Growing your following in Social Media

By: Ant Hodges

Date: 6 June 2012

"How can I increase my following in Twitter?" or "How can I get more likes on my Facebook page?" are questions that many start-ups ask when they think about joining the social media world. People are obsessed with growing their following so that they can be seen to have tens of thousands of people following them, hoping that one or two percent may just buy when they ask. In my opinion, you should focus on the quality of your social media following rather the size of it.

However you choose to use social media, you must first have a way to measure your success in it. The first question is: Why do you want more followers?

Numbers give no real value in social media

Followers just for numbers' sake is not going to give you any value in social media. Any business should aim to build a list of really engaged followers rather than just looking to increase followers.

If you really want to grow your following in sites such as Twitter and Facebook, think about these four main activities below.  Following this strategy will increase your followers organically and build you an audience of people that are interested, who want to engage and maybe even buy from you:

Send out links to articles that you will write on your blog to show your expertise in your chosen industry

Not just sales messages and 'client wins this month'  type of posts, but real insight into what you do and how your knowledge can really make a difference in people's lives and businesses.

If you focus on this and deliver real value, then people will see you as an expert and want to come back for more, tell others about it and you will build huge credibility with your audience for what you do.

Go out of your way to help others in social media that are asking questions that you can answer

Using tools such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck allow you to connect your various social media accounts to desktop or mobile versions of these tools. They are social media management tools - giving you one place to use all your social media accounts at the same time, so that you don't have to log in to all of them, one after another.

Within both of these tools you can create columns with search criteria that will show you all the tweets or updates related to the terms you want to find.

For example, if you are a graphic designer you may want to set up search columns around the 10 most frequently asked questions about graphic design. If people ask questions such as "can anyone recommend a logo designer?" you would see this and be able to respond.

Avoid buying Likes and Followers

Avoid buying likes and followers from sites that offer this. This will just fill your accounts with lots of SPAM and they will be of no use. Instead focus on building a following or community of people that will listen and engage with what you have to say.

Aim to get people out of social media to your website or blog

Drawing people back to your hub (your website or blog) will get them away from social media. Social media is where conversations happen. People don’t go into social media to be sold to. Encourage people to read more about what you have to offer on your blog around which you can display your products and services that you have to offer. Then they can choose to engage with you after they see you are an expert in what you do.

Ant Hodges is the owner and managing director of HodgeNest, an SEO and Internet marketing company, and also mentors start-up business owners.

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