Social media is great. It gives everyone a voice, and everyone’s voice can be equal. However, it’s very easy to get discouraged, especially as a business, when you lack social media followers. Many go into social media thinking it’s free advertising. We can get into how social media is so much more than a soap box in another post, but today let’s just discuss getting that audience.
Quality Versus Quantity
It’s so easy to get hung up on numbers. But instead of thinking about this digitally, lets pretend your social media followers are actual people in a conference hall, or a classroom. Which would you rather?
- 100 people ignoring you completely, texting, talking over you, or even hurling insults your direction?
- 10 people listening attentively, completely engaged and creating great discussions about your topic?
I really hope you said you’d pick the 10 engaged users over the 100 disengaged users. You want your followers to be your cheerleaders, the people who have your back! Even if it takes longer, you want to build up quality social media followers, and not focus on the numbers only.
So lets pretend you now have ten followers. And half of them are family and friends, bless their hearts. It doesn’t matter if you have one follower or a thousand, you treat them all the same. They are a potential customer, or maybe already a loyal customer. Either way, you treat them the way you want to be treated when you walk into a store!
When it comes to social media, you need to talk to your followers. If you’re not getting questions or mentions yet, reach out to your followers. Make open ended questions, and make that conversation happen! As you build these conversations, others will get to see you through their your interactions with their friends, and you will begin to extend your circle of followers.
When you first start with twitter, you will get an alert every time you get a new follower. Take advantage of that! For example, I just got an email letting me know that I just got a new follower on my new twitter account. I’m going to take a minute to skim their account, get to know the person’s digital persona, and send them a nice greeting! You don’t need to do this with every person that follows you, but it is a great way to get to know your audience.
People have different opinions on how often you should be posting, but there are a few things that are clear across the board.
If we’re talking Twitter, I’m of the opinion that you should have at least 3 to 5 tweets each day. These can be anything – article shares, retweets, engagement posts, inspirational posts – anything to keep you active throughout the day. If you’re going to share something that could encourage discussion, make sure you post it at a time when you can reply to people (so maybe not right before you head to bed, or over the weekend if you’re not at work.)
For Facebook, you’re better off posting your absolute best content once a day. Remember, with twitter, the pace is meant to be very quick. Facebook you’re competing with friends and family, so you don’t want to clog up someone’s wall with anything other than your best content. Article shares, behind the scenes and engagement posts are great – leave the inspiring posts to that friend. You know the one.
Follow to Be Followed
This one is specific to Twitter. You should spend a little time each day (no more than 15 minutes) finding new people to follow. Search for hashtags that are relevant to your interests, and look for experts in your field. For example, I just searched #SocialMedia on twitter, and was given the option to search all people for #socialmedia. From there, I got a load of businesses and companies that might be of interest. So I’m going to add a few that catch my attention, and maybe send them a tweet if they have anything that looks particularly interesting.
Also, when you network, make sure you follow up and add those people to your twitter lists! You want to keep your contacts close, just in case they might need you (or you need them) in the future.
Do you have any other suggestions about how to build up your social media followers? Let me know in the comments below! And of course, feel free to follow me at @RebeccaBredin on twitter.