20 Jun How We Made It To 100,000 Followers Organically!
Remember the old MasterCard commercials? That’s exactly the kind of tone I have in my head when I review Boostability’s social media accounts.
“37,700 followers on @Boostability Twitter, 3,528 followers on LinkedIn, 15,100 followers on Facebook… and the cost of advertising? Priceless!” Literally!!! … Priceless.
This month, Boostability has officially surpassed their goal of 100,000 followers across all of their social media accounts! But that’s not all there is to celebrate. What’s most important about this milestone is that all 100,000 followers have been entirely organic!
What does that mean?
In short, Boostability has never paid to run a “follower” ad campaign. Instead, we’ve implemented several strategic engagement and growth campaigns over the years to encourage high-quality followers to come to us.
Why? To put it simply: because we wanted to.
Paid followers also have a choice to follow your business, so they’re arguably as likely to engage with your content as your organic followers. However, we wanted to build our audience around one specific feature that no advertising campaign can help you find: the type of followers that find us.
After all, at our very core, we are a search engine optimization company. What better way to test the marketing capabilities of social media search engines like Facebook or YouTube than to gauge the number of followers we obtain naturally?
As we cross this milestone, the number one question we are asked is, “How did you do it?”
What’s our answer?
Patience. Strategy. Optimization. All three of these things put together.
Constant Content Optimization
For any of our growth strategies to work, we had to keep in mind that the foundation of optimization is always content. To get followers and then maintain those followers, we had to be interesting.
We run a constant content strategy here at Boostability. We analyze our top performing content by visits, time on page, blog engagement (comments), and social media engagement to determine what types of posts our readers want to see more. Then we use this information to improve the way we write our content, what we write about, how we categorize our content, and how we write titles for each new post. We try to pay attention to everything – because details count!
In our experience, content optimization is best done in a rolling three-month strategy. That means that we are constantly observing the last three months of content. Likewise, we understand that it takes, on average, three months to see any results from the changes we make to our content strategy. If we make major changes, we must be consistent with those changes for 90 days before we start to see true results.
On Fleek Branding
Branding changes don’t happen often and they don’t always come across as huge, noticeable changes like a logo change or a website redesign. At Boostability, periodic branding audits are a big part of what we do to gauge the success of our content and keep our social media on the move.
With the information we obtain from our constant content monitoring, we also dive in and see what assumptions we can make about the design for our most successful posts. Are our least successful posts too alike? Are the colors too bright and distracting? Do the photos scream, “Look at me, I’m obviously a marketing post,” so people ignore them? We also look at our top performing posts and try to determine the most common factors underlying these posts.
Then, we utilize all this information to determine what overall tone our imaging should take with new social media content and blog posting. This strategy goes side-by-side with our overall content strategy. Just like our content strategy, it takes 90 days to really gauge the success of major changes. That’s why we make major changes to branding, where we completely redo the way our social media posts look, the way titles are presented, and the color schemes that we use, only twice a year.
However, not all branding can be seen. A lot of what makes Boostability unique is our voice. Boostability is a fun-loving, nerdy company with a dry sense of humor. We have a unique culture, and we show as much of that as possible through our native blog posts. We also certainly encourage it from guest writers on our site.
One thing we do to set the tone of our online brand is we test how we use that voice in social media posts. Unlike any major brand imaging changes, we are constantly testing how our voice is represented. With Twitter’s latest update — where they no longer allow any duplicate posts across any accounts — this has given us a platform to put our brand’s voice to the ultimate test. We sometimes have to spin as many as 15 differently-styled tweets around any given topic!
In the end, we carefully analyze how our users react to posts based on our tone and the style of our written content.
Timing Is Everything
When we review our content to determine the success around what voice we use and what imaging we’ve chosen for each individual post, we also pay careful attention to timing. Some posts, no matter how good they are, simply don’t perform. The day it was posted, the time of day the post ran, and the number of other posts that could have served as a distraction that day all have an effect.
A lot of companies see social media as a task rather than a strategy. Managers will say, “Hey, post this to Facebook,” and employees will simply do it. They don’t really think about the end goal in mind.
In other words, do you want the post on Facebook, or do you want the post to be as successful as it possibly can be on Facebook? Unfortunately, those are two different things. Posting content without a strategy in mind means you’re likely spinning your wheels.
