Social media can be a great way to promote your business. If you’re using a content marketing strategy, social media should be a key component of your content distribution model.
But if you’re starting at the beginning with social media for your business with zero followers, how do you build an audience of faithful followers?
1) First and foremost you have to post content that people find valuable.
That will mean different things to different types of businesses. For an accountant valuable content might be tips about what kind of expenses are tax deductible that people don’t generally know about. Or it could a tip on record keeping that will save time and money at tax time.
For a restaurant, it could be photos of a tasty new dish or an announcement of a special event like a famous musician playing on Saturday night. Even a staff announcement can be considered valuable. Like when everyone’s favorite bartender had a baby. Bonus points for a picture of the newborn. Everyone loves a baby!
People will engage and share content they consider valuable. This is very important for social media platforms like Facebook, which drastically punishes content that no one interacts with. Bad content will get your content into a social media black hole that’s very hard to get out of and no one, not even your followers will see your posts.
2) Start internally. According to a study by the Pew Internet Research Project the average social network user has 636 contacts across the various networks.
Let’s say that you have 10 employees, that means if they all ask their contacts to connect with your business account, that’s over 6,000 requests without any content posting at all. So start internally.
Ask current customers and prospects to follow. You can do this by offering up some helpful content when you ask.
3) Mention relevant brands. There are a couple of tactics you can use to accomplish this. The first one uses brands in your content so that you can let them know you mentioned them in the content and hopefully they will redistribute your post.
Let’s go back to our accountant example. If you write a blog post with tips about how small businesses can save time with tips on using Quickbooks more effectively, you can tweet @QuickBooksand say something like “Hey @quickbooks I mentioned you in this article I wrote with tips about small business can save time with Quickbooks.”
Now Intuit, the company that makes Quickbooks, is big, so you might think they would never respond to a small business. But most companies these days use social media as a new form of customer service. They have full time social media people whose full time job it is to interact with the public. You could get a favorite from them or even a retweet.
I have had a lot of success with this tactic. It takes a few seconds to do the post, so why not try. The upside is lots of clicks on your links and quite often other retweets from their followers.
4) Identify social media influencers and let them know about your content. The idea here is to identify people who have a decent number of followers who are also likely to share content with a similar subject to the content you’ve created.
Luckily, there is an awesome tool for this kind of discovery and BONUS, it’s free! It’s called Buzzsumo.
Buzzsumo lets you enter a topic, keyword or even a domain to search for the most shared content on that subject. You can filter by kind of content: article, infographic, video, etc. You can also filter by date, i.e. past 24 hours, past week, past month and past 6 months.
You’ll get articles that have been shared the most over the past six months. You can see shares by platform and the totals. Plus you can click the “view sharers” button and see who shared it. This is where the gold is.
As you can see in the image above you’ll see who shared the article, their page and domain authority (from Moz), their number of followers, and retweet ratio.
You can also export this into a spreadsheet and create your own ranking. I like to weight the list based on number of followers and their retweet ratio.
Then you can reach out to these people and let them know about your article and ask them to retweet it if they like it. Don’t forget that last part.
Since it’s similar in subject matter to other content they have liked, your odds are good that you’ll get some action on your post.
5) Share others articles and tag them in your share. You also need to share links to content other than your own. If you’re seen as someone who mixes it up by sharing your own content and others’ then people will perceive you as someone who shares for the purpose of helping your followers.
As soon as you’re perceived on social media as a person who’s just selling yourself, you’re dead in the water.
But you can benefit by sharing others’ articles. When you find a great article, share the link and tag the author. Mention why you like the article. Get specific. For example, “I especially agree with tip number 3 ‘Share only quality’ in this great article about social media for business by @joesmith.”
This way Joe Smith will see your compliment and almost always will retweet it because it helps them as well. Plus you start the foundation of a nice social media relationship with that author.
These 5 tips will get you well on your way to dramatically growing your business’ social media following very quickly. So get out there and share!
If you like this article, try this one How to Walk The Fine Line Between Social Sharing and Spamming