Social media has become more of a priority whether we like to admit it or not. This is especially true if you’re a brand, content creator, photographer, marketing, the list could go on forever. Social media has quickly become an extension of our credentials, a portfolio for anyone looking to make a name within the online social realm.

Facebook has over 2 billion monthly active users, while Instagram Stories is pulling in over 300 million users a day. If you’re not actively posting on social media chances are you’re watching someone who is.

When your potential reach is this massive, it only makes sense to prioritize your social media presence. The only question is how.

There is no shortage of tips that would help you boost your profile, but it’s important to figure out which ones to follow depending on your goals.

Tip # 1: Set a goal

What do you want to achieve with your social media profile? Which platform do you want to prioritize? The way you will post and engage with followers depend on the platform itself.

For example, you may want to use Instagram to showcase your best output while use Facebook as a way for your audience to send you a message or leave you a review. Knowing how you want to use your different profiles will help you strategize effectively.

Set measurable goals and give yourself a deadline. In this way, you’ll start asking yourself what tactics you need to to adapt to meet your goals.

Tip # 2: Make a plan

Now that you know what you want to happen, it’s time to plan how to make it happen.

Social media requires activity--whether it’s posting something new, checking in with your audience, or engaging via replies and comments. That’s a lot. An effective way to streamline would be to use a content calendar.

Using a calendar, you can note how frequently you should be posting, as well as what you plan to create and when. Got a great idea for a holiday post? You can key that into your calendar weeks in advance to minimize your chances of forgetting.

Content calendars are especially helpful for Instagram, as you want to stay on top of frequency and consistency. It’s also a great way to schedule “engagement time” or the time you wish to set aside to respond and be present with your followers.

Tip # 3: Post creative content

We are exposed to countless advertisements, images, etc. on a daily basis. With Instagram users spending an average of 30 minutes a day scrolling through feeds, pages, and stories, it’s important to create content that makes an impression. Try implementing new angels, new colors, reinvent your current theme or start a completely new one - when it comes to social media, the opportunities are truly endless.

Audiences also respond to stories, and a human element. If you want to keep your feed looking a certain way, or your brand to only post certain types of images, you can always use Instagram Stories to better connect or relate to your audience.

Your followers will appreciate the “behind the scenes” glimpses of what else goes on other than what they see from your feed.

Tip # 4: Collaborate, Partner, Find your Tribe

Instagram and the blogging sphere is quickly becoming a saturated environment for brand new brands, creatives, etc. So how do you attract new eyeballs to your content? Collaborate with like minded individuals whose goals are aligned with your own.

Do some research on line to see if there any local meetups or conferences near your area that will give you the opportunity to network with other creatives. There are also apps that help facilitate partnerships between brands and people looking for collaborative work - check out COLLABOR8.

The best way to get in front of new audiences is to work with other online personalities who have audiences completely different than yours. Leverage each others followings and have some fun creating new content.

Tip # 5: Understand your audience

The goal isn’t to get as many followers as possible, but to cultivate an engaged audience that will like and comment when you post.

Use tools like Instagram Questions and Polls to garner a better understanding of what it is your audience wants to see on your page. It’s also a great way to encourage engagement on your page.

It’s always important to ask yourself the question “what value am I providing to my audience” “why should people follow me” “what do I think is valuable information I can pass forward” and ensure that the content you’re posting attempts to answer one of these questions, if not all.

Following these tips will help you improve your social media presence, but keep in mind that change takes time! Stay persistent and focused with your bigger picture.

Happy posting!