For many brands, attracting new customers is one of the biggest benefits of utilizing social media marketing. In addition to that, building an engaged following is a great way for brands to boost awareness, showcase products or services, and gain valuable insight about their audience. Brands who want to gain followers on social are constantly testing and evaluating their growth methods.
So, we asked 10 digital marketing experts to share their best tips brands can use to gain followers and build an engaged audience on social media.
- Produce informative and engaging content on social Ellina Bereza, Erminesoft
- Be unique Fraser Sutherland, Storage Vault
- Focus on positive customer reviews Gene Caballero, GreenPal, @YourGreenPal
- Create custom QR stickers for Snapchat Austin Iuliano, Snapchat Mastery
- Put a face to the brand Deidre Woollard, Lion & Orb, @Deidre
- Don’t be intimidated by industry leaders Isaac Hammelburger, Webb Mason Marketing
- Post consistently Bob Bentz, Purplegator, @Purplegator
- Utilize current trends Harry Phillips, Itas Solutions, @ItasSolutions
In my experience, the biggest asset you have is your content. If your company produces useful, informative texts, people (and other companies) will get interested in reposting them or accepting a guest publication from you. This is the way to attract new subscribers, grow a bigger audience and increase brand recognition. Write interesting, engaging content, keep track of current trends, be useful, and you will get the social following you need.
If you’re coming into an established industry, the worst thing you can do is copy your competitors. They’re already there. They’ve already carved out a niche. They’ve already won over an audience. Why would a user follow you as well as them? They wouldn’t.
My tip for growing a positive social following is simple. It’s to be different, be unique and be yourself. Don’t try and copy your competitors just because they’re doing well. Instead, carve out your own way of speaking, create your own visual style and engage with people how you choose to. If people see your organization as something different to the rest, it’s only a matter of time until they start following.
Here is something that we have done to make our business stand out and help grow our word of mouth campaign. Online social media has been our biggest platform that has helped grow our business.
With good reviews comes more business. We have been able to capitalize on customers leaving us positive reviews on Google+, Facebook, and Yelp by using unexpected acts of kindness.
We send dog bones out to our homeowners with pets along with a Thank You card. Not only is this very cheap but it lets our customers know that we are listening and that we care. We follow up with an email asking if they received the gift along with a link to our social media pages.
One of the best tips I teach brands in growing their Snapchat audience is to create custom QR code stickers and hand them out. I gain around 100 new followers a day through this mechanism and has generated consistent growth. The second tip I would give is to create a uniquely designed QR code. It generates an extra 20-40% growth in new users.
Put a face to the brand. It’s not always easy being on camera but people respond much better to real authentic people than they do to just products or a highly stylized pitch person.
Ideally, to protect your brand from potentially being aligned with someone who then quits or is undesirable in some other way, you want to have multiple people represented (this is also savvy from a diversity standpoint because it helps show that your product is for everyone). A good example of this is a brand like SoulCycle which includes stories from different instructors around the country and does Snapchat takeovers from their instructors.
Don’t be intimidated by industry leaders and publications. I’ve been able to get in contact with many big name leaders by just reaching out to them on twitter, even if they have 30k followers. You just need to reach out.
What’s surprising is that when you go through an industry magazine or website and start getting in touch with the writers individually, many of them have under 1k followers and are extremely easy to get a hold of. I’ve built many relationships by getting in touch with writers and columnists and just retweeting them a few times.
Have consistency in posting. If you are just getting started with social media, plan on not getting any significant results for the first six months. It takes that long to build a following and many businesses give up before that. Others will give the job to the youngest person in the office
(usually the interns) and then they are gone when Fall arrives and the social media strategy is given up on. Don’t fall into these traps.
Get a social media posting tool. People are busy and you can’t be expected to drop whatever you are doing each week to do another social media post. By utilizing a tool such as Buffer, you can spend Sunday night doing your social media posts for the rest of the week so it doesn’t interrupt your workflow.
Although there is no quick way to boost your social following, however, implementing these 4 tips will get you on your way:
- Post quality content, consistently – try to stick to a content plan of when and what you will be posting
- Utilize current trends and base content around those subjects
- Engage with users that interact with your content
- Ensure to use your brand colors and logo throughout all pieces of content – this will raise brand awareness
Implement an employee advocacy program in order to grow your brand’s social following. Employee Advocacy is the idea that a company can reach 10-15 times more people if their employees share content also. A company page may have 2,000 followers, but all employees collectively could have 20,000.
Employee Advocacy is a marketing trend that allows companies to outperform paid ads by encouraging their employees to share content on their personal social media channels. Companies reach 10-15 times more followers through their employee’s social networks.
My best advice for growing a social following is to engage with the customers. It is the most powerful thing you can do as a brand in order to show that you are 1) human 2) actually care 3) want a relationship with the people you are selling to. Answer their questions, follow their stories, jump into conversations when you’re able. Treating people like they matter to you will open up the floodgates if you’re doing it right and adding it to every campaign.