A podcast is a mix of traditional radio format and 2.0 recording technology, all of which is animated by strong values from the Internet and the free-culture movement. Not only are they great alternatives to video if you’re not looking to become a YouTube star, but they are also a great way to engage with your audience. The idea of starting a podcast, a (mostly) audio-only online broadcast, may seem like a novel idea but that might not be the case. While it was in 2004 that the Internet (or the world?) saw the release of the first podcast, since then, they’ve seen a bit of a resurgence. Today, they are a great alternative to a blog if you’d rather vocalize your opinion, well, vocally instead of attempting to become the next Hemingway in a series of blog entries. While they take a bit more work than writing a post, they’re easier for the audience to digest, as they can passively engage by listening to a podcast just about anywhere.
Before you press the record button and publish your podcast to iTunes or your own website, there are a few things to take into account. Check out our step-by-step guide on how to start a podcast:
01. Define your goals
Before you jump into your (makeshift) recording studio, you should be 100% aware of what you’re getting yourself into. The first thing you need to do? Define the goal behind your podcast and go from there. This can be as simple as “I want to entertain” or “I want to inform”. It doesn’t matter as long as you’re passionate about the topic. Take the plunge and do it. Once your ultimate aim is established, you can always go back to it when questioning something along the way: “Does this action help build towards my goal?”
This is also the time to make important strategic decisions, including the primary topics you’ll be covering on your podcast so that your audience knows roughly what to expect when tuning in, as well as the frequency, schedule, and structure of your episodes. If you have a partner or co-host for your podcast, define your roles early as to what will be expected from each of you. For example, one of you is in charge of editing the audio for the podcast and posting it, and the other is responsible for any and all graphic work needed for the episodes. And both of you pitch in to the management of your social media accounts. The earlier you set these goals, the better.
02. Accept hard truths
Creating your own podcast is going to be a lot of fun, especially if you have a passion for the subject you’re covering. That said, you will need to face certain facts that are unavoidable. These hard truths are just something you’ll need to live with in order to move forward, but should in no way discourage you. Here are a couple of examples of what to expect:
Sorry, but there’s more than likely multiple podcasts like yours and you will likely be covering the exact same thing in many cases in certain episodes. Still, the podcast world doesn’t have your personal opinion and/or spin on it, so be sure to give it your best!
Do it for fun, not for fame. You will end up being disappointed if you’re constantly looking to get a “big break” from one of your episodes. As long as you continue to love creating your podcast, you’ve already won.
It will become a job of it’s own and you won’t want to do it sometimes, but you’ll have to. It’s like going to the gym: You don’t have to, but you know you should.
03. Get equipped
Just like most ventures, you more than likely don’t have everything you need to start your own podcast, and even if you think you do, you probably don’t. Yes, it’s true that all you technically need is something to talk about and a recording device, but if you want to take your podcast seriously you’re going to need to invest in some basic equipment. Namely, a microphone and a way to record, mix and edit audio.
Check check, one two: The type of microphone you purchase will largely depend on how you actually capture your audio but USB microphones are abundant in both availability and price ranges. Note: Go slightly above your budget when buying a microphone. Increasing your allocation by $50 or even $25 can get you a surprisingly nicer microphone, especially if it’s your first one.
Recording: Once you’ve settled on a microphone, you will, as mentioned above, need to figure out how you will be recording your audio. There are various ways to achieve this, but one of the easiest is to record directly to your computer using recording software. There are many free options available and most computers ship with (super basic) audio recording programs.
Editing time: After you’ve recorded your audio tracks, you’ll need to find software to edit it to make it sound good. This includes adding multiple tracks together if you have more than one person talking, taking out pauses, silence, adding sound effects and adding background music. There are plenty of softwares you can choose from, but if you’re looking for a robust and free editing software to get you where you need to go, give Audacity a try. When it comes to adding music and sound effects, don’t think you can just throw whatever you want into the tracks. Well, actually, you can, but don’t be surprised if you get hit with a copyright infringement claim. Like stock images, you want to make sure that you either have the appropriate license to use the audio or you’re using royalty free tracks. One of the best resources to find free music is YouTube. Its Sound Library hosts a ton of music for its creators to add to their videos, but it’s also royalty free music, so it can be used anywhere. In addition to this, there are several artists that post their own music to be used for free as long as you credit their work.
Find a podcast host: After you’ve recorded and edited your podcast, you’ll need to upload it somewhere and yes, after a handful of episodes, you’ll probably need to pay. There’s no short supply of options to choose from, but do your research before you settle on one.
