4.2 billion people are active on social media, according to a recent Hootsuite report. This means social media is a huge opportunity for small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) to reach a vast audience of potential customers. 

It also means there’s a ton of competition out there. Developing the right social media strategy is key to earning the attention your business deserves. 

Here 5 actionable steps to help you to get noticed by the right audience at the right time on social media. 

1. Encourage Your Audience to Interact

You don’t just want to make social media posts for the heck of it. One of your most important goals should be to maximize audience engagement with your posts.

What does this mean? It means that people who view your post will feel compelled to interact with it, and to get involved with it. The more people who engage with your post, the more visibility it will get. 

One simple but effective way to get your audience involved is to literally ask them to like and share your post. But there are some even more creative ways you can try.

Ask your audience an interesting open-ended question. This will encourage your audience to comment below your post. Make use of polls, or ask your audience to caption a photo. If you can, do a giveaway.

Hootsuite has a really good post with examples on how to increase your engagament - I encourage you to check it out, but the gist of it is:

  • Stay topical - keep an eye on trends relevant to you and post about them, where appropriate
  • Keep conversations going - answer your audience's questions, but be prepared to jump in if people are talking about you elsewhere
  • Respond quickly - don't leave people hanging!
  • Show your human side - brands are still built by humans. It'd be nice to lift the curtain a bit every now and then and show the people behind your business!

2. Make Sure You’re Posting at the Right Times

The right times to post on social media aren’t set in stone. They differ depending on the audience you’re trying to reach, as well as the social media platform you are using. Do some research into the optimal times to post for your niche. 

Consider the time of day you’re posting, and what the general public are doing at that time of day. Are they looking at their phone? Why are they more active at these times? 

The first thing most people do in the morning (after rolling out of bed) is check their mobile phone. This makes early morning a good time to post. Lunchtime is another great time to make posts, because people are checking their social media accounts during their breaks. 

Hootsuite has this handy guide to ideal social media posting times for different platforms, based on data they collected on their platform:

  • Facebook: 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • Instagram: 11:00 AM on Wednesdays
  • Twitter: 8:00 AM on Mondays and Thursdays
  • LinkedIn: 9:00 AM on Tuesdays and Wednesdays

These times vary depending on several factors like industry, audience, and geography, but it's enough to give you a starting point.

3. Use Hashtags To Your Benefit

Hashtags aren’t just there to look cool. If you use them well, hashtags can powerfully increase your visibility on social media. 

Try making your own hashtag for your brand. It’s as simple as coming up with a catchy, unique hashtag and using it in your posts. Encourage your audience to use your hashtag and it might just go viral. This will also help you to monitor how people are talking about your brand. 

Use hashtags in your posts that relate to your industry and niche. Consider what hashtags your ideal customer is looking at, and find ways to relevantly use those. What hashtags are trending right now on the platforms you’re using? Try to find creative ways to use those.

4. Post Content That People Will Want to Share

One of the best ways to increase your visibility on social media is by your followers sharing your content among their own network. But how do you get that to happen?

Post infographics filled with information that your audience will find valuable. Be sure to include the name of your business somewhere in the infographic. 

Also keep in mind that most marketers today use video as part of their strategy - so don't ignore that format, even if it can feel a little daunting to get into it.

If you don't know where to get started, Neil Patel has some easy-to-follow beginner tips to get you off the ground.

5. Team Up with Influencers

Keep your eyes open for people who have social media accounts with tons of followers. These people are social media influencers, and teaming up with them can get you powerful visibility. 

If you own a makeup brand, seek out influencers who are makeup artists. If you own a pet brand, you could even seek out a pet’s Instagram account that has thousands of followers. 

People listen to and trust influencers, so if you choose the right influencer and get them to promote your brand within their own network… voila! You’ve just increased your social media visibility by thousands. 

Conclusion

Gaining more visibility for your small business on social media doesn’t have to be difficult. But creating content is just one part of it - make sure to also check out this guide on how to use "content amplification" to get audiences to notice you in the first place.

Now that you have these new strategies to use, get out there on your social media platforms and experiment with which of them works best for your business.