A robust social media presence has quickly gone from a “nice to have” to an absolute necessity for new and established brands alike. Whether your target audience is on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or all of the above (and then some), being where your customers are and providing consistent, interesting content is key to creating loyal followers.

But it’s not enough to simply have a social presence and schedule content. If you want to make the most of social media, you need to build engagement and encourage your audience to share that content – and they won’t do that if you’re not providing value. Below, 12 Forbes Agency Council members share their best advice for organically optimizing content-sharing on social media platforms.

1. Record Native Videos

Native Facebook videos still enjoy significant organic reach. I don’t mean posting a link to a YouTube video – take the video with your phone and upload it directly from there. They also are very engaging for your target audience. Keep it short, sweet and chock-full of value. – Adam Stone, Octane Marketing

 2. Engage With Followers

If you simply post and post and post, and never engage with your followers, they will lose interest. It is called “social” media for a reason: Be social. Building a rapport with your followers will organically grow your social media presence and make you a go-to profile to follow. – Aidan ColenTuitive.social

 3. Respond To Trends Quickly

When it comes to social media, it is best to be on top of what is happening now. You want to be on-trend. Try to post things as they are happening, and always use hashtags! – Gita MirchandaniGita PR

4. Optimize Your Content For ‘AIDA’ (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action)

One of the first things we do for clients is to improve their existing content assets. In most cases, client assets are missing at least one element of AIDA – attention, interest, desire, action – and yet, they expected organic social engagement to take off just because they built it. Provide value, ensure your content includes AIDA, and use paid social to kickstart organic content sharing. – Kyle Sanders, CWR SEO

5. Customize Your Content For Your Audience

Simply curating content may not get the engagement you’re looking for. This will require creating customized content that is highly relevant to your audience. Test to see which types of content get the most engagement, then reverse-engineer that technique to be as open and personalized as possible. – Solomon ThimothyOneIMS

6. Use Visuals Whenever Possible

Develop visually interesting content. Photos tend to get the most action. However, it could be animation, video or just eye-popping graphics. You will capture attention, and people will read and share your post if it is cool and/or interesting. Humor and cleverness work, too! – Lisa AlloccaRed Javelin Communications

7. Ditch The Sales Pitch And Put The Audience’s Interests First

People only share what they like, and they are generally self-interested. Put their interests first and find ways to add value to your posts. Make your posts newsworthy, funny or informational from your customer’s perspective. Measure your successes and try to duplicate them. With time, you’ll find the answer that works for you. – Ahmad KarehTwistlab Marketing

8. Encourage Debate

Take a stance on a subject. Know where the boundary is and then cross it. For example, have two people with different opinions discuss a topic, and then allow others to comment on their thoughts. It creates massive engagement and boosts organic reach. – Korey McMahonMcMahon Marketing

9. Tap Into The Influencer Community

While getting into the newsfeed is the ultimate goal, appearing in the notifications bar is arguably more important. Having influencers share your content with their network ensures it will not only be seen but also comes with an implied or direct recommendation (and best of all, a push notification). – Nicole DorskindThirtyThree

 10. Bring A Perspective And A Narrative

Stories are what bring people together, and it’s no different on social media. Whether you’re posting original content or sharing existing content, your post needs a perspective and, ideally, a narrative. Use a compelling headline, weave in examples and anecdotes, and make it human. Relatable stories make the tuning fork vibrate and lead people to engage and share. – Robby BerthumeBull & Beard

 11. Make It Mobile-Friendly 

An important way to optimize content-sharing on social media platforms is to make your content mobile-friendly. According to most studies, more than half the time consumers spend on social media is on a mobile device. If your content is not easy to read and simple to share on mobile, it will not perform well. – Danny FritzSportBox Entertainment Group

12. Continually Test Content And Analyze Results

Keep posting on a daily basis and see what works best for your company/brand. You can make educated guesses all day long, but it won’t mean anything unless you attempt to test it and see how it works. Pay attention to what’s actually working by the numbers and follow that – don’t always think you know what’s best. – Jordan EdelsonAppetizer Mobile LLC

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