For a lot of startups, social media can quickly become an afterthought. As we often think that using social for our brand is a lot like using social in our personal lives, we misunderstand what it means to grow a presence organically, thinking that people will follow you because you exist. However, an organic social following is something that requires quite a bit of foundation building and dedication to branding, which is why we’ve compiled a few helpful tips to get started. Check them out below:
Speak From Your Brand
The origin of an organic following starts with your brand. After all, look at companies with strong followings like Apple or Trader Joes, these companies don’t have fans, but evangelists who swear by their company of choice and will debate anyone on the merits of them. Although generating a base like that takes years (if not decades) of consistently putting out a great product or service, it also comes with staying true to your brand. Which, in launching your startup, your brand will be the primary component as to why your audience will hit that “follow” button or not.
When addressing your brand, one of the first things you should consider is what type of voice it has, as well as how you can come up with guidelines to keep your messaging consistent. According to Kettlefire Creative, 80 percent of consumers say authenticity in content is one of the most influential factors in following a brand, which all stems from your brand voice. Brainstorm a bit as to what this thing would sound like or talk about if it was a living, breathing thing, as well as the types of topics it would post about. Remember, a big part of creating a brand is having it be larger than life as something that can live on its own, so make it something you’d find worth following beyond your personal connection to it.
Give Yourself The Proper Audience
With a brand established, it’s time to start thinking about what type of audience you’re trying to compile for following this. While you might have a general idea of the audience you’re aiming to go after with this, diving into the specifics is advantageous for developing a base that will genuinely engage with your brand, eventually using your product or service. For example, as noted by Pew Internet, 71 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds are on Instagram. If I were aiming to start a youth-centric homework help service, then that would be the first place I’d advertise. However, before we dive too deep into the specifics, first we should address where you should start with your base.
In looking at your brand, ask yourself what aspects of social media will have the best audience for each intended purpose. This can vary company to company, but the general idea is to cover all of your bases (especially in marketing to a number of different people); for example, you might utilize your blog content in combination with LinkedIn and Twitter to attract the attention of VCs, while using Instagram and animated videos to attract customers. From there, it’s about specifics, such as looking at a general group and parsing them into subcategories that will give you a more likely target. The goal is to have an audience that you feel with certainty will give you the results you’re after, honing in to grow over time.
Know Your Mediums
As you develop your audience, it’s also key to be mindful of the medium they’re engaging with. While many think that developing an organic following involves casting a wide net over all the mediums you’re trying to gain a following from, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, your audience should be specific to the type of community you’re aiming to engage with in subsets. If you’re going after Instagram, then stick with Instagram as your primary medium, making everything else secondary.
Although targeting is important, the other aspect of it is having a profile ready to go that others in these groups are willing to engage with. Think of this as a pipeline. For example, 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded. By using one for my brand, someone could associate that hashtag with my company to help build a solid base of Instagram followers. Thus, a new visitor feels as though they want to follow us, too. As a lot of social techniques involve behaviors that are intuitive to us, it’s important to take a step back and look at things from that angle, giving you the best chance to engage others how you would engage yourself.
Stay Consistent With Your Voice
Finally, a vital component for developing your organic presence is to stay consistent with engagement. As noted by Hootsuite, approximately 90 percent of brands out there are using social media to increase brand awareness, which is a massive amount of competition; however, it’s not incredibly difficult to separate yourself from the pack. Even though a lot of these companies are on social, that doesn’t mean they’re doing things right, and a big part of outshining them is staying consistent with your brand voice.
A smart suggestion would be to create a calendar and rubric for your brand to follow. This is key for both the social campaigns you’re aiming to run, as well as when answering customer support questions on social as well. Make these criteria based on a specific set of principles your brand follows, while leaving enough wiggle room to speak in different tones. Although this all might seem a little overwhelming at first, through practice, it’ll become second nature, giving your brand a voice that’ll help it come to life.
What are some strategies you’ve implemented to create an organic social presence? Comment with your insights below!