04. Stick to your schedule – and plan for your laziness
This sounds like an easy one, but it can be hard. Even if your podcast is simply a hobby, there will still be times you don’t want to do it. A last minute invite to a friend’s pool or to check out that new museum exhibit will pop up at the exact time you were planning to record your next episode. Don’t worry, though. There are ways around it, but you’ll need to plan ahead:
Let’s say you release your podcast every Tuesday morning, try not to record on Monday night unless you like that type of stress impressed upon you. Allowing yourself some breathing room between recording and editing can give you a different perspective on how it went and that “thing” you wanted to cut out may be worth keeping after all. Like an artist struggling with a painting, sometimes you need to come back with “fresh ears.”
When recording, you want to try to keep your episodes in the same time range. The sweet spot is usually 40 minutes to an hour. No matter how long you decide to make your episodes, keeping them the time length can helps build expectations for your listeners, so don’t have a one hour episode one week and follow it up with a 20 minute episode the following week.
In order to stay on track, it’s a good idea to have an outline of what you will be discussing on the episode you’re recording. This is essential to stay on topic and away from tangents. However, we’d advise against fully scripting each episode. No one wants to hear you read to them, unless that indeed is the subject of your podcast.
It may take a while, but there will come a time where you “literally just can’t even” with your podcast because you’re too lazy. That’s okay! But have a plan for days like this by pre-recording evergreen episodes. While organizing a second recording session sounds like a pain, especially if you have co-hosts, it’s worth the extra effort. I promise you, you will thank yourself later.
05. Push your podcast on social networks like crazy
You may not have realized it, but you may spend more time on social media than recording your podcast, and for good reason. If you have a weekly podcast, you have one day a week that your listeners will dedicate their attention to you because it’s technically all you’re allowing. By sharing your own original content and relevant content from others on your social channels, you can stay in the game all of the other days that you don’t have a new episode to launch. Obviously, social media is a great platform to push your brand but also to find your audience and interact with fans. Do not skimp on this part. This is where you’ll be when you’re not recording, editing, or uploading your latest episode.
06. Submit your podcast everywhere
When you first start setting up your podcast online with your host, you will receive a podcast feed URL. In order to submit your podcast to different directories like iTunes, Google Play or SoundCloud, for the most part, you’ll just need to fill out a form with your podcast name, website, and feed URL. Some submissions have a little extra work, so if you’re stuck, simply Google “How to submit podcast to X” and you’ll more than likely find your answer you’re looking for. Even if you’ve never heard of the podcast directory or don’t think it’s worth your time, think again. You’re looking for exposure with your podcast, so cast a wide net.
07. Showcase your podcast with a stunning website
While it’s definitely a good feeling to be able to search iTunes and have your very own podcast pop up, nothing really beats a dedicated website showing off what your podcast and the people behind it are all about. Not only can you link your podcast to any and all of the places people can listen, but so much more. Your website is your own and you won’t be bound by the styling of of iTunes or Google Play or wherever it can be found. Your website is also where you can share a little bit about yourself and the other hosts, just in case your fans want to know more about you or your team. It also provides a seamless way for potential business opportunities to get in touch with you by creating a designated contact page. Something you won’t find on your podcast directory listing. Think of your website as an extension of your brand. A place to display your logo and all of your other branding elements.
Instagram is a photo-sharing social media platform that was created in 2010 and bought by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion. With more than 500 million people using it daily, Instagram is a growing social media platform that businesses shouldn’t be afraid to use.
Between posts, ads and stories, there is no shortage of potential marketing tools on Instagram. Here is everything you should know about using this social media platform to market your business.
Creating a business Instagram account
Although it can be viewed on a desktop, Instagram is primarily a mobile app. When you sign up, you’ll want to convert your brand’s Instagram profile to a business account to access analytics.
To do this, you’ll need to connect the account with your business’s Facebook page by following the in-app prompts from the Switch to Business Profile option under Settings.
Once your Instagram account is created, you can go to the Profile tab and edit or add your name, username, profile picture, website and a short biography.
The primary purpose of Instagram is sharing photos, which are added to your profile and your followers’ timelines. To add a new photo, tap the add (camera) button on the bottom of your screen. You can either take a new photo, record a short video or select one from your camera roll.
Next, you’ll be taken to a screen with multiple options, including Instagram’s filters and an edit button. Once you’ve edited the photo to your liking, click Next. Then you can write a caption, add a location, tag people and share it on other social media platforms. You also have the option to turn off comments (at the bottom of the Advanced Settings page).
Now that you know how to create a profile and post photos, here’s how to promote your business on Instagram.
1. Use Instagram Stories.
Instagram Stories are photos and videos that disappear 24 hours after they’re posted. Instagram provides a lot of tools that make it easy to create engaging and creative stories.
“Small businesses should leverage Instagram Stories to market their products and services, getting their messages to followers that otherwise might not see regular Instagram posts in their feed because of the latest updates to the algorithm,” said Laura Kenat, content coordinator at Jo Chicago.
