Every entrepreneur knows the importance of social media marketing. There are paid options, but if you are new or on a budget, it’s possible to make the process free. Garnering substantial followings across channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn not only help influencers reach as many people as possible, they become a foundation of credibility. If you are an entrepreneur that browses different accounts and makes a note of how many people follow them, you cannot help but think: if so many people support this person, their content must be good. So, how do you go about emulating these influencers?
Post exciting material
Content is essential. Would you go into a museum that had three mediocre exhibits you could easily see elsewhere, even if the Smithsonian itself plastered its name over the door? No one will follow you if there is nothing interesting to look at. You need to get people excited about what you are doing: your business ventures, the peers you meet, and even your failures (everyone needs to see successful individuals humanized, so people might appreciate your transparency and hope to learn from your mistakes).
Make sure your material is relevant to the platforms you post them on. What goes on LinkedIn will not necessarily work for Twitter. Almost all social channels are dependent on images, though, so snap photos of your day-to-day work life and more intriguing events. If you travel for business, post images of you in unique locations. If you sell houses, show off the ones that are designed well. If you can catch an internet user’s eye, you have completed the first step in capturing their full attention.
Be worth following
Besides posting content worth looking at, you need to be consistent. Returning to the museum analogy, if you find an incredible establishment with exciting exhibits that never change, how often are you likely to be a recurring visitor? Not very often, so remember to regularly update your channels with fresh material to keep followers coming back.
Be strategic about what kind of content you share. Insight into your professional life is excellent, but younger generations of social media users are particularly passionate about brands’ social, environmental, and economic responsibility. How you change your customers’ lives, how you treat your employees, how often you speak out on important issues, and other factors will influence Millennials’ and members of Gen Z’s decision to follow you.
Network with other influencers
Want to know how to acquire Instagram followers and get Facebook likes? Tap into other influencers’ audiences. If you have a peer or colleague with a fan base of any size, ask them to drop your name. Social media users trust the people they follow, so if they vouch for someone else, then their content must be worthwhile, right?
If you have the relationship to do so, feel free to ask outright for promotion. Otherwise, begin networking by commenting on posts from influencers you admire, re-share their material, and engage with them online when they respond to you. Don’t be pushy or obviously hungry for attention—expert influencers will smell you a mile away and might not want anything to do with you—so act like a genuine fan, and let discussions of your own brand arise organically.
Network with your followers
You do not need to fish for promotions with your followers, but you do need to build relationships with them. Do you know what else makes a great museum? One with incredible customer service and tour guides. People might come for your content, but they should stay because you make them feel seen and heard. Respond to comments, engage in conversation, answer questions, and re-share user-generated material. Interactions should be two-way, not just you tossing captioned photos into the air and hoping people appreciate them.
Consumers are wary of faceless corporations, so as an entrepreneur, you have more of an opportunity to humanize yourself. Don’t be afraid to crack a joke now and then or embrace the online culture of younger generations. Reminding your followers (and your potential ones) that you are, indeed, a person not only makes you more fun to interact with, but it also encourages people to trust you. Consumers search for transparency and learning opportunities, so you can be an accessible source of both.
If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, it is wise to have a personal or company brand that consumers can identify with. The more you connect with people on a personal level, the more likely they are to double as customers. How will you go about amassing followers on social media?