7 Steps to Grow Your Following Responsibly on Social Media
Social Media is not a Popularity Contest
If you want 2500 followers on Twitter or Instagram tomorrow I can help you for just $39. Guess what, it won’t help your business at all! If you think having a large number of followers is the end game on any social media platform you are sorely mistaken. Even worse, if you have a “Social Media Expert” telling you to do this you had better run far away.
You might be wondering why I bring this up now. I have spoken with business owners who were approached by the so called experts who tell them I will get you this many followers within this much time. I have spoken with business owners who have taken these so called experts up on their offer. At the end of the day the business owner walks away with a sour taste in their mouth. Because of this the business owners often swear off social media all together.
Then when I have a conversation with them regarding a social media marketing plan the business owner is not open to the discussion at all. I spent over a month and multiple conversations with a small business owner before they would even listen to a plan of action and why their first so called expert did not work out. After about 5 weeks and at least 4 conversations I finally convinced them to let me show them the power of a properly run social media marketing plan.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem EARNING a clients business. In fact I encourage all small businesses to use this model. Taking the time to explain how social media can benefit someone who understands what social media is should not be part of earning the business. Look at any blog and you will see the power.
What You Should Not Do on Social Media
Let’s start with very basic rules about what you should avoid like the plague.
1. Buy Followers: I already stated one that really gets my blood boiling. Alright, maybe not that serious but you get the idea. Simply paying money to gain thousands of followers will only improve someone else’s bank account.
There are networks of people/accounts that serve this single purpose. You may have a bloated number of followers now but they will not engage with your conversation and will not purchase from you. They are just a number to your profile page, and nothing more.
But hey, that’s cool…you’re popular now, right?
2. Sell, Sell, Sell: We’ve all been the victim of the pushy salesmen at the used car lot or the electronics super store. After you’re done you need a shower because you feel so filthy. Don’t be that person on social media. Follow the 80:20 rule or better. I almost never sell on social media and usually recommend that businesses do the same. You will not build a rapport with your followers (if you used social media correctly your followers are all potential clients) using this tactic.
3. Ignore Your Social Media: Today people are very savvy when it comes to looking for a product or service. Speaking from personal experience if I am looking for something I will research it first. If I look for your business on the internet and there is little to no current information and your Facebook page is a wasteland with tumbleweeds floating around I will probably move on to the next business.
4. Let your nephew’s best friend’s girlfriend run your social media campaign: Do I really need to explain this? You need experts, and you get what you paid for. What would you tell someone who has their nephew’s best friend’s girlfriend changing their brakes?
5. Bury Posts in Hash-tags: #ItJustLooksChildishToMostSoIWontSayAnyThingFurtherAboutIt
What You Should Do on Social Media
1. Target Followers by Demographics: It’s not hard, really. Target followers who are interested in what you are offering and are relevant to your business. For example, I look for small to medium business owners in CT. On some social media platforms you can even target by income level or net worth. Why just blanket the entire population if it’s not going to help you grow your brand or business?
2. Use Ads (Wisely): It’s OK to use ads on social media. In fact I encourage it. Again, make sure that your ads are highly targeted. Think about who your ideal customer is. Not everyone wants what you are offering. Ads will cost you a lot less if you focus on those that would be interested in your product and have the purchasing power to turn interest into a conversion.
3. Create Social Conversations: I always hear “I tried Facebook, posted a feel promotions and no one bought anything“. Well why would they? As I said earlier social media is about building a relationship, earning your audiences trust. That’s how you’re going to get them to purchase from you. You have to participate in conversations and create your own conversations. Figure out how to get your audiences attention and then hold it. Do they want to know more about what you do? Do they understand how your product or service will benefit them? You can even have conversations about stuff not even related to your business offering.
I sprinkle in personal stuff like pictures of my kids or rooting for local sports teams that I am a fan of, even the weather. Let me tell you it’s a scorcher today in Connecticut..thank God for Central AC. It’s OK to partake in conversations that have nothing to do with why you are on social media to begin with.
4. Share your blog: Ultimately you want people to visit your website. Your website is your virtual brick and mortar store, your yellow pages ad and so much more. It’s where your business starts and ends. If you are using your Facebook page as your website, shame on you.
Your website will move up on the major search engines if you have relevant and fresh content. The best way to ensure this is with a blog. You should blog about different aspects of your business and your products or services. You can post how to’s, videos and much, much more to generate unique and timely content that will help you move up in search rankings.
Don’t believe me? Google “CT Twitter Expert” and look who is number 2 after I posted the Ask the Expert Call to Your YouTube and my site.
5. Help Others with Questions: You can LISTEN on social networks. When someone needs help or has a question you can help them. I know some people are thinking why would I give something that I normally charge for for free? You have to think big picture. That little piece of advice you give today just might generate bigger rewards tomorrow. Even if it doesn’t, there are others watching.
I had to run to the grocery store to get chicken nuggets for my son while I was attempting to write this blog post. While I was in the store a man approached me and asked for $2. I don’t know what he wanted that $2 for and I will never know. I normally don’t have cash on me but today I did, I had $7. I could have given him the $2 but instead I gave him all $7. Did it really cost me anything besides the $7? I don’t believe so. Will I be rewarded for this? I don’t know but it certainly can’t hurt. The point is if you’re not willing to give then you will never receive. It’s OK to give some help with no expectations of return.
6. Use Hash-tags in the Conversation: I wrote earlier that hash-tag overload is a big no no. Hash-tags are OK though. A typical post on any social media platform from me might look like this:
5 Ways to Jump Start Your #ContentMarketing Program Today. Learn more now!
A few things to point out.
- The hash-tag is part of the conversation and is legible
- The CTA (Call To Action) is direct without making the reader believe they will have to Read More
- By titling it 5 Ways, I also grab the audiences attention. Readers love numbers and always think-oh, 5 steps to get going right now..I’m in.
- I would also include an image..see next point
7. Use Images and Videos: A picture is worth a thousand words. You know it, you heard it before and you heard it again. Use pictures, audio and videos whenever possible. I include a picture on almost every single post on Facebook and Google+, and probably about 50% of the time on Twitter. Just don’t use copyright protected images or videos.
Stop The Madness
Alright Connecticut business owners, there you have it. Stop trying to buy and/or cheat your way to the top, it will not work. At one time these not so ethical methods might have worked but today it’s more than obvious to anyone with some knowledge of social media what you are doing.
Some of the don’t dos above will quickly turn off your audience. While other methods will gain nothing for your hard earned money. So wow bother with any of them? Stop buying your audience and start learning how to earn an audience, or call/email me.