You can add normal photos, live videos, boomerangs (mini videos that loop back and forth), basic text, music and focused photos to your story. Once you record your video or take a picture, you can add stickers such as your location, tags for other users and hashtags to your content.
There are also stickers like polls, questions and sliding bars that allow you to directly interact with your users. Another way you can draw attention to your brand or specific product is with Stories Highlights, which is like a highlight reel. Stories Highlights are on your profile above your post and stay on your profile until you remove them.
2. Use live videos.
In addition to Instagram Stories, users can take and stream live video that disappears – sort of like a combination between Facebook Live and Snapchat. You can give customers a live look behind the scenes of interesting aspects of your business, show products or answer live questions through the comments.
Once the video ends, it lives in your Instagram Stories for 24 hours. If you want video that remains on your Instagram feed, you can upload video you’ve taken or shoot video directly through the app to post. If you choose to shoot or upload video, you can still add filters and change the cover. You also have the option of including sound.
3. Interact with other Instagram users.
There are many ways to interact with other users on Instagram. For instance, you can tag other users in your photos or privately message people.
Liking: Liking is a simple way to connect with other users. To like a photo, either double-tap the image or tap the heart button under the post.
Commenting: Next to the like button is a comment button – just tap it, and the app will take you to the comments page for that photo, with a text box where you can enter what you want to say. Hit Post when it’s complete.
Mentioning: As on Twitter, you can use the @ symbol to tag other users in your Instagram comments or post captions.
Tagging: Instagram allows you to add tags before you post an image or video. To do so, tap Tag People before sharing your photo, and then tap where in the photo you’d like to add a tag. The app then prompts you to type in the person’s name to search for their account. Once you’ve tagged other users in your photo and shared the image, other users can tap on the photo to see the people who are tagged.
Direct messaging: To access Instagram Direct, go to the homepage and tap the button in the top right corner. Here, you can send private instant messages, photos and videos to other users. To send a new direct message (DM), tap the + button in the top right corner and select Send Photo or Video, or Send Message. Once you’ve sent the message, you and the recipients can message back and forth. Users who are not already following you will be asked whether they want to allow you to send them photos and videos before they can view your DM.
4. Use hashtags.
Hashtags are a great way to help other users find your content on Instagram. Hashtags can include letters and numbers, but they can’t contain any non-numerical characters. For example, #DaveAndBusters works as a hashtag, but #Dave&Busters does not.
Because users can both search for hashtags and click on hashtags they see in posts in the app, relevant hashtags can be a highly effective tool for getting noticed. However, make sure you’re using the right hashtags for your brand and don’t go overboard.
Hashtags such as #nofilter (a photo that hasn’t been heavily edited with filters), #selfie (a picture of yourself), and #tbt or #throwbackthursday (old photos) are popular on Instagram, but they may not work for you or your brand. It’s a good idea to look at other established brands or even personal users and bloggers in your industry for examples of what hashtags to use.
Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags in a post or comment, but that many would be excessive. The fewer hashtags you can use to get quality responses, the better. Using a lot of popular hashtags might earn you a lot of likes from other users, but it probably won’t increase your following all that much, and the interactions you get will likely not be from people who are interested in your brand but rather those who just saw and liked your image.
Once you understand hashtags, you can branch out and experiment to find which ones work best for your brand. It’s also smart to create a custom hashtag for your business or even an event you’re hosting. This way customers can follow along with an event, even if they aren’t there in person.
5. Advertise on Instagram.
Like on other social channels, businesses have the option to advertise on Instagram. There are three formats for advertising:
Photo ads: These look like regular photo posts, but they have a Sponsored label above the photo. They also have a Learn More button in the bottom right corner under the photo.
Video ads: Like the photo ads, these look like regular video posts, but with a Sponsored label on top.
Carousel ads: These ads look identical to photo ads but feature multiple photos that users can swipe through.
All three ad formats appear in users’ home feeds. These ads support four objectives: video views, click-thrus to your website, mobile app installations and mass awareness.
Instagram tips and tricks
To get the most out of your Instagram account, keep these tips in mind.
Links don’t work in Instagram captions. The only place you can share a working link that takes users to a website is in your profile. Links don’t work in captions or photo comments, so if you’re trying to direct people to a specific webpage, you can change the default link in your bio to that page and note in the caption that the link is in your profile.
Make sure your posts relate to your brand. It can be tempting to share photos of food, fashion and animals because they’re so popular on the platform. But if your business has nothing to do with those things, it could make you look disjointed and confuse your followers. However, if you can find a way to incorporate pictures like these while still making them relevant to your business, it could make your social marketing strategy more successful.
