No doubt about it—social media is an excellent tool for building your business, your brand, or your online presence. Your page(s) are the first things people see when they search you. They give a preview of who you are, what you offer, and they represent you visually—which carries power! But how can you make the most out of your social media posts and pages? And is it possible to really attract an audience if you don’t have a huge following?

As someone who has run many different accounts for companies, magazines, and my personal brand/business over the years, I’ve learned that as overwhelming as the process of social media use/marketing can be, it’s easy once you get the hang of it. Creating, sharing, and advertising is exponentially valuable—and it doesn’t have to be stressful!

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, business owner, influencer, or just getting started on a platform, here are seven social media hacks to help you boost your engagement, get your posts noticed, and feel more confident creating and sharing. (PS: You can implement these even if you’re on a budget!)

1. Start automating your content.

If you haven’t been using an automation service (like Buffer, for example) you need to right now. This is not only a time-saver, but it will help you organize and visually see your content.

Through services like Buffer you have the option to view upcoming, past, or current posts (as well as analytics to track your progress). This will help you know what works well and what doesn’t, plus you can look at a calendar to evaluate times you’ve shared, want to share, or what’s an open time slot! This is a huge hack for efficiency and clarity in your posting.

2. Get to know (and direct your marketing specifically to) your audience.

If you want to have a successful social media site, you need to know your audience. Take time to reflect on who is commenting, sharing, or engaging with your pieces. Look up (in the page/site’s settings) where your traffic is coming from—location, sex, age, etc. These things will help to not only direct your campaigns (if you choose to go the paid/sponsored route) but help you with things like posting times. For example, if the majority of your audience is on a specific time zone, you might want to cater your live postings/content to a time that works for them.

3. Use templates for uniform and mass production.

Regardless of your design skills, using templates will create efficiency that directly benefits your social media posts. Some sites can help you create polished designs by replacing certain pre-made graphics with your own (ex: Canva). Other sites will help you create content from the ground up, but allow you to save custom fonts, pictures, etc.

Regardless of what you choose/use, tapping into templates will help you mass produce content (and keep it uniform!) rather than building one design at a time.

4. Aim for authenticity over advertising.

The focus of your pages should be to showcase you and what you offer, but you want to stray away from a ‘salesy’ approach. Though this seems counterproductive, people respond to content that really resonates and relates to them, as opposed to posts that are always pushing them to consume.

If you sell a product or service, do advertise it, but make sure that the majority of your posts are about the brand, about you, or about connection rather than making a sale. This will give you authenticity, which is essential for success.

5. Use ‘call to actions’ to promote natural engagement.

Make sure that your social media posts and pages encourage visitors to do something. If you have a bio, make sure there’s a link for people to click and easily find more information about you and what you offer. If there’s an about section, ensure that it’s clear, concise, and informative.

When it comes to posting something you want people to engage with, give them a specific task. Example: If you want them to comment, tell them to put an emoji or one-word answer. Or, if you want them to go to a link your page, provide the link or easy instructions on how to get there.

When there’s a specific call to action, your audience will be more apt to participate because they understand what’s expected of them, and what the result will be.

6. Create posts that directly benefit/influence your audience.

As an extension of the point above, make sure that your posts soliciting responses have something that your audience can engage with. Dropping an emoji in the comments is cool, but what’s in it for the person doing that task? Can you, instead, offer something for free? Create a resource that benefits them? Promise a personal moment/interaction or comment back from YOU as the account holder?

These are just ideas, but when we create content that’s for others benefit, it gives them more of a purpose behind doing what they’re asked to do.

7. Center your campaigns around high-performing content.

If there’s a post that’s killing it, make sure you are doing whatever you can to get traction to your page through that post! And if that means boosting the content, do it! Or you can re-share in a way that will create even more visitors—by all means!

You want to center your campaigns on what people are actively engaging with—that will create the opportunities for immediate growth.

Featured Image Credit: Miguel Ángel Hernández