Although the general consensus in social media reflects the thinking “if we build it, they will come”, in reality, it can sometimes be very difficult to grow a social media following. There are many reasons why people aren’t following, or why it takes so long to build a large community. Here are 10 strategies to quickly grow your social media following:
1. Find Your Target Market
Before you even consider creating social media accounts for your business, you should first determine what networks your target audience is currently using. If they’re mostly found on a social network that you’re not considering, you may be setting yourself for follower failure. Research is key when starting your social media marketing. Take the time to fully understand the online habits of your target demographic. Find out where they are, what they like, and what they’re talking about.
Check out Traackr, an influencer research tool, to help find key players that relate to your industry to help determine where you should be.
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2. Get Staff On Board
When building your network of social media followers, it’s important to encourage brand advocates; people who will engage with your brand and talk about your products and services. Who better to engage with your brand than your own staff? Have them like and follow company pages and profiles, respond to posts and tweets, and share your content to their followers. You’ll not only increase your reach, but you’ll show users just how engaging your company is, and they’ll soon want to join in.
Consider using a social media dashboard, like Sprout Social, to communicate among your team.
3. Build Relationships with the Right People
If you don’t have a large social following, you might want to piggyback on those who do. When taking to social media, research top influencers, bloggers, and media that relate to your industry. Engage with them and consider partaking in some outreach for potential collaboration, promotion or guest blogging.
Consider using Klout to find top influencers and the people they’re engaging with most. Follow them and start up a conversation. They’ll soon take notice and return the favour, extending your reach and increasing your follower count.
4. Engage with Your Followers
Obviously the more you engage with your with followers, through comments, likes and shares, the more followers you will gain over time. To speed things up, you may want to get involved in groups and communities to increase your reach. Check out Google+ communities and LinkedIn groups to connected with potential followers who are interested in your industry, business or topic. These channels make it easy to reach out and start genuine conversations with many different people, quickly and easily.
5. Watch and Learn from the Competition
Competitor analysis plays a huge part in social media. By continuously monitoring your competitor’s content, engagement and followers, you will be able to determine the best course of action for your social media marketing. Research what platforms work best for them, what content received the most likes, comments and shares, and who their top influencers and followers are.
6. Add Your Social Links Everywhere
One of the most common mistakes I see in social media is the lack of linking across all social media networks and online channels. Quite simply, if you don’t tell people where to find you, they won’t. First and foremost, you should always display links to your social media profiles on your website. These links should be visible on all pages and posts across your website. Don’t display icons for social networks that you’re not currently using.
As well as providing links on your website, add links to your social profile descriptions, email campaigns, email signature and even your business cards. Also consider a profile aggregator, like About.Me, for users to find all your social links in one central location. Be sure to delete any old accounts that you’re not currently maintaining.
7. Share and Reshare Original Content
Content is king in social media, especially original content. Content marketing is a crucial step in establishing your brand as a leader in your industry. By sharing great quality and informative content on a regular basis, you will gain followers who want to hear what you have to say.
Try sharing your content across all your networks, and resharing them again, just in case your followers missed it. For example, you may want to share links to your content on Twitter twice in the same day, ensuring followers from different timezones see your tweet. Check out Buffer to schedule your content distribution.
8. Snag the Best Curated Content
Content curation, or sharing content from other sources, helps to build your community as a result of relationship building. You’re not only building relationships from the original sources of the content by mentioning them in your posts, but you’re also establishing your brand as a thought leader, which your followers will come to appreciate.
When curating, find content that will resonate deeply with your audience, for example, real-life stories, memes, quotes or strong imagery. To help find the most socially engaging posts on Facebook, try ShareGrab to help find the best post content to share with your community. Post content multiple times per day to increase your visibility.
9. Run a Contest or Promotion
Although I don’t believe that contests should be initiated until you have a strong and valuable social following, contests do help increase likes and follows. If using Facebook, try fan-gating a Facebook tab for contest entries to encourage likes. Alternatively, offer a promotion or offer code by the same method, allowing details to be disclosed to followers only.
If you don’t find that you’re benefiting from running a contest on your own page or profile, consider teaming up with an influencer that has a large social following, offering a prize to their followers. Run the contest using Rafflecopter, allowing entries by liking your social networks. It will help increase your following and promote brand awareness.
10. Invest in Promoted Posts or Tweets
If you have an allocated advertising budget, you may want to invest in promoted posts or tweets to increase your following. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest offer promoted posts to help their users increase their visibility. Test the different ad platforms and determine which will grant you a better return on your investment.
How do you plan to grow your social following? Tell us in the comment box below.
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