Run giveaways and promotions. Post an image advertising your giveaway, sale or contest, and ask users to repost that image with a specific, custom hashtag to enter. You can then search that hashtag to see who has reposted it and pick a winner. Promotions like this allow your customers and followers to market your brand for you by talking about your promotion on their personal pages, and it drives more people to visit your profile. If you do decide to run a contest or sweepstakes, though, make sure you’re following rules and guidelines.
Respond to other users’ comments. When people comment on your photos, reply to them. Interacting with customers and followers shows that you are paying attention and care about what they say. They’ll be more likely to continue following you and interacting with your pictures if they feel like they matter.
Also, like Facebook, Instagram’s algorithm favors posts and users with high engagement rates. “The platform rewards you for receiving high engagement from your permanent postings and stories,” said Kenat. “High engagement results in your content being placed at the top of follower and hashtag feeds, whether it’s through stories or permanent posts, and gives your consumers a chance to interact with your brand effectively over time.”
Embed Instagram posts on your website. From the desktop version of Instagram, you can get an embed code to add specific images and videos to your company’s website. This shows visitors that you’re active on Instagram and can help you gain more followers. Just select the photo you want to embed, click the ellipsis button in the bottom right corner, and select Embed. This pulls up a box with the embed code and gives you the option to display the caption. From there, copy and paste the code where you want it to go on your website.
Use Instagram influencers to promote your business. Influencers are people who have large followings on Instagram. You can pay influencers to market your products to their followers in a natural way. These sponsored posts typically are subtle and don’t look like ads. This is helpful because people typically hate advertisements.
Share posts directly to your story. In May 2018, Instagram announced a feature that allows users to share posts directly to their stories. With this feature, small businesses can interact with their followers while promoting their product or services. If a client posts a photo of your product, you can share the post directly to your story to highlight the product and your client.
Use polls and other features in your stories. Instagram offers many interactive features that can be used to build online conversations and relationships, said Kenat. “Polls allow you to crowdsource opinions from your audience about your product and services, while geotags, hashtags and tagging allow you to make your brand using relevant trends, places and people to maximize responses from your target audience,” she told Business News Daily.
You can also use Instagram’s interactive questions sticker in Instagram Stories. This feature lets followers submit questions for you to answer. This is a fun and simple way to interact with your followers.
Use IGTV. Launched in June 2018, IGTV is a feature that shows long-form, vertical videos. IGTV is available in a stand-alone app along within Instagram’s app, and each video can be up to an hour long. If you get creative, you can use IGTV to market your business in several ways, including by hosting FAQ sessions and conducting how-to chats.
Use Instagram’s payments feature. In May 2018, Instagram added a payment feature for select users. Even though this feature isn’t available to all users, it could potentially have a big impact for small businesses. With the feature, users would be able to buy things without leaving Instagram. It could also potentially be used to book appointments at restaurants or salons.
How many Facebook Likes does your business Page have? If you’re immersed in social media marketing, you probably know this number off the top of your head.
With more than two billion users, Facebook offers a huge potential audience for your business. But with more than 60 million active Facebook business Pages on the network, there’s also a lot of competition for those all-important Likes.
There’s no getting around it: getting more Likes is a critical part of your Facebook marketing strategy. But you can’t get so focused on Likes that you lose sight of what Facebook is all about.
Getting more Likes requires you to share content that is truly likeable—and engage in ways that make your brand likable, too. You won’t find any underhanded gimmicks in this post. It’s about getting more likes by being a good Facebook citizen and working to create content that has real value for an audience that will provide plenty of value for your brand in return.
Click any of the tips below to jump ahead, or keep scrolling and read the guide in its entirety.
As with any marketing platform, you’ll only get out of Facebook what you put into it. A well-defined, smart Facebook strategy based on your business goals will help you craft a cohesive brand presence on Facebook that speaks to your brand personality and values.
Define your target audience
Your strategy should aim to collect Likes from the followers who have the most potential to bring value to your business through regular engagement, rather than one-off Likes from online passers-by. Defining your audience personas can be a great place to start. After all, you need to know who you’re talking to in order to use the right tools and tone, rather than trying to appeal to all two billion Facebook users.
Research the competition
Keeping an eye on what key competitors are up to will help you spot techniques that work, and that don’t, so you can model the competition’s success while avoiding their missteps. You’ll also start to get a sense of how many Facebook Likes you can aim for—both for your Page and for individual posts.
Social listening is a great research strategy that can help you gather information about both your target audience and your competition.
Simply aiming for “more Likes” is not really a great Facebook marketing goal—how will you know when you’ve achieved it? Instead, you should create goals based on S.M.A.R.T. principles, meaning they’re specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
This allows you to circle back on a regular basis to see whether you’re meeting your targets, and either celebrate your success and develop new stretch goals, or consider strategic shifts to get you back on track.
