Millions of words have been written already about the benefits that you can achieve as business owner or entrepreneur from social media sites. With a well-run social media presence, your brand will essentially promote itself, as your fans and followers interact with you and recruit their own networks in doing so. Social media can provide an intimate connection between any brand and its supporters, giving them something to interact with and brand owners a way to crowdsource ideas, gauge interest for new ventures, and promote their newest products and developments. But, all of these social media benefits, as powerful as they are, depend on one thing: actually having a following on social media sites.
Before you can utilize social media to promote your business and unlock the powerful benefits mentioned above and discussed in depth all over the internet, you need to have people who are interested in your business actively showing their support on social media sites. The good news is that if you are dedicated to your social media profiles’ success, there are a ton of ways you can quickly build up followers. Here five easy ideas to help you build up your social media following base.
1. Offering Coupons
Everyone loves to find a great deal, and people will go through a whole lot more than you’d think to secure a coupon. By offering a coupon discount for each customer’s like or follow, you will quickly see your follower numbers get boosted. Plus, you will provide something of value to your followers that may turn them into long term paying customers. Coupons can range from discounts, to small free giveaway items. Be conservative about what you offer, and only provide discounts that you are comfortable with.
2. Recruit Fans in Person
If you have a brick and mortar location for your business, you already have a built in fan base of customers that walk through your doors, and it’s probably easier than you think to recruit those in person fans and convince them to become online supporters. A simple “like us on Facebook” sign near your cash register or door can be very effective, but you can easily take it beyond that too. Adding calls to action on receipts with simple “like/follow” request can help you build up your follower base quickly. And be sure to coach your staff to mention your social media profiles to all of your regulars in a friendly and conversational manner.
3. Target Email Lists
In some situations it can be easier to build up a mailing list than a social media following base. Especially if you have a website that helps you collect email lists, you might see your email subscriber numbers jumping up a whole lot faster than your social media likes. So use this to your advantage to advertise your social media profiles directly with your email lists, reaching out to your email subscribers and asking them to “like” and follow your numerous pages. Fans that have already given you their email address are more likely to be comfortable showing their support on social media, and may just haven’t thought about doing so yet. By putting your social media profiles on the front of their minds, you will see your follower numbers move towards your email list numbers.
4. Interact with Fans
Social media is all about interaction and having a conversation, and the more you interact with your existing fans, the more you will see their networks turn into supporters to. On twitter, make sure to thank every follower with a shout-out when your follower base is just starting to take off, as they will be likely to “retweet” your thank you’s, spreading your visibility to all of their followers as well. And every time you get a new comment on Facebook or Instagram, make sure you reply and show you are present on social media, as doing so will encourage others to interact with you and further boost your visibility.
5. Run Social Media Ads
Ultimately, part of the reason why social media is so powerful is that you don’t have to pay to advertise your brand. But when you are first getting started, it can be a smart idea to invest some money into social media advertising to help your social media profiles take off. Facebook specifically has some powerful advertising tools that help you reach out to local customers in your area and turn them into online supporter. Twitter has similar advertising tools, though they aren’t quite as powerful or targeted.
It’s All About Consistency
Your follower bases won’t explode overnight. But as long as you follow the five tips above, and start experimenting to see what works for your brand and audience, they will grow steadily over time. IT’s all about consistency, and as long as you remain dedicated to growing your follower bases, your supporter numbers will rise eventually.
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.
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