Having a strong presence on social media is the key to success in this form of marketing. There is no better, or easier way to build relationships with consumers than by the interactions that social media promotes.
The size of your social audience, or the number of followers you have, can be a source of vanity and ego for many social media users. This is a very shallow way of considering it – follower numbers mean so much more than how popular you are. And no matter how many followers you have, those numbers mean nothing if the followers you do have are not actively interacting with your page and serving as lead generators for your brand.
Follower number does have value. The value lies not in how popular you are (or seem to be to others) but in how widespread your message will be, and how much of your follower base is converted to paying customers.
The question begs to be asked, though: how does one increase social media following in a way that is authentic and valuable?
Are you reaching the right audience for your brand on your chosen social channels?
Who is the Right Audience?
Before you design your social media marketing strategy, you need to identify just who your target audience will be. Who do you need to connect and engage with via social media?
First and foremost, the answer to this question will be whoever is interested in what you have to sell. What is unique about your product or service and that will enable it to appeal to a specific audience? Who is this specific audience?
When you know who your target audience is, you need to not only appeal to them, but also to those connected with them. Why? The answer is simple: WORD OF MOUTH. This is perhaps the biggest thing that sets social media marketing apart – word of mouth is incredibly powerful and people connect through other connections on their chosen platform.
Some audience groups you’ll want to engage with to maximise social media interaction include:
- Current customers
- Potential customers or new leads
- Affiliate businesses
- Thought leaders
What are Profile Best Practices to Achieve Growth of Followers?
Some basic social media profile tips to maximise the growth of your follower base include:
- Include a professional bio
- Use a widget on your blog
- Post fantastic, unique content
- Ensure content is shareable
- Use hashtags on Twitter and Instagram – but not too many!
- Engage and interact in two way conversations
- Reshare great content from others
- Don’t oversell on social media
- Follow other users
- Be consistently active
- Be patient!
How to Find Followers on Facebook
Facebook offers numerous ways to increase your social media following. The first to take advantage of is the Find People tool. You simply input your email address and anyone in your address book who also uses Facebook will be highlighted.
There is also a Search for Workmates tool which will help you connect with people affiliated with other companies in your niche.
You can also search within Facebook for fan pages in your niche and make connections there, as well as through the connections of key influencers.
How to Find Followers on Twitter
Use search.twitter.com. It lets you browse by location and find local followers – perfect if you are a local small or medium sized business looking for local customers. This tool also helps you find key influencers in your niche.
Hashtags are a fantastic way to connect with others talking about things that are relevant to your brand, business, or industry in some way.
How to Find Followers on LinkedIn
Search for people you know using their email addresses. You can also use the advanced search tool.
Join industry or interest groups. When you are a member, you can browse other members via the list and connect with those who share an interest with you.
More Tips for Growing your Social Audience
- One of the biggest keys to social media success is to be Informative. Too many social media users – 80% in fact – are all about “Meforming” as opposed to Informing. What does this mean? It simply means that the majority of users are focused on posting updates relating to themselves, rather than sharing valuable information (Source: Rutgers University). Informers are the clear winners, with more than double the follower numbers of “meformers” and much better follower retention. Don’t make your social posts all about you – your followers appreciate valuable content much more.
- Another way to succeed in building your follower base is to be an authority in your niche or industry. By providing content that is 100% unique, interesting, informative, and from an expert perspective, you position yourself as a leader – and leaders are followed. Create something that sets you apart from the pack. Be at the forefront of reporting industry news, and make every post of value to someone. Own your expertise as well, but without coming across as vain or conceited.
- Understand the biggest reasons why people unfollow:
- Too many posts in a short time frame (clogging feeds)
- Erratic posting frequency
- Uninteresting posts
- Mundane, irrelevant posts
- Too many vanity posts
- Too much hard-selling
- Offer Specials. We all like to get “something for nothing”. Provide competitions and special offers and giveaways from time to time – this will grow both your follower and customer base. Consumer research shows that 55% of people follow a brand because they like it, 52% for access to promotions and 51% to remain abreast of brand news. (Source: Nielsen Twitter Consumer Survey 2013)
- Show Your Humanity. You need to be there, present, and interacting with your followers. Respond to comments, thank sharers, and ask questions of your fans. Familiarise yourself with who they are and give them what they want to see on your page.
- Be Positive. A positive tone and voice used on social media makes an enormous difference to follower response. Negativity will lose followers very quickly. Be sure to never come across in your posts as angry, aggressive, morbid, cynical, or miserable. Positivity is the key to happy followers! Always look for, find, and deliver a silver lining.
Don’t be tempted to buy followers. This never delivers on any promise, and legitimate followers will often be able to work out that the bulk of your follower base is bought – i.e. fake. It’s a really bad look for your brand and your business to have fake followers – and fake followers won’t deliver anything for you and your bottom line. It’s far better to have a small pool of authentic followers who provide real social media interaction with your brand.
Follower numbers on social media really do mean something. They are much more than an arbitrary number that is there to boost your ego. The scale of the number means most when applied to the power and impact of the message you send via your social media page. Your follower numbers need to be authentic and organically achieved – never purchased. Follow the tips above to increase your social media following in a way that will work for you.