When it comes to increasing brand awareness and gaining more loyal customers, social networking is a must. Starting from zero can be intimidating, especially if you have high hopes of becoming an industry thought leader with a huge following. But even overnight sensations don’t happen overnight, and brands don’t go viral by accident. With a few simple yet targeted strategies, you can become a social networking pro. Whether you want to grow your business and gain more customers, follow these seven social networking strategies and tips that top IT companies are using to grow their followings.
“Actually, SMM in the IT and beauty industries essentially follows the same process: competitor analysis, identification of product features, analysis of the target audience, drafting of a content plan, content creation, and post-content analysis. But there are some differences. For example, it is more difficult to outsource the work, since there are several products with an extensive feature set, and it takes a tremendous amount of time to properly study the product and understand how to present it to the end consumer. For this reason, I hand out product keys to all new employees for them to study” – notes Ivan.
“I would say that there are peculiarities involved with working for different audiences. Because when you’re promoting an IT company and its product, there might be several quite different audiences. Our video editor is mainly used by beginners and amateurs, although there are even BBC journalists who use it! So we take that into account when we’re making our content plans. But still, I would note that another peculiarity of working for an IT company is that you need to understand a variety of terminology – both IT-speak and other terms that relate to the product” – says Alexey.
1. Follow and engage with trending topics in your field
The tech industry is always growing and changing. From cryptocurrency to the latest video editing software, chances are good that people in your field have strong opinions about trending topics. You can leverage this to gain more followers, build brand awareness, and set yourself apart as a thought leader. Follow relevant hashtags on Instagram and Twitter, and connect with leaders in your field on LinkedIn and Facebook. For example, Twitter has a great way to connect with experts and journalists: use the hashtag #journorequest to see requests from journalists and PR people.
As you scroll through your feed on all of these platforms, pay attention to the comments and engage in those conversations. And don’t be afraid to retweet and reshare great content, either. All of these small touches will help drive more engagement and get more eyes on your content and your brand.
“In order to work effectively with social media, the SMM specialist himself must have several qualities,” notes Alexey.
Creativity. Nowadays almost every business and brand is on social media, so an SMM professional has just got to be creative: you need to come up with new headings, new formats for posts, new contest mechanics and new ways to engage your audience.
A keen visual sense. It is important for an SMM to have a sense of taste and a well-developed feel for visuals. So when we go on social media in our free time, we’re not just having fun – we’re getting our eyes in!
Attentiveness. An incorrect link, a typo or another mistake – and suddenly you’ve got a whole group of disgruntled subscribers in the comments! So it is extremely important for an SMM manager to be attentive to details, check everything several times before posting and not get lazy about it.
Love for fact-checking. There is a sea of information and different kinds of sources on the internet, and many of them aren’t the most reliable. So if you need to prepare a post about an event, for example, then it’s best to look for information on different sources and make sure it is correct.
Courage. Need not be afraid to try something new, test hypotheses and suggest new ideas.
So what’s trending right now?
“Openness and sincerity are hot right now. When it comes to content formats, TikTok rules the roost right now. Instagram and Facebook have introduced Reels in an effort to retain the audience inside their social networks.
In addition, large brands are moving away from depersonalization — that is, the practice of having a third party manage a company web page. In terms of brand identification, subscribers feel no attachment to companies that pursue this strategy. Large brands try to broadcast information through their employees, ambassadors, and public figures on social networks.
UGC content dominated in the past and will continue to do so. Recommendations in Stories, posts, and comments are the highest mark of brand loyalty and trust, and they are also a source of free user-generated content that can be shared on profiles” – notes Ivan.
“TikTok is trending now. Whether you like it or not, you just have to work with it… All the trends come from there, so you can’t help but follow what is happening on it. And also, thanks to TikTok’s algorithms, you can gain a couple of million views with absolutely no promotion. On the one hand that’s cool, but on the other hand sometimes you just don’t understand why your cool video doesn’t get into the “recommendations”.
As for the content that gets through to people, a lot also depends on the audience and the site. Our product is photo and video editing software, so subscribers are interested in learning how to work with our programs and what cool things can be done with our software” – Alexey adds.
