2 Reliable Tips to Grow on Social Media
Abandon your island and milk your cow
Tricia Aurelline Atmadja
When it comes to social media growth, the Internet often says use videos and strategic hashtags. But there are two important strategies that aren’t talked about enough.
I call them 1. Abandoning your island — using all the people around you — and 2. Milking your cow — maximizing each piece of content you have.
This is what took the Twitter account I managed from nine retweets a month to five per day in just two months — a slow but sure and steady growth. If this is your goal, then this article, which is going to explain it with a lot of examples, is for you.
*Quick disclaimer: Twitter and LinkedIn are the platforms our business mostly focuses on, but this article will still provide inspiration you can tailor to fit any platform you use.
What the Internet Tells You Today
You know the classic “best practices” rules, like…
Use interesting pictures.
And throw in a video. Sprinkle subtitles on it. Maybe a hashtag or three (just don’t do twenty).
Post around 2 PM on a Tuesday, 5 PM on a Friday, 3 AM when Mercury is in retrograde, and 5 minutes before your next workload-induced meltdown…. Just kidding.
You should certainly continue using these strategies to produce optimal social media posts. But from experience, with these strategies alone, it’s still hard to get the ball rolling for some of us out there.
Because what if you’re in the business of selling something less interesting… like accounting software instead of electric cars?
Or what if your targeted segment is NetOps guys who have DNS logs to look at, not social media attached Gen Z’s?
Here’s two things that worked for me, the person in charge of socials in one of the scenarios described above:
1. Abandon Your Island
In other words: Stop acting like you can survive by yourself… involve other people as much as you can.
If you’re still having difficulties growing your social media presence, then chances are you’re not yet the biggest somebody in the ecosystem.
So if you’re only posting every time you release a new blog, or posting only to promote your product in one way or another… you’re just talking about yourself all the time.
And here’s the thing: nobody likes nobodies talking about themselves day and night!
That’s exactly why you have to — no, need to — involve other people, especially those that are bigger somebodies. Why?
Because by directly involving them, the greater the chances that they’ll notice your content. If they like it, they might reshare it, or even reply to it… and you know what that gives you? A free lift!
In each post you’re about to release, think of this: who else can I involve in this post?
Then poke ’em, tag ’em, and cc ’em, in everything you can. But do it in a way that makes sense.
Here are several examples of how you can do this:
Work together with your PR person, if that’s not you
Your PR person should be the one making friends on behalf of your business. And if they’re smart, friends you can social-climb on (warning: please, for the love of garlic bread, don’t be obvious when doing this).
Ask your PR person questions like:
“Hey, which sites/publications are you watching? Let me help get a relationship started with them on social media.”
— and then when you’re looking for content to curate, you can use some of theirs. And tag them, of course. That way, they’ll start noticing you.
“Can you send me a list of/brief me on some of our closest friends in the industry?”
— and then congratulate them when they’re featured in a magazine, or hit a ten-year anniversary, or won an award.
“Can you keep me posted when we have any events coming up? Even the smaller ones?”
— you probably will know when your company does super big stuff like tradeshow appearances. But for smaller gigs like appearing at a local university’s career night? I don’t know how your company works, but stuff like can be easily missed if you aren’t aware. So involve your events marketing person too, if you have a separate person for that.
Now, what if you’re a really early-stage start-up with no comms/events/partnerships person yet?
Not gonna lie, I don’t have a good answer for that. Maybe ask your CEO, because they’re the ones probably making friends out there. Also, if you’re the person managing social media in that company, then you’re the closest thing to a comms person. Start looking on social for people you can befriend and publications you can start writing bylines for.
Tag every last one of them
Even the journalists. The event organizers. The podcast host. The podcast sponsor. The multimedia team. Other companies attending that event.
Stop tagging only the organizer — there are so many more people involved! So as best as you can, involve them all.
If you’re new to this idea, here are some examples to get you started:
The line-up of THISEVENT 2019 looks sweet: [@person] from [@company1], [@person2] from [@company2], and [@ yourguy] from [Your Company Name]!
— because nobody cares if you’re gonna be there (yet). Tag others, and after the event, thank the event organizers and even other sponsors too!
[Teasing copy of what an article is about]. [@writer] from [@publication] executes a flawless breakdown of what this means:
— because the writer is usually more likely to notice your tweet than the publication. And they might show appreciation by liking it, replying with a thanks, and even retweeting/sharing it. Post engagement: +1
We love using [@toolname] for [whatever you want to say]. Here’s why we think [something that relates to this blog you just pushed out]
— because you never know, if you tag Slack, they might just reply or give it a like!
