Grow your business’s social media following in 6 steps

Yes, you can grow your business’ social media following in 6 steps. Social media is an exceedingly effective and relative cost-effective method of marketing. However, this is only if you have a social media following that appeals to hundreds, and even thousands, of potential customers and fans of your business.

Here are some of the reasons social media can be an exceedingly effective marketing tool.

Social media marketing enables you to target only your intended audience

You can grow your business’ social media following to reach only groups with certain interests or from particular demographic groups. Print and broadcast reach an undifferentiated audience, and you can only hope that your particular audience of interest is included among that group at that time.

With digital marketing, you can target your message so it only reaches your social media following.

And if you grow your business’ social media following in a proper manner, it will only include people who are in your target audience and not those who are unlikely to patronise your business.

That way, you can reach exactly the people you wanted to reach without “wasting” your advertisement on a general audience that will never become your business’ customers.

You can reach a particular demographic or geographic area

When you use Facebook advertising, you can ascertain that your marketing and advertising only gets to a specific audience, based on things like the gender, age, occupation, geographic location of the audience, and even some of their likes and dislikes.

Twitter works more or less in the same way: You can target your audience based on their gender, language, geographic area, their interests, keywords they use, or even target the followers of a notable account.

When you make use of social media, the accuracy of your targeting is more specific and more accurate than any other media. Social media platforms use their sophisticated algorithms an data bases to accurately deliver your advertisements to your target audience.

You can measure your social media marketing results

With social media marketing and Google Analytics, you can actually see which pages people are visiting on your website, what brought them there, what path they took through your website, and even which ones eventually made a purchase if it is an online shop.

If you use customer relationship management software and tie it into your website, you can track your customers from the point of sale all the way back to your initial point of contact. This lets you see which social updates and marketing campaigns are effective or which are ineffective.

6 steps to grow your business’ social media following

There are so many questions which need an answer

  • How do you grow your business’ social media following?
  • Where do you even start?
  • There are so many social networks and channels, which ones should you even focus on?

Here are six steps to follow in order to help you grow the social media following for your business.

  1. Find and connect with potential customers.
  2. Do NOT cheat at step No. 1!
  3. Do not just advertise.
  4. Share stuff which is interesting
  5. Let people get acquainted with know you and your company.
  6. Have conversations and create relationships.

Let’s get started.

1. Find and connect with potential customers

Like I mentioned earlier, one of the interesting things about social media is that you can specifically target those customers who are likely to patronise your business. Maybe they belong to your target demographic, they live in your local area, or they work in a particular economic sector.

One way to find your potential customers is to go to a place like Twitter and search for everyone with specific keywords in the title.

For example, if I wanted to reach everyone who worked in sublimation printing. I would go to Twitter.com and type “printing” or “sublimation” or some other industry related key words in the search window.

Next, I would click on the People link at the top of the page. From there, I would see all the people who put the relevant keyword in their Twitter profile.

If you have a local business, like a new hair salon or restaurant, you can do a similar search for people who are in your geographic region. Just search for your city and then select Near you in the search filters in the upper right corner.

You’ll want to do that search a few times with a few different terms, just so you get people who mention the suburb or the city in their 160-character bio, or even listed their surburb and state in their location settings.

From there, you can follow everyone who fits your chosen target audience.

On your part, you should also be sure to write a clear, concise bio/description that explains who you are and what you do.

If you opened up a hair salon in Machipisa, then make sure you say that. People will decide whether to follow you back based on your bio/description (among other things), so make sure you give them a good reason to do so. If they decide not to follow you based on your bio/description then maybe they don not belong in your target audience anyway!

You can perform similar searches with Instagram, although most of those searches should happen on your phone rather than your laptop. Your phone’s app has much more functionality, but it can be slow going.

There, you can do searches for a particular keyword, such as “hair salon” and then search for accounts or places with that word in the title. Then, you can just follow those people to your heart’s content.

If you’re a business-to-business company, LinkedIn will be your top social media tool. You can do searches for people in particular industries, companies that you know of, or my favourite, find someone well established in your chosen industry and then start linking with their connections.

  1. Do NOT cheat at step No.1!

It’s possible to cheat at social media, and I’m going to briefly explain how, so you don’t trip and fall and accidentally cheat.

Let’s pick Twitter as an example, although this basic idea works with most social networks. (Reminder: You should NOT do this at all!)

  • With new Twitter accounts, you are limited to following any more than 5,000 people until you get 5,000 people following back. (You can also only follow a specific number of people per hour, which means you can’t go click-crazy and follow 5,000 people in 3 hours.)
  • Let’s just say that you followed your maximum 5,000 people, but only 2,000 people followed you back. You will not be allowed to follow anyone more until you get 5,000 followers. The problem is, those 3,000 people aren’t going to follow you any time soon. If they didn’t follow you in the first few days, they’re not going to.
  • So instead, you unfollow the 3,000 non-followers so you can follow some new ones. In fact, let’s just go ahead and unfollow all 5,000 people! Then, you follow 5,000 more. That gets you another 2,000 followers and now you’re at 4,000.
  • Now you unfollow all 5,000 people again and follow 5,000 more. This gets you another 2,000 followers, and now you have 6,000! You have broken Twitter’s magic number and you can go as much as 10% above that number.
  • Let’s do it again! Unfollow all 6,000 people, follow 6,000 more and get 3,000 followers, and you’re up to 9,000. Do it again, get 5,000 more followers, and you’re up to 14,000.