2. Start an informative video series
You’re a leader in your field, and you have advice and insights to give. It’s never been easier to record, edit, and publish videos to YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or TikTok. When you share useful, entertaining, and/or educational content, people will start to notice. If you do it regularly, they’ll start following you and sharing your videos, and you’ll see your network grow.
“This summer we launched a TikTok account where we upload expert content related to video creation. To do this, we took videos from our YouTube channel, chopped them up into short clips, changed the format from horizontal to vertical, and posted them on our profile. In just 3 months we managed to collect 21k subscribers, and by August we had almost a million views. For our niche (an expert audience) these are good numbers” – says Ivan.
But in addition to TikTok, we pay attention to other social networks: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. We try to make creative and useful content that will inspire people to create their own videos or teach them how to shoot and edit video. Video content goes well on desktop social media platforms, whereas on Instagram, for instance, static still wins.
We also make various themed selections, or organize votes for the best LUT effect for videos in Stories, and we run quizzes and contests. It is important to use all the tools social media platforms provide, so as soon as Reels appeared on Instagram, we immediately started uploading videos there.
Get closer to your audience. Let users know there’s a real person behind your company. Talk about your values and goals, share a relevant point of view with your audience, and get their opinion. If you’re developing a product, survey your audience about what they would like to see in your product. This will show that you care about what your audience thinks.
We publish stories and interviews with our employees on Medium and Hackernoon. This gives users and interested parties an opportunity to learn more about the internal life of the company, about what does a software developer or product manager do after all?
3. Engage with happy customers — and get those reviews!
Want to boost your sales? Get your customers to do the selling for you. Back in 2016, a Nielsen’s Harris poll found that 80% of Americans looked for referrals from other buyers before buying products. That number definitely hasn’t decreased. Consider how often you look for product reviews before you make a purchase online. Your customers do the same thing, so why not leverage that?
Send out thank-you emails after purchases with links to rate and review your products or services. The more you engage with happy customers and followers, the more you’ll make them feel special, and the more likely they’ll be to spread the word and help you grow your network. Come up with an incentive system: for example, give free access to the program or send the product for free. Arrange promotions and sales, organize a club of regular customers or users. You can make up a community with its own rules, where your users will feel comfortable communicating.
4. Run periodic Instagram contests and giveaways
Along those same lines, you can boost engagement and followership with periodic contests and giveaways. You can do these on any platform, but Instagram really lends itself to this strategy. Running a giveaway is easy. Just choose what you’re going to give as a prize, and then post your contest with clearly defined rules.
5. Boost posts and invest in ads
Posting regularly is helpful, but until you have a huge following, it won’t be enough to get your content in front of new potential followers. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter have intricate algorithms that favor paid content and popular accounts. So, if you’re not already highly popular, shoot a video that your audience will want to watch and then pay to boost that post and/or run a paid ad campaign with it. Advertising on social sites is a small investment, and it can pay off big time.
6. Capture more email addresses with free offers
Instead of a giveaway, create a free offer that anyone can take advantage of – as long as they’re willing to fill out a short form and provide their email address. Depending on your industry and your followers, you might consider offering a free trial run of your software, an informative eBook, or an insightful infographic. Get creative, but always keep your audience and their goals in mind.
7. Automate (some of) your content
The key is to automate scheduled content. Get out your calendar and create a plan for weekly and/or monthly posts. You can then create those posts ahead of time and use an automation tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your posts ahead of time.
With that in mind, you don’t want to automate everything about your social networking. When it comes to engaging with trending topics, you might want to keep a few pieces of content ready to go to add to the conversation, but the key is to be authentic and present. Read what your customers and peers are saying, and respond to it with your thoughts and insights. Engage genuinely, and you’ll be on your way to creating real connections that help you build your network and your reputation.
Prioritize quality and consistency
Whether you follow all of these strategies or you just stick to one or two, you absolutely must prioritize quality and consistency. If you’re consistently posting content that your audience doesn’t care about, you won’t gain any followers. If you’re posting incredible videos that your audience loves, but you only post once every three months, your audience is likely to forget about you.
Try new methods, follow what’s trending, don’t forget to analyze your audience and your content will attract more and more users.
Remember that your personal story and the presence of a “living personality” in your brand gives you a big advantage.