Grow Your Influence and Get More Followers
Add, then nurture. This is how you grow your social following. Social media provides a unique platform to connect with people that want to hear from you. They are listening because they want to listen, reading because they want to read, and they keep following to see more of what you share. This is what makes social media such a good indicator of your company’s ability to create and retain interest.
Think about how traditional and digital advertising works, whether it’s radio, television, print, social advertising, or billboards, and others. All of them, in one form or another, force their messages on people. This is what’s known as outbound or interruption marketing. Inbound marketing, in the form of content marketing, influencer marketing, event marketing, SEO, etc., takes the opposite approach. Instead of bombarding people with advertisements, inbound marketing works by providing people with relevant and useful information, in exchange for their potential business.
Do keep in mind that, as a marketing strategy, inbound marketing and social media influence are not a one-time thing. They will be an ongoing project that requires time, energy, and commitment before it can generate meaningful results. Nevertheless, the benefits will be well worth your investment.
So, how can you increase your social media followers and have meaningful interactions with them over the long-term? Check out these tips that will help you do just that.
The Case for Thought Leadership
Establishing yourself as an expert and thought leader in your respective industry is an effective means for facilitating a growing, engaged social media audience. You do not have to be a social media professional to do this. A thought leader is an individual or organization that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is often sought and rewarded. