Friday, November 6, 2015

How are you Building Your Following on Social Media?

Social Media - What, When, Why, How to Grow Your Following

It seems lately the most questions and feedback I get is regarding Social Media.  Everything from I ‘just don’t get it,’ ‘I’m not getting any traction,’ ‘I don’t know what to do/what to post,’ etc.  So I’ve put together a list from my knowledge and research.  Please let us know what’s working for you.
Why do you or should you use Social Media as a marketing strategy?  According to statistics more people use Social Media to look for businesses, products, and services.  If you’re on Facebook, how many times have you seen someone ask for a recommendation for a product or service?  There is one particular group in the Atlanta area on Facebook that I belong to where people are asking for everything from who is a good auto mechanic to finding a roommate.  People would rather trust their ‘friends’ for a recommendation than Google.
Just like a ‘brick and mortar’ business, you have to have a presence on Social Media, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc.  (Those are the 3 main players.)  If you can manage more, great – go for it.  As in your marketing material, you want the same look, i.e. branding across all sites.  Also try to use the same Business name across all social media sites.  Create custom banners to include phone number and website.  Clients and Prospects shouldn’t have to search for how to get in touch with you.  Make sure your Page Info is complete with a good description of your business, years of experience, and why they should do business with you.  Post your hours of operation, your website, and any other pertinent links.  All of this has a bearing on the demographic of who sees your posts.
Before you get clients and sales, people have to know you exist.  You have to gain a following and build a relationship of trust.  So how do you get a following, you ask.  You start with your friends that you currently have.  Ask them to ‘Like’ and share your page.  Offer an incentive to ‘Share’ your page such as a gift or discount.  You can also pay to build your following by boosting your posts.  A word of cautious here, don’t do this to often because it loses its effectiveness.  Once in a while is OK or perhaps when you have a big promotion and/or event that you want to promote.

Another way to build a following is to be a follower.  Seek out like minded successful business people, perhaps people you already know.  Follow them.  Like their page and their posts.  Comment and be interactive.  They will be more apt to follow you and Like your page if you are engaging with them.  This is not a one way street. 
If you are ‘brick and mortar’ business, post a sign that says ‘Like’ our Facebook Page, ‘Follow us on Twitter.’  This should also go into all your marketing and advertising material.  Print it on your business cards too.  Put it in your signature field in all your emails.  Make it a live link.  When setting up profiles, many sites give you the opportunity to link to your social media sites and if they don’t, then list them in your description.
So what and when do you post: 
(Most of these tips are from Forbes and Inc.)  The links are at the end of this article)
-        Number 1 Rule – Be Consistent!  If that’s 1 a day or once a week or somewhere in between, that’s OK, Just Be Consistent.  Don’t go long periods of time without posting. 
-        Offer Education and Information – Good content (the more original the better) will prompt people to share and retweet the information.  Plus this establishes you as an authority in your industry.
-        Don’t forget the Entertainment Value – A little light humor goes a long way to humanizing your brand.  People want to know you’re human.
-        Throw in some Inspiration – Inspiring quotes and photos makes a brand feel less commercial and also increases Likes and Shares.
-        Video is Huge!  Don’t shy away from the camera.  This is a great way for people to get to know you and learn about you and your business.
-        Offer an Exclusive – Even if it’s just a first look.  People want to feel like they are part of your ‘Inner Circle.’  Perhaps offer a discount if they tell you they saw a certain post on Facebook or Twitter.
-        Be Responsive – Reciprocation is key.  Keep up the dialogue.  Respond and engage with others in your network, Like, and Share their posts.
-        Brand Your Photos – If you like to take photos, brand them with your logo or website URL before posting.  Google + and Instagram in addition to Facebook are great places to post photos.
-        Use your keywords – Use your keywords in your posts.  Think about how your prospects would Google for your product or service.
-        Use Hashtags – Hashtags are where it’s at these days.  Use relevant hashtags in your posts.  This will get you more new followers who are searching out particular hashtags.  Search out what hashtags are being used that relate to your business.  i.e. #virtualassistant, #relationshipmarketing
-        Engage Your Audience – Ask questions, have contests, ask for opinions, etc.  You’ve got to have a good following to do this effectively.
-        Have a Facebook ‘Fan of the Month.’  People like to be recognized.  Post on your page.  Give them an incentive to ‘Like’ and Share your page.
-        Pay attention and review your statistics – What is working?  What gets more Likes?  More interaction/engagement/shares?  Post more of that.
-        Time of day matters – Typically most people check their social media sites at about the same time – early morning, mid-day, early evening, and before bed.  So when scheduling your posts, keep these time frames in mind.
-        Monitor your page – Be sure and respond to comments, questions, and customer feedback both positive and negative.  If your page gets reviews, be sure and thank the person for their review and feedback.   
-        If you choose to outsource, be sure they are speaking ‘in your voice.’  Outsourcing can free up your time, but be sure that what is being posted for you meets your approval.  Review your sites often.
-        Schedule your posts – This is one feature you can use on Facebook.  If you have several things to post, rather than post all at once, schedule them over the time frame you would normally post.
If you’ve read all of this, then your eyes are probably glazing over about now and you’re
probably thinking about just giving up – Don’t – Rome wasn’t built in a day.  How do you eat an Elephant?  One small bite at at a time.  If you feel this is just to overwhelming for you and you don’t have an in-house marketing/social media department, I can help.  This is part of the services I offer, from setting your business pages, linking your accounts, and posting.  I can do it for you and/or teach you how to do it.  Contact me and let’s have a conversation so that you can use Social Media for a great marketing strategy.
Happy Posting/Liking/Sharing/Tweeting!
Virtual Assistant specializing in Relationship Marketing

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