Ok, ok– so you finally accepted the fact that social media is just a way of life nowadays, especially if you own a business and you’re looking to connect with the world around you. #Hooray! You’ve set up your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, et al., and you’re super stoked about it…except for one little thing: no one’s following you. So what now, you ask? Do I suck at this?
Of course not, young grasshopper. You’re actually in the perfect position to grow your brand via social media, make connections, and learn a boat-load about social media from the ground up. Here are a few key tips to ingest and then implement in your own unique way:
First of all, let your physical clientele know what platforms you’re on: put social media icons on your business cards, on the front page of your website, or on a display in your store. This might seem obvious. But if you’re new to this whole social media game, it’s worth doing!
Secondly (and most importantly!), the whole idea is in the term itself: be social! Gone are the days of stranger danger on the internet–the whole point is to connect and interact with everyone.
Here are some awesome ways to connect:
- Follow others (including brands & people you admire and competitors you might like much less)…they’ll follow back.
- Retweet, repost and share content that’s relevant to you and your audience (this includes your own blog posts, if you have them!)
- Tag followers and key influencers in your posts and tweets. This widens your exposure and puts you in the forefront of people’s minds.
- Introduce yourself with praise, dialogue-building, or any other expertise-related comments on other profiles.
- Respond to questions and comments from your followers.
It’s simple, really: The more you connect and interact with others, the more they’ll return the favor, and you’ll watch your following grow before your eyes.
2. Use Hashtags
Hashtags (which are mainly found on Twitter and Instagram) seem a little silly and non-sensical, but they can actually serve a really helpful purpose. By definition, a hashtag is a “word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.” By using hashtags with certain words or phrases in your messaging, all info using that hashtag will aggregate into one place, making it easier for people to find and follow you. The opposite is also true: if you want to look up information on a certain topic, try searching for a certain hashtag until you find what you’re looking for.
As you experiment with hashtags, research popular ones and see how they can be relevant to you. But a word to the wise: don’t overdo it! Too many hashtags can make your messaging look awkward and unprofessional. Pick and choose the most relevant ones and keep it under five.
3. Compose Brilliant Social Media Profiles
Admittedly, “brilliant” is a relative term and varies depending on who you are, but crafting a social media profile that’s as engaging as it is brief goes a long way in getting you noticed. Studies say you only have seven seconds to make a first impression on someone. The same goes for your social media profile. In a world where we’re constantly inundated with info, it’s easy for your voice to get lost in the shuffle. Consider your profiles your attempt to make a lasting first impression with your audience. Here are a few examples of brands who are doing it right to give you an idea of what works.
4. Create Compelling Content
This seems obvious, right? But you should never assume your content is as awesome as you think it is. It’s important to know the audience you’re trying to reach and what will stick with them. As you grow your following, you’ll learn what people are responding and not responding to. Start with compelling photos (read more about why you should use more pics), tweeting or posting an article that you think your audience would find relevant on your LinkedIn and/or Facebook, or posting a humorous status update. And get creative! Use Vines, YouTube, and Instagram videos to further connect with your audience. Check out these 16 steps to give you more ideas on how to make your content so compelling it’ll be irresistible.
5. Have Fun!
…seriously! Try stuff out, figure out what works and what doesn’t, and adjust your strategy accordingly. When in doubt, look at what other brands are doing and see how you can make that work for you. The bottom line is to share your brand, your voice, and your values with others in a way that’s true to who you are. If you stick that, you can’t go wrong.