Whether you like it or not, your business is judged by social media audiences.
Companies with small or inactive social media accounts are often seen as untrustworthy or unprofessional, even when they might be the very best at what they do.
The simple reason for this is because social media is almost always the first port of call for information. It’s quick, simple, and accessible to everyone. If your business page appears “lesser” than a competitors you’ve almost certainly missed an opportunity, which is why knowing how to increase social media followers is really important.
Imagine yourself from the user’s perspective: let’s say you needed a plumber. You search for this on social media and two results pop up. The first is “Pete’s Plumbing”, which has 250 followers. The second is “Paul’s Plumbing”, which has 2,500 followers.
Subconsciously, you’d think Paul’s service offers more value than Pete’s, because it has a larger following and therefore a larger recommendation or approval base. We trust the opinions of others, after all. The sad fact is, in reality, Paul’s service is as much use as a chocolate teapot, meanwhile poor Pete has dipped out on another prospect.
Whilst size is certainly not everything – after all, there are plenty of huge social media pages which are quite frankly terrible – increasing social media followers should be a key part of your digital marketing strategy.
Let’s talk about how to do it. Pete, you should listen up, mate.
PICK THE RIGHT PLATFORM
Being on the best social media platform for your business is absolutely critical.
So often, many businesses feel almost obliged to operate across all of them, and usually the results are disappointing. Whilst widening your capture net is good in some instances, it is far better to take charge of less and do that properly, rather than tackling several half-heartedly.
If you're a B2B business, LinkedIn should be your No.1 platform of choice. It is specifically designed for networking and connecting with like-minded people from your sector. Here at FINALLY, we use LinkedIn every day. It is our go-to.
If you’re a B2C business, consider how you want to present yourself to a social media audience, or what elements of a platform are most appealing to you. If recommendations and reviews are your thing, opt for Facebook. If you’re looking for the best way to visually show off your work and craft, pick Instagram.
For Pete and Paul, Facebook would be the best destination. It is B2C, with users actively utilising the platform for local tradespeople and services thanks to company pages, residents and community groups, and postcode-specific advertising.
When selecting your social media platform of choice, always keep in mind what kind of follower you want it to attract. If your primary customer is a middle-aged CFO, chances are they aren’t gonna be too fussed about scrolling through filtered pictures and Stories on your Instagram. They’ll be looking for action-driven content which provides them solutions and options.
BE ACTIVE AND ENGAGED
Your active participation on social media is fundamental in understanding how to increase social media followers. You wouldn’t buy a houseplant and expect it to grow without watering it. Your social media page is the same. It takes direct action from you in order to prosper.
You simply must commit to being present on the platform – posting regular content which is helpful and/or interesting to your target audience. Whether that’s daily, or a handful of times per week, is at your discretion, but we’d recommend accessing your social media page every day – regardless of whether it’s a posting day or not.
You see, you need to prove to your followers that you actually exist. It is very easy nowadays to hide behind a scheduling tool and never actually visit your social page. I mean, you’re updating it with new stuff, so like who cares? Well, they do.
You need to be answering their questions, replying to their comments and feedback, and furthermore, making an effort to comment on other people’s pages and posts, too.
Why? Well because it shows your value in your marketplace. Sharing your opinion, showing support, or just generally engaging with other users across the platform breeds transparency and trust.
Sure, Pete might only have 250 followers right now, but everyday he is making new “friends”, and everyday he posts, comments, and shares, he’s influencing more of them. Soon enough, one of them will have a leak that needs sorting, and they ain’t gonna be going to Paul this time...
HAVE AN OPINION
Somewhat off the back of the last point, having an opinion is super important on social media. The whole “if you haven’t got something nice to say, say nothing” mantra really doesn’t apply here.
That’s not to say you should become some kind of internet troll, but voicing your thoughts and feelings – particularly on key topics in your sector – helps breed authority. It puts you and your business firmly in the conversation.
The more Pete engages with followers on his social platform of choice, the more they trust and recommend him. The more Pete shares his opinions on issues and subjects they care about, the more they favour him over his competitors – thus growing his following and his business opportunities.
You aren’t going to please everybody, but by saying nothing, you are essentially doing nothing. Social users have short attention spans; their time and interest is what you are fighting to win. Give them a reason to listen to you. Give them a reason to care.
We touched on this point earlier, but posting regular content on your social media page will drastically improve your chances of increasing social media followers.
A good foundation for posting would be three times a week; you can certainly do more, but we wouldn’t recommend less. If you decide to post multiple times on the same day, make sure this isn’t in close proximity (always leave at least four hours between posts) as this will affect your “reach”.
Reach is a fancy social buzzword which essentially means how many people see your post. If too many posts arrive in quick succession, the social platform won’t present all of them to everyone. Without getting too technical, it’s an algorithm thing to help prioritise, as well as reduce spam.
When posting, think about who you want to see it, and what you want them to do with it. If your business is open Monday-Friday between 9am-5pm, and your post goal is to get the audience to contact you, there isn’t much point posting on Saturday at 7:30pm.
Also aim to post a variety of different content types on your page. This will help increase your following because you will appeal to a more diverse consumer. Some people prefer videos, others like blogs, and some just like images. All of these forms of content are fantastic, and they all should be part of your social arsenal.
Here’s an example of a simple weekly social media posting schedule:
Monday - Video/Image
Tuesday - N/A
Wednesday - Blog/Guide
Thursday - N/A
Friday - Video/Image
Saturday - N/A
Sunday - N/A
USE KEYWORDS AND HASHTAGS
And lastly, making good use of keywords and hashtags as part of your social posts will be extremely helpful in enabling your content to reach more people – increasing your opportunities for new followers.
Keywords and hashtags are search terms which users are browsing for. Like my earlier example of searching for a plumber and finding our mates, Pete and Paul.
Specific terms of relevance and importance in your sector should be used in order for your content to show up in the right places, to the right people. If your social post is a video talking all about your company’s environmental efforts, you should include certain words and hashtags as part of your post caption.
So, for example, let’s say the topic is your carbon footprint. Some good keywords and hashtags to feature as part of your post would be “carbon footprint”, “carbon neutral”, “environment”, “eco friendly”, “sustainability” and “save the planet”.
A keyword is simply a written or spoken word/s which is being searched for – such as “carbon footprint”. You just have to type it out and that’s it.
A hashtag is slightly different. It could be that same term, but it’s stylised with a # symbol at the beginning, which creates a hyperlink to a portal which features all other uses of that term. This would be displayed as #carbonfootprint.
Including search-friendly terms for your desired follower on your social page and its posts will help you find more and more suited viewers. This in turn will help you increase social media followers, and if you’re like Pete, and getting the upper hand on bloody Paul.