2. Craft a great Page
This may sound obvious, but sometimes the most important points can be easy to overlook: If you want to collect Likes, you’ve got to have a great Page and consistently great posts. Your Facebook Page is made up of many parts, and it’s important to make sure they are all complete, professional, and on-brand. Here are some key components to consider.
Use all elements of the About section
The About section of your Facebook Page allows you to provide key business details to people who are scanning for specific information. In addition to your contact information, you can add the date your business was founded, provide a company overview, or even add a list of brand milestones.
All of this information helps build your credibility and convince potential followers that your Page is worthy of a Like. It also helps you appear in searches outside of Facebook, directing users to your Page when they’re using search engines to look for information about your product or business.
Visit California uses their About section to tell the story of travel in the state, and manages to get a number of important keywords into their Story section without keyword stuffing.
Facebook also views a Page with a complete profile as more credible, which gives you an advantage in the Facebook algorithm (more on that below) and will help ensure more people see your posts.
Choose compelling cover and profile photos
Your profile and cover photos create the first visual impression of your business on Facebook, so it’s important to choose wisely. Your logo is usually the best choice for your profile photo, but you can get quite creative with your cover photo selection.
Put some thought into how you can convey what your business is all about in one compelling image. Do you have a great-looking product you can feature? Maybe you want to showcase a photo of your friendly team. Whatever you choose, make sure it captures the essence of your brand so potential followers have reason to dive into your Page content.
Iced tea might not be the most exciting product, but Nestea does a great job of making both their Page and their product look appealing with a compelling cover image.
In terms of the technical details, your profile photo displays on your Page as 170 x 170 pixels on computers and 128 x 128 pixels on smartphones. You cover photo displays on your Page at 820 pixels x 312 pixels on computers and 640 pixels by 340 pixels on smartphones. Facebook recommends you use a cover photo that’s 851 x 315 pixels and less than 100KB.
A newer and more dynamic option for business Pages is to use a cover video instead of a cover photo. Your cover video can be up to 20 seconds long, and has the same dimensions as a cover photo.
Pin a top-performing post
If you have a post that’s garnering a particularly high number of Likes, you can pin it to maximize its lifespan. When you choose to pin a post, it remains at the top of your Page, so people see it before any of your other posts. You can change your pinned post as often as you like, so make sure to keep it fresh, always featuring your best-performing content in this high-visibility location.
3. Make your Facebook Page easy to find
This is a simple concept that deserves repeating: people can’t like your Facebook Page if they can’t find it. Here are some things you can do to increase your visibility.
Choose an easy-to-discover Page name
People looking for your brand on Facebook will be searching for your brand name. Keep things simple and make it easy for them to find you by using your brand name as your Page name. Don’t add unnecessary keywords—these will just make your Page look spammy rather than like a legitimate business presence for your brand.
Select a memorable and consistent username
Your username—sometimes called a vanity URL—appears in your brand’s Facebook Page web address. A username that’s consistent with your handle on other social channels will make it easier for people who already follow you elsewhere to track you down on Facebook. Like your Page name, your username should be closely related to the name of your business.
Add Facebook follow and Like buttons to your website or blog
Someone who has just discovered a valuable tip or strategy on your website or blog is primed to want to hear more from you. Make it easy for them to connect with you on Facebook by adding Facebook follow and Like buttons to your site, like these:
Embed a Facebook Post on your website or blog
This option provides even more visibility for your Facebook Page on your website or blog. Rather than a simple button, you can embed an entire post by copy and pasting some simple code. Just navigate to the post you want to embed, click the three dots in the top right corner, and click Embed. Then copy and paste the code into your HTML. Here’s an example from the Hootsuite Facebook Page:
Any visitors who click on your embedded post to learn more will be taken to the post as it appears on your Facebook Page, creating an opportunity for a new Page Like. And viewers can like the post itself directly from the embedded post, without leaving your website or blog.
Include a link to your Facebook Page in your newsletter or email signature
The people you already communicate with through channels like email or an opt-in newsletter are a great potential audience for your Facebook Page. Make sure it’s easy for them to find and connect with you by including links to your Facebook Page in all of your electronic communications.
Cross-promote your Facebook page on other social channels
Take advantage of the following you’ve built on other social channels by cross-promoting your Facebook content. Don’t just post a link to your Facebook Page and ask people to follow you. Instead, choose a great piece of Facebook-specific content—like an infographic or short video—to promote so that you can highlight the value of your Facebook Page, rather than just letting people know it exists.
Aim for shares
Shared Facebook posts increase your organic reach, giving you a better chance of getting more facebook Likes. A share also indicates that someone felt strongly enough about your content that they were motivated to share it with their personal network, giving you additional credibility with an audience that may not already be familiar with your brand.