Intoxicating, isn’t it? You can do this over and over and over, following and unfollowing, building your numbers ever higher, until you’ve reached the hundreds of thousands!

Except you should never, ever do this!

Seriously, this isn’t even a wink-and-a-nudge kind of thing. It could get banned from Twitter if enough people report you.

The reason people want these high numbers is because it looks like they have a lot of people who like their work, products, services and overall brand. They look like a popular company or a person with lots of fans.

The problem is, those fans aren’t paying attention to that account.

There’s no conversation taking place, there’s no relationship being built, and no one is actually giving any good reason to pay attention to this account at all.

It’s easy to identify these Twitter cheaters: They’re the one with tens of thousands of followers but have written fewer than 1,000 tweets.

Bottom line: Cheating at social media doesn’t actually get you anything but artificially high numbers and an increased risk of getting dropped by your social networks. So don’t do it. Really.

  1. Do not just advertise

The biggest mistake many businesses make is in treating their social media following like an advertising audience.

They think, “Hey, we can advertise our stuff for free!” and then just bombard their audience with ad after ad, commercial after commercial, all the while missing out on the fact that their audience is dwindling, and the people who are sticking around aren’t even paying attention. Remember, no one tunes in to any media channel to watch adverts! Adverts are generally effective when targeted to an audience which is already tuned in for some other reason.

Now, I’m not saying don’t ever advertise. You can, especially if you’re doing something cool, or you’re doing something seasonal, like 50% off all your products for the big Heroes Day or Christmas Day sale. That is absolutely worth promoting.

But advertising should not be the only thing you’re pushing out on social media.

I always recommend the 90/10 rule to businesses trying to reach their social media following. That is, 90 percent of the time should be spent on other people, 10 percent of the time should be about you.

In other words, you should be answering people’s questions, having conversations with them, sharing news stories from other sources, and boosting the works of other people.

Share blog articles your customers have written, share news articles that affect your industry.

Then, the remaining 10 percent of the time, you can talk about your products, your services, and your company. This may sound like too little time promoting yourself, but it is important in guaranteeing that when you talk about your products and service, you are talking to an interested audience.

  1. Share stuff which is interesting

It may sound simple, but you would be surprised at the number of people who fail to follow even that simple instruction. They write blog articles which are mediocre, they share photos of themselves, and they do nothing but advertise their products and special offers.

Your best bet, once you define your target audience, is to figure out what kinds of things they like or want to know about, and then start sharing items that will appeal directly to them.

Still wondering what is the right content to post?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Share news articles from your industry trade journals and websites.
  • Post helpful tips that will help them in their own businesses or personal lives.
  • Record video lessons that show people how to solve problems they face.
  • Publish blog articles that answer some of their questions, give them advice, and educate them on the important issues and problems your company can solve.
  1. Let people get acquainted with you and your company

Share things about you, your employees, and your company. Let them see the people who make your company an interesting place to work and do business with. Give your company a human face and connect with customers as people to people.

This is different from talking about your products or services, your sale prices, and special offers. That’s still advertising.

Instead, share things that build up personal relationships between you and your customers. A few examples can include:

Share photos of you and your staff.

Photos of you and your staff can help customers understand there are real people at the company. It can make you seem more personable and friendly.

Participate in #ThrowbackThursday.

Take a look back at the company, especially if yours is an older family business. Share old photos of your employees and even your old products. If you’ve got old photos of your offices or even your old logo, let everyone see them too. You might get some old customers coming out of the woodwork saying, “Hey, I remember that person!” or “That was our very first unit of yours that we bought.”

Spotlight employees and staff members.

Do a “Meet Our Team” feature in your newsletter and/or blog, and re-share it on your social networks. If your associates have their own social accounts , ask them to share their features on their own networks. Explain what they do and how long they’ve been with the company, as well as anything significant in their lives, like having a new baby, getting married, getting a promotion, or even joining or leaving the company. Let your customers see that you value your team.

  1. Have conversations and create relationships

There’s an old marketing saying: “People buy from people they like and trust.”

Good salespeople understand this and will often form friendships and relationships with their customers. The customers learn to trust the salesperson and know that the salesperson always has their back.

Social media marketing can (and should) follow the same philosophy of salesmanship. Your job is to get your business’s social media following to like and trust you, and the best way to do that is to have conversations with them.

Build relationships with them. Give them advice. Share knowledge. Inform and entertain.

Show your network that you want to be a resource to them.

You can do that just by talking with your customers about their issues, helping solve their problems, and finding solutions for their pain points.

That doesn’t just have to be your own products or services. If you’re knowledgeable about an area and can provide expertise, just do it.

If people are interested in the information you’re providing, they’re more likely to investigate who you are and why you’re an expert.

They’ll come to you on their own and are more likely to buy your product because you created a relationship first rather than pushed the sale.

Finally

To grow your business’ social media following is actually not that difficult. Just follow people who are interested in you, but don’t cheat or advertise. Share things that are interesting, have conversations, and build relationships.

If you can follow these basic steps, you’ll build up a strong customer base of people who love your company and love your products.

They’ll know who to go to when they have a problem, and they’ll be more likely to share your brand with their friends and colleagues.

You can also read

Getting the right start with your Facebook Page

Five ways small businesses can use social media to stay in touch with customers during lockdown

 

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