We’ve all heard it before, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil.” And now, it couldn’t possibly be any more true—especially when it comes to marketing your business. Relatability, sharability, and virality are the defining characteristics of any successful marketing campaign.

You won’t resonate with your customer if they don’t relate to your ad’s creative. You won’t expand your reach if people don’t want to share your content. And if neither of these things happen, you won’t drive any sales, and you definitely won’t go viral.

Whether you’re trying to raise awareness for a new product launch or retarget past customers before the holidays, a strong social media presence is the fastest (and least expensive) way to start. At first glance, social media seems relatively simple. Setup your profiles, tweet out a few links, and you’re well on your way, right? Not exactly.

Making beautiful profiles and posting great content is only the beginning. Growing a massive following and going viral are two completely different stories. Here are eight tips to help you accelerate your brand’s social media growth and make a lasting impression on your audience.

Set the Right Goals

You can’t skip the planning stage. Establishing clear, achievable goals is the first step in any successful social media campaign. You should never create an account without determining why you’re on social media in the first place.

Start by setting specific, achievable goals. If you’re trying to grow engagement across all of your social media channels, the first step is to pick a platform and hone in on a metric of your choosing. Your goals should always contain metrics that are easy to measure. For example, trying to boost your daily Facebook engagement by 10% in 3 weeks is specific, measurable, and easily achievable.

As long as you have a clear, definable purpose when you’re posting on social media, you shouldn’t have a problem increasing the engagement and overall interaction with your page.

Find Your Audience

Before you start posting, make sure you know who you’re trying to reach. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn all have millions of users, but you’re going to need to narrow down your audience if you want to reach customers effectively.

You’ll need to take into account which social media sites your target customers are using, what types of content they’re consuming, and how you can better tailor your strategy to generate engagement amongst your audience.

To get a better idea of what you should be posting, segment your audience into small subsections and take a look at how they interact with other brands on social media. It’s easy to grow your presence organically if you know what types of content your audience is likely to engage with.

Be Relatable

When you’re interacting with customers on social media, it helps to have a little personality. Whether you’ve got a separate Twitter account for your company’s support team or an autoresponder on Messenger, be friendly, respond quickly, but most of all, don’t forget to be human.

When posting, make sure your copy is fun, easy to read, and highly engaging. Figure out what type of voice resonates with your audience experiment with giving your captions a bit of personality.

Use Visual Content

If you’ve used any social media platform within the last five years, then you’re no stranger to the impact visual content has to offer. Almost all of the viral content on any social media platform is tied to some form of photo or video.

[Photos get the most engagement](https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/photos-generate-engagement-research/)––it’s that simple. So if you want to grow your audience, think about using visual content to your advantage.

Social media is a great place to post photos of your team, photos of customers, product photos, event photos, behind-the-scenes photos, and engaging quotes.

However, always try to make sure your visual content somehow ties back to your brand. Reposting is great, but there’s nothing more valuable than being the original creator. If you’re trying to rapidly generate growth across your social media channels, focus on producing original content that engages users while simultaneously exposing them to your brand.

Pay Attention to Analytics

Want to know the easiest way to grow your social media presence? Measure everything. You can’t optimize your marketing strategy without knowing what you need to change.

Engagement rates are an easy way to keep track of what types of content resonate with your audience and when the best times to post are. Always remember to take a look at your followers every once in a while and make sure your audience aligns with your target customer. If not, you may need to rethink what content you’re posting and adjust your targeting.

Create a Content Calendar

The more you start to grow on social media, the harder it will be to stay organized. When you’re running multiple accounts and posting two to three times a day, it’s easy to get behind and lose momentum.

Scrambling for headlines in the middle of the day right before you need to post isn’t a sustainable workflow. It’s crucial to plan your content out in advance. If you want to stay ahead of the game, take the time to sit down at the beginning of each week and build out a content calendar. When you start focusing on social media content for a few hours at a time, you’ll find it’s much easier to stay in the mindset and come up with gripping creative.

Be Consistent

If you want to get seen, you have to post every day—there’s no way around it. Every major social network penalizes users (in terms of feed ranking) for infrequent posting.

Once you find the best times to post for each day of the week, keep it consistent. Ideally, you want to become a regular component of your followers’ daily schedules.

In terms of content, make sure your profile has a theme. While it’s obviously encouraged to test different types of creative, don’t post random cat photos if your followers are there for daily fitness tips. Content curation has its place, but don’t repost random stuff just to get a few extra likes—a strong presence starts with a consistent brand message.

Regardless of how big your team is, hiring is a massive gamble for any business. Effective hiring is easily the most important aspect of successfully scaling a business—one bad hire can cause a major financial setback and kill your startups momentum.