Invite existing contacts and employees to like your Facebook page
Facebook makes it easy to invite personal Facebook connections to like your business Page, but be careful about how you use this feature. Simply sending out mass invites is more likely to get you unfriended than to bring in Facebook Likes for your Business Page.
Instead, create a message explaining what value you think your contacts might gain from liking your Page. Make it about them, not about you.
You should also encourage employees to like your Facebook Page—both so that they can stay up-to-date with what you’re promoting as a brand, and as part of a larger employee advocacy strategy.
Promote your Facebook Page in real life
Don’t limit your promotion of your Facebook Page to the online world. Include your Page address on your business cards and corporate stationery. Designer Ana Bermejo uses the same handle across social networks and includes the icons on her business cards so contacts know where to find and Like her on social, including Facebook.
Or, if you host events, include the address on your signage.
People who are already interacting with your brand in real life understand the value you have to offer—make it easy for them to connect with you on Facebook to access more of that value.
4. Post relevant, high-quality content
Facebook recommends you share “short, fun-to-read copy and eye-catching images to get attention.” What does that look like in practice? Incorporate these strategies to develop posts that are inherently likeable.
Include compelling visuals
A study published in the journal Management Science found that posts with photos receive significantly more Facebook Likes than text-only posts. If you don’t have a photo library of your own, there are plenty of free stock photo sites you can use. You could also try creating a unique infographic that conveys valuable information relevant to your niche, or even something humorous, like this graphic from WIRED that got 1,500 Facebook Likes.
Write great headlines
A compelling headline is key to getting attention for your post—but don’t veer into the realm of clickbait. Facebook offers these tips for crafting a great headline:
Make your headlines informative
Use your headline to set appropriate expectations about what the post contains
Be clear and accurate
Don’t be too promotional
Sure, you’re trying to promote your brand on Facebook—but people want their feeds to be entertaining and informative, not pushy and packed with sales pitches. In particular, Facebook found in a survey that followers do not like posts that:
Direct people to purchase a product or download an app (without offering any other valuable content or information)
Direct people to enter a contest without providing any context about why it’s relevant to the Page or followers’ interests
Reuse content from ads
That means these posts are less likely to generate Facebook Likes from the followers who see them. But they are also less likely to be seen in the first place, since Facebook specifically limits organic reach for Pages that are too promotional.
Give followers what they want
How do you know what type of content people want from you on Facebook? By listening to them. If the majority of the comments on your Page are customer service inquiries, try creating content that focuses on helping followers use your product better. For example, try a short video featuring “hacks” or alternative uses for your product, or a series of “how-to” videos or photos. Experiment, and pay attention to what people respond to.
Invest in video
On that note, if you seriously want to increase Facebook Likes and you don’t already have a Facebook video strategy, it’s time to create one.
5. Engage consistently and at the right times
Facebook itself notes that “being consistent in the quality and types of posts you create can help people know what kinds of messages to expect from you and how they tie into your business.” Create a content calendar and schedule posts in advance to help keep your Facebook content organized and consistent.
Post at the right time
We’ve found the optimal times to be 12–3 p.m. weekdays and 12–1 p.m. on weekends.
Be responsive and human
If you want more people to like your Facebook Page, you need to engage with those who already do. Unanswered comments or questions on a Facebook Page can be a huge deterrent for potential new fans. Remember, Facebook is a social network, and being sociable is a key way to make your brand—and your Page—more likeable.
6. Host a Facebook contest
In a poll by the Content Marketing Institute, 81 percent of marketers said that interactive content (like contests) is better for grabbing readers’ attention than static content.
Even better, liking a post is a popular form of contest entry—and one that’s allowed under Facebook’s contest rules (unlike “share to win” contests, which, while popular, are technically prohibited). For example, Funko got nearly 7,000 Facebook Likes on this like-to-enter contest:
7. Engage with other brands and communities on Facebook
Remember that Facebook is primarily a social network—so get social and start engaging with other brands that are relevant to your niche but not your direct competitors. A simple Like or comment on another brand’s post can help draw their attention and open up opportunities to work together to cross-promote your businesses so you both gain more Facebook Likes. Tagging other brands may also expose your Page to a new audience (that other brand’s followers)—but only use tags in relevant posts.
Look for communities of potential followers to engage with, too. Facebook Groups are a great place to find people who are passionate about subjects related to your niche, and offer you the opportunity to highlight your expertise. Just make sure your participation in Facebook Groups is helpful, rather than promotional, or you might find yourself kicked out of the group.
8. Use the Facebook algorithm to your advantage
Understanding the Facebook algorithm is key to increasing your organic reach—in other words, getting your Page and your posts in front of more people who could potentially give you a Like. At its core, the Facebook algorithm prioritizes the types of content we’ve already talked about: Quality content that is not overly promotional.
