Over 2.3 billion people use social media and this number is only increasing. Studies are also showing that social media is becoming one of the most popular go-to platforms on the web.
In January 2014, Pew Research Center discovered that 74 percent of online adults were using social media. Another study also found that 66 percent of B2B marketers name LinkedIn as the most effective platform to promote and grow their business.
This means that having a solid social media strategy needs to be part of your overall marketing plan for your brand, no matter whether you are a B2B or B2C.
Looking at some of your favourite brands, businesses and bloggers, you may see that they have huge social followings and wonder how they did it.
Sure, some websites like Entrepreneur.com and BBC.com have a name behind them, but what about smaller companies that seem to have a huge social media presence?
The answer is simple. They used a few industry secrets that we are going to share with you today so you can also increase your social following and your social media traffic.
Think about it. There are over one billion active daily users on Facebook and over 320 million active users on Twitter. When you can learn how to tap into this, your brand will not only grow in reputation but it will also grow in profitability as well.
We have all heard the common and simplified ways to grow your social media following, but these steps are more advanced and are going to help you build upon what you already know.
If you are a social media beginner, you may want to start here first.
Otherwise, here are 15 Industry Secrets to Generate More Traffic and Followers on Social Media-
1. Pick the Perfect Time to Share
The success of your social media posting has a lot to do on the time of day that you post and share.
Research from Chartbeat has found that 3pm to 1 am is generally the best time to share posts across all social media platforms, however this will depend on your demographic and the type of content that you share.
To discover when your audience is most active on social media you need to track them and work out when your audience is clicking on your content across all your different social media platforms. This will help you to know when to post your content and will help you to maximise your reach.
In order to track your social media activity, we recommend using the custom report feature in Google Analytics. This allows you to create a report that is specifically designed for your business. Through this tool you can not only see when the best time to post is, but you can also few the best days to post across each individual network.
In order to collect the most accurate data, experiment with sharing your posts at different times across different platforms for at least 1-2 weeks, as this will help you to determine the optimal times.
2. Use Your Social Data to Gain More Followers and Traffic
When setting up your social media tracking, it is important to think about –
- How much overall traffic your website is receiving from social media
- Which social media platforms are sending your website the most traffic
- Which type of content is performing the best across your social media platforms
By paying attention to these factors, along with your social media engagement and conversion rates, it will help you to better understand what is working and what is not working so well.
From this data you can then determine which platforms are receiving the most engagement and therefore, should be receiving the most attention from you.
You can also determine what style of content is resonating best with your readers. This will allow you to create more content and share it on appropriate platforms to generate more traffic and followers.
3. Offer Value and Inform Your Readers
People use social media for two reasons- to inform and to talk about themselves.
While talking about yourself is ok every now and again, especially if you have something of interest to share, research suggests that informing your readers can help you to boost followers.
In fact, Rutgers University found that informers have 2x more followers because they offer content that is of value and can be used by readers in their lives as well.
By informing your readers you are offering something of value and are helping to share your knowledge and wisdom with your target audience, rather than what you had for lunch on Tuesday.
4. Being Positive Sells
It has been proven by Facebook and numerous research studies that being positive helps you to score more followers.
The same is true on platforms such as Twitter, and in fact research has found that many people have avoided using Twitter due to some of the negativity that can occur on the site.
Researcher, Dan Zarrella also found that the more negative remarks that you make, the fewer followers you will get and the more likely they are to unfollow you.
People are also more likely to share content that is positive as it helps to promote their ideal view points or what they believe and stand for.
Of the most shareable positive emotions, it was found that the following emotions ranked as being the most popular-
When social posts evoked these emotions, users were more likely to “Like” and “Share” the content. While these emotions aren’t all about sunshine and rainbows, they do help to reflect a more positive tone and peak the interest and curiosity of readers.
5. Be Active and Act Fast
Receive a message, reply or comment on social media? Research suggests that you have 1 hour to react in order to keep your follower interested and engaged.
According to Lithium, 52 percent of people that send your brand a Tweet, expect you to respond within 60 minutes, however if the Tweet is making a complaint, over 72 percent of people expect a response within 60 minutes.
These statistics rang true whether the brand was a huge multi-million dollar business or just a small blog, proving that people expect instant contact in order to stay engaged.
Of those brands that do respond within a timely manner it has been found that-
- 34 percent are more likely to buy from you in the future
- 43 percent are more likely to send referrals to your business
- 38 percent are more likely to be open to the products and services that you are selling
- 42 percent are more likely to share your content with their own following
It seems that when it comes to social media it is not just about responding, it is about responding instantly. To help you with this, Facebook has an automated reply feature that can be sent out when someone messages you.
