In Part 1 of top social media tips and how to get more followers, I covered the basic principles of social media and the golden rules you should follow. Now I want to get into the nitty-gritty of the platforms I use and to cover the what, when and how.
Most of my advice is geared towards bloggers although should be transferable.
What to post?
The more you practice, the better you will become at social media posting. Content writing is a skill like anything else. It does get easier with time! Here are my top tips:
Quality, quality, quality
When people ask me ‘how do you become a successful blogger?‘, the main bit of advice I give is to only put out decent content. You don’t need to be the best writer in the world, but the core of your writing needs to be good quality – useful, well thought out and sharable. Social media is exactly the same. If you want more followers, your content needs to be good quality.
If you write a really useful and original post, with great pictures, it will get shared and liked.
Don’t make it all about you
Your social media channels will be so much more enriched if you don’t just make them about you. Share interesting relevant blogs and articles you read. Recommend people to follow or events to go to. Make your page the go-to.
Keep it interesting and varied
I unfollow people who just post the same generic posts day after day – ‘check out my blog’, ‘listen to my podcast’, ‘here’s another picture of the back of my head looking at a mountain’. It’s dull.
Mix up your platforms with films, photos, blogs, articles and quotes. Keep your photos varied too although remember to include plenty of pictures of you (and your face) so your platforms have character.
If it helps, you could always do a schedule. So Monday you share your blog, Tuesday you write a real-time update with a photo, Wednesday you share someone else’s blog or an article, etc.
Keep it personal and honest
Let your personality shine through and find your voice. People really enjoy following pages where they get an insight into someone’s life. Honesty is popular – share when things go wrong and things are bad. They are just as juicy as the good bits!
Don’t ever share rubbish
Remeber my point about quality? If you haven’t good a decent picture or something worth saying then it is better to skip a post then put out something that is garbage.
If you don’t know what to write in the post, state what you are doing
Quite often I hear people say that they never know what to write in the post. It can be difficult in the beginning but don’t over think it. If you ever get stuck, all you need to do is write what it is you are doing or what it is you are thinking or feeling. Don’t make every post like this but it works well for your day-to-day picture updates: “Here’s me about to go on my first ever dive. I’m feeling nervous but can’t wait to see the coral.”
How often to post?
The trick is to post regularly and consistently. Each platform has their own rules for posting and this is important to follow so that you are active and worth following but don’t become annoying by posting too much and bombarding peoples feeds. As a general, aim for the following:
Facebook: 3 to 10 times a week
Instagram: photo once a day (Stories 3-8 posts a day)
Twitter: 5 to 20 times a day
When to post?
It’s so important that you nail social media timing. You can write the most amazing bit of content but if you share it at the wrong time, only a handful of people will see it and your efforts are completely wasted. Each time you post you want to maximise the amount of people that will view it.
Timing is all about understanding your audience. Think about it…when do you check your social media? Most likely on weekdays you have a quick check first thing in the morning but nothing too strenuous. Then another look every lunch break. Instagram is hard to sneak a peak at while you are at work, but killing time on Facebook and Twitter on a lazy afternoon is easy in an office.
There are general rules you can follow but best is to experiment and work out what is the most successful time for your particular audience. You can work this out based on engagement feedback or Facebook evens tells you how many people have viewed you content and when under the ‘insights’ tab. Note that people also have different habits depending on things like weather and if there are holidays coming up.
But for starting out, here are some general rules….
- Know what country most of your followers are in (there’s no point posting to prime UK time if all your followers are in the USA)
- Don’t ever post at the weekend before 8am or after 8pm
- Weekdays between 1-4pm are a great time to post (if ever you needed proof that no one actually works in an office after lunch!) but the most active times for me are evening at 9pm
- Don’t ever post between 11pm and 7am
- If you post at the weekend, between 1-4pm is the best time
- Tuesday – Thursdays are considered very good days for posting
- Monday to Friday at 3pm is considered a great time to post to Twitter
- Monday to Friday 12-1pm is a great time to post on Instagram
- In most cases, engagement is actually higher at the weekend. You will get more people viewing your post in the week, but they are more likely to click through or buy a product or leave a detailed comment at the weekend, so you’ve got to weigh this up. This will play a part depending on if you are trying to sell something vs wanting exposure and a high number of hits.
