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How to Correctly Build Your Business Social Media Following

By Garrett Spence   |    November 11, 2014   |    12:33 PM

5 Tips on How to Entice and Engage the Right Social Media Followers

Social media has been touted as the best way for a small business to compete with larger businesses in the busy online marketplace. Social media is also relatively inexpensive compared to other forms of marketing. Yet, just like a traditional marketing campaign, a business’ social media campaigns must be targeted and well thought out. Additionally, businesses need to attract the right following of potential buyers and influencers. Here are some tips to help your business reach the right following. 

1. Research the audience: Target market research is necessary for all types of marketing campaigns, including social media. Figure out how your audience uses social media and on which platforms they’re most active. Determine what type of content and messages most appeal to them.

2. Limit the platforms: Many businesses think that they need to have an active presence on every social platform. But that's not always true. Using your target audience research, select the platforms that the target audience is using. Generally, businesses (especially smaller organizations) should limit their activity to two to three platforms. It’s best to select a few, and be targeted and regularly active rather that trying to do as little as possible on as many platforms as possible. For example, if the business audience is mainly B2B, Twitter and LinkedIn may be all that’s needed.

3. Provide the right mix of content: Businesses shouldn’t try to sell 24/7 on social media platforms. They should provide a mix of content, preferably a combo of thought leadership and promotions/sales content. Thought leadership content is content that provides information to the audience, usually via studies, articles, videos, infographics, etc. This content usually offers "why and how" information. This gives audience members useful data and also entices them to learn more about the company. While there’s no hard and fast rule, usually for every one promotional post on social media, there should be two to three thought leadership pieces.

4. Engage with your followers: Just posting messages and thought leadership content isn’t enough on social media. Businesses also need to engage with their potential followers. They need to respond to questions, retweet (on Twitter)/share other people’s content, interact with influencers, and more for people to even start noticing the brand. Read what others are posting, especially influencers, and respond to their posts. Ask questions, and invite followers to share their thoughts. One of the major reasons to limit the number of social networks is to make it easier to be more interactive.

5. Have a voice: Generic, boring social media accounts don’t get a lot of attention. A company must establish who it is online. Is the company the “news” outlet in their industry? Are they known for creating a little controversy? Figure out the best angle for the company and stick with it. Don’t be one way one day and another way the next. People will get turned off by the inconsistency.

Social media can be a highly effective way to reach new audiences, but businesses must find and engage with the right audiences from the get-go.