It is almost impossible to find a company that doesn’t want to grow their social media following–I mean, who wouldn’t want to have more fans, ultimately leading to more business? Companies are constantly looking for ways to reach new audiences. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like are excellent tools for businesses to have direct contact with their customers. So why then, do so many companies struggle to keep up with their social media? Well, it can be a challenge  to even acquire an audience online and then keep their interest, let alone to keep that audience growing! In all of the social media frenzy, we can forget about the simple things we can do to get that bump in our company’s online following. Here are five simple ways you can increase your social media presence and grow your online audience now:

1) Add social media buttons to your website, blog, email newsletter, signature and more. This one is super easy and can make a big difference! Do you have a website? An email newsletter? Add your social media icons that link directly to your company’s online accounts. It can sometimes be difficult to find a company’s social media accounts, especially if there are other companies with similar names to yours out there. Take away any guesswork and have your accounts proudly linked to from all of your online mediums. It just makes it easier for others to find you and become engaged fans!

2) Utilize hashtags to reach new audiences who share the same interests as your brand/organization/business. Hashtags are a great way to add metadata to your posts to tie them to a certain stream of content. You can use tools like Hashtagify.me or websta to find the most popular hashtags related to the theme of your content. Once you know which ones are being used the most and you’ve done your research on which hashtags make the most sense for your posts, you can begin using them with your content. People interested in that topic will see it under that hashtag. It’s a great way to reach new audiences and to enter the conversation for a certain topic, so don’t forget to use hashtags!

*Note: Remember to be careful when using and researching hashtags. Sometimes the tag may not refer to what you think it does, so it’s important to research them to ensure you don’t accidentally tag yourself in something you don’t want to be a part of. If you want to create your own hashtag relating specifically to your content, research others first to ensure it hasn’t been used and that it isn’t a hashtag that can be easily hijacked and used for a different meaning. (Just take a look back at this Hijacked Hashtags story from Mashable – you’ll see what we mean.)

3) Ask for fans/followers to share your content. I’m sure you’ve heard plenty about word-of-mouth marketing and how it can be the best way to gain new customers. People trust the people they know, and you can’t ignore a great review from a friend. Well, there’s good news – social media is one giant word-of-mouth marketing hub! You probably already have a bit of a following on your social media accounts. If these are your fans who you’ve already won over, why not have them help you get others to make the same realization? Create content so good that your current followers want to share it, and when they do, their friends will see it and realize they want in. Help your fans help you!

4) Run a contest/giveaway. Everyone loves a giveaway! A little incentive is a great way to attract new people. If your social media growth has been stagnant lately, this is a good way to give things a boost. Offer entry to win a free product or service by having your followers engage with your social media in some way (some social networks like Facebook have strict rules for entry so review those before running a contest or giveaway). Sometimes the chance for a little something more will give people the lift they need to visit your page. Keep them coming back with more contests and great content.

*Note: Make sure you think the contest rules through in their entirety before you start. You’ll really want to focus on how you’re going to easily communicate them to your audience. You want to have a clear winner and make sure the rules are accurately understood and followed by all. Contests and freebies are NOT something you want to just throw up online, as it could end in a lot of unhappy fans or a deleted page, if not executed properly!

5) Post consistently and engage with others.  Are you taking the time to post new content?  Do you interact with your followers and online community?  You can easily lose your audience and see a decline in engagement if you don’t maintain an active account. What and how often you post will depend on your goals for social media, and will be unique to your brand or business. Whether it is to share an article or introduce a new product, each post helps increase your online visibility and social media presence.  It is also just as important to interact with your audience and followers on a regular basis by responding to post comments, following other social media accounts and adding comments in return.

*Note:  It is important to remember that although it is suggested to post a minimum of three times per week, it is also recommended to not post more than twice per day.  This can have the opposite effect, driving followers away from following your accounts. Your social media strategy is one that should be well planned out to keep your audience the most engaged and avoid driving them away.

We hope these quick and easy tips will get your social media following moving in a positive direction. We understand that the reality for some companies is they just don’t have the manpower to truly keep up the online presence that they need for it to make a difference. VaVa Virtual Assistants offers a variety of social media and content creation services to help you do just that. Contact us and we’ll help get your company’s online presence up to snuff!