If you’re just starting out with marketing your business on social media or if you’ve had your accounts setup but haven’t been using them, you need to spend some time up front building your social media following.
8 Steps you Need to Take to Build Your Social Media Following:
Don’t think you can skip any of these and have your marketing efforts work! Yes, it may seem complicated and complex, and it is, however, thinking your can take shortcuts or bypass any of these, will hurt you in the long run and cost your more time and money.
Get to know your Target Market Niche(s): You must identify your target market personas first. This is a crucial step. For instance, you talk to someone under 40 differently than you would to someone over 40. (Related Content: How to Reach the Generations on Social Media)
- Do some research on the social networks and your target: Find out:
- Which networks do they frequent the most?
- What are their buying habits?
- What’s the best strategy to get their attention?
- Check out your competition too! What are they doing online?
- Develop a Strategic Plan where you indicate:
- What are your goals, metrics and objectives?
- What type of content are you going to create (blog, video, pictures, podcasts) and the type of content are you going to share from trusted industry sources? You can’t just share your stuff.
- Create specific strategies for each of the social media networks:
- If you’re B2B, your primary network will be LinkedIn.
- If you’re B2C, your primary networks will be Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
- A secondary network for both would be Twitter (for exposure and SEO).
- Don’t ignore Facebook and Pinterest if you’re B2B – it still helps with reaching people. And if you’re B2C, don’t ignore LinkedIn – it gives you credibility and LI users are consumers, too! These are tertiary networks.
Put together a tactical plan: You’re going to spend more time up front building a following in your PRIMARY NETWORKS.
- Both: Automate content posting using free tools like HootSuite, Buffer or Dlvr.it. This could be your re-shared blog posts as well as other related and relevant content of interest to your target market from trusted sources. Use Feedly.com to organize your blog subscriptions.
- Figure, if you’re starting from scratch or haven’t been on the networks for a while, you’ll need to spend from 60-90 minutes a day in building your following. The longer your wait to do this, the longer it will take to start seeing results.
- Go Deeper: B2B or B2C Which Network?
- Search for your target market and follow them on Twitter and Instagram. When you follow someone, they’ll be notified and hopefully, if you’re sharing good content, they’ll want to follow you back. On Twitter, thank people for following you. (That’s the only network where that’s part of its culture.) This should take about 30 minutes a day between all the networks.
- Search for and connect with your target market and referral sources on LinkedIn. Join and participate in groups. Post regularly to your company page. Use hashtags.
- Share quality, relevant content on Facebook. Unfortunately, you can’t search and contact people on Facebook as your business. However, you can start with your own friends and invite them to like our page. Some groups allow business pages to join. Check them out.
- Have both share and follow buttons on your website. Make it easy for people to follow you on the networks and make it easy for them to share your content with their friends. Furthermore, don’t make people work for what you want them to do on your website!
Monitor and Manage
Once you’ve built your social media following, then you are in management, monitoring and maintenance mode. If you’ve mastered the tools, organized your content and got a gist of how each network works, you can manage your social media in 30 minutes a day.
Here are some follower goals for each of the networks for your first month:
- Facebook: 30 likes so you can start seeing your insights then, 100 so you can start monitoring your competition in “Pages to Watch”
- LinkedIn: 50 personal connections; 10 followers on your business page
- Twitter: 100 followers – then you can start getting analytics
- Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat: 10 followers each
Analytics and Insights
At the end of each month, you must review your analytics and insights.
On your website – make sure Google Analytics is setup. You want to keep track of the:
- Number of visitors and page views
- Time spent on your site
- Bounce rate
- Referral sources: Besides the search engines, which social media networks brought in the most visitors to your site? Moreover, these are the ones you want to focus on the next month.
- Conversion rates: How many visitors converted to leads because they clicked on your call-to-action?
- On each of the social media networks:
- Number of followers: Have you reached your goal?
- Most popular posts: Create more of those.
- Best time to post: When are the majority of your fans and followers online to get the most reach?
- Follower demographics: Does this match your target market personas?
- Engagement rate: likes, shares, comments, clicks
Then, adjust your strategic and tactical plans accordingly for the next month.
My goal is to help the small business owner, like yourself, become social savvy enough to effectively market your business online.