See? When you start thinking ‘who else can I drag into this post?’, you’ll realize that there are various answers.
Send relevant things over
How to make other people see your stuff? You make them see it. Here are some more ways how without sounding pushy.
At the end of a post, add something along the lines of…
PS: Think you’d find this useful too, [@otherrelevantperson]
Or even a cheeky, email-style poke:
And if you have a good enough relationship going, maybe even a…
Care to share this with other people you think could use this, @relevantfriend1 & @relevantfriend2?
Hence from this last tip, we realize the importance of doing two things:
- Spending time on whatever platform you use to figure out who you can be friends with.
- Crafting a strong copy for the main content with as few characters as you need. If you’re gonna poke people at the end of your post, you’re gonna need space.
Four key takeaways from Abandon Your Island:
- Stop talking about just yourself exclusively. Think ‘who else can I involve in this post?’
- Involve your PR/events person/CEO even, to know who…
- … and then tag everyone involved. Every last one of them, especially the individual people.
- Remember — directly sending stuff to people is the most effective way to make them see it.
Now let’s get to milking our cow.
2. Milk Your Cow
In other words: Think of how you can use every piece of content into multiple social media posts that differ from one another.
Let me start with another reminder that this advice would probably make more sense on Twitter too, because it involves posting multiple times about each piece of content you have. Now on with the real thing.
Especially for smaller to mid-sized companies that don’t have a legion of in-house multimedia producers to make you a content shop yet, your content output would probably be at like one to three blogs a week. Or one new podcast episode/video every couple of weeks. Or one infographic every two weeks.
When you’re not yet at a place where you’re hosting events, appearing in conferences, and doing a shit ton of expensive stuff, you’re gonna want to really hammer down on that creativity nail and see how you can get the most out of the few pieces of content you have. Because here’s the biggest challenge: you want to make each post (or really, I should just say Tweet), sound different. Like, for real different.
Here are some ideas you can start with:
Say you have a blog that talks about, for example, why you should stop using spreadsheets for so-and-so, which eventually ties into how using your so-and-so management tool can help.
Your first tweet could sound like this:
We’re not saying you shouldn’t use spreadsheets for [ABCD], but if you are, you’re basically carrying a ticking time-bomb.
Here’s four ways a professional [ABCD] management tool can help: [link]
Now, your gamified tweet could look like this:
What do you use spreadsheets for?
A) Monthly expense budgeting
B) Resume finessing
C) Keeping track of a herd of cats
D) [ABCD] management
If you answered D, here’s something you didn’t even know you need: [link]
See? Different. Fun. 10/10 would read again, even though it’s talking about the same piece of content.
Relate it to relevant world events
Even trending memes.
Say you have a blog post about… ABC. Make the first tweet like how you’d normally promote a new blog.
Then do a second tweet leading with a fact/statistic.
Then do a third tweet relating it to a current world event/discussion on the social platform.
And last, do one relating it to a popular meme. We did this for an IPAM (IP address management) blog. Don’t believe me?
Recap your event in different ways
Events are expensive to host and attend, so make sure you get your money’s worth out of it… even if it were in the form of social media content.
Here are some ideas of all the different types of stuff you can do with just one event:
- Line-up teaser/guess who games, if your line-up is popular enough
- Event keynote/key content teasers
- “What you need to know” posts
- “Who we’re excited to meet” posts, like this one (and then couple it up with Tip #1 of this article!)
- Related resources
- “Best of” highlights with Twitter Moments, like what Riverbed did for an event they spoke at
- Blogs, promoted on socials
There are so many ways you could go about promoting your content — so don’t stop at two. Again, you just need to hammer down on that creativity nail a bit more and do your research. See how other successful businesses are doing it.
Need more? Also see how individuals are doing it — individual business leaders, podcast hosts, bloggers, MCs, etc. Absorb, think, and adapt their ways for your own purposes. Be inspired — never plagiarise.
That’s It. Two Tips.
But I feel like there’s already quite a bit to get you started already. So — two things:
1. Get on the social media platform of your choice and start thinking — who can you start involving in your content, and how else can you share it?
2. Let me know how you found this article! And what you think of these tips, this piece, and how I can improve future ones. As a new Medium writer just starting out, constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated.
You made it till the end — clap, clap, hooray! Thanks for reading!
Tricia Aurelline Atmadja