We all know that being visible on social media is a great way to grow your business and attract a following of new fans and customers. Yet that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Many entrepreneurs, brands, and businesses struggle to gain traction on social media channels—not for lack of effort, but more because they’re missing a key ingredient to social growth.
That ingredient is relationship.
When it comes to social media, it’s tempting (and normal) to think in terms of yourself or your business when you’re posting.
What do I want to say?
How do I want to come across?
Who do I want to attract?
And while those questions are definitely important, the key to good growth lies in putting your audience first. What message or material would engage, inspire, or educate them? What can you post that would be of value for them?
Like any great conversation, there should be just as much (if not more!) emphasis on listening and encouraging interaction from the person you’re speaking to as there is on contributing your own voice.Like any great conversation, there should be just as much (if not more!) emphasis on listening and encouraging interaction from your social media followers as there is on contributing your own voice. Find out how to build your brand and your business: Click To Tweet
So how do you do that effectively? How do you build relationships on social media that get you the growth and engagement you’re after? Here are five steps to explore:
1. Have a thoughtful content strategy.
Strategy is the key word here. Instead of throwing posts up and hoping something sticks, plan out what content you’ll use and why. Spend some time identifying your or your business’s tone and voice, who your ideal audience is, and what message and material would most likely engage them in a social media relationship. Then build a content strategy that includes a mix of educational, informative, inspirational and creative content that encourages the audience to like, share, and comment on it.
2. Go where your audience is.
Think about the platforms or channels your audience is most likely to be on, then pick the one or two most popular and focus your attention there. Note: just because a platform exists, doesn’t mean you need to use if it your audience isn’t there. (Bueller?…..Bueller?…..)
3. Post regularly.
Imagine how hard it would be to grow a strong relationship with someone you barely see or, don’t know when you’re going to next see. That’s why relationships—even social media ones—need consistency and time to nurture. Show up regularly at least three times per week, depending on the channel. Create a content calendar so you can plan out your posts and keep your pace and posting up over time.
4. Measure and adjust.
Use the built-in analytics tools to measure how your posts are performing, to pinpoint when more of your audience is online, and to ensure your strategy is helping you optimize the data you’re collecting. Plus, you’ll see what topics or messages are hitting the needs of your audience and which ones are falling flat—then adjust so you can give them more of what they like!
5. Comment back.
When someone engages, make sure you respond. All comments, questions, and direct messages from your audience are great opportunities to carry on the conversation you’ve started (and they’ve continued) while building relationships with them. People love to know they’ve been heard—and will happily keep conversing with you if you let them know they have been!
If you treat your social media channels as the relationship-builders they can be, you’ll be well on your way to growing your audience and your business in ways that benefit everyone involved. See you on social!
About The Author
Chris Hays, a brandiD Project Manager, has 20 years of experience in marketing strategy, management, sales and business development, market segmentation research, analytics, customer relationship cultivation, project management, public relations, media planning and buying, digital and social media, writing and community relations. Her diverse background includes experience working with some of the world’s most prominent brands including GE Lighting, United Way and Make-A-Wish Foundation, as well as extensive experience in the non-profit, education and small business sectors. Find out more!