The truth is, finding and recruiting quality employees that fit your team takes time. But like anything else, implementing the right strategy can make the hiring process much more approachable.

Every business is unique, and every team is going to need something slightly different. Finding the right person to fit the exact role you’re looking for can be daunting for teams of any size.

While it’s common for hiring managers to select potential employees based on previous job experience and achievements, looking at things like talent, tenacity, intelligence, willingness to learn and overall attitude are much better indications of how a potential candidate will fit into your team.

Nothing works quite as well as hiring for raw talent. Experience may be one indication of overall knowledge, but it doesn’t provide the scalability of hiring someone based on the immediate value they provide to your team.

Hiring for talent allows you to fill holes in your team more directly and provides future scalability in terms of job flexibility and project diversification.

Most recruiters and startups still prioritize previous business accolades over a candidate’s raw talent. This leaves a massive amount of untapped, undiscovered talent out on the market for your competitors to eventually leverage themselves.

Past Achievements Don’t Always Result In Future Success

More often than not, people typically assume experience automatically translates into talent. The problem is, this doesn’t give an opportunity to the people who haven’t had the chance to build their track record.

The same potential is there, and fresh talent will always be more eager to expand their role within your team.

Believe it or not, a lack of experience can actually be an asset in early hires. Candidates without exposure to previous jobs come to your team with a fresh perspective.

Potential hires without a set career path will always be more likely to take on new responsibilities and try different things—they haven’t yet developed the fear that inevitably comes with maintaining a reputation.

Prioritize People that Are Excited to Learn

It’s not too difficult to find intelligent employees for any role these days—the hard part is finding people who are excited to learn. At an early stage startup with loosely defined roles, hiring people that are willing to learn new skills and adapt to their environment is a crucial component of sustainable business growth.

Employees that are excited to learn makes your business more agile. Increased adaptability at the individual level helps you hire fewer people in the end. You never want to onboard people that are “too good” for certain roles or responsibilities.

It’s impossible to scale a business if you and your core team are afraid to get your hands dirty. As a startup, your early hires should be the most flexible. An adaptable team gives your business more internal security.

Spotting the Right Soft Skills in Potential Hires

Identifying specific traits can be hard when you’re searching for talent. While it’s best to give potential employees a hands-on project designed to test their individual abilities, it’s also important to step back and consider the bigger picture.

Teaching an engineer a new programming language is easy, but it’s hard to transform someone with a negative attitude into a contributing team member. While what you’re looking for is always going to depend on your individual business needs, here are a few of the most important soft skills to identify in anyone you’re thinking about hiring.

Tenacity

Early stage startups are never free of storms—you can’t expect smooth sailing across calm seas. If possible, look at past projects where your job candidate rose to the challenge and did something a little out of their comfort zone.

You don’t want to hire employees that will quit as soon as they hit their first roadblock. Your early hires—and any hires for that matter—should always be excited to take on new challenges and stick with you when the going inevitably gets tough.

Self-Awareness

Regardless of a job candidate’s past experience, look for people that take pride in their work. Whether or not a given employee cares about their reputation plays a huge role in the quality of work they will end up producing. Your best team members will always be those that are self-motivated.

Quality work comes from within. Hard skills like programming languages, email marketing, Facebook ads, and even content creation can all easily be taught. You can’t go wrong investing in the education of people that are self-aware, excited to learn, and ready to take on new challenges.

Positive Attitude

Unlike Adobe InDesign, you can’t teach someone to have a positive attitude. Onboarding an employee with attitude problems from the start will only lead to much larger problems for your team as a whole—especially at an early stage startup.

When it comes to building a sustainable team, creating a positive work culture is everything. When something inevitably goes wrong, having a positive attitude keeps your team glued together.

A person’s attitude during the job interview is an excellent indication of how they’ll perform in the workplace. Hire candidates that are willing to listen to criticism and improve themselves in order to elevate the team as a whole.

The Benefits of Turning a Blind Eye to Previous Experience

Fresh, inexperienced talent gives your team a new perspective. Going with less experienced job candidates allows lesser-known businesses to snag superstar talent without the superstar price tag.

The more credentials someone has, the more difficult they are to hire. And worse yet, a prestigious track record can lead to a significantly more complacent attitude down the road. Undiscovered talent is constantly chomping at the bit to prove themselves—hiring inexperienced employees leads to significantly more engaged team members down the road.

Remember, a person’s credentials are only worth the value you assign to them. The next time you’re looking to bring on a new team member, try forgetting about their experience and focusing on what unique value they provide to your business.

Website builders make it easy for entrepreneurs to validate their ideas and launch businesses without writing a single line of code.

As a small business, it’s not necessary to spend a few thousand dollars on a web development agency when you can just build a website yourself for less than $15 per month.