This should really come as no surprise. Facebook wants people to enjoy browsing their News Feeds, which means it wants to surface the best content to the top. Invest the time to produce valuable posts, and don’t be a spammy jerk. Facebook specifically highlights authentic posts that inform and entertain as having value recognized by the algorithm.
One additional way to take advantage of the Facebook algorithm is to try live video. The algorithm prioritizes live broadcasts, bumping them higher in the News Feed. If you have an event or presentation that would work live, give it a try.
9. Run Facebook ads to expand your reach
Facebook offers very detailed ad targeting, so you can laser-focus your advertising efforts and make the most of your ad spend. Putting your brand in front of your ideal audience is a great way to pick up more Facebook Likes. There are two different types of Facebook advertising: boosted posts and ad campaigns.
Boost a post
By boosting a post, you can extend the audience beyond people who already like your Page. This can be a great option for a post that’s already proved to be compelling by bringing in a large number of Facebook Likes from people who already follow your Page.
Run a campaign
Facebook offers campaign objectives relevant to every type of business. Since this post is about how to get Facebook Likes, we’ll focus on the Engagement objective, which is designed to expose your ad to a wide audience to increase the number of post or Page Likes. For example, this ad from WealthSimple offers the option to like the Page with just one click.
10. Learn from Facebook Insights
Analyzing Facebook Page Insights can give you a clear view of who your current fans are, which will help you better target future Facebook efforts. You’ll also be able to identify the kinds of posts that have the highest average reach and engagement, and use that information to create more of the content your audience wants from you on Facebook.
After all, learning from your mistakes, amplifying your successes, and giving your followers content you know they’ll enjoy are key ways to boost the quality of your content, and lead to—you guessed it—more Facebook Likes.
Why is it difficult to gain social media engagement? The sheer scale of the competing voices is undoubtedly one factor; every single day 2.5 billion new items of content are shared on Facebook alone. To stand out from a crowd of that size you really need to offer something of value.
Does social media engagement actually matter? Isn’t it all a vanity exercise? Ultimately, engagement spreads your content further, rippling out through natural networks. Engagement is not about patting yourself on the back as the numbers roll in, but building an ever increasing network of followers and fans who will see your content. Ultimately this should help attract new customers.
Content needs to provide value to engage with people. It needs to be genuinely useful, interesting, inspiring, curious, funny or otherwise engaging in some real way. Then there is the psychology of social content to consider.
While creating engagement-worthy content will still take ingenuity and imagination, experience has shown that you can create a framework around your content that will help to gain social media engagement.
Set engagement goals
Different forms of engagement create different actions. If you want to drive brand awareness, retweets and shares will put your content in front of people who might not have seen it otherwise. Gaining followers is great for the long term, as more people will be presented with your content and can help spread it further.
Decide on what it is you are trying to achieve, and the corresponding metrics that will demonstrate improvements in that area.
Different activities and different content are likely to drive different types of engagement. For example, a Twitter chat can be useful for increasing your followers, as each person who joins the chat will spread the conversation, and you should have an interesting discussion for the new audience to join. A chat is also a great way to engage your existing community.
Once you have decided what it is you are setting out to achieve, you can tailor your campaign towards that particular goal.
Understand your audience
Your audience is made up of real people, with a variety of interests outside of your brand. That’s an obvious point, but one many brands seem to forget. By understanding what those interests are, you can add more value.
Social analytics tools can provide this information by examining the topics your audience are talking about.
In addition to helping you refine your own messaging, sharing content from other sources is a useful tactic. A non-stop barrage of self-promotion is a real turn-off for most.
Sharing relevant content from other sources will break up the branded content and show that you are considering your audience. Recognising that value can be provided by organizations and people other than yourself shows you are not simply there for the hard sell.
Consider the type of content
A fact often repeated and backed up by research, pictures and video are the most engaging forms of content. However, visual content is not a fix-all, and still needs to be well crafted.
At the very minimum, make sure you get the dimensions correct. Each site has different picture sizes, and several guides on picture dimensions will ensure you get this simple point right.
In addition to visual content, there are other tactics that are often quoted to increase engagement on social media:
Run a poll
Run a competition
Use relevant hashtags
A popular tactic is to make a retweet of your message the entry to the competition. This gives people an incentive to retweet, putting the competition in front of a much wider audience. Honda grew their social buzz by a staggering 1221% during a one-month competition using this tactic.
Hashtags can help people find your content, but overuse of hashtags is seen as bad practice. Highjacking a popular hashtag is only practiced by spammers and bots, and should definitely be avoided.
