5 TIPS TO BUILDING A SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWING

So, if you run any sort of business you really need to be on social media.  Customers expect to be able to interact with businesses on social media platforms, and as you never know which platforms your customers will favour, you need to be on more than one.  I would advise as a mimimim that you need to have a Facebook page (not just a profile), a Twitter account, a LinkedIn presence and Instagram.  That is the minimum and there are others out there, it is up to you to locate your target market and discover where they hang out.  Once you have created the basic presence, use these 5 helpful tips to build that faithful following.

1. Fill Out Your Profiles Fully

It is easy to skip over some of the fields, but you really need to get them completed.  Consider using keywords so that you are easy to find in searches.  Make sure you have your website link, and if appropriate, make that link your landing page dedicated to social leads.  On Facebook add the correct weblink to the descriptions field of your page’s profile and banner images.

2. Create a Brand

On all social media platforms you should create a consistent brand.  If you are promoting yourself, your profile picture should be a suitable image of you in a professional capacity.  A head shot that is used consistently on all your channels.  If you are a business you may want to consider using your business logo as your profile picture and an image of your premises or products as the banner.  As a rule of thumb the banner on Facebook and Twitter can be changed – seasonally or to reflect offers, etc, but your profile picture remains consistent, and is only changed if you change your logo or get a new set of pro head shots done.

3. Make Some Noise

There is no point having these channels if you do not use them.  Social media platforms are not considered pure sales channels.  You need to develop interesting content, relevant to your industry and build your reputation as someone that knows what they are talking about.  Get to know the social media 80/20 rule.  In order to build the audience you are hoping for 80% of your content (across all platforms) should be entertainment, information, educational, funny, emotive, engaging and interesting.  Vitally this should not contain any direct advertising.  Save that for the remaining 20%.  These are the sales posts, the direct and blatant advertising.  Post every day, only once in Facebook and Linked In but more (if desired) on Twitter and Instagram.

4. Get Involved

Make an effort not to be a keyboard recluse.  Ok, so social media is a solitary job.  Those of us that do it full time know how isolating life can be, which is why it is vital to get involved in online communities.  There will be interest groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, join those and interact with other people (scary!) On Twitter and Instagram it is harder to do this, but be sure to get involved with interaction.  Social media used to boil down to slinging posts up, that met the 80/20 rule and walking away.  However, responsive social media marketing dictates that you never leave a contact out in the cold.  Answer questions, reply to comments, generally make your audience feel like you care and are really out there.

5. Hashtag in the Right Places

As a general rule, you hashtag in Twitter (just 2), Instagram (it allows 30 but I say stick to about 10) and LinkedIn (when you are sharing content).  Hashtags are lost on Facebook.  Hashtags are not for sentences, but should be structured to ensure those looking for you can find you.  Have a look at hashtagify.me, pop in your ideas and it will spit out the highest ranking hashtags in that area.

If you follow these tips you will be well on your way to creating a social media presence that you can be proud of.

Anna Everett is a responsive social media marketing expert, author and self confessed Geek Girl.

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