Pursuing opportunities for diversification and growth | By Maddie LeBlanc | March 26, 2021

Tips to Build a Successful Social Media Brand

Building a successful online presence that truly succeeds can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to think about the audience you’re speaking to, but how and when you’re going to deliver the message.

Lauren Hoag, a former Pathway and FUSE marketing intern, and Kenzie Leblanc, a current campus recruiting intern, have perfected the art of creating and scheduling social media content. While Lauren’s focus is now on customer success at Flywheel, she has found that her time at Nelnet honing her marketing craft set her up to thrive post-graduation.

Whether you manage social media accounts for a brand, or are simply curious about how brands consider their audience in social media strategy – check out these five easy tips to create a successful social media presence below:

1. Create a content calendar and have posts ready to be shared.

Behind every great social media presence is a well thought-out strategy. Whether you create a fancy calendar online or a physical one, the content calendar is essential to an impactful and successful social brand. You’d be surprised how easily ideas can come once you put pen to paper. Some questions to think about as you decide what to post:

  • Who is your target audience and what do they care about?
  • If I didn’t know what this brand was, what would I want to see or learn about from them?

Next thing you know, you’ll have an entire month’s worth of content ready to go, and all you have to do now is create engaging posts.

2. Create a plan of how often you want to post and be consistent.

You want to stay top of mind with your followers, but you don’t want to overdo it. How often you post on each platform is dependent on your audience. Keep in mind there are different ways to post, whether that is a story highlight or standard post on the feed.

Once your content calendar is ready, you should create for future release dates. A helpful tip is to keep a few posts ready to go at all times. This is always helpful on days when you don’t get a chance to think a single thought, let alone take time to spin up a post for social media. There are also apps like Mailchimp and Sprout that will schedule posts to go out at designated times you set.

3. Curate different content for each platform.

Dreaming up content to post can take time – and thinking about doing this multiple times to create content for each platform may seem daunting.

Take a deep breath – you can do it. Remember that the audience of each social media platform is different. People who are scrolling through Instagram after a long day of work don’t expect to see the same content they’d seek out on LinkedIn. Create content that engages your audience in the ways they desire most based on their social media preference.

This could include changing up the tone of the same caption or creating different graphics to change up what your audience is sees on each platform. Ask yourself: If I didn’t know anything about the topic of this post, how would I want the information presented to me based on the platform I’m on? Asking this question can ensure you’re considering the preferences of your audience in the process.

4. Captions are everything, so don’t ruin them with grammar or spelling errors.

If you manage posting content that includes words, make sure your spelling and grammar are correct before sending it out into the virtual universe. Everyone makes these mistakes from time to time, but taking an extra step can make all the difference and save you the pain of having someone call it out afterward. Downloading extensions like Grammarly can help alleviate this problem too.

Additionally, of the most popular social media platforms, Instagram is the only platform where links in captions don’t actually work – so it’s best to just avoid including them in posts. If you want to lead your audience to a link, try putting it in your profile’s bio and direct your audience there.

5. Mix up your content.

Gone are the days when you could post stock photos with a formal caption and call it good. To grab someone’s attention, you need to make your posts look more fun and engaging. Since you’re already taking the time to plan out your content, you might as well get creative with it.

Try using motion graphics, videos, or carousels to mix up your feed. When looking at your platform as a whole, it should catch the attention of your audience and make them curious about what you have to say. Remember, your posts should make sense on their own, but also work together to tell a holistic story about your brand. Try changing up the visuals and topics of your posts as much as you can to make sure you’re producing diverse content.

6. Track analytics and change your strategy accordingly.

One of the most crucial tips you should know is to track the analytics of your posts. If you are continually posting content without stopping to think about which posts are performing better than others, you’re wasting time. You can use analytics tools on Sprout, Hootsuite, or the social media apps themselves to do this. Make sure you have a business account for Instagram in order to benefit from their analytics features.

If certain posts have low engagement or didn’t reach a large audience, think about why this may be. Factors such as the time of day you post, how long your caption is, or the topic of the post could be the reason it isn’t doing as well as others. Once you understand which posts are doing well and which ones are not, adapt accordingly. Use these insights to help brainstorm effective content for next month!


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