How to get more followers on Facebook
Facebook is my favourite platform although the hardest to grow a following for a page. Having said that, I feel like my Facebook followers are more valuable – more like ‘real’ fans – than on Twitter and Instagram. Here’s my top tips on how to get more followers on Facebook:
Invite people to like your page
When you open your page, there is an option to invite friends to like it.
You can also click on the ‘likes’ section on your posts, which looks like this:
It will show up a list of everyone who has liked this post. If they haven’t already liked your page, there is an option to invite them. Make a habit to invite any new likes on your posts at the end of each week.
Always a picture and make it nice
No one is going to read your post if it doesn’t have a picture….we are visual beings!
Bad photos are really damaging to your page so make sure you only use inviting quality ones. This is especially important when posting a blog post which will automatically post whatever the feature image is. If it isn’t good, override the photo with one that you choose.
Join groups and get active in them
Facebook groups will be your most valuable friend. Join relevant groups that fit your niche for example travelling, adventuring, hiking, etc. To find them, you just need to type relevant words in the Facebook search bar and then select groups to see what is out there.
Then spend time getting to know the groups to find ones that are most active and that fit your style. Join in conversations in those groups. Get to know the members and stay in tune. It will help you understand your target audience and will inspire new content.
When relevant in conversations, you can reply with links to your blog or page. Only do this if it is relevant or you genuinely have something of value to share! Blatant self-promotion gets deleted and won’t win you any followers.
Always share your posts directly on your Facebook page
If you want to share your blog post or something of interest, always do this directly from your Facebook page. To do this, post on your page, then click ‘share’ under the posts’ box:
You can then select where you want to post it (ie in another group) and then click post. Add a message to make it personalised.
What this means is your post will then show up with your Page name included and a ‘like’ button making it easy for people to like your page. It will look like this (note that this example hasn’t put an additional message)
It is important if you post in a group that you read their rules first (usually in the group description). There are lots that don’t allow you to post blogs or self-promote. Respect the rules! Different groups have different purposes. Breaking them will only get you deleted and banned.
Work with your peers
Get to know your peers, like their pages and share their content and they will likely return the favour. This has got to be done genuinely though. Fake blanket shares and comments are easy to see through.
I spend a lot of time supporting other female adventurers and they make up a core part of my following and regularly share what I do as well.
Long posts are ok
I used to be wary of writing posts that were too lengthy and wordy instead opting for shorter ‘Twitter style’ posts. But actually my engagement is much higher when I write longer and more meaningful posts. Always break it up into digestible paragraphs and keep sentences short.
Use the pinned post feature
You can pin a post on your page which is a great way to introduce you to new audience members. Most adventurers make this post about their biggest journey yet and needless the say, the photo needs to be spot on.
Use Facebook live
I’ve yet to do my first Facebook live although I know it is a great feature for many reasons….Facebook notifies followers if you are live (it’s still relatively unused so most people haven’t gotten around to turning the automatic notification off yet!). So your viewing rate is much higher.
It saves you a lot of time vs editing video and I think there’s a real element to it that is personal (plus I think people are waiting to see if something bad happens, ie an epic live fail!). You don’t want to overuse this feature though and it is worth noting that live videos very rarely get shared.
How to get more followers on Instagram
I’m still a bit of a newbie to Instagram but I’m just starting to get to grips with it. Here’s my top tips on how to get more followers on Instagram:
Only use epic photos
Instagram is all about the initial image so should be saved for only your absolute best pictures. Never post a blurry, poor quality picture. Watch some free online tutorials on composition and taking half-decent pictures. It’s worth investing the effort into photography (for all your platforms really).
Find a style
There are lots of options for filters on Instagram but whatever you decide to do, make sure you are consistent. If you search through Instagram accounts that have thousands or millions of followers, you will notice that they have a style. Using just one or 2 filters. You will also want your photos to have a clear theme. If you are all about camping, then only post relevant camping photos.
Delete old pictures that don’t work
The best Instagram accounts work as a whole product, so when you scroll through the pictures in an account everything looks nice. Once you’ve found your style, have a weed delete any old pictures that don’t look good or don’t now fit your style.
There’s no point using hashtags that have millions of people using them as no one is going to find you in amongst all the noise. What’s better is using lesser known hashtags relevant to your niche. Each post can have up to 30 hashtags…so use your limit.
