Establishing a social media presence should be a no-brainer for business owners. Over the past decade, the percentage of American adults on social media grew from 5 to 69 percent!
But simply being present on social media isn’t enough – you need a following. So how do you get more followers? We’ve put together a list of seven social media strategies to help you get started.
1. Get to Know Your Audience
When you strike up a conversation with an old friend, the topics come easy. You know who they are and how to connect with them. But finding that comfort zone with a complete stranger isn’t so easy.
Social media is no different. Before you can strike up a meaningful dialogue, you have to define your target audience. The best way to get the ball rolling is to create buyer personas. Who do you want to reach? What do they do? What are their interests? How can you add value to their lives?
2. Stop Keeping Score and Start Building Relationships
When trying to grow your followers, it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers game. But less can be more – if you’re making genuine connections.
To build relationships and inspire brand loyalty, you need to actively engage your audience. Start and join conversations. Respond to questions, comments, and complaints. Listen to what people are saying, try to understand their perspectives and make thoughtful contributions.
Most importantly, learn from the experience.
3. Focus on Valuable, Shareable Content
As you gain a better understanding of your audience, it becomes much easier to find and create content that will inform or entertain. When your followers enjoy and appreciate the content you share, they’re more likely to pass it along to their friends, family, and colleagues.
Here are some tips on sharing valuable content:
- Always put the audience first. Self-promotion can make sense on occasion, but if you go overboard, you will lose followers. In fact, 45 percent of social media users surveyed by Fractl and BuzzStream said they would unfollow a brand that did excessive self-promotion.
- Keep your content selections timely and relevant.
- Share and retweet interesting content, but don’t let that be your entire content strategy. Create original content, provide unique insight and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
- Remember your social media etiquette when posting across networks. What’s acceptable on Facebook may not fly on LinkedIn.
4. Give Your Audience More Than Words
Visual content is sure to get more attention than text alone. If you’re skeptical, let’s take a look at the statistics:
- Content paired with relevant images draws 94 percent more views than content without images.
- Social media posts with video gain 1200 percent more engagement than text and images combined.
- 64 percent of users are more likely to buy a product after watching a video.
5. Keep a Consistent Schedule
To grow your followers over time, you need an ongoing strategy. Creating a content calendar will help you plan and organize your posts, tie in seasonal topics and promotions, and craft interesting content ahead of time.
By posting content consistently, you keep your audience engaged and stay top of mind. If you’re not sure what a content calendar might look like, here are some examples from Buffer.
And for a visual, here are the categories that HubSpot keeps on their social media calendar:
6. Target the Local Audience
If you’re operating out of a brick-and-mortar storefront, targeting local social media users can be hugely effective. Believe it or not, hashtags are the perfect tool for cornering the local market. While their overuse and misuse have made them somewhat of a running joke, hashtags were actually meant to categorize posts for search.
So if you want to get more followers in Raleigh, North Carolina, for example, you could add #Raleigh to your posts, and anyone searching for Raleigh-related content would see your posts.
On Instagram, this also creates a photo map of all your posts. If you’re a real estate agent or contractor, this can be a great way to show off your work locally.
7. Promote Your Content
Organic reach can only take you so far. But for as little as $5 a day, you can expand your reach on Facebook with targeted ads. And Facebook recently introduced two new tools for businesses with multiple locations to help them gain more relevant insight and connect with the right people.
These seven social media strategies should help you get more followers.
And if you’re having trouble getting noticed on social media, don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Updated 2/11/2020; Originally published 2/16/2016