How Social Media Planning Helped Build and Grow An Engaged Audience
Say you’re a website with thousands of regular users. That’s great, but you want to keep growing. Excellent! …where do you start? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as Field of Dreams makes it out to be. If you build it, they might come. No matter how compelling your site’s content is, how stunning the design, how slick the code, you’ve still got to work to get it front and centre in your audience’s eyes. While search engine optimization is a key aspect of this, social media marketing can transform your brand’s identity in the eyes of your audience, and can open the door to tremendous growth and opportunity. When SEO TWIST started working with Low Fat Low Carb, a leading diet and lifestyle website that focuses on healthy, quick recipes and food tips, we had a few ideas about building their brand and userbase. What surprised us, though, is how important audience engagement became, and what it meant for branding and marketing. Social media provides businesses with an amazingly powerful means of reaching out to an audience, engaging with them, and building incredible brand loyalty. All the same, it’s still hard work. Here’s how we did it:
Social-Friendly Strategy and Infrastructure
The mandate Low Fat Low Carb (LFLC) gave us was to reach a million users on a regular basis. We started working on their old website, gradually optimizing and updating site content while we started to push weekly newsletters and develop shareable items for social media. We looked to what other food websites were doing, and it became clear that the site would have to accommodate the latest standards and trends to stand out. But more than that, it became readily apparent we had to think long and hard about how users were actually using LFLC’s website. Quick, bite-size videos were a must. While there’s something to be said about going into greater depth with long-form content, most people looking to cook a quick recipe are on their phones in their kitchens. We amended our approach to provide mobile-friendly videos that we could easily share from platform to platform, and focused on creating beautiful, eye-catching images to increase the likelihood users would hit a share button. Facebook’s mix of user comments and high-quality visuals meant we spent some time tailoring our strategy for that platform. Of course, all this meant that a new design was necessary. We wanted to develop a cohesive visual identity, which would help increase conversion rates when users accessed the site, registering for a free account.
Engage with an Audience
Remember earlier when we said that just building it doesn’t guarantee users will come? That’s where engagement comes in. Engagement is a hot-button word in social media marketing. It encompasses everything from simply liking and sharing to users identifying directly with your brand. The challenge is, as we’ve mentioned before, getting users to actually notice your brand first. Thankfully, social media provides a built-in approach to be noticed. There’s a psychological phenomenon called the mere-exposure effect, sometimes referred to as the familiarity principle in social psychology. Basically, people develop a preference for things the more familiar they are with them. Exposure to a brand builds familiarity. Using social media, we built up LFLC’s existing identity and worked off their established credibility as a food and diet website. Repeated posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram engaged with the existing userbase as paid advertising took advantage of the familiarity principle. Answering user questions and asking questions of our own also provided an exceptional way to boost engagement. Keeping things friendly and personable also establishes loyalty; the better you are at reaching out and providing human interactions, the better your brand will do.
When it comes to social media, there could be a temptation to sit back and keep doing what you’re doing. Avoid that temptation! When you get complacent, your strategy suffers. Like any marketing plan, it’s important to monitor, adjust, and change a social media marketing plan. It’s important to look at ways to streamline and improve, and find new and creative ways to reach out and engage with an audience. Refresh content, figure out what catches your audience’s attention, and tailor it for every platform. While we’ve grown LFLC’s userbase, we’re still working, pushing forwards to the next goal and looking at ways to improve wherever possible. We’re proud of what we’ve done, and excited to see what’s next.