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Welcome to another Swift 6. In this latest video I’ll be tackling one of the trickier questions that face small online businesses: How do you build a social media following? It’s something that’s hard to do, but it’s really worth persevering. Let’s get started.

Social tools

I mentioned a couple of tools in the video. Here’s the link to Followerwonk and this one’s for Buzzsumo.

View Transcript

Hello and welcome to another 123-reg Swift 6. This week I’m going to be talking about six ways you can build your social media following.

First of all, you need to define your goals and always keep them in mind when you’re using social media. You need to think about why people might want to follow you on social media. Is it because you’re providing great customer service so that they know they can always go to you and get that good customer service, they know they’re going to have their problems resolved and they themselves will talk about your brand, will follow you and will recommend others to follow you because you are providing that great level of customer service? Or is it for other reasons? Is it because you’re entertaining them on social media, you’re perhaps sharing amazing pictures with them or great facts or interesting content? Or is it because you’re being really useful to them, you’re helping solve their problems so that they want to follow you because they see you as really helping them out, really addressing the issues that they’re facing.

So you need to define your goals, define what you’re using social media for and then really stick to it and be consistent about what you do. If you’re consistent, then people will know what to expect from you and will in turn recommend and share your content with others, but recommend others to follow you as well.

The second thing to think about if for you to try to understand who your audience is and use this to pick which is the right platform for you on social media. You’ve got to think about where your customers are, who your customers are, what age are they, are they male of female, are there established communities of your customers already for example on Instagram or Pinterest?
Use this information to create accounts on the right platforms. There’s no point in you creating an account on Instagram if you’re actually going off to people who are over 50 because mainly they don’t use that platform. So use the information to create an account on the right platform and then make those platforms look really good. Make them be a good introduction to your brand and populate them with interesting content but ensure that when the user comes and sees your social media account, whether that is on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook or whatever, that it’s a true reflection of your brand and that that channel looks busy and is full of content for them.

The third way that you can build a social media following is by trying to understand what your customers are interested in and understand how that’s relevant to what you do. So you need to know what they’re into, you need to know what they want to know in order to solve their problems and you need to bring that back to what you know in your business and what you’re good at. You need to create content that addresses those issues, addresses those interests, and you need to do it consistently so that people know what to expect from your social media channel.
The other thing you need to do is you need to share that content imaginatively through your social channels. Use great images when you share content, vary the types of ways that you introduce content, use a variety of hashtags, post multiple times a day, at different times. So don’t get too stuck in your ways. So that’s about understanding what your customers are interested in and it’s relevant to what you do, and creating content and sharing that through your social channels.

The forth way that you can build a social media following is by finding good sources of content from other people. Social media doesn’t just have to be about the conversations that you have that are about your brand or that are about you sharing your own content. You can pick other great that’s already out there and share it with your community as well.
I’m not saying necessarily you want to pick content that your competitors are writing about but they must be respected thought leaders, industry websites or magazines, possibly national press that are producing content that’s interesting and relevant to your audience. If you share that, if you make that available to them and if your followers see that it’s you that’s brought them this interesting stuff, then you can to a certain extend bask in the glory of that sharing. So even though you haven’t written this stuff, you’ve been the person that has brought the interesting information to your audience.

The fifth way that you can build a social media following is to find influencers in your market and develop relationships with them and eventually come to be thought of as in influencer yourself. There are some really good free tools out there (we’ll link to them below) but two that I use are: Followerwonk and Buzzsumo. So have a look at these tools. What you need to do is just search in your topic area and they will bring back a list of the top influential people in social media within that particular topic area or niche.

So start off by following these influencers and then try to understand what they’re really into. If they’re writers, and influencers are often writers or creators of content, shart sharing that content. Show some appreciation for it. Also, start commenting on it, don’t just share it on blindly but perhaps give that person some feedback on what you thought of it. Then try asking them questions. What I’m saying here is try to foster a relationship with those influencers.

If you start to be able to chip away and get some kind of relationship then the chances are they might well notice the sort of content that you share as well, and that might be stuff that you share from your brand, that you’ve written on your own blog.

So if, for example, they’ve written an article on a particular topic and you think “oh, that’s relevant to my audience” you might want to take that idea and extend it a little bit on your own blog or provide some content that works in counterpoint to their original. Then share that your influencers saying that “I really like the stuff you wrote there. I’ve got an alternative point of view. What do you think?”

So try to foster that relationship through your social channels and step by step you can start to be welcomed into that community and start to be thought of as an influencer yourself.
The other thing to do on social media is that if people start conversations with you, don’t leave them hanging. Make sure that you get back to them. Social is about having an ongoing interactive relationship with people. Also, another good thing – if you meet anyone at an event, try following them, try interacting with them on social media. It’s a great way to start to foster and build a following.

The sixth thing that you can do, and that is absolutely essential, and most people aren’t doing it so you’re on to a winner if you do it successfully is measure what’s worked in the past and use that information to drive what you’re going to do in the future. So, go in to Twitter Analytics and have a look at what your best performing tweets were as measured by the amount of engagement they got from your followers. So try sharing those tweets again.

Rewrite them, reword them, post them at a different time of the day, use a different hashtag, perhaps use a different image. But take that information and use it to your advantage to try to understand what it was about that particular tweet or that particular share that you made on Twitter. Try to understand what it was that made it popular. Did you use a particular type of image, was it on a particular topic? Did you use language in a particular way or did you ask a question? Use that information, try to learn what works and then do it again and again, and build on it for the future.

That was the Swift 6 – How to build a social media following. I’ll see you next time.

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