Before anyone is too quick to judge me for creating an Instagram for my dog and calling it “social media marketing,” let me introduce myself. I’m Hannah Jessen, the newest addition to the Angel Oak Creative team. After several years in the nonprofit scene and most recently at a Raleigh agency, I found my way to Angel Oak as Digital Account Executive. What does that mean exactly? Well, I’ll be doing the typical functions of an Account Executive – partnering with clients, making sure campaigns are running smoothly, etc. – but specifically for accounts with a digital focus.
As more and more people are engaged on social media and online, digital marketing expertise is a must for agencies. I’ve always been a storyteller at heart and really enjoy the content side of my work – but marketing has taught me it doesn’t matter how good your story is if people aren’t able to access it. You could write the most compelling, gut-wrenching fundraising plea out there – and still make $0 if it doesn’t land in front of the right people in the right channel.
So, back to my four-legged social media influencer. After making fun of and quite honestly judging people who aired their lives on Instagram, I caved and created an Instagram profile for my rescue pup, Merritt (named after Merritt’s in Chapel Hill, of course). My husband and I thought it would be funny and certainly cute, and who knows, maybe he would be the next Tuna (@tunameltsmyheart) or Marnie (@marniethedog). If you don’t know who they are, look them up – adorable.
I’m proud to say we had a good thing going for a while! We peaked around 2,000 followers but quickly realized building a following isn’t as easy as it seems… and that we should probably focus on our actual jobs. However, it ended up being a fun experiment through which I learned some valuable social media marketing tips. Though there are countless recommendations to keep in mind, here is a small handful just to get you thinking.
- Take the time
You can’t build a following overnight. It takes dedicated posting, strategic scheduling and boundless creativity to grow a loyal follower base. People can’t follow you if they don’t know about you! So, tag, hashtag and repeat. Find relevant followers and build your audience base from them. Consistently post but make each post meaningful. People know when you’re just posting or following them for the sake of getting numbers. Do it intentionally and thoughtfully.
- Own your brand
Often, social media is an afterthought (“Oh! We should do a post about this event!”) when really it should be part of an overall marketing strategy. At the end of the day, it’s another representation of your brand. Develop a voice and stick to it (even if that voice is a dog voice). Make your imagery and content consistent with what people see on your website. You want people to recognize you, no matter the platform. Connect the dots for your audience and give them a seamless experience across communications channels.
- Be engaged
As superficial as the digital world may seem, people still crave contact. Responding to messages, following and tagging people, liking and sharing their content, etc. are all ways to let people know they can be a part of your story as well. Bring people into your brand, and you’ll quickly find the more connected they feel, the more loyal they are.
Sounds like work, right? The thing is, when it’s something you truly care about – be it a dog or a nonprofit doing incredible work in your community – it’s more than worth the effort. So, get to posting! And reach out and introduce yourself! I’d love to get to know you and hear your thoughts and ideas.
– Hannah Jessen, Digital Account Executive