The Entrepreneur Africa Magazine

STATEGIES FOR GROWING SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWING

It’s no argument under the sun that social media is a huge part of the 21st Century. Social media is here to stay and we live in a virtually digital world. Individuals, brands, organizations and institutions use various social media platforms every single day to stay connected with their audiences, sell their products, raise awareness and drive business. Therefore, it is important to know how to use social media strategically to attract the right audience for whatever the motive/purpose for your use of social media may be. Be it for business, work, content creation or simply personal use. When social media is used strategically great magic could happen.

However, simply having 1,000,000 Instagram followers or 1,000 Twitter fans is not the best indicator of social media success. It is possible to have thousands of followers who never read your posts or click on your links. The key is to build a thriving community of ideal fans and followers who actively engage with your content, share it with their networks and ultimately become paying customers. It takes great effort to establish such but it would pay off, big time in the long run.

Looking to grow your social media audience and have an active community?

This article explores different strategies to grow your social media following be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube. Grab some popcorn and have a good read.

  1. Hold Contests/Giveaways

This is a great way to get new people to like and follow your accounts while also keeping your current followers engaged. It’s worth experimenting with contests on every social media platform on which you are active. Some examples of social media contests include:

– Comment to win- Participants leave a comment or answer a question correctly to win.

– Caption contest – Either the best caption (you choose) or the one with the most likes wins.

– Fill-in-the-blank Contest – Ask participants to answer a trivia question.

– Photo contest – Either the best photo (you choose) or the one with the most likes wins.

Now it’s one thing to hold the contests, it’s another thing to carry out these contests successfully. The key for carrying out such contests include the following:

  • Promote it everywhere- Use your website, email list and other social networks to drum up participation.
  • Do not give away prizes completely unrelated to your brand- For example, if you give away a new iPad, you might drive a lot of engagement and participation, but not necessarily from people who will eventually become customers or lifelong fans.
  • Follow the platform rules- Each social media platform has its own rules and regulations around contests.
  • Follow up with the entrants who didn’t win- Send them a thank you for participating along with something about your brand/organization’s work.
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  1. Include a visual in every post

Visuals are super essential on social media, ensure to always include eye catching, colourful image with each post. Content with relevant images rack up to 94% more views than content without images. Compared to other types of content, visual content is more than 40x more likely to get shared on social media. Instagram photos showing faces get 38% more likes than photos without faces. You can also use free graphic design tools like Canva to add graphics to your blog entries and social media posts.

 

  1. Share more video

Video is the most engaging content type on every social media platform, so if you can, it’s a good idea to create at least some form of video content to maximize engagement. Be sure to upload your video directly to your platform rather than posting a link to an outside website (like YouTube). This way, your video will attract people who scrolling through their feeds, grabbing more attention. Lots of views can lead to increased reach, engagement and exposure for your brand.

 

  1. Be proactive in listening to and responding to your online community

Responding to your existing followers is one of the best ways to stay interactive with your audience. About 83% of your Facebook fans and 71% of your Twitter followers now expect a response from you on the same day that they pose a question on each respective platform. As a matter of fact, 32% of Twitter users now expect to be responded to within just 30minutes. Even your viewers on YouTube expect a rapid response to their comments on your videos too.

Therefore, as much as possible give your followers a fantastic user experience on social media by being exceptionally responsive.

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It is also important to publicly recognize people who retweet, favourite and mention your brand on Twitter, thank users who comment on Instagram and YouTube.

Make your online community feel heard and acknowledged and they’re more likely to become raving fans and your most loyal social media ambassadors.

 

  1. Change your Page profile photos and cover photos

Your profile photos and banners communicate a lot about your brand. They are also some of your best and most-viewed social profile elements. Therefore, use these visual tools to showcase the impact of your work, and the stories of those who benefit from your service.

On Facebook, consider changing up your cover photo at least once per month, and remember to write a great caption. On Twitter, use your profile picture and banner photo to highlight your great work. Don’t just stretch out and pixelate a horizontal version of your logo- no one wants to just connect with just a logo on social media. On YouTube your profile pictures and thumbnails are as important as the video itself. Personalize, humanize and customize every channel you can, with a visual image than speaks volumes.

 

  1. Give people a reason to follow you

Why should people look at your page and follow you? Give both prospective and current fans reason to follow you on multiple platforms. Don’t simply ‘set it and forget it’ with generic, automated links blasted across all of your social media channels. Let your content be tailored for each channel’s users.

Look to strategically use each social media channel based on its strengths and demographics, and give your target audience a good reason to connect with you on that specific network.

Analyse reasons why people are found on each network then formulate a plan to consistently post and share content that resonate with those audiences.

 

  1. Encourage tagging

An effective strategy to engage your followers is to encourage them to tag other people who may benefit from or enjoy a specific post. This way, new people can get to know about your page and become followers themselves.

 

  1. Explore paid social

Levelling up your social media success often involves allocating ad spend, however limited it may be.

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One of the best ways to grow your audience and be more exposed is to invest a decent amount into paid social advertisements. When done well, paid social ads can promote your content, increase conversions and help you reach new people. Facebook’s advanced options, in particular, can be hugely beneficial in reaching just the right people with your paid outreach.

 

  1. Never, ever buy followers and fans

Some people assume that purchasing fans and followers is a shortcut to building a huge community. This is not only a bad practice but will largely end up being more of a problem than it’s worth.

This is because it pollutes your audience with robot profiles, which will ruin your audience insights, limit your ongoing performance and will end up restricting the organic reach of your posts. And that’s before you consider ads. For example, if you tried to boost one of your Facebook posts, Facebook’s system would look to show it to more people like those who already follow your Page. You’d essentially be paying to reach bots, and the same implications apply to various other ad targeting measures.

Therefore, focus on creating posts and sharing information that will attract the right people who will engage, take action and cultivate for a deeper relationship along the line.

 

  1. Be Entertaining

Brands that exhibit humanity and humor do well on social media- but that said, you should always ensure that any content you do share makes sense for your particular audience and your brand voice.

 

  1. Use hashtags to get found

Use popular hashtags strategically and sparingly. There are thousands of hashtags out there, find the ones that are relevant to your content and audience. Also, participating in relevant trending topics and current events. People searching for that particular hashtag just might come across your post and will hopefully check you out and even follow you.

Just as said in the prior, when social media is used strategically, great magic can happen. Social media platforms can be a great way for brands and organizations even individuals to connect with stakeholders, cultivate loyal followers and expand their reach and audience.

Give some of these tactics a try to start building your social media following today.

Adios!

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