The following blog post was provided by our friends at Loomly, a social media and brand success platform.
Looking to grow your organic social channels? Follow along for 7 ways to organically increase your following and get your business in front of new customers.
If you want to get your business in front of more potential customers, growing a social media following is crucial. But sometimes getting those follower numbers up can feel painfully slow.
The good news is that steady, sustained growth is often the best way to get an engaged social media audience who will consistently champion and buy from you.
Thoughtful, organic growth will attract followers who not only read and like your updates, they also tell you what they think, start conversations in your comments, and share your posts with their friends and family.
These followers are more than just a number, they’re your customer community. Once you start engaging with them consistently across your platforms, you’ll see your accounts flourish and followers turn into fans and customers.
In this guide, we’ll explore some different ways to help you build an engaged following that will get your business shared, talked about, and selling better than ever before.
1. Set Goals
Why are you on social media? “Just because everybody else is” won’t cut it.
Think about what you want to get out of your social presence. For example, you might want to:
- Increase sales
- Build brand awareness
- Differentiate yourself from competitors
- Show people how your product or service works
- Communicate service updates to current customers
- Let people know about your latest offers
- Express your company’s personality
Write a list and put it in priority order so you can get clear on exactly what you’re aiming to achieve. These goals will help you decide what kind of content to put out and which channels you need to be on.
For example, if your goal is to be discovered in your local area, Instagram’s location tagging features could help you out. Or maybe you want to show your customers the work that goes into making your product, so you might include video as part of your content plan.
Avoid spreading yourself too thin and focus your efforts on a few platforms where your content will be the most effective.
2. Understand Your Audience
Creating an audience profile is a helpful way to understand your customers, making it easier to post content they’re likely to enjoy.
Learn as much about your ideal customer as you can. What brands do they follow? What types of content do they engage with? Look at other accounts they’re sharing and commenting on – do they enjoy informative, funny, formal, or informal posts?
Getting a good handle on their taste will help you build a content strategy that will actively engage them and get you speaking their language.
Your research should also include the platforms they spend the most time on. For example, only 2% of US adults aged 65+ use Snapchat, so you wouldn’t choose that platform to market a product or service for retirees.
Source: Pew Research Center
Invest your efforts where you’re most likely to reach your audience, and post at the times they’re most likely to be using social media.
3. Be Consistent
How often you should post on social media has always been hotly debated, and there’s a lot of conflicting information out there. The one thing most marketing experts agree on is the importance of being consistent.
Ultimately, how frequently you post will vary depending on your business, your resource, and how much you have to say. The most important thing is to set a posting rate and keep it up so your audience knows what to expect. Avoid “spamming” your followers with irrelevant information just to keep up an unrealistically high post count.
Creating a social media strategy will help you set a realistic, regular posting schedule for your business and plan to put out valuable content that your followers will find engaging.
You might then use a scheduling tool to create a seamless process that helps you post regular content and stay on track.
4. Engage With Your Audience
The “social” in social media is there for a reason – engaging is a must if you want to build a following.
Social listening is a great way to pick up on mentions of your brand or related topics where you may be able to offer value or assistance. Comment to offer help or support and you’ll grow your reputation and follower base.
Build a relationship of trust with your followers by responding to their comments in an authentic, human way. Don’t leave them hanging! Even dropping a like or emoji is better than nothing at all. People will remember you if you respond, and genuine interactions will keep people coming back to your channels for more.
Engaging with customers on social media is also a brilliant way to give customer support and handle both positive and negative feedback. One survey reports that 81% of Twitter users expect a same day response to questions and complaints. Responding quickly and helpfully to comments and reviews will give you happier customers – and you’ll be seen by others to be giving fantastic service too.
5. Build a Brand Community
Connecting with like-minded people is a big part of social media and a powerful tool for business, so take a step back and think about how you can reach potential followers who share your brand’s values and interests.
Hashtags are a great way to make your content more discoverable by people in your target audience. Look out for popular hashtags in your niche. These help people find your posts and are even sometimes used for regularly scheduled roundtable-style chats. For example, if you work in the PPC space, participate in the #PPCchat hashtag on Twitter. If you want to sell products locally, use #shoplocal on Instagram and explore hashtags unique to your town or area.
You also could also come up with your own branded hashtag to help your customers share their experiences and connect.
If you like the idea of building a closed community, starting up your own private Facebook group, Discord, or Slack channel, is another great way to drive conversations, share your blog posts, answer questions and promote new products with your followers and fans.
When done well, these spaces can become valued hangout zones that allow your ideal customers to connect with you – and each other.
6. Use a Social Media Scheduler
When you’re caught up in the day-to-day running of a business, social media can often slip to the bottom of the pile, especially at busy times. Using a social media scheduler allows you to write and schedule content in batches when you or your team have time, helping you maintain that all-important consistency that will grow your audience.
Creating a smooth content creation and scheduling process will free you up to focus on response and engagement. It will also give you valuable insights into how your content is landing with your audience, making it easy for you to track progress and adjust your course as needed.
If you have multiple team members using your social accounts, a scheduler will help you collaborate easily and more effectively. Your dashboard gives a bird’s eye view of all your content, making it easy to see what’s going out when, and to assign content to be written, checked, or approved.
Using a dedicated scheduling tool will save you time and effort in the long run. Tools like Loomly allow you to efficiently plan, schedule, build, collaborate, and publish. With post ideas, best practices, analytics, and collaboration built-in, everything is all together in a single tool. Start growing your social media audience with a 15-day free trial here.
7. Get Creative!
There is so much opportunity to have fun and experiment with your social media content. Trends change all the time and there are no hard and fast rules about what will work, so don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.
Keep an eye on what’s working for other brands and what resonates with your target audience to get inspiration.
Make engagement-focused content part of your strategy to ensure you keep the conversation going with your followers. Try using polls (great for market research, but also just for fun), quizzes, video, giveaways, and shout-outs to other businesses or collaborators – be sure to tag them to extend your reach and share the love.
The more your audience interacts with these posts, the more the algorithm will reward you and make your content more visible.
You could also talk about your company wins and the work you’re proud of, your employee of the month, and anything else that will shine a light on your company culture and the great stuff that goes on behind the scenes. This gives your audience a real flavor of what you stand for – and if they like your style they’re more likely to connect.
People relate to people, so showing the humans that work within your business and why they love the work they do is another great way to show your values and build trust and connection with your audience. You could even hand over the reins to a trusted employee to share their working week!
If you’re looking for inspiration for content ideas, take a look at the definitive guide to coming up with ideas for social media content.
Above all, have fun. The more you put into your social media content and communities, the more you’ll get out. Enjoying interacting with your followers and sharing in a genuine way will always connect best of all.
Growing Your Social Media Following, In a Nutshell
Building a strong, engaged social media following is a long game, but one that is well worth investing time and effort in – and it can be fun too!
Here are the basics:
- Get clear on your business reasons for being on social media in the first place
- Learn about your ideal customer’s social media habits to understand what will resonate best
- Show up regularly so your audience knows what to expect
- Make sure you’re engaging and not just posting
- Join communities – and create your own
- Get organized and collaborate more efficiently with a social media scheduler
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with your content to see what works