Posted On 23 Feb 2021
Venetia Hillary

Building your social media presence should be an important marketing goal for your business. But with all this competition for engagement, it’s easy to become frustrated if things progress slowly. A quick google search of “how can I boost my social media following?” will return millions of results. But we think you should avoid most of these social media hacks.

You’ve got to be in it, to win it!

For every business, social media can play a central role to the growth of your brand. It can build brand awareness, connect you with customers, and provide you the foundation for a great digital identity.

Technological advancements are happening quickly, with new social networking platforms being developed daily. They all have one thing in common though; they are 100% focused on user experience. Without users, these platforms can’t make money. So they’ve developed algorithms that aim to find and propagate the very best content that they think their users will enjoy, so they keep coming back.

And what does the best content look like? To the algorithm, is looks like lots of likes, shares and comments.

There has never been more competition for engagement before, though. More data has been created in the last four years than in the entirety of human history. Current figures estimate that more than 1.7 megabytes per person is uploaded to the internet every second. So with all this content competing for eyeballs, brands need to be more competitive than ever before.

Social media is a long game, but not everyone is patient at playing it.

When social media has (seemingly!) little to no impact on the growth of a company, it can leave businesses frustrated with their marketing efforts.  Cutting corners all of a sudden may start to sound appealing. There are a number of social media“hacks” available that promise your brand guaranteed engagement. In actual fact though, they can end up doing your brand far more damage in the long run.

We’ve put together a list of the 4 worst social media hacks out there. Read on to find out why we think you should avoid them and what you can do instead.

1. Engagement Pods

An engagement pod is a group of social media users who band together with the aim of increasing collective engagement rates. The “pod” will perform tasks such as ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on posts, repost content and encourage refollowing.

The temptation is definitely understandable. On the surface, it might seem like a great idea! However, relying on this social media hack can actually end up damaging your social value. You might be able to create some buzz around a post, but that will inevitably die down again just as quickly when the pod stops engaging. And when you rely on the same group of people to grow your social media channel, you can seriously limit your audience growth potential.

Also, Instagram HATE pods. So much so that it’s referenced in their terms of use! You can also end up with a red spam flag next to your name with all the liking and commenting you’ll need to do. Is it worth having your account shut down over a few extra likes and comments, that aren’t actually from an audience of engaged customers?

We say, don’t risk it.

2. Engagement Bots

Bots were designed as a tool for businesses who needed a more streamlined communication method with potential customers. They are used to great effect when you need to identify specific customer pain points or move customers along your sales funnel. We use them quite regularly with Oracle Tree clients!

But bots can also be used as a tool to over-inflate engagement on social media and this is where it becomes more nefarious. A social media bot will add comments on your social media posts, in an attempt to trick the algorithm into thinking the content is more popular than it actually is. Whilst this might sound like a convenient option, it can easily turn into a disaster. Firstly, many bots today are used in a dishonest way and social media users are aware of this. Their presence is easily identifiable to authentic users, which causes trust to be lost instantly.

Add to that, you’re working with technology trying to do the job of a human. The potential for failure is immense! Just reading this article will show you the lifelong damage it can do to a brand.

3. Buying followers

In the social media world, having followers means credibility and trust… right? If your business can garner numerous followers, you will look more attractive to newcomers, making it easier to get them engaged. It’s for this reason that many businesses will consider buying followers to increase their perceived value and online presence.

The problem is, a large following looks nice on the surface but paid followers don’t bring in real customers. When businesses go down this road, the bought followers tend to either be bots or inactive accounts. Your engagement rate will also be well below average as these followers don’t actually engage with your content – which is what you’re trying to achieve.

This one is definitely a big no from us!

4. Influencer Marketing

The title of influencer” on social media is not new, but their rapid growth over the last 5 years means that they’re now saturated across most digital platforms. They can boost engagement within very specific target audience groups, leaving many to see this as a distinct pathway to competitiveness.

People are more likely to buy something from someone they know and like. In fact, Twitter estimates that 49% of their users have relied on an influencer for a product recommendation in the past.

But using influencers to promote your product or service might not actually be such a sure thing. Firstly, the use of celebrities as influencers is common. But as well as being cost-prohibitive for many brands, studies show that it doesn’t actually contribute to long term purchase intent!

Also, many influencers lack a good follower-to-engagement ratio. This is often due to them either buying followers to grow their channel or a lack of quality content.

Determining who is a valuable influencer can be difficult to gauge, and businesses can waste a ton of money investing in an influencer who doesn’t produce the right engagement. Relying on an influencer to grow your audience will never be as effective as your own efforts to cultivate a connection with them yourself.

So what should you do instead?

Truthfully, there’s no quick fix to social media. Your customers want to know that you care about their needs and are able to address their pain points. The best and most consistent way to build up your social media presence is by creating high-quality content that serves your audience.

Consistent, engaging content captures your audiences’ attention and helps to build trust. Your target customers have many other options for their attention online. It’s important that your business is not only present but willing to provide content that is useful and valuable. By focusing here rather than on social media hacks, you will see a greater return on investment every time.

And remember, it’s always better to grow your follower count organically. Organic followers are more engaged, invested in the long-run, and are easier to convert to customers. Instead of focusing on growing your following, focus on engaging with the ones you already have. Nurture is the name of the game after all!

It’s easy to be tempted to use one of these social media hacks when they promise such great results. But businesses will get the most out of their social platforms when they focus on providing high-quality content that serves the needs of their audience. If you’d like to learn more about how you can grow your social media presence or want to know more about how we can help your business, contact us today. 

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