Timing is everything! And timing is more than just what day or time of day you send your post. Timing is also the number of posts you are sending on any given day and the weight of each post.
Timing + Importance
At Boostability, we put in a lot of work around our social media strategy to make sure that no one day is too “heavy” with social content. For example, we try not to post more than twice a day to Facebook. We know that tends to be the cap for how often we can speak to our audience before they stop talking back to us!
Sometimes, of course, we have a lot of announcements to make, so we have 3 or 4 posts in a day. To make sure our posts succeed, we need to make sure we aren’t posting multiple heavy-weight, important topics in the same day. We also try to take advantage of our most engaging days and most engaging times of day. We determine these by constantly monitoring the engagement results and impressions we get from our top posts and tracking the days and times they are posted.
The truth is, the results are constantly changing.
Timing + Relevance
Still, some simple factors remain true. For example, as a B2B company, we understand that most business owners are swamped on Mondays. We leave Mondays for simple announcements – things we definitely want you to see, but we’re ok if you don’t have a chance to click on them. In other words, Mondays are for visual announcements and engaging tips or tricks.
Tuesday through Thursday tend to be our highest-performing days for clicks, so we know we want to highlight our blog topics during these days. However, if we publish more than one super important topic in a day, one topic is bound to suffer from the popularity of the other. We strategically stagger topics so we don’t have similar topics competing for the same social media space.
If we really want you to read a hot news topic, then we aren’t going to pair it with a promotional post because we know you’re likely to only click on one thing from a company within the same day. This comes down to a basic understanding of our own habits and human nature. There are only certain times of days that business owners and executives scroll with the determined intent of reading everything they can get their clicks on.
Fridays we leave for fun and engaging posts. On Fridays, we share BoostCulture posts, highlight employees, and list new job postings so job hunters can spend the weekend working on their resumes. Over the years, we’ve found that this works for us, and we pay close attention to make sure that these strategies continue working for us.
Strategic Non-Follower Advertising
If you’ve been around social media marketing for a while, you may notice a recent trend. Social advertising is doing away with “follower campaigns” one platform at a time. Why? Social media accounts are finally thinking about their users more than their bottom-lines, and that is a value-system we can personally get behind.
At Boostability, we have never run any straight “Follow Me” campaigns. Instead, we run very niche campaigns that encourage users to read our blog posts or visit our website. And we run campaigns around what we like to call our “engagement squares,” – posts we strategically create in hopes of starting a conversation online. Rather than having the goal of more followers, we’ve always aimed our campaigns toward the goal of having more conversation and being helpful to anyone that reaches out to us. As a happy result, we tend to get more lifelong followers from the people who engage with us.
Reach Out & Engagement Strategies
At the end of the day, engagement is the key. One thing we love to do at Boostability is reach out to others. Not all social media platforms allow businesses to reach out and start a conversation with a complete stranger. While Facebook allows us to tag other companies that we’re happy to be friends with, that’s the extent of our reach out campaign on Facebook.
That’s where we like to take advantage of Twitter, instead! Twitter is our number one conversational tool, and the number of followers we have on Twitter really shows that engagement is key.
As part of our organic follow-back campaign, we go beyond simply responding to messages we are tagged in on Twitter. We do our best to reach out and join in conversation with our followers, other businesses, and popular Twitter chats. We call this our reach-out campaign. At its core, our reach out campaign is meant to promote those around us more than we care to promote ourselves.
This year alone, we’ve doubled down on our reach out campaign by making sure to include author tags in our Tweets. We also mention and retweet some of our favorite blogs out there. These campaigns have helped our tweets gain a farther reach than they have in previous years and really encourages more sharing and overall conversation around each topic.
Last (but absolutely not least), we couldn’t have made it to 100,000 followers without our employees!
For five years, Boostability has built and perfected an internal employee advocacy program. We encourage our employees to build their personal brand to become individual marketing influencers. We teach employees about various social media accounts and how each account can help build their personal brand in a way that solidifies their marketing career at Boostability and beyond. And we encourage employees to get involved, engage with other marketers, and share best practices. Our favorite part is our ability to reward employees for helping to share important Boost content. As a result, we have drastically increased our reach across the internet and we have been able to grow our accounts across the board.
Want to join in the conversation? Follow Boostability at our accounts below and be part of our Boost family:
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