Recently, a bug caused some Instagram users to see follower counts drop in drastic measures. It got us thinking…
…Why do brands measure success based on the number of social media followers rather than engagement? Is it because of the ease of explanation to your boss, or because, as a society, we have become obsessed with more, more, more?
Think for yourself, would you instead have 60,000 followers? Or, would you rather be actively having conversations with 3,000 who are genuinely interested in your brand or product?
Focus on making connections and relationships before playing the numbers game.
Three ways to actively use social media to grow your business:
Connect with your current social media audience, let them know you value them.
Your follower numbers are real people (no bots, please). They chose to follow you because they like your content. They want to know how your company can help them solve a problem they are facing. Give them free advice, give them resources to help solve their problems before they ever make a purchase.
Bring value to their day.
Social media opens the door for one-on-one conversations between you and your audience. When a customer engages with your brand, be quick to respond and answer with quality responses.
Remember the definition of “social.” Don’t use the same response over and over; you wouldn’t have a conversation with 15 people in person and give the same response back-to-back, would you? Don’t do that online, either.
Communicating with your current followers lets them know you are thankful for their input, interest in your company, and the value they bring to your community.
All followers are not equal.
Engage with followers who will genuinely enjoy the content you share.
While the numbers game shouldn’t be your #1 priority, we get it. You do want to increase followers. We’re encouraging you to work toward an increase, second to engaging your current followers.
So, let’s talk about the type of followers you do want to gain.
**Spoiler alert, they aren’t random people, and they aren’t followers you buy. We don’t like that. It’s fake. You aren’t creating real relationships.**
Your followers are meant to be the team that roots you on and supports your business. If they aren’t real, they likely aren’t going to help build your business.
Find new followers via searching # that are relevant to your industry and seek out people who interact with other brands comparable or complementary to yours. Remember that Buyer Persona you created? Find that person.
There is some excellent software to help narrow your search and find quality followers that are engaging. We use PeopleMap in our day-to-day. If you have any other great recommendations, leave them in the comments for us to check out!
And don’t forget about your advertisements. If you’re spending the money, target people who are interested in what you’re sharing. Your money will go further when you’re targeting those who intend to do business with you.
Do not measure your success in raw numbers only.
We’ve already touched on this, but it is necessary to review again. The number of account followers is significant, but the numbers are not everything.
The numbers don’t measure the relationships built, they don’t reflect the passion you have for your business, and they certainly don’t show how you’re adding value to your customer’s day.
To sum it up
Merriam-Webster defines social media as forms of electronic communication (such as Web sites) through which people create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, etc.
So at the end of the day, remember social media is a tool of electronic communication to create communities. Communities of real people from around the world.
Don’t aim for higher numbers of followers who don’t care about your business or content. Your goal is to turn followers into customers or clients. So, start with valuable followers.