Preface: Followers Are Not Important.
Followers are not what determine a good or a bad business/social media account. Having an audience is a great tool, and an effective one to use for your marketing. No one can promise or guarantee that you’ll gain so many followers in a given time. If they do, be suspicious. What is most important is having an audience that will hear you, and share what you have to say. A hundred loyal fans are worth way more than ten thousand users that ignore you.
A desire to grow your followers and likes is only important to grow your brand awareness, and to reach the people that are actually qualified to purchase, or know someone who is.
Useful Information On Growing Your Small Business on Social Media
You’ve heard the other tips and “social media gurus” telling you to just make more content, the followers will come! But in reality, you don’t even know how to make content to begin with!
That’s what we’re going to tackle today. So buckle up, you’re going to learn how to drive all over again.
Growing on social media is hard when you don’t have the time, money, or know-how when you’re starting out. When you just have ten or even fewer likes on Facebook and maybe your Aunt follows your business on Twitter.
You’ve read the free ebooks telling you to write more posts, use hashtags, all that stuff. But how do you actually grow on social media without being Justin Bieber or buying followers? (Don’t buy followers, you can void the terms and conditions of many social media platforms).
Let’s break things down. First, you have to figure out who you want to follow your pages. How do you do that?
- Create personas. These are your ideal customers. Who do you want to be purchasing from your business? Maybe you sell custom coffee mugs on Etsy.com and you love Pinterest and the DIY community. Target moms and other DIYers! Your persona could be women ages 30-45 and are active on Pinterest, and are interested in crafts and DIY. This should be as detailed as possible, and you should have a few different personas
- What platforms are they active on? Are you trying to grow your Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram? All these platforms act differently.
- Do your current customers have social media? Ask them what they like to see. Create a survey with free tools like JotForm or SurveyMonkey and email your current list of customers about what platforms they like, favorite posts they’ve seen, or maybe ask them what you could do better.
Now that you know what your customers social media personas are, how do you get them to know your page exists?
We’ve broken down finding your audience into each social media platform.
To grow your Facebook likes, and grow your future organic engagement, first we recommend creating a Facebook “Like Boost Campaign.” In your business Facebook Page, go to the Ads Manager and create an ad for growing your Facebook Page’s likes.
Here’s a quick run down of how this works: Facebook knows who actually responds to the “Like Campaigns” and will show your advertisement to them first, since they’ve liked pages in the past. When they like a page, it will also show up in their friends’ newsfeed! You’ve seen this “Kevin Smith Likes the Facebook Page MarketOnSocial.com” and their friends will be able to like it too! Now you’re getting three, four or five likes for marketing it only to one person.
Next, is the bit obvious, and a bit “spammy” way to get a lot of likes for free on Facebook. Invite your friends. It’s not the best way, but it’s free, and if you have a lot of friends, it can be a great way to grow your initial audience. There is a Google Chrome Extension that allows you to invite all your friends at once. Check it out here
You can then message some of your close friends, or “really popular friends” to have them invite their friends to Like your page as well!
It is so tempting to just download an application that will automatically follow a bunch of people on Twitter for you, and then unfollow them when you get them to follow you back. We do not recommend this, but we can’t stop you. The best way to grow on Twitter is to engage. Follow them, favorite/like their Tweets and retweet them. Mention them or reply to their tweets and spark conversation. Even if you’re just congratulating them on a promotion, it will get them to notice you. If they’re nice, they’ll follow you back!
We recommend following/engaging with at least 800 users a month to effectively grow your Twitter. Even if you follow them, and just unfollow them afterwards… (It’s a really jerk move though. At least like some of their tweets first).
Use 1-3 hashtags per tweet, retweeting other users tweets by quoting them, and responding to their tweet in your own is also a great way to build a network. Stick to 1-3 hashtags, as they can become very distracting on Twitter.
Creating a “Follower Advertisement” is also a useful tool with Twitter’s advertisement structure. Boosting tweets and your profile can help build audience awareness.
STAY AWAY FROM AUTOMATED DIRECT MESSAGING. No one likes getting a spammy direct message from someone right after they followed you. Especially when it’s a long sales pitch, or a link to another social media account for them to follow. It’s obnoxious. Don’t do it. Just be human, write out the message, and actually see if the account you’re messaging will actually find value in it.
Here’s where the controversy begins. If you haven’t been keeping up with the Instagram news, Bot Farming is being shut down left and right. Check out this blog post to learn more about it: Why You Should Never Use Instagram Bots to Get More Likes & Followers
Instagram bots and automated likes and comments are the epitome of what is wrong with social media these days. Those “Nice!” and “Great stuff!” comments aren’t real. Sorry to burst your bubble. The worst part? Instagram users are catching on. They can call out a bot from a mile away. Automatic direct messages, comments, likes and follows are annoying on any platform, but even more so on Instagram.
Here’s how to do it naturally, and effectively.
- Create good content. Just do it. Create content that is actually valuable, that someone will want to follow you and see more. Whether it’s a selfie video of you talking about your business, or something fun! Just create, create, create, create. Document your life as a business! The good, the bad, and the ugly. Your followers want to see that there’s a human aspect behind your business.
- Create informative content. You should be posting about something that your followers will learn from. Something that will engage just one person. If you could tell your future customers something, anything, that’s what you should post. High quality images will engage.
- Use the RIGHT hashtags. There are a billion users on Instagram, and sometimes hashtags are just flooded with photos. Use this tool to find not only the right hashtags that others are using in your industry, but ones that have the perfect amount of traction and users to grow your likes, comments, and followers ORGANICALLY. This nifty tool is called Display Purposes and its FREE!Don’t use too many hashtags… It can get kind of crazy.
- Follow the users that like your content. When you have likes from people that you don’t know, follow them and engage with their content. You don’t need to keep their attention long, just enough for them to say “Oh I actually want to follow them too”
- Go to the Explore tab. Type in a keyword that YOU would be interested in. Remember that Display Purposes tool? There’s a reason why others are liking and commenting on your photos. They want to engage with you! Tap on a photo, go bananas. Comment about their photos. Like their posts! Message them and ask them about their business. And most importantly: KEEP IT REAL. Be an account that is human, and not a sales pitch!
This will help organically grow your Instagram! And no need for spam, or the use of illegal bots!
I have all these followers, now what?!
Well first, congratulations! It’s a great feeling knowing that you’re able to reach a lot of people with your business on social media.
Now you have to just repeat, repeat, repeat! Create good content. Engage your audience. Always provide value. Your audience will appreciate that you’re a business that respects authenticity. No buying followers, no cheap tricks, and most importantly, no spam.
Marketing on Social doesn’t have to be hard. But it can be time consuming. It’s 2017 and most businesses are learning that there is value in having someone else run things for you that you just don’t want to do! Reach out to us, and we’ll get in touch with you about growing your social media, and marketing your business online, the right way. Check out Studio MFP’s Social Media Services to learn more!