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Social media is a vital part of business success in the digital age, but it’s only as good as you make it. Today we’re going to be going over some critical elements that, when applied, are the key to success in follower quantity, engagement, and conversion.

Big and small companies alike have seen how great an impact social media has on business promotion. These days, it’s hard to envision a marketing strategy that doesn’t include social media. You don’t simply create an account and expect droves of new followers to appear out of nowhere. What you need to do is to create a well-rounded social media strategy that ensures a high level of user engagement, a far reach, and ultimately lots of conversions that turn into revenue. Take a peek at this checklist so you know where and how to start!

Getting started on your social media strategy

1. Go Wide, and Know Your Platforms

If you’re limiting your social media presence to Facebook, you’re doing yourself a disservice. While it’s certainly a powerful platform, it’s only one part of a much larger picture. More platforms means more eyes: Twitter and Instagram are obvious, but have you considered marketing on LinkedIn? How about Pinterest? Might your products work well on Reddit? There’s a whole world of platforms out there, and they each have their own quirks.

Instagram is obviously a platform for images, and you need to work with that rather than seeing it as a constraint: if you just take a screenshot of a text post and dump it on Instagram, it’s going to go totally ignored. It’s not enough to just understand the technical specifications of a site, you need to understand why consumers go there and tailor your content accordingly.

So, for example, Instagram is about having a curated aesthetic. It’s not just about your images, it’s about your image. It’s not that composition, color palette and typeface don’t matter on Facebook, it’s that they’re absolutely critical on Instagram—they’re not an enhancer, they’re the whole reason people are there, and they should be carefully constructed to help create a singular brand image.

2. Have an optimal posting schedule

With a good social media strategy, consistency is key. But overloading your accounts with one post after another in rapid-fire succession is too much – people will get exasperated and cease to follow. Look for software tools that help determine the times of day and night that your followers are online and browse your account, and pattern your posting schedule after it. This will ensure that they will not miss your posts. Different industries will have different times you want to post, though “around lunchtime” and “after dinner” are two pretty universal high-traffic times of day.

3. Make your accounts look good, literally

Think of your social media accounts as boutique stores. If you walked into a shop and it had spills on the floor and exposed wiring, you’d probably think twice about buying, no matter how good their products were. Content is king, but don’t underestimate how important the account itself is in terms of branding and aesthetic. Things like header images, avatars and color schemes need to be carefully considered.

4. Give your accounts some personality

If your brand were a person, what would its personality be? Is it coolly elegant, kooky, ultra professional, laid back? This will determine the tone of your accounts and the voice that you use to send your message across. Whichever one you choose, make sure that it is something your audience can relate to!

5. Put variety into your posts

Publishing content does not always have to be about brand announcements. You can explore a variety of content – all of which should be related to your brand – and post that too. For example, if you run a clothing company and you already post a lot of offerings and promotions, you may also want to post links to articles about how to mix and match clothing or the latest trends that came out in New York Fashion Week.

6. Boost your efforts with engagement strategies

You can post all you want, but if your followers do not engage with you, then your accounts are practically lifeless. Bring it back from the dead by coming up with innovative social media strategies that will compel your audience to respond or participate. Host contests, publish relevant and thought-provoking questions, ask them what they think, re-post what they published about you, let them put a new product color or shape to a vote.

Above all, strive to maintain a sense of reliability in what you publish and how you engage and interact with your audience. The best way to think about what you do and how you do things on social media is that it is a way to promote yourself while being helpful to others, establishing new friendships and improving old ones!

If you’re thinking hard about your social media marketing strategy, why not read about How to Optimize Images Sizes for Social Media, or check out our Guide to the Google SEO 3-Pack.