There’s no denying that social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can use to drive traffic and build brand awareness – but navigating the world of likes, comments and hashtags doesn't come naturally to everyone. If you’re just starting out, read this first. But if you want to take your posts to the next level, these six tips can help to improve your social media strategy.

Sign up for a Quality Digital Marketing Course

Need a crash course in, well, everything to strengthen your social network? There are lots of self-appointed gurus out there who promise to maximise your business’s reach through social media in mere minutes (for a fee). For something with more practicality than promise in the realm of digital marketing, this eight-hour course with a legit digital marketing professional will take you through everything you need to know from SEO to Facebook.

Get to Know Your Way Around Google Ads

Why should you invest in Google Ads to drive traffic to your site? The answer is pretty straightforward: because with 3.5 billion searches per day, Google is the go-to search engine. (Admit it, when was the last time you searched in any other way?) And Google Ads gets your product or service straight into your target audience’s line of vision when they’re researching purchases, improving brand awareness. But there can be pitfalls for the unwary; invest in a digital advertising setup to help you spend your ad dollars wisely.

Be Careful How You Outsource

If you aren’t paying for a full time social media marketer, there are still plenty of experts out there who will take care of your social media on a freelance basis for a fee. But choose wisely; that person will have your brand’s image in their hands. Make sure they understand the type of content that represents your values, your strategy and tone. And remember, as with everything, you get what you pay for.

SEE ALSO: How to Stay Connected as a Sole Trader

Run a Competition or a Giveaway

Raise brand awareness with a competition

Just like in the real world, one of the best ways to attract new customers and raise brand awareness is via competitions or giveaways. Instagram and Facebook allow both on their platforms – but be aware that the rules for how they’re run change constantly. You can find Facebook’s rules here and Instagram’s here. A few additional pointers: make sure your offer or giveaway is worthwhile – they’re likely to get excited about something worth $500, not so much $5. And clarify the rules of entry precisely: if, for example, you only want your competition open to Australian residents, say so.

Create a Content Calendar

If you let it, social media can take over your entire business. Almost any moment can be shareable. So you don’t get totally sucked into the vortex, make a reliable, ongoing schedule as the core of your social media strategy, considering the best time of day to reach your audience, and be consistent.

Whether you’re focusing your social media strategy and efforts on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, each of these platforms allow you to schedule posts ahead of time. However, if you find switching between platforms a laborious task, you may want to consider using a paid social media management tool to easily create and view your content calendar.

Some of the best social media management tools are Buffer, Hootsuite and Sprout. However, if your core focus is Instagram, it’s hard to beat Iconosquare for in-depth post analysis and hashtag recommendations.

Make sure your social media strategy is at your fingertips

Hot Tip Before committing to a social media management tool, think about what features would really make a difference to your social media strategy. If you want to supercharge productivity and schedule more content for a large, already engaged audience, then a more general tool may be best, but if you’re interested in growing your audience, then you could benefit from a tool with lead generation recommendations and social listening capabilities.

Consider Paying Your Way

Fact is, unless you manage to wrangle yourself a social share from Kim Kardashian, building entirely organic interest in your business with your target audience can be a hard slog. If you buy well-targeted ads on Facebook, Instagram or another platform, you will reach your audience in a quicker and more direct way, creating a stronger social media presence. It may be the case that you can do one big spend to accumulate a base audience that you can grow and nurture on your own after that.