Marketing Strategy & Implementation
HOW I DOUBLED MY CLIENT'S SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE IN 12 MONTHS
Social media is one of the most effective ways to build an online presence for your brand. But if you don’t have the right strategy in place, you simply won’t see the level of results you need to keep your business growing and thriving.
One of my clients learned that firsthand when they contracted me to handle their social media and content marketing efforts last year. In the months since and with the right strategy in place, their social media presence has doubled in size and their audience has become much more engaged.
Want to know how I did it? I’ll tell you all about it below.
My client — whom I won’t name here because I’m still working with them — came to me in June 2017 looking for help with their social media and blog. They’re a small business with a team of 5-10 people in the Southern U.S., and they earn revenue entirely from digital creative projects.
They were also one of the first clients I signed when I started my marketing business last year, and are now my longest-running client to date.
My client’s biggest challenge was their limited social media presence. They had less than 200 followers across three platforms combined. Growth was stagnant at best and trending downward at worst — on Twitter, they were losing about 1 follower every month, while their Facebook and LinkedIn audiences hadn’t changed discernibly in the past 6 months.
To make matters worse, that audience wasn’t engaging with the content my client shared. They weren’t Liking, sharing, or commenting on social media posts. They weren’t clicking through to the website. And if they did somehow land on the website, they left quickly without looking at any other pages.
If you want a steady flow of new customers, you need steady audience growth, and you need that audience to be engaged with your brand message. That’s where I came in.
There are a lot of factors that contribute to the kind of audience growth and engagement that we wanted to see, but each of them fits into one of three categories: content, frequency, and platform.
My client had content, but they didn’t share it with the right frequency on the right platforms. The trick here was to find the perfect intersection of all three.
Social Media Post Frequency
The first step was to increase the frequency with which we posted to Twitter. The average lifespan of a tweet is only a few minutes at best, and more often only a few seconds. So for my client’s audience to see their content, I needed to bump our posting frequency into high gear. Over the course of the next few months, we went from tweeting only once per weekday to 3 times per weekday.
On Facebook and LinkedIn, we could afford to post less frequently. Posts on these platforms are usually much longer than a tweet, so audiences can easily feel overwhelmed when businesses post more than once or twice per day.
But just because we didn’t increase our posting frequency on those platforms doesn’t mean there wasn’t work to do on the posts themselves.
Social Media Post Content
On all platforms, we started using location- and industry-specific hashtags. This is a good strategy for most local businesses because it increases their chances of being seen by potential customers in the area who are looking for those services. So to broaden our reach, we used hashtags like:*
*Not the actual hashtags used
On Twitter, where hashtags originated, we used 2-4 hashtags per post. This meant that we could show up in search results for plenty of topics but not seem spammy or fake. If a hashtag didn’t fit into a sentence organically, we added it to the end of our message, after a link so that it wouldn’t disrupt readers’ thought patterns or deter them from clicking through.
On Facebook and LinkedIn, however, hashtags are looked upon a little less favorably, so we limited ourselves to 1-2 hashtags per post. We were also careful to use hashtags only in a way that made sense organically — we worked them into sentences whenever possible, and if a hashtag didn’t fit the topic of the post, we didn’t use it.
We also shifted our strategy to exclude content curated from other users and industry influencers, choosing instead to only share posts that linked back to our website.
This is a strategy that I rarely recommend.
Curating content from industry influencers is a key step in establishing yourself as an industry leader and an expert in your field. But it’s hard to do that without an audience, and simply sharing an article from Entrepreneur won’t build one for you.
My client needed to show the few followers they did have that they knew what they were doing and that their customers loved the work they did. And in this case, that shift in content style paid off.
Blogging was a major part of my client’s SEO strategy long before they brought me on board. My client knew that the average word count of top-ranking blog posts on Google’s front page was anywhere from 2,000-3,000 words (depending on the source of the study). So to boost their SEO rankings, my client was publishing a 2,500-3,000-word blog post every two weeks.
This strategy worked well for their search results, but engagement really suffered. The blog posts were too long to hold readers’ attention, and their 78.83% bounce rate showed that too many people gave up before the end of the article, where a call to action directed them to another page on the website.
So when I took over my client’s content strategy, I cut our blogs’ word counts in half. Posts stayed comfortably in the 1,000-2,000-word range, with most falling somewhere near the 1,500-word mark. I also added more inbound links — links to other pages on our website — higher in the posts and more frequently throughout. This encouraged readers to dive deeper into our content rather than clicking away from the website entirely if they were bored with the original post.
I’m constantly looking for ways to repurpose content in a way that will extend its shelf life, bring my clients more exposure, and provide more value to their followers. So when I heard of Medium and LinkedIn Pulse, I knew they were platforms worth testing for this client.
I alternated between the two platforms each week, posting on each one about twice per month. Each time I repurposed a blog post on one of the platforms, I linked it back to the original post on our website and added more links to our blog posts throughout.
Together, these helped drive traffic back to our site and get our content in front of new audiences.
After 12 months of following these strategies (with a few minor tweaks here and there along the way), the numbers were in:
On Facebook, our followers increased 30%.
On Twitter, our followers increased 100%.
On LinkedIn, our followers increased 169%.
On Medium, our followers increased 800%.
Combined, our social media audience grew 99%, essentially doubling.
My client’s goal was to get their content in front of more people, so I also kept a close eye on impressions, i.e., how many times someone saw a post from us. On Twitter, we went from an average of 259 impressions per tweet to 322 impressions per tweet — a 124% increase.
But our growth wasn’t limited to social media. The gains there translated to a larger and more engaged readership on our website, too:
Our average monthly site visitors increased 73%.
Our average monthly unique pageviews increased 60%.
Our bounce rate decreased 32% month over month.
If you want to see results like this for your company, here are some basics to keep in mind ...
There’s a strong correlation between posting frequency and audience growth.
We consistently found that the more frequently we posted to social media, the more quickly our audience grew. Months with high posting volumes also brought high levels of new followers, but when our social media activity slowed down — like around the holidays, for example — so did our audience growth.
More distribution avenues mean more eyeballs on your content.
It’s no coincidence that our LinkedIn audience grew faster once we started republishing blogs on LinkedIn Pulse. Incorporating more platforms into your marketing strategy gives you more opportunities to be seen by your target audience, as long as you’re willing to keep it up. That brings me to my final point …
Consistency is Everything.
If you want to see real results from your social media and content marketing efforts, you have to be consistent. You can’t just take a break from social media and expect your audience to still be there when you come back — when they see you check out, they check out, too. If you don’t have the time or know-how to do this yourself, it may be time to hire a social media manager to help.
So ... are you wondering how
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If you want to see the kind of audience growth and engagement for your business that my client saw for theirs, then you’ve come to the right place. I’m currently accepting new social media clients, and I’m happy to discuss how we can improve your social media presence together.
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