Social media has evolved a lot since the early days, and building a following isn't really about content anymore - it's about image and brand perception. So how can you develop the kind of brand that people want to follow? Here are four good starting points.
- Provide value.This one comes in at the top of the list because it's the most important. If you want attention on the internet, the easiest way is to do something that people like or give them something they're looking for. Worrying about follower numbers above all else is putting the cart before the horse - if you are helping people solve a problem or showing them something amazing that enriches their lives, the follower numbers will happen as a side effect of building that trust, and better yet they'll be the kind of followers that can be converted.
- Pay attention to analytics. If you're not using analytics tools to find out what "value" means to your audience, you definitely should be. Google Analytics is the obvious place to start, but other tools can give you more specific and tailored data, such as followerwonk for learning more about your Twitter followers, or Facebook Insights. Socialbakers is a good premium tool if you like the one-tool-for-everything model but find that Google Analytics isn't really telling you everything you want to know.
- Connect with other influencers. There's never just one person or brand in a market niche. Use Google or hashtag searches to find the other influencers who are talking about the things that are important to your audience. Add this brands and people, message them, retweet them, and start establishing yourself as a valuable member of their community. Participate in high-visibility online events (tweetchats or webinars, for example) whenever you can. Become the name that people trust by associating with other names that people trust.
- Increase awareness through cross-promotion.Do your Facebook followers know about your Instagram? Have you mentioned your Twitter account on Facebook? Are all your social links prominently displayed on your website? Make it easy for people to find you wherever they prefer to find you, and leverage your individual channel audiences to boost your global audience.
Remember, growing a following isn't an overnight thing. Buying followers won't get you the kind of audience you want - you want real people who are looking for what you provide, who want to build a relationship of trust, and who are good candidates for conversion. It takes time to build that kind of following, but the effort you put into it will pay off, quite literally!
Cogo Interactive is an award-winning digital marketing agency specializing in online marketing strategy, web design, SEO and social media marketing. We work with clients in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC and nationally.