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We are back with more webinar questions our community needed to be answered. This time, we are focusing on social media questions related to:

  • Audience Building
  • Engagement Loss on Pinterest
  • Instagram Traffic
  • Hiring a Social Media Marketing Company
  • Non-profit Instagram Marketing Strategies

If you have any insights or recommendations regarding the questions and answers below, please add them in the comments. We would also like to thank Rebekah Radice, Alisa Meredith, Andrea D’Ottavio, Mike Allton, and Corey Walker for taking the time to answer the following questions.

What would be the best and fastest way to create an audience on social media without going into dark territories of buying leads and similar practices?

Rebekah Radice

Rebekah Radice

Social Media and Marketing Performance Strategist, Host of #BrandAuthority Podcast

Building your social media audience begins and ends with attracting a targeted group of people. But not just any people, the right people. However, knowing who they are, where to find them, and how to attract them can be easier said than done.

So today, let’s talk through 4 quick steps that will help you:

  1. Analyze your channel strategy
  2. Find your ideal audience
  3. Create content they crave
  4. Engage, measure, rinse and repeat

… and all without a big budget!

So, where do you start? Believe it or not, building your social media audience in 2020 doesn’t have to be difficult. There is an easy 4-step process you can follow. 

Analyze Your Channel Strategy

If you want to use social media to grow awareness, you need to determine where your audience is spending time. Sure, you might enjoy Facebook, but if 80% of your audience is using Instagram, you are wasting precious time and energy.

To avoid this from happening, analyze your current channel strategy. Let’s begin by selecting the social channels currently supporting your business. Here is what that will look like:

  • Evaluate which social media channels you are already on.

  • Determine which you should keep and which you should abandon.

  • Decide what amount of time you will put towards each one.

To begin, answer these 3 important questions:

1. Is my audience on a given channel?

If you are unsure, there is an easy way to find out — creep on your competition. Browse their social media channels. Make a note of which channels they are using, how engaged their audience is, and whether or not they are creating meaningful connections.

2. Do I have time to invest in this channel?

Stagnant social media channels will leave visitors with a negative impression of your brand. Avoid this problem by not taking on more channels than you can handle and eliminating ones that no longer support your overarching goals.

3. Can I tie success on this channel back to business objectives?

Social media can support a number of business objectives. The key to success is ensuring every action you take is monitored for performance and optimized for results. If a channel isn’t helping you meet your objectives, eliminate or reduce down your time. 

Find Your Ideal Audience

Attracting an ideal social media audience sounds perfect, doesn’t it? They will engage more often, interact with your content, and eventually buy your product. 

But too often, we are scattershot with our social media strategy and end up attracting anybody and everybody, instead of people that self-select into your product or service.

Instead of randomly building your social media following, you need to find, connect, and attract people that have a specific problem you can solve.

And while you are doing that, don’t mistake a large audience for an ideal audience. When you attract the right people, your engagement rises, and as your engagement rises, your ability to consistently reach those people improves.

Create the Content They Crave

Before you start creating content, you need to work through content topics. What will you talk about, what problem will you focus on in each post, and what is the solution you will share?

The best way to determine that is to identify the top 5 topics you are or want to be known for. 

For example, if you are a fitness expert, you might focus on:

  • Nutrition

  • Health

  • Workouts

  • Weight Loss

  • Apparel

Now take those answers and weave them into solutions that align with the top challenges of your community. Listen close, what are they asking that you can answer in a social media post? 

To find those challenges, look to your website, blog, social media, send an email survey, or go to your customer support team and get feedback.

Engage, Measure, Rinse, Repeat

Sure, you could spend all day building your audience on social media. But who has that kind of time? 

Once you start engaging your followers, measure what’s working, assess what’s not, and then model your own best practices. 

Social media success isn’t about one-off tactics. When you follow a repeatable system, you make success inevitable and failure impossible.

​I have quite a large account on Pinterest. I’m very active, but the engagement is dropping. What can I do to increase it again?

Alisa Meredith

Alisa Meredith

Content Marketing Manager at Tailwind

For the sake of argument (and to stay focused), let’s say that your content distribution remains stable, but it is your overall engagement rate that has taken a hit. On Pinterest, engagement generally means Repins (also called saves) and clicks. Several factors come into play here:

1. Make sure you are giving people a reason to engage. Include a call to action (CTA) on the Pin image and in the description. CTAs on Pinterest are typically more subtle than you would see in a traditional advertisement. “Find yours now” or “discover your….” might be more effective on this platform which tends to excel at the “discovery” part of a customer journey, but feel free to experiment with more direct CTAs as well.

2. Another important factor is seasonality — you want to start Pinning relevant seasonal content when Pinners start searching for it — which is typically 30-60 days before the season or holiday/event, but sometimes (as is the case for Thanksgiving), searches can start to rise 4-5 months before the date! Now, if your content isn’t obviously seasonal, you can still give it a seasonal feel.

For example, more tropical colors may do better in summer, with richer, brighter colors becoming more appealing and eye-catching at other times of the year — because they feel more relevant to people. This spring’s “apple pie” recipe can become “Fall apple pie” for autumn. Experiment with different seasonally-appropriate text on your image. Don’t forget — you can make more than one Pinnable image for each blog post, page, or product (in fact, you should) to get more distribution and traffic, and to start learning what works best for you.

3. Remember that what is good for Repins might not be good for clicks. For example, infographics, where all the information is included on the image might result in thousands of Repins (saves), but very few clicks. Don’t give everything away on the Pin.

