When you start marketing your business, establishing your expertise, and providing value to the world, you will probably venture out into social media to build your audience and promote your message. You might have a blog, a podcast, or a video channel like YouTube, but you will quickly adopt social media to help get your content to others.
I hear so many business owners and people in general, say that they can’t seem to grow their following or feel like they succeed using social media. When they feel that, they question it’s value and worth for their overall business. So, how can you be more successful using social media and be more confident that your work is benefiting the business you own or work for, or the brand you’re trying to build? In this post, I’ll share with you four strategies to help you grow your social media following.
First, decide what social media accounts you will use.
Years ago, famous social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk led us to believe that if you’re going to do social media, you should sign up for everything and use everything at the same time. While I appreciate his concept in the early days, I tend to think that the first thing you should do to be successful in social media is to be picky. Choose one social media platform to use and stick with it. Why? Well, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin when you start and you want to concentrate your efforts on one thing. My suggestion is that you start using Twitter. It’s the simplest form of social media, and it will allow you to learn the fundamentals of what social media is all about.
Second, be social on your chosen social media platform.
Social media is exactly the same as going to some mid day lunch meeting of say, The Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, or Business Referral Group, except it’s online, virtual. Let’s say that it’s your very first time going to the Chamber of Commerce lunch meeting. You wouldn’t normally enter the room and immediately start telling people about your product, service, or cause. Doing so would turn people off and you would immediately alienate yourself from the club. Rather, what you would do is start meeting people who have common interests, talk about the latest news in sports, what happened on the latest episode of that TV show you watch, or what movie you last saw. I think people forget that behind most every social media account is a real live person, so remember that this is a social thing. When you first start out, when someone follows you or chooses to connect with you, don’t forget to say “Hello”, “How are you doing?”, etc.
Third, be consistent in your time spent on social media
Just like if you were a member of the chamber, you probably wouldn’t just go to the first meeting and never show up again. You would clearly not get everything you could out of your membership dues. You would go to as many functions as you could and meet as many people as possible to build your network. In the same way, you wouldn’t just sign up for Twitter, establish your brand, say hello to a few folks, and then leave, never to be seen or heard from again. Set aside time to use social media in an intentional way. How would you do this? Follow a similar plan like this:
- Find new followers
- Thank new ones for following you
- Talk with your existing followers
- Provide your followers with value
So, for the first bullet point, you can use Twitter’s search function to find accounts that you would like to follow. Is your business focused on antiques? Then search Twitter for antiques. You’ll find people and businesses who are also interested in antiquing. follow them! For the second, when someone else follows you, thank them for the follow. Do this publicly, as this is a way to show others that you are interested in others and approachable. Your new follower will probably like seeing their name in their feed, too. With your existing followers, ask them questions, find out more about them, continue to get to know them in a meaningful way. Lastly, share with your following valuable content. If you read a great post or listened to a podcast on a topic you both are interested in, share it. Chances are, they will share that content too. It’s just another way to keep your name in people’s mind.
Finally, social media requires patience
Social media is not something that provides instantaneous results. No one got rich just by signing up for Twitter or Instagram. I think that’s a misconception that many people have. Like any business, things take time to grow, and the same is true in social media. To be successful, you’ve got to have the patience to build your following and to create a really great tribe of people who care about your brand. It’s not going to happen overnight, but you can be successful if you’re patient and you work diligently.
In order to be successful you need to focus your energy on one platform, remember to be social, be consistent, and finally, be patient.
What strategies will you implement in your social media work? What things help you now? Let us know in the comments below.