6. Frequent Shares Lead to More Followers
It seems obvious, but the more content you share the more followers you will attract.
According to data collected from Beevolve, those who tweeted more frequently had more followers. In fact, they found that people who had over 15,000 tweets were likely to have more than 100,001 followers.
While it is not really clear whether this is a correlation or just causation, it may be beneficial for you brand to experiment with sharing content more regularly.
You may also have to keep in mind the engagement factor on your posts, particularly when sharing on platforms like Facebook. Facebook has been known to censor posts from brands who share too frequently and don’t yield high engagement rates.
To work out the best number for your brand, you may have to experiment across the different social platforms that you use. Best practices suggest sharing at least 1-5 pieces of content on Facebook and between 3-7 tweets per day.
On platforms like Pinterest and Instagram where they are not as aggressively censoring your posts, you may be able to get away with sharing more content more frequently.
7. Take Advantage of Daily Trends
Most social media platforms share a list of trending topics that are updated in real time. While these trending topics may not always be a good fit for your brand, they may be worth trying to integrate into your posts in order to boost engagement rates.
More advanced research has also found that there tend to be daily trends across social media that have nothing to do with current affairs. This research conducted by Pinterest, found that there were pins that consistently received more attention depending on the day of the week, such as –
- Monday was a day for diet, fitness and lifestyle type content
- Tuesday was a day for gadgets, electronics and technology related content
- Wednesday was a day for inspirational quotes
- Thursday was a day for fashion, clothing and accessories
- Friday was a day for .GIF’s
- Saturday was day for researching travel
- Sunday was a day for researching food and meal ideas
Looking at this in a bigger picture sense, it seems that people are more interested in productive things towards the start of the week and by the end of the week they are more drawn to things that encourage creativity and relaxation.
No matter what industry your brand is in, you can take note of these themes and use them to help you know when to schedule different types of posts.
Perhaps your more “meaty” content can go out in the beginning of the week and your simpler more “relaxed” content can be scheduled for later in the week.
Keeping a content calendar that takes into consideration public holidays and events that are important to your brand can also help you create posts that are relevant to trending topics.
8. Utilise the Power of @Mentions
Everyone loves a compliment, no matter who it really comes from.
Scoring @mentions can be helpful in order to promote your brand to a new group of readers and increase your traffic.
To gain mentions, simply start mentioning others back, or sharing your content with big industry leaders in your field. You can also send people you are looking to get a mention from questions or compliments about their posts and work.
You may not get a mention from a celebrity straight away, however the more you continue to reach out to people, the more chances you will have.
Also, don’t discredit getting a mention from a smaller brand or industry leader, every little bit of exposure helps and over time this will help to build up the reputation of your brand.
In fact, one study found that most mentions come from people who have less than 500 followers, however these mentions can be powerful if acknowledged and used in a positive way.
9. Share Images, Infographics and Large Cards
We all know the power of sharing images and graphs but the latest research proves that image sharing may be more influential than first thought.
Here are some of the most vital statistics surrounding sharing images on social media –
- Research from BuzzSumo found that large Twitter summary cards generated 3 times more interactions than other types of tweets
- Research by Canva suggested that image updates on Facebook increased engagement rates by up to 2.3 times
- Tweets with images had double the retweets and almost double the likes compared to tweets with no images
- Researchers found that coloured visuals on social media increased click through rates by 80 percent
- 34 percent of marketers feel that visual content was their most important content on social media
- Content relevant images on average get 94 percent more views than content without images
As you can see by all the research, sharing images can quickly help you to grow your social following. Some image options that you can experiment sharing include- infographics, quote images, .gif’s, memes, graphs/tables, tutorial photos, user generated images etc.
In order to create captivating images, we recommend using software like Canva or having a designer create some eye catching images. If you are really restricted by budget, you can also try sharing images from other sources.
10. Use Video Content to Increase Your Chances of Going Viral
Sharing video on social media has been shown to boost your engagement rates across pretty much all the major social media platforms.
It may also be worth noting that right now, Facebook is giving a preference to video content and those that are sharing video content on the platform are seeing pretty pleasing results.
The good news when it comes to video content is that you don’t need to be the one that created it. Simply scan the web for something relevant to your audience and share it on a few of your platforms to see how your audience reacts. Chances are, you will find that you will receive more likes, shares and replies than with your other types of content.