However, like anything else, it’s important to start by establishing the overall goals for your website. There’s a huge selection of website builders to choose from, so don’t worry if you’re having trouble finding the right one.

While every builder is different, some are definitely better than others. Here’s a quick overview of the four best website builders for entrepreneurs of any experience level looking to launch their next idea.

Wix

While most drag and drop website builders have a reputation for being over-complicated and difficult to use, Wix is easy for anyone, from experienced to designers to first-time website builders.

The blank canvas start and expansive library of tools give users the ability to create stunning custom websites from scratch.

With over 100 million users across nearly 200 countries, Wix is widely accepted as the best website builder for people that need complete control over their design.

Wix is a true blank canvas editor—and while typical site builders that start you off from scratch are cumbersome and disorganized, Wix combines high levels of customization with an easy-to-use interface.

Unlike most of the other blank canvas editors, Wix pays attention to the details. It’s the small features like being able to hide all toolbars and preview any page of your website with a single click that make Wix such an intuitive platform to use.

Despite the inherent messiness that comes with being this customizable, Wix makes up for it by giving users tons of control without the cost of hiring a full team of designers and programmers.

Features: 

  • Blog
  • Newsletter
  • Ecommerce
  • Membership system
  • iOS & Android Apps
  • True Blank Canvas
  • Restaurant Menu
  • Audio Player

Wix’s best features, its flexibility and customization options, are also its biggest downfalls. Wix isn’t the most organized website builder, and its editor lacks the refinement of other platforms such as Squarespace or Weebly.

Squarespace

As the oldest and arguably most well-known online website builder, Squarespace has carved itself a dedicated following by creating an extremely refined jack-of-all-trades platform for artists, entrepreneurs, and everyone in-between.

After launching in 2004, Squarespace has taken years to perfect its interface—and for the most part, constant refinement has paid off—Squarespace is by far and above the most polished website builder on the market.

One of Squarespace’s highlights is its massive range of gorgeous starter templates. Though most themes are beautiful to begin with, almost all of the elements are customizable depending on which one you select and what you’d like to change.

Squarespace also offers great customer service in the forms of a highly responsive chat and 24/7 email support.

Features: 

  • Blog
  • Newsletter
  • Ecommerce
  • Form Builder
  • iOS & Android Apps
  • Restaurant Menu
  • Audio Player
  • Themes

Despite being extremely customizable, Squarespace’s organization is quick to learn and easy to use. Every template starts you off with a few examples of Content Blocks, so the best way to get the hang of things is to just start playing around. The interface is linear, guided, flexible, yet understandable to anyone.

Weebly

Similar to Wix, Weebly is another drag and drop website editor that makes it easy to build highly customized websites without any prior knowledge of HTML or CSS.

Another benefit of Weebly is its expansive App Center—a place for users to find elements such as galleries, pricing charts, tables, information accordions, counters, FAQ sections, and even integrations with some popular Google apps.

Weebly offers a great blend of power and intuitiveness for people that want a refined, easy to use, highly customizable website builder.

You can start with a variety of simple themes and place custom text elements, images, and other components onto the body of your page. Weebly may not be as customizable as a platform like Wix, but it’s definitely more refined.

Weebly is lightyears ahead of its competition in terms of interfaces and subtle details like snap to grid, control over map elements, and customizable items in the App Center.

Features: 

  • Blog
  • Newsletter
  • Ecommerce
  • Membership System
  • Multi-Lingual Support
  • Form Builder
  • iOS & Android Apps
  • Restaurant Menu
  • Audio Player

Weebly is rapidly improving and is a solid option for anyone that needs high levels of customization in a well-rounded, easy to use package.

Strikingly

Strikingly is by far  the best builder for people looking to design a one-page website. One-page sites are a great way to get attention and encourage users to take action.

Another benefit of single page websites is how simple and fast they are to set up and publish. Most builders are terrible at creating one-page sites—as most of them are for extensive portfolios and commerce stores, they only end up making the process way too complicated.

Strikingly is best suited for simple sites with strong CTAs and large design elements. While its overall features list may not be the longest, Strikingly isn’t trying to fill the same niche as a website builder like Wix. That being said, when you want an extremely fast platform that makes it easy to build a captivating single page website, it’s hard to beat Strikingly’s themes and convenience.

Features: 

  • Blog
  • Ecommerce
  • iOS & Android Apps

If you’re looking for a quick way to build landing pages that make a bold impression, Strikingly is the way to go.

Always Stick with the Minimum

It’s easy to overestimate the scope of your website and pick something that only ends up overcomplicating your project. The fact is, most websites can be accomplished in a single page with a simple design. Think about your overall goals and growth the most basic platform possible.

Simplicity always wins when you’re trying to get the attention of potential customers.