4. Titles are important! Think of your Pin title as the headline for your Pin. Don’t repeat what’s in the description, but do include your keywords and make your Pin seem irresistible! Don’t try to use clickbait (in fact, using the word “click” in a title can reduce your distribution), rather honestly present a compelling reason to click. 

Applying any of these suggestions should help get your engagement on an upward swing again. Applying ALL of them could give you the best season you’ve ever had on Pinterest!

With all these algorithm changes, how do I ensure my posts can get traffic from people who do not follow me on Instagram? Basically, how can I get new followers and engagement?

Andrea D’Ottavio

Andrea D’Ottavio

Founder/CEO at Webing + Webing Academy

First of all, think about what Instagram “wants” from us users. As long as we are able to go along with their objectives, Instagram will reward us in terms of organic reach and engagement.

So, first things first: Instagram wants us to be ADDICTED. The more time we spend on the app, the more ads they will be able to sell. The algorithm is designed to keep us hooked as long as possible.

Second: understand Instagram ranking factors. 

Based on the above goal, the most important aspect to focus on is TIME: the time people spend on your content (posts/stories/IGTV). And also how people engage with it.

How to rank better, get more followers, and drive more traffic to your website(s)?

  1. Optimize your bio: make it catchy and creative. Use emojis, your unique branded hashtag, and a UTM in your link. If you want to add more than one link, use Tailwind.

  2. Create infographics: they increase “saves” (get more saves, not likes!), create conversations and grow engagement.

  3. Post long videos (IGTV): they keep people on your content for a long time, and you can add clickable links on IGTV post descriptions!

  4. Use interactive stories (polls, quizzes, countdowns): they keep people on your profile longer.

  5. Write long captions: we all love to read stories. Longer captions, more time on your posts!

When you hire a social media marketing agency, which KPIs you should use to assess the quality of their services? How can you choose what to pay for?

Mike Allton

Mike Allton

Content Marketing Practitioner at The Social Media Hat, Brand Evangelist at Agorapulse

The absolute most important skill of a social media agency is actually communication. How well do they explain what they do, of course, but also how well do they listen? Are they able to understand and reiterate your goals and get excited about how — together — you will be able to communicate with your audience?

You should be able to get a sense of that in your email and verbal contacts with the agency representative. You should also find Case Studies and Testimonials on their website, which will lead you to more measurable factors to consider.

If they have one or more Case Studies that align perfectly with your brand, great! But if not, that is OK as long as you find some examples of how they worked with other businesses who had the same goals as you.

Whatever your goal is for social media marketing, whether it is sales or brand awareness or community building or something else, look for instances where the agency has worked with other businesses toward those same goals and reported on their success.

One of the challenges when considering new agencies is creating a fit between what your own business goals, timeframe, and resources are, and what a potential agency partner can deliver accordingly. The loftier your goals, the more time and money they will take to achieve, so be prepared to have frank conversations with your consultant to create a plan and approach that works for you.

One great place to start is this directory of social media agencies, Social Agency Scout. You can use it to find and read reviews of agencies in your area, or who offer the specific services you are looking for. External reviews are another great source of input into deciding on an agency.

How can a non-profit organization benefit from Instagram? What are your tips?

Corey Walker

Corey Walker

President at The Marketing Specialist

Instagram sits at over one billion users, and its numbers continue to climb, so there is no better time than now to integrate Instagram into your non-profit’s marketing mix. 

To convince you further, here are five ways a non-profit can benefit from Instagram:

  1. It is an easy way to reach a socially-aware younger audience.

  2. It has several functions to tell the story behind your non-profit, and the lives it is affecting.

  3. It allows for real-time posting from your events, fundraisers, and activities. 

  4. It facilitates more engagement with your non-profit and encourages sharing it with others.

  5. Through hashtags, ads, and location markers, you can reach a new audience outside of your existing mail list.

Now that you have seen some of the benefits of using Instagram for your non-profit let’s discuss best practices to get you started in the right direction.

  1. Set up your account as a business profile. This allows you to add buttons for your phone, address, and email. Plus, it gives you access to insights about your account and gives you access to ad creation.

  2. Post engaging high-resolution photos or videos several times a week, and check your notifications for comments. Respond to all comments as soon as possible to let your followers know you care!

  3. Use Instagram as a way to tell a story by not only featuring the people, animals, or other organizations you help but also by also showcasing the people behind the scenes that make it all happen.

  4. Use up to 30 hashtags on your posts, including some popular hashtags, mixed with much more specific hashtags (think #restaurant vs. #sacramentorestaurant). Create a branded hashtag for your non-profit and use it consistently on every post. You can also create a hashtag for your fundraising event, and encourage participants to use it to spread the word even farther.

  5. If your non-profit is local, use location markers so people that search for content in your area might see your post.

  6. Get interactive by using Instagram Stories to post real-time updates, and ask people questions, polls, and quizzes. Don’t forget! Instagram Stories also have a Donation sticker you can add to your Story to collect donations on the spot!

  7. Tell longer stories about your non-profit by using IGTV to host a video. Put a one-minute teaser in your main Instagram feed to lure people over to IGTV.

  8. If you need your post seen by a larger audience than what you get organically, use the promoted post feature to buy an ad that goes to your target audience.

Thank you to all the 2019 SEMrush webinar participants and Q&A experts! 

We feel blessed to have such a supportive community. Our webinar guests and participants have been amazing, and we can’t thank you enough for your continued support.

If you have any marketing questions, you can let our team know by adding comments on our Q&A posts, or you can use the “Send Feedback” button at the top of the page to submit a question — be sure to let us know it is for the Q&A series, and we will add your question to the list. Also, check out our upcoming SEMrush Webinars and see which topics and speakers could help you. You can submit questions during the webinar.

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