It is 2018, and we are living in the great era of the internet with so many opportunities we didn’t have 20 years ago. Take advantage of this and be aware about how great it actually is.

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My Experience With Social Media

When I was 15  I came across a social platform called Twitter. This was back in 2009 when Twitter wasn’t that popular with only 6 million users, compared to today’s 330 million. Using this to my advantage, I recognised that Twitter was only going to get bigger, and invested a lot of time growing a “personal brand”. As a high school student I grew my followers from 0 to 11,000 in the space of 2 years through engagement alone. In 2010, people loved being added to “lists” on Twitter so I used this as the foundation of one of my main social media strategies. I would tweet out to my followers “RT if you are from Scotland and I will add you to a list”. This exposed me to a target audience with hundreds of users retweeting these tweets out to their followers which had a knock-on effect. I stuck to my word, added them to the list, followed them and usually they would follow back. Moreover, this then left me with a filtered list of a target audience that I could engage with regularly to further grow.  I enjoyed it, it was fun to reach milestones. Having that exposure, which doesn’t feel like a lot now, was a lot then and paid off in the end. I still have the account and use it regularly.

I retired from “Twitter growth” in 2012 due to exploring other interests outwith social media and studying Computer Science at University. I continued to try out other platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook Pages.

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Now in 2018, owning a company and using social media to grow my business, I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned and hopefully it will have some impact on your business too. I’d also like to go into detail later this year and do individual blog posts for each platform, but for now we’ll keep it short and sweet.

Content is Key

Firstly, an important thing to note is that each social platform has its own unique style, so you may push out content to Facebook that you wouldn’t push out to Instagram and vice-versa. Instagram is great for those beautiful shots of architecture and quick to the point statements but don’t get caught up being “fancy”. Post content that your audience will want to engage with and tells a story of who you are as a brand. Post content regularly and if it is Instagram you are growing, use 20 popular hashtags relevant to your post as the first comment – this will reach people outwith your following.

Don’t post to the extend you clog up your followers feed as they may unfollow you as a result. A solution to this would be to post more frequently to your story and one to two times per day to the news feed.

Paid Advertising

There are various options you can explore in the social media game. You can go down the route of putting in sheer elbow grease and growing your following organically and/or you can go down the paid advertising route. Paid advertising is actually a highly recommend road to go down especially if you are selling a product as you may not need followers to get sales. The Cost Per Click for a targeted ad on Facebook is only £0.23 per click which is very cheap. Let’s say your business is selling AC/DC t-shirts at £35 each. You set the target audience to “AC/DC fans in the UK”, and for each potential customer that goes to your product link, it is only costing your company £0.23. Facebook ads are very cheap just now so take advantage of it as it will increase to much greater numbers in the future.

Facebook Competitions and The Risks

I’m sure when scrolling through your newsfeed on Facebook you have came across a friend sharing a competition post. From a Facebook Page standpoint, this is a great way to reach a large amount of people and also gain more followers as a result. Facebook have put some rules into place for competitions that I recommend you take a read over. Launching a competition and stating that the user must “share this post” and “like our page” to enter, can result in Facebook banning your account with zero notice and it is unlikely you will get it back. Something to be aware of.

A good kickstart to your competition is to use paid advertising to get the ball rolling.

Follow Limits

Following other users in the hopes they will follow back  and engaging with others is a viable method to grow your social presence, as long as you are producing content they will enjoy. Most social media platforms have limits on how many users you can follow or unfollow per day. This also includes how many photos you can like and how many tweets you can favourite or retweet. These limits change regularly and can be based on factors such as how long you have had the account and how active your account is. Refresh your knowledge of this by doing a google search on these limits every so often to keep updated.

If you go over the limits your account could be banned without notice and it is borderline impossible to get it back if it is an Instagram account as they have one support email that gets around 20,000 emails per day. Again, something to be aware of.

Does it matter how many followers you have?

10 years ago, the answer would have been yes, but these platforms have evolved this then, showing users content based on their recent activity and engagement. Just because you have 1.5 million followers on Instagram does not mean 1.5 million people are seeing your posts.  An easy way to gage this is to look at how many followers a celebrity figure has on Instagram then check one of their videos to see how many views it got. There are other factors that do come into play with followers, especially with Instagram.

Instagram released the “stories” feature off the back of the great response it had on Snapchat. Stories are posts that last for 24 hours and are only seen if a follower clicks on them. This is really great for businesses or public figures as you can add a link to a website on the story, and the follower can easily swipe up to visit. Unfortunately, users can only add links to their stories if they have more than 10,000 followers or are verified. The easiest route to go down here is getting 10,000 followers as Instagram don’t verify accounts unless they have an established brand. This is also as nice motivation to work towards as a milestone.

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Foundr’s Instagram Story Using “Swipe Up” Method

Your account looks more established to potential customers if you have a lot of followers and the more followers you have the more reach you have. But don’t get too tied down to the numbers and focus more on what works for you and your business.

What is after social media? What is the next “Facebook”?

I mentioned early in this article about trying to stay ahead of the curve and getting into a game where there are not a lot of players already. The best tip I can give you from this blog post is to get into voice strategies. There is not a lot of people playing in that space just now but in 10 years time everyone will be playing in that space as it will be what social media is for businesses today. Contact us for more info about how social media and voice can help grow your business and get ahead of the curve.

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