Eight Easy Steps to Build Your Social Media Following

With over 70% of the US population using social media platforms, a social media plan has become a crucial part of any business strategy. You know you need to have a social media presence – but what are the benefits? How do you get started? And probably most importantly, how do you build a following?

Benefits of Social Media Marketing
In addition to being an extremely cost-effective marketing tool, the benefits of social media are plentiful. Below are just a few key advantages of a solid social media strategy. There are currently more than three billion people using social networks worldwide. Let that sink in a minute – over half the world’s population is using social media to discover and engage with brands.

Better customer satisfaction.
Unlike traditional advertising, social networks allow you to interact directly with customers and followers. This two-way dialogue helps you get to know your customer and humanizes your company.

Build a community of brand loyalists.
By regularly engaging with consumers, you’re developing a relationship with them. Some studies show that 77% of consumers say they are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media.

 

Start Building Your Following

  1. Set objectives
  2. Outline your audience
  3. Prioritize platforms
  4. Research competition
  5. Establish brand guidelines
  6. Create content
  7. Be consistent
  8. Track metrics

Set objectives.
What is the objective of having a social media presence? Increase traffic to your website? Raise your conversion rate? SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, and timely.

Outline your audience.
Go into as much detail as possible when defining your audience. Age, gender, and location are just the beginning. What about other brands they follow? What are their interests? Determining as much of this on the front end will better inform your social media strategy.

Prioritize platforms.
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn….the list goes on! You’ll ultimately do more harm than good if you try to be active on all of them. Instead, use your target audience to guide you. Once you know your demographic, you can research where they are spending the most time. A glance at demographics for the various platforms.

Research competition.
You certainly don’t want to copy, but a competitive analysis is a great way to reduce the learning curve. Looking at how your competitors are using social media is a great way to gauge what’s working and not working in the marketplace.

Establish brand guidelines.
The overall tone of your social media accounts needs to match your brand personality and voice. Your bio should be complete and up-to-date, and the same across all platforms. Your content should reflect your values as a company.

Create and share interesting content.
Content is key. Utilize a mix of photos, videos, graphics, and live streams to captivate and capture your audience. Be mindful that social media is not simply “free advertising,” think of the 90-10 rule. The content you share should be adding value to your followers 90% of the time and should promote your business 10% of the time. So what should you post? Share interesting articles, helpful tips, or how-to videos. Don’t forget to share behind-the-scene glimpses of your company. This isn’t self-promotion, rather it helps build relationships.

Be consistent.
If you can only post twice a week, post twice a week. If you can post or share five times a week, go for it. Social media platforms have algorithms that create timelines based on the type of content you engage with. Facebook and Instagram will decrease your views on people’s timelines if your posting decreases. But by posting regularly, you will most likely see an increase in engagement, which will help future posts.

Track metrics.
Most platforms will provide you with insights about your engagement that you should be monitoring. You can reevaluate your strategy by seeing which content receives the most engagement. 

Once you’ve built your following, you have to continue to engage with them. Reply to posts, and answer questions. Share interesting things, have conversations, and build relationships. Let your audience really get to know your company and ultimately build a community of brand loyalists.