Gone are the days when having tens of thousands of followers was the biggest indicator of success on a social platform. Thankfully, these days it’s all about quality, not quantity. Who is following you and whether or not they’re considered your target market, versus any stranger on the internet just to get your numbers up.
While it’s better to have a genuine following, numbers still count, because at the end of the day the more core customers you have in your audience, the more people you have to tell about your amazing products and services.
But, growing your audience can be hard! If you don’t want just any Tom, Dick or Harry sitting idly in your audience, where do you find people?
Utilise the audiences you have access to on all of the social media platforms your business has a presence on - and speak to them! Start conversations in the comments, write engaging things on other peoples’ posts so they are compelled to reply with more than just a simple “thanks!”. Give your comments context and make them genuine. The more you appear on other accounts, the greater your reach and better your visibility. People will discover you there.
The invention of bots and fake accounts in recent years meant a rise in bought followers for the sake of appearances. However it quickly became clear when someone had purchased the bulk of their following, as reflected in their engagement levels. High follower count but low engagement = something possibly awry. Don’t be tempted by spammy schemes that arrive in your inbox, if you’re paying for followers or engagement we can assure you it’s not the kind that’s going to benefit your business.
Regularly search and keep an eye out for people and businesses you aspire to be like, would like to work with or collaborate in the future, even just people in your industry you admire - and follow them. Add and follow businesses that you know, even those who you don’t. Following like minded people and businesses, (who will hopefully start to follow you back!) will slowly but surely grow your network.
When you take the proactive approach to growing your audience, delivering great content and actively searching for and following new people, you need to continue engaging with them so they hang around. If someone is taking the time to comment on your post, respond to them! The engagement train goes both ways, you need to be commenting on other posts just as much as you should be responding to those who comment on yours.
One of the most important things to understand when using social media, either personally or for your business, is to treat it like real life. Don’t do or say anything you wouldn’t in the real world, and treat people you connect with like the connections you meet on the street or at an event. So don’t just leave it at an ‘add’ or a ‘follow’, if you are connected with them then introduce yourself!
While one of the keys to growing your audience happens to be engagement, it doesn’t include the spammy, inauthentic kind. When you gain a new follower, don’t go immediately to their profile and hammer them with likes and irrelevant comments. Take the genuine approach and like a couple of their most recent posts if relevant to you, leave a conversation-starting comment, or take it the next step further and send them a quick DM to introduce yourself and say thanks for the follow. The more human = the better.
There is no fast track to a large audience that connects, growing your audience takes time, patience and work! Keep your following genuine and be patient; following these general rules of engagement will keep your audience steadily growing over time and keep the followers that you gain relevant to you and your business. And ideally the kind who turn into customers!
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