For many people, social media is nothing more than a way to keep up with friends and family members. But, to the astute social media user, Faceboook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Snapchat, and many others are an ocean of business opportunities.
If you are a small business owner trying to grow your business through social media, but you can’t expand or grow your audience because you lack the time, lack ideas on what you need to post, don’t know which social network to focus on, or you’re not sure how to gain more fans and followers, follow these steps to build a more engaging audience and increase your social brand.
Step One: Pick Your Networks
Don’t focus on every social network – there are hundreds of them – instead, pick two different social networks to focus on and then expand from there based on how your audience responds to your posts. The “big 5” social networks are: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Linkedin. Don’t feel that just because everyone is on these netwokrst your audience will be there too. Youtube may not be the best network to find an audience that likes stationary pictures. Likewise, twitter may not be the best place to write a novel. Find your audience, find your network, and get to work.
Step Two: Post Consistency is Key
Social Media takes time and commitment. You need to post every day – if possible. Posting a picture or sharing a status update every-once in a while is not going to get you very far.
When you do post, make sure that you post relevant content that matters to your audience. If you are a travel agency, share topics that are relevant to travel: Destinations, Places to Eat, How to Negotiate Hotel Rates, How to Stay Safe, How to Plan a Trip – all of these are “topics” that are relevant to traveling. If you want to grow your audience, share content that makes your audience want to come back for more.
Don’t try to sell to your audience on every post. If you had a friend who tried to sell you a service every time you two socialized, would you want to socialize with them in the future? Probably not. Your audience is the same way. Only about 10% of your posts should actually be “sales” while the other 90% should be social media development: Motivational Images, Inspirational Quotes, Relevant Articles, etc. (Anything that your audience will like to share)
If there are trending hashtags, then use them to reach a wider audience. By using a hashtag, you make it easy for people to find your status updates and images on Social Networks.
Step Three: Be Part of the Community
When you go to a networking event, you listen to people. You learn about who they are and what they do. You try to find strategic partners and try to find friends and acquaintances. Social media works the exact same way.
Don’t just focus on trying to sell your services. Actually try to connect with potential strategic partners or customers. Follow their profiles and engage with them – as a friend. When you follow a person, they usually get a notification. When they get the notification, they usually click over to see who followed them: who are they and what do they do? They usually follow you back – especially if you are sharing interesting posts.
If you engage with them – like their posts, comment on their statuses, etc. – they also get a notification, and often times they follow you back because you are someone who is interested in what they have to say. This is how we build friendships in the real world – it’s not any different in the virtual world?
Step Four: Follow Through with Your Audience
If your audience leaves you a comment, try to reply back to the comment as quickly as possible. If a client comes to your store and complains or compliments your work, do you stand there with a blank stare? or do you engage with the customer? Don’t leave your audience hanging. Reply back to all their comments. Reply back to all of their reviews.
If an audience member leaves you a positive review – reply back to it and thank them for their kindness.
If an audience member leaves you a negative review – reply back to it and try to offer them a solution – then thank them for taking the time of bringing the situation to your attention.
Remember that social media is supposed to be all about creating and developing conversations.
Step Five: Patience is a Virtue
Social media takes time, it’s not something that happens over night. A well developed strategy can take months to work, but the longer you wait, the longer is going to take to give you a positive ROI. When done correctly, you will have a small but passionate group of people ready to do business with you and your company. You don’t need thousands of followers to see a positive ROI, you just need a couple of hundred people. Even 50 people (if they’re passionate about your brand) can give you some serious results.
DO NOT EVER buy followers or likes. If you do, you will destroy your social media page. Think of it as setting up an auditorium full of people: Would you rather have 50 people that love your product, or 5,000 people that hate your product or what you stand for?
Social media is very important – today more than ever. If you don’t have the time, don’t know what to share, or don’t know where you should focus your attention on, we recommend that you hire a company to assist you with your social media needs. We offer a free 1 hour consultation for our Virtual Assistant Services. We can use this hour to help you understand what you’re looking for and then help you find solutions that fit your budget.