Creating social media accounts is simple enough, but building them to influence your audience is much more of a challenge.

Having an influence online, and being able to use social media to engage with your audience involves much more than simply setting up accounts on different channels. Of course it’s important to stay active, but you need to do more than post regularly to make sure your social media presence is effective and relevant for your target audience.

Here are five simple ways that you can boost your social media presence:

Don’t shy away from controversy

Too many brands find themselves at the centre of some online controversy, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from it. There’s a huge difference between getting involved in a controversial debate online and falling victim to it. A controversial topic gives you the chance to engage with your social media audience and clearly show what your brand values are. Use these discussions as an opportunity to find out what really matters to your audience, and how you can best serve their needs, but be sure to avoid it turning into a personal war against a brand or unnecessary drama.

Craft your content

One of the best ways of building authority and engagement among your followers is to post your own content. The last thing you want to do is to post a new blog post every day that is a couple of hundred words of rushed thoughts. You need to make sure that everything you post is carefully thought-out and presents something new to your followers. If you don’t have time to do this on a regular basis or aren’t much of a wordsmith, it may be a good idea to give this job to someone else.

Join the trend

A good way to build your influence online is to watch out for any trending topics and get involved with them. This allows you to engage with key authorities in your industry in a natural and organic way. For your followers, it presents you as a brand that is aware of the sector developments happening around them, building your authority and boosting your ability to influence them in the future.

Don’t be afraid to celebrate your peers

Consumers are more aware of the brands around them than ever before, especially on social media. If you are a small business, it’s unlikely to harm your company to post a industry-relevant report that has been published by a much bigger rival. This also gives you the opportunity to engage with people who are also reading the report, whether they are your followers or other brands. Posting a report from someone else gives you the chance to post some unique insight from your brand about the key takeaways, allowing you to get your clear brand message across.

Focus on your offline achievements

Whether it’s winning awards, celebrating your highest-performing employees or finishing an impressive campaign, social media should be used to show off your brand’s achievements. It’s important for these posts to be carefully balanced alongside other content, but celebrating what your business can do is a fantastic way to boost your online presence.