Using social media to build your SaaS company’s brand isn’t exactly a new idea. In fact, these days it’s pretty much table stakes. Yet if you want to reap the benefits of social media in terms of increasing your reach, being able to interact and engage with prospects and customers, and standing out as a differentiated brand, you’ve got to put some real effort into getting your social media right. In this post, I’m sharing some of the tips you’ll need to follow to help ensure that your company gets its social media right.

1. Know your audience and what channels you’ll prioritize

Before getting started, take the time to get to know who your audience is and what their pain points are. Understanding who you’re trying to talk to will help you determine what channels you need to be active on and what kind of dialogue to have with them.

If you’re looking to reach C-suite executives, for example, chances are that you’ll have the most luck on LinkedIn. Meanwhile, if you’re looking to reach millennials, you might have more luck on a different social network like Facebook or Instagram. Often times, you may need a combination of multiple networks to reach your audience. Once you’ve figured out where to be, decide what content and what types of posts will resonate with your particular audience and that are best suited for each platform.

2. Create a strong, visually engaging profile

Regardless of the platforms you’re on, the first thing potential clients will look at is your profile. You need to make sure that your profiles have a strong aesthetic and are visually engaging. The human brain processes visual information much faster than text, so having a great banner, profile image, and using videos and imagery will give a strong first impression.

Most importantly, make sure your aesthetic is on-brand, is consistent across all of the channels you’re on, and that all of your graphics are sized correctly for each platform.

3. Develop a content calendar

To really optimize your success on social media, you’ll want to map out a monthly content calendar that details everything you plan to publish in a given month, whether that’s a new blog post, a case study, or an event you’re hosting, like a webinar. That way, when it comes to publishing your posts, you’ll know what’s happening when, and you can curate your posts around what content you want to drive traffic to.

You should also have a secondary calendar for all other key company milestones, such as when a management team member speaks at an event, a new management team member comes on board, or if you’re attending a large industry conference. These are all opportunities that allow you to tag other organizations and people, giving your brand more visibility through likes and shares.

4. Follow a regular publishing schedule

It’s important to commit to a regular publishing schedule and post consistently. To do so, you’ll need a monthly social media calendar — which is different from your content calendar — to give you a bird’s eye view of your posts for the month ahead.

Using a reliable platform that lets you schedule your posts in advance for all of your channels from one single dashboard will make a huge difference. That way you can post a week’s worth of content in one go, rather than spending time scheduling posts in real-time.

5. Make sure you’re engaging, not just publishing

There’s more to social media than just publishing posts that promote your content and monitoring the likes, retweets, and new followers. Engaging with followers is how you stay connected and build strong relationships with your clients. One simple way to do this is to follow your clients’ content; interact with their posts (like and comment where it makes sense, in moderation) and share their content if it’s worth sharing. And always make sure to tag relevant people where appropriate and use relevant hashtags.

6. Learn from your competitors

The key with social media is to play around, adopt new features as they are offered, and to optimize your approach and trial new tactics for engagement. As part of that, it’s a good idea to know who your competitors are, and to check in with their accounts every now and again to see what they’re doing, and what is and isn’t working for them.

Regularly check out your various competitors, or even other big, successful brands, and learn from their strengths and weaknesses. Pull some inspiration from them and see what your company can do differently (or add to your strategy) to continuously improve.

7. Consider connecting with influencers in your network.

Influencer marketing isn’t a fad. It’s a cost-effective way to get more people to engage with your brand. Get to know the organizations and/or individuals who have a strong influence in your industry and who have a large network.

Form a relationship with them, tell them about who you are, and discuss potential ways to work together in the future. Maybe it’s asking for their support to share one of your posts, or maybe it’s bigger, like having them guest-write a blog on your website. You can then increase your visibility by tagging your influencer in your social media and having them share their post, too.

Getting social media right

Establishing an effective social media strategy can give your brand, business, and bottom line a real boost, but only if you plan carefully, publish consistently, and engage constantly. Following the steps outlined above will help you to realize a real return on your efforts while ensuring that your content works harder for you.