How to earn followers on social media
How many social platforms are you active on? More than half of Brits are estimated to be active on Facebook, and most of us use Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest/Snapchat/LinkedIn/others as well.
Social media is no longer just a way to stay in touch with the people you went to school with, or a place to let your friends know what you ate for dinner, or somewhere to watch videos of animals doing something funny. While it still serves these purposes, social media has developed into the primary communication tool for many businesses that are looking to reach their customers.
On social media, products go ‘viral’ and businesses connect with their customers on a human level. By developing a following on social media, you can get your business seen by more people and encourage them to promote your brand to their network. To do this you need to find your target audience and get them to to follow you.
Here are four ways you can improve your social media activity to earn more followers.
Choose the right channels
Why do we need so many different places to share photos, ‘like’ what our friends are up to, and watch ten-second videos? Well, we don’t actually do all of the above on every channel, because each one offers different opportunities. Whether we’re subject to a character limit or trying to present the best version of ourselves to our colleagues, we treat each channel differently, and as a business it’s important for you to remember that.
Consider why people are using each channel, look at what receives the best (and worst) reception, and adapt your content accordingly. Treating all channels equally may seem like a time-saver, but content published on the wrong platform will receive little to no attention, resulting in no engagement, and therefore wasted time.
With this in mind, choosing which channels to target is not a decision to be taken lightly. Think about where your target audience is and meet them there. Social media may be free, but it can be extremely time-consuming, so when you’re just starting out, consider tackling just the two or three platforms where your audience is most active.
TIP: Create accounts on all the major social networks, even if you’re not planning to use them right now. It’s important to be consistent where possible, so securing the same username across all channels will allow you to seamlessly expand your social media strategy in the future.
Social media probably seems like the easiest and most accessible way to market your business, and to some extent, that’s true. It’s certainly the cheapest; however, it’s also time-consuming, and in order to reap the rewards and ensure you aren’t wasting your precious time, you should have a solid strategy in place.
It isn’t necessary to plan each Tweet, Pin and Snap, but putting together a calendar of your business’ events and product launches, along with key industry dates, will give you a better idea of what to talk about and when.
It may seem like social media is a minor task, for which you can send a hasty post out across all platforms when you have a minute to spare, but chances are you will soon run out of things to say if you follow this tactic. Social media is an important part of marketing your business and is something you need to schedule in time for. The results will be reflected in people engaging with your content and showing interest in your brand.
Facilitating conversations around your industry’s hot topics will create organic conversation with and surrounding your brand, which should result in you being seen as ‘one to watch’ amongst your followers.
Focus on your content
In 1996, Bill Gates famously said that “content is king”. More than two decades have passed since then, but it’s still a widely acknowledged truth amongst marketers. What we mean by ‘content’ is evolving all the time, and we’re seeing more visually stimulating content now than ever before – in the form of videos, GIFs, images and infographics.
Content is the reason people will (or won’t) follow you. It is everything you share that can be read, watched or listened to by your audience, and whether they choose to read/watch/listen to it is what determines whether your content is good or bad.
Creating engaging and relevant content is an essential part of marketing your business, and social media is where you go to share it with the world. Sharing great content is the most important thing you can do to increase your social media following. So how do you know if your content is any good?
Well, the best content should be...
- Relevant – does it speak to your target audience?
- Original – are you saying something new?
- High-quality – are you presenting your business as one to be trusted?
- Different – are you sharing content in a variety of formats (i.e. blogs, images, videos, etc.)?
- Timely – are you engaging with current trends and sharing your views on industry news?
- Frequent – are you posting often enough?
- Human – can you talk directly to your customers? (The answer is always yes. Even if you’re B2B, the person on the receiving end of your content is just that: a person.)
Engage with your audience
With this one, the clue is in the name: social media should be social. To maximise the effect of social media on your marketing efforts as a whole, you must engage with your audience. How you can do this varies from platform to platform, but these are the key things you can do to get involved in the conversation:
Follow the crowd
Who are the key influencers in your field? Who is starting conversations? Which businesses are similar – but not direct competitors – to yours?
These are the people you should be following. Firstly, learn from them, find out what they’re talking about and which trends they’re interested in. Secondly, respond to them – getting noticed by the people at the top of your industry may encourage them to follow you and share your content.
Join in with the #conversation
Social media is a breeding ground for hot topics. One influential person’s succinctly-worded opinion pushed out on Twitter can spark thousands of engagements. If your content isn’t setting off this sort of reaction, joining in with the conversations that your target audience are having is a great way to get noticed.
If people see you as a regular contributor to the topics they’re interested in, they’re likely to follow you. This not only broadens the reach of your content, but builds trust in your brand.
Not sure where to look for relevant conversations? Search keywords, track hashtags that are relevant to your industry, and set up Google Alerts. This way, you can keep an eye on the subjects you’re interested in and make sure you’re getting involved in the conversation.
Respond to your followers
It sounds obvious, but you might be surprised by how many businesses fail to respond to their customers. Good or bad – especially bad – you should make an effort to reply when customers and followers engage with you. Failing to respond to negative comments will imply poor customer service and will probably make your disgruntled customer even more resentful to you than they were before.
Whether your followers are asking questions, participating in a conversation with you, or even criticising your business, quick responses can go a long way. Not only does it promote the human element of your business, but it keeps you in the minds of your followers as a reliable and approachable business.
Convert followers into customers
Building a social media following expands your database of potential customers. When those customers visit your site, it’s important that your website offering is as strong as your social media strategy.
At Exact Abacus, we specialise in eCommerce website development. Find out how our designers can help you build an attractive and functional website that will help you convert more followers into customers, or keep reading on our blog for more eCommerce news and advice.
by Tanya Wasiuta on 16/02/2017