Social media is critical to a successful business. Gaining more followers online translates into more customers which can lead to greater revenue.
When you first set up your Facebook accounts, it will be challenging to gain followers outside of family and friends. Where should you begin? Here are some ways in which a startup can build its online presence and gain more followers.
Focus on excellence as a business
The best place to start is to build credibility by providing excellent service. Do not start fantasizing about thousands of followers on Facebook just yet!
Before thinking about how to get people talking about your business it’s important to focus on building a business that is worth talking about.
You must first conquer challenges that new businesses face, whether in terms of customer service or smoothing out bottlenecks in supply chain. If you move too fast with social media campaigns, you will just give customers a public platform in which to vent their dissatisfaction. You will be forced to engage in damage control before you have even built any solid credibility.
Instead, focus on giving your business a strong foundation before aggressively promoting it online.
Create a professional website
Your online presence IS your online image. Build a website that is professional, informative, and clean.
People should find it easy to locate the information and contact you without any hassles. Install social plugins so visitors can follow you online and optimize your website so that it shows up in local search results.
Build social proof
As you acquire new customers, ask them to like your page on Facebook, or follow you on Twitter to learn more about promotional offers. Request reviews of your services on websites such as Yelp. Keep track of all the reviews your business receives, and acknowledge them promptly. Respond to negative or critical reviews in a polite and professional manner.
Collect the best reviews and highlight them on your website where new visitors can spot them easily.
Your website and customer reviews will appear prominently when potential customers search for your business on Google. A large number of positive reviews will build your credibility. In turn, people will want to follow your social profiles.
Create helpful content on a regular basis
Blogging is not just for established companies who can afford to employ an entire army of writers to drum up great content for them week after week. It is a useful marketing tool for all kinds of businesses. You do not necessarily have to hire extra help to write engaging blog posts.
Look at blogging as a way to inform your readers about what you sell. For example, if you are looking to build a business as a nutritionist, blog about the dangers of current health fads. Educate your readers about the basics of nutrition and teach them how to read nutrition labels. Think about all the ways in which your content can help your target audience.
Share your expertise little by little to hook their interest and make them want to contact you should they require your services.
Promote this content on social media to reach out to those who would be interested in the kind of services you are offering. Invite questions and join conversations related to your topic of expertise.
Sharing useful information will help you build credibility on social media which will attract more followers.
Reach out to influencers in your industry
The best way to get noticed on Twitter is to follow influential people and participate in their conversations.
Influencers typically have large followings. By engaging with these authority figures, you get the attention of their followers as well. If they like what you post, and are impressed by your content, they will likely start following you, too.
Write for popular websites
Approach popular and established blogs/publications in your industry and offer to write for them in return for a link back to your website. If you pitch them well, chances are blog owners will be happy to hear you out. If you do get to write for them, make the most of it by sharing your expertise freely. This will be your chance to shine in front of a large audience. You will have to impress them enough to make them want to click on the link to your website or check out your Twitter page to learn more about you.
Educate yourself in the use of hashtags
If you are not social media-savvy, now would be a good time to turn that around. Posting on social media is not complicated. It’s about sharing information and participating in conversations.
Using hashtags on your tweets will increase their visibility. To continue with our example of a nutrition clinic, make use of hashtags such as #nutrition #weightloss #healthyskin #beauty, etc. so your tweets to show up in the feeds of those also interested in these topics. The wider the pool of people who read your tweets, the greater your chances of acquiring more followers.
Here’s a helpful writeup on a smart use of hashtags.
Take charge of your social media presence
Start posting regularly on all the networks you are on. Follow people on Twitter; engage in discussions on Facebook, Quora, and LinkedIn; pose questions; share links to your content – in short, make your presence felt across platforms.
You will gain not just more followers but also more business. People like authoritative answers, and they will check out your website if they are impressed by what they read.
Create a social media plan and stick to it
Building a strong following on social media involves a multi-pronged approach.
- Establish your credentials as a business by providing excellent service and acquiring positive customer reviews.
- Reach out to influencers in your industry.
- Participate in industry-related discussions to establish your voice.
If people like what you post, they will follow you. It’s as simple as that.
Now it’s over to you. Are you struggling to build a presence on social media? What specific challenges are you facing? If you have any questions for us, or even suggestions about how to improve one’s social media presence, please leave a comment and let us know.
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