While these techniques can definitely work, none of them offer a guarantee of engagement. You still have to offer value, be that relevancy, helpfulness, humor, and so on. It doesn’t look great to ask a question nobody answers or have a poll that hardly anyone votes on.
Discover the best time to post
The best time to post will depend on several factors. Your location, a national or international focus, the industry you operate in and the platform you are publishing to will all play a part.
The best way to establish when you should post is by looking at your own analytics, whether that’s an integrated tool like Facebook Insights or a dedicated social analytics tool. This is going to give you the best, most personalized data on when to post.
With Brandwatch, you can compare your activity to the audience activity by days of the week, or hours of the day. This gives you data about your specific audience and allows you to make sure you are active at the same time as them.
There are also several studies that have examined the best times to post on average. These generally examine thousands or millions of posts across a wide range of industries, and can be useful if you lack your own analytics.
Should you be on every social media site out there? You want to be accessible to your audience, and that may well involve being on more than one network. However, it is important not to spread yourself too thin, as responding quickly is vital for engagement (more on that later).
Think about which platforms are best for your business. B2B companies will generally find a larger and more engaged audience on LinkedIn than Snapchat, for example.
In some cases, it can be useful to create multiple accounts on the same platform. Many companies have a main account and a customer service channel: a useful split that keeps primary messaging separated from customer issues.
Nike has 46 verified Twitter accounts, which may make sense for a brand of that size but would be overkill for many businesses. It is important to not confuse customers and fragment your voice too much.
Some segmentation of accounts can make sense. You may be releasing different types of content aimed at different segments of your audience. By grouping everything together you can create a lack of cohesion, where too much irrelevant information detracts from the useful stuff. This can lead to a lack of engagement and crucially, a declining number of followers.
This is vitally important. People contact businesses on the platform of their choosing, and they expect a quick response. We’ve previously covered using customer service as a marketing tool, and it can be a powerful tactic.
In one study, customers who received replies to Tweets were more satisfied with their experience, more willing to recommend the company, and willing to pay more in the future.
Responding to customers shouldn’t just be about dealing with customer complaints. Part of earning engagement from your audience means – surprise – engaging with them.
When customers or prospects interact with your brand, responding in a timely manner is the polite, human thing to do. NikeRunning’s Twitter is a great example of this, constantly engaging with their audience in an affirming way, creating a giant community of like-minded people.
Use tools to boost social media engagement
There are a number of tools that can help with social media engagement in a variety of ways, from improved content to making sharing easier.
Spruce – Improve your engagement by creating shareworthy photos overlaid with text. Type your text, choose from thousands of public photos or upload your own, and post directly to Twitter or Facebook. Free to use.
Canva – Simple to use online design software, that features social media templates. It’s free to use, so you can easily create better images for your social channels.
Click To Tweet – Provides a link so readers can easily tweet a quote direct from your content, encouraging higher engagement. Simple to use and provides tracking and analytics.
Digg Digg – A WordPress plugin made by Buffer, which adds sharing buttons with counts on your page. Networks covered include Twitter, Buffer, Facebook Share, Facebook Like, Digg, LinkedIn, Google .
HowSociable – Add your social media accounts, or that of your competitors, to receive a score for each platform based on that week’s usage.
Track metrics for continuous improvement
Of course, you need to track your efforts to see what is working and what isn’t. There should always be an element of experimentation, and by keeping a careful eye on the numbers you can repeat what is working and stop what isn’t.
What should you be measuring? This depends largely on the goals that were set at the start. Brandwatch tracks a variety of metrics so you can understand which tactics have been most successful. The following metrics are some of the measurements to consider.
Followers – the people who will be regularly exposed to your posts and content. The more followers you have, the further your reach will be
Shares/RTs – how many times your content is shared by others, increasing its reach
Mentions – how many times is your brand mentioned tweets or posts
Comments – the number of comments posted in response to your post
Likes – probably the least valuable engagement metric as it’s easy to give away. People can often hit the like button without reading the full story or really engaging with it
Reach – the number of individuals who have actually seen your content
Impressions – the potential number of times your content was seen (not the number of times it was actually seen). This could include the same person seeing it twice if it reappears in their timeline/feed
Sentiment – when tracking online conversations, social intelligence tools use natural language processing to segment negative and positive statements
Share of Voice – by tracking the social conversation around your brand and your competitors, you can understand the percentage of conversation focused on your brand
Traffic – Ultimately, all this engagement should be driving people to your site. Your web analytics program will be able to tell you how many people have arrived at your site via social media
Earning social media engagement is about connecting with people, and offering them valuable content. Setting your goals and knowing your audience are key to success. Alongside these tenants, some simple research can help you maximize your efforts.
Finally, the only way to know what is working and what isn’t is to track your metrics. Continually monitoring the numbers means you can amend your strategy based on the results, and keep improving your social media engagement.