How to Grow and Engage Your Social Media Audience
17 Mar, 2021
Building a large following on Social Media is an essential part of a modern digital marketing strategy for all businesses. Doing so will provide you with an audience for events and promotions, a useful communication channel for customer service, and a vital source of feedback for improving your business and its products. The larger your following the greater the help Social Media can provide in these areas. This is why you need to actively seek to grow your audience. Here are 5 ways to grow your audience on social media.
#1 Have A Social Media Plan
No one subscribes to a social media account because they want to see more adverts. To build an audience and keep it engaged on Social Media you need to be more than a digital market stall owner shouting ‘apples buy your apples!’ — you need a content strategy that gives the audience a reason to stay interested. This normally takes planning, don’t worry, it doesn't have to be over complicated, it’s just about thinking about your posts collectively rather than individually. You need to ask yourself:
how is the story I am telling on Social Media supporting the narrative objectives of my brand?
You shouldn’t always be thinking about selling your products in your posts, but you should always be wondering if people who might buy my products would be interested in this.
If you have already been active on Social Media for a while, take the posts you have already posted, find which ones worked well and sort them into categories. If you haven’t started yet, plan as many posts ahead as you can and sort those ideas. What you will find is that these posts will fit into a handful of categories: product updates, industry trends, national holidays, customer questions etc. Once you have worked out the key areas your content will explore it’s just a case of setting a schedule and alternating between these themes. By setting your topics ahead of time you give your mind a little time to play with ideas for the coming posts. If you do this your posts will improve because the added structure and extra time will improve the effectiveness and relevance of Your ideas. you will avoid the paralyzing feeling of being put on the spot that making up content as you go along often creates. If you want to grow your audience, you need to post content regularly, often the hardest part of doing this is keeping the interesting content coming. Going through this process of planning will make this much easier to do.
#2 Get Visual On Social Media
Once you have decided upon your brand's narrative for Social Media your next job is to make it as engaging as possible. On Social Media this isn’t just about the words. If you take a look on the Social Media pages of businesses you will find much more than just written posts: short videos, gifs, infographics, memes to name a few. The movement in videos draws the eye, making video posts inherently more engaging in a feed than just text.
You also need written texts but you should always be thinking about how you can make these posts more visually appealing, combining written posts with engaging images is going to get many more clicks than just plain text. If you don’t have your own graphics team you should consider buying a subscription for a stock image site. Many of these sites allow you to purchase image rights for as little as $1 an image. Sharing YouTube and gifs are also a great way to engage users. Relevant visual content such as infographics are also highly shareable. Especially if they tap into current trends on social media. Take advantage of the trend insights on your social media channels and brand monitoring tools to stay up-to-date on these trends.
#3 Join The Conversation
Content is what attracts the attention of your audience, but it is their response to it that creates the buzz that will make it trend. Social Media is a two-way channel — it’s called Social Media for a reason. You want to attract new followers by creating posts that get many shares and comments. A big part of doing this is creating content that demands a response and starts a conversation. A great of doing this is posting content that makes a definitive statement that others can enjoy disagreeing with. So posts promoting this article on Social Media shouldn’t just say ‘here are some tips’ it should say we think these are THE MOST IMPORTANT tips for success. The simplest way to add this conversational element to most content is to add a direct question to the user asking them to respond. So the post promoting this article on social could also close by saying “what do you think is the best way to build a following?” You can also add a personal element to your content to make it even more engaging. So if I was promoting this article on LinkedIn, I could post a video on my personal Social Media talking about how the hardest part of Social Media Marketing is building a following and how I overcame those difficulties.
Because Social Media is a two way conversation, your brand doesn’t always have to be the starter. Many brands monitor their social media and respond to interesting and fun things that their customers have to say. This is a great way of strengthening your following and can lead to some really great engagement and interaction. A great example of this is American Fast food restaurant Wendy’s who when asked by cheekily teenage customer Carter Wilkinson
Yo@Wendys how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets?
Amazingly Carter managed to get the 18 million retweets which paid for the costs of the nuggets several times over in terms of PR buzz and expanded reach. This is a great example of why responding to customer comments and questions is one of the most important ways of building a following and connection on Social media. When followers react to your content, they are sending you a strong signal of interest. Make sure you don’t squander this connection by failing to show your appreciation.
#4 Use Your Competitors to help you reach a bigger audience.
If you haven’t found this audience yet, the best place to start is with your competition. You may think you don’t have any competition, that your business is unique. I’m sure your business is special but there must be other businesses out there selling the products you sell and some of them will have a social media strategy that will improve yours. Perhaps they are posting articles from publications that are covering current hot topics that should also explore or they are or working with influencers who may also be interested in reviewing your products. Social Media is a treasure trove of ideas and examples of what works and what doesn’t so before you try to reinvent the wheel see what your competition is up to. Social Monitoring tools like those offered in rankingCoach, allow you to track the activities of multiple competitors, saving you time and making sure you don’t miss out on any great ideas that will expand your following.
#5 Find your Niche
Marketing guru Seth Godin believes that building a successful business these days is all about finding and serving "The smallest market that can sustain you, the smallest market you can adequately serve". Nowhere is more important than Social Media Marketing. One of the biggest mistakes SMBs makes when taking their business on Social Media is going too broad. When you are coming up with a content strategy for your business’s social media, always have a target audience in mind. Regardless of what you sell there will be an audience of people out there enthusiastic about your products. Use all the other five tips above to find and serve this audience and you will soon find a whole new audience interest in all the great things you have to offer.