in supporting your social growth. This could be as simple as sending a fun update once a month, or as involved as doing weekly live interviews or Q&As. Every individual on your team has a unique perspective that can offer additional value to your ideal audience. For this to be effective, it’s so important to establish the social guidelines and calendar for your team so they know exactly what you need from you and when you need it.

  7. When you create a post, engage with others – timing is critical when it comes to getting in front of the right people at the right time. If you want your posts to reach more people, “like”, comment and follow individuals in your ideal audience during the first 5 minutes after you publish a post

  8. Build an influencer list in your industry – and pay attention to what they’re doing. Engage with them, share their content, offer your perspective on their thoughts – really work to build a virtual relationship. In the long run, this could be incredibly valuable should they choose to reshare your content or expand the relationship. In the short-term, it’s a great way to get in front of their audience and expand your more immediate reach and opportunities.

  9. Like & comment A LOT – in this day and age with social media, you either have to pay to play or really focus on engaging with other active users with similar audiences and/or individuals within your ideal audience.

  10. Test different posting formats – although video still performs best on most platforms, every audience is different and the results for your posts will be unique to your brand and audience. Test whatever options you have available to you on each platform – video, images, images with text, stories, articles, text only posts, etc – to see what gets the most engagement.

  11. Test different post days and times – So much has changed when it comes to being effective on social media, but it’s still true that there are certain days and times that audiences engage more with brands. This can be different for every brand, so test what works for your brand. It’s easier to start testing this once you’ve established a bit of a base of engagement across all of your posts. It also can help to use tracking tools like Sprout Social.

  12. Use ads to amplify your reach, engagement and conversions – Once you’ve nailed down your goals, audience and message and have seen some success with your organic posting, support these efforts with targeted, authentic ads to get your brand in front of more eyeballs.

  13. Leverage retargeting strategies – retargeting individuals who have expressed interest in your brand by visiting your website is an extremely effective way to increase conversions. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & LinkedIn all allow you to setup retargeting campaigns that push relevant ads in front of the individuals that have previously visited your website.

  14. Use your own contact lists for advertising – Brands are competing for attention with all consumers – even when those individuals have already subscribed to your lists or even purchased from you in the past. For that reason, it’s important (and effective) to use your existing contact lists to setup targeted advertising campaigns to re-engage them and drive them back for more.

  15. Pay attention to the metrics that align with the goals you set – You set your goals (see Rule #1), now monitor progress towards those goals. If you’re a new brand in the market and your primary goal is to increase brand awareness you may initially want to pay more attention to your social following size, impressions, and reach. As you start to gain momentum there, your goals may shift to focus on lead generation, in which case you may pay closer attention to the total leads and your website’s visitor-to-lead conversion rate generated from social traffic.

  16. Entertain and inform your audience first, sell to them second. There are many posting guidelines or rules out there— 80/20 Rule, 4-1-1 Rule, the Rule of Thirds, the Golden Ratio, etc.—and the one thing they all have in common is an emphasis on sharing others’ content more than your own. In other words, a majority of your social media posts should inform, educate, and entertain your audience, while a smaller percentage should directly promote your business. Be of value to your audience with useful information, and you will become a trusted source of information.

Have you identified other rules to add to our list? We want to hear them! Comment below to add your thoughts on what’s worked for you in your social media campaigns.

Need additional help establishing your brand’s social strategy? Schedule a discovery session with our team!