To find hashtags, look at Instagramers in your field and see what they are using. Search relevant words and see what suggestions crop up (it says next to it how many times it has been used as well…you are looking for hashtags that are in the hundreds, low thousands range).
In my notes on my phone, I have created lists of hashtags in groups of 30 under different headings….i.e, adventurer hashtags, women outdoors hashtags, blogger hashtags, conservation hashtags. When I post a picture on Instagram I then copy and paste the group of hashtags most relevant to that post.
This will save you so much time!! And it works.
If you post your hashtags it in the comment box (which I prefer…it’s quicker, looks neater and disappears are a few people have commented) you need to paste it within a few seconds of posting otherwise you will lose real-time searches. So have your hashtags paste ready to go before you hit post.
It’s taken me ages to get started with stories but even a week in I can see it is boosting my following. As with all platforms, the more you use all the features available, the more likely they are to recommend you to other users.
Mix up your stories with photos and videos and keep it personal…you want lots of ‘you’ in there. The ‘hands free’ option is the best one to use if you are filming (thanks for that tips LTFactor!). And unlike every other platform, you want to film in portrait not landscape.
How to get more followers on Twitter
In terms of followers, Twitter is my most successful platform although I feel like I understand it the least. Regardless, here’s my top tips on how to get more followers on Twitter:
Create specific photos when sharing content
If you share a blog on Twitter, the attachment link and photo looks ugly and small. It is much better to create an image (ideally with text) using Canva that will catch peoples attention. I found out this week that the best ratio for Twitter is 2×1 on any images and photos. Attach the image to the post and then just have the link to the blog or website in the text.
Here’s an example of one I made for a recent blog post. It isn’t the best example but the text in the image was engaging which was an important feature for getting people to link through:
Stir up conversations
Twitter is the place for controversy. Twitter users love a good debate so be bold with your opinions and start interesting conversations.
Don’t be shy to get involved with discussions
Twitter is a great place to nosy in on the conversations of people you admire in your field. If you see a real-life debate kicking off and have something interesting to say, don’t be afraid to have your input. Twitter is a great place to put your name out there in your industry and to start building relationships with key individuals.
Worse case scenario they ignore your Tweet but at least they’ve seen your name!
Only hashtag live events
You’ve probably become a bit hashtag happy after Instagram, but Twitter isn’t the place for it. Only use live/trending hashtags that are being used to for current conversations and never more than 3.
Retweet with a comment
Twitter should be as much about Retweeting comments and articles you find interesting as coming up with your own Tweets. I always think a Retweet is wasted if you don’t add a ‘quote’ with it (ie your own comment). You are much more likely to get the engagement, a comment and a follow from the original poster and other commenters on that post versus them just getting a notification that you have Retweeted (which is grouped with any other users who have done the same).
Wit and humour
Although a lot of posts on Twitter are serious, wit and humour go a long way. It’s what makes the platform so entertaining and why I’m quite addicted to following those who have the best way with words. If you’ve got a good sense of humour let that come through.
You’ve got to be likeable!
Following all these rules and systems can make you a bit robotic and salesy….which is a bad thing! On all your social media platforms, you have got to be likeable. Although I focus a lot on being ‘useful’ there are plenty of thriving individuals who have thousands, even millions of followers just because they are well liked. People enjoy following them and being a part of their life.
So know these rules and know what works, but don’t over do them.
Social media is a game. Like with any game, the winners are the ones who are focused, consistent and who try different tactics.
I’ve shared with you everything I know but really this has only touched the surface. Getting good at social media is a process and it doesn’t happen overnight. The best thing you can do is to stay patient, keep experimenting and to keep learning. Follow the people who are winning on each platform so you can understand what they are doing that is so right.
And if you want to take social media seriously, learn from the experts in the field. I can really recommend the following:
- “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk
- “The Art of Social Media” by Guy Kawasaki & Peg Fitzpatrick
- “Platform: Get Noticed in a noisy world” Michael Hyatt
- “Social Media Explained” by Mark W. Schaefer
- Listening to the podcast: The Social Media Hour with Tyler J Anderson
- Listen to the podcast: Social Media Marketing with Michael Stelzner
No doubt (I hope) in a year I will be writing another blog with my ‘intermediate’ level top tips for social media and everything new I learn from now. Until then, do follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you have any specific questions or if I’ve missed something out….please do let me know in the comment box and I’ll be happy to help!