Expanding Your Following on Social Media
In our most recent article ‘Building Your Business Using Social Media’, we touched on how to get your business started using social media and the importance of doing so. More important than simply getting your business profile set up is actually building a following; a group of loyal supporters, your best advocates.
How to Gain Followers on Social Media:
1.) Identify Your Audience – This is vital for understanding the types of content that will be most effective in engaging with your followers. If your industry involves creating beautiful scenes, be sure to always use visuals. If your industry is a bit more technical, make sure your content can be easily understood by followers who have no knowledge or experience; keep it simple. It’s also important to consider what is trending. Between breaking news, trending hashtags or whatever the latest meme might be, brands always have room to get topical with their content. This is a great opportunity not only to build off of the hype from an existing trend, but also show off your company’s unique personality.
2.) Be Sincere and Consistent – Part of social media’s effectiveness is being able to keep your name and message in front of your followers. Be responsive; always respond to your followers. Be a human; don’t come off as a faceless corporation. Avoid mass auto-replying and try to show off the human side of your business. This could mean showing off the faces behind your company (employees) or even cracking jokes with followers. A human social media presence has become an expectation among many followers.
3.) Use Call to Actions – Have your social media follow buttons everywhere you can. Insert social media tags on your website, business cards, fliers, etc. Use hashtags where appropriate and make sure they are relevant. Your website isn’t the only place to include links. Your social networks may allow links to other network profiles. Finally, include links to your social profiles in your email.
4.) Follow Influencers and Share Their Content – If you find it difficult to regularly share content, it helps to share content from other professionals in your industry. If you are knowledgeable and up-to-date in your business industry, you should know who the influencers are. Once you follow them, share their content with your followers. Many will follow back and share your content as well. Also, make sure that your own content is easily shareable for others.
5.) Create an Editorial Calendar – Having a plan can make managing multiple channels much easier. It is wise to consider using an application which allows for managing multiples profiles from one convenient spot (such as Facebook Business Manager, Hootsuite, HubSpot, etc.) Timing of content is vital to engagement; you don’t want to be posting about summer trends in the middle of the winter. A proper scheduled can also help prevent you from repetitively posting the same content over and over again.
6.) Focus on Helping Clients, NOT Overselling – Rarely should your social media presence be about the “hard sell.” Sure, if you’re company is involved in ecommerce it makes sense to push offers and deals to your followers. What’s more important, though, is answering the questions of followers through both private messages and public forums. Rather than simply saying “we can do (x)” or “it will cost (y)”, you should be willing to give details to a client; details which show you understand the client’s needs and budget. You won’t secure every single contract but, leaving a positive, long-lasting impression can turn clients and even potential clients in to advocates for your business. The same logic applies to smaller projects that may not be worthwhile; always maintain your professional, friendly manner even when rejecting a proposal.
7.) Seek Relationships, Not Just Followers – Having 100 followers who regularly engage with you and your content are infinitely more valuable than 10,000 that ignore you. Your followers are supposed to be your biggest advocates; don’t make the mistake of leaving the ‘social’ aspect out of your social media plan.