Over time, if you find that your business is really doing well by sharing video content, you may want to consider investing in creating some of your own. With today’s technology, all you need is a camera on your phone and a simple editing tool to put together a great video.
Remember, sharing on social media doesn’t have to be about only sharing your own content. When you branch out and share content from a variety of sources and in a variety of styles, you will help increase the appeal to your audience and attract more followers.
11. Don’t Bulk Share Content on Social Media
We have explored many ways to generate more followers and traffic on social media, but what is one factor that is driving people away from your social platforms?
When you continually post content one after the other, your audience becomes frustrated and are likely to unfollow you right then and there.
Research from the KAIST University in South Korea backs up this claim with their research that found that people who tweeted many times in a short time frame ended up loosing followers.
Their survey found-
“The survey participants unfollowed those who left many tweets within a short period of time, created tweets about uninteresting topics or tweeted about the mundane details of their lives.”
While “uninteresting” and “mundane” maybe subjective, the biggest take away from this research is to not bombard your followers with constant updates one after the other.
In order to prevent this, it may be worth using a social media scheduling tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite, which will allow you to space out your posts across the most popular platforms.
12. Offer Freebies, Giveaways and Competitions
If you want a sure-fire way to increase your followers then all you have to do is offer something for free or offer a promotion or giveaway of some kind.
It may seem like a “get rich quick scheme” but the more you can offer your followers something of value that is also free, the more interested they will be in your brand.
Face it, everyone likes free things or special discounts, so imagine the power of offering something like this on a platform that attracts billions of people.
If you are still not convinced, a study conducted by Nielsen found that-
- 52 percent of people follow brands to learn about offers and deals
- 38 percent of people follow brands to take part in promotions and competitions
- 33 percent of people follow brands to get freebies
This is a huge percentage of followers, so definitely use this to your advantage and start dreaming up ways that you can offer them something of value.
In order to have this strategy work best, you can also direct people to follow you on social media in exchange for a coupon code. You may also consider running an exclusive social media competition that requires your followers to share and tag their friends in order to increase your reach.
13. Manipulate the Emotions Behind Viral Campaigns
Harvard wanted to determine what makes a post go viral on social media. They discovered that it was less to do about the content and more to do about the emotions that the content evoked.
Out of all the emotions, they found that there were 5 main ones that were consistent with viral posts. These emotions included-
You can see the similarity between these emotions and the emotions mentioned earlier in regards to the type of content that gets shared and liked most frequently.
When you can hone in on these emotions, you can create a platform that is truly engaging and one that motivates people to click through to your site.
To compare, posts were less likely to go viral if they conveyed the following emotions-
Staying away from these emotions may help you to operate a more successful social media marketing strategy.
14. Observe the Most Shareable Colours
Another industry secret when it comes to getting your content shared on social media is the colours that you use in your images.
Colours have the ability to convey emotions, which is why they were found to be extremely influential when it came to generating more followers and more shares.
The most recent research around this comes from Georgia Tech University, which studied over 1 million images on Pinterest and discovered that red, pink and purple graphics generated the most engagement.
They found that the reason for this was due to the fact that they were deep, visceral colours that generated strong emotions in people.
As part of the study they also found that the following colours created certain types of emotions such as-
- Blue: tranquility, loyalty
- Green: freshness, money
- Yellow: warm, intellectual
- Purple: ambition, luxury
- Pink: healthy, playful
- Red: passion, strength
- Orange: success, friendliness
- Brown: longevity, conservative
- White: goodness, innocence
- Grey: security, reliability
- Black: protection, formality
You can read more behind the psychology of colours and how best to use them in all your marketing strategies here.
15. Investigate What Your Competitors are Doing
Take a visit to one of your competitors social media pages and have a look at what they are doing. There you may find ways to copy them or ways to improve their shortcomings across your own platforms.
To help you with your investigation you may want to look at –
- How your competition engages with their fans
- How your competition responds to their queries
- How your competition builds their presence
If you notice that your competitors have many fans that are not being responded to, you may want to chime in or you may want to request to follow them. When you follow your competitors followers, in the hopes that they will follow you back, you are also instantly attracting your right target audience.
After observing what your competition are doing, you can then determine whether or not you like what you see and if you want to emulate it or improve on it in some way.
If you need a little help with navigating through this, try uploading your competitors Facebook page to FanPageKarma to see where they are failing and where they are succeeding, so you can do it better.
Whether you are a veteran of social media marketing or just getting started, these 15 industry secrets are going to help you generate more traffic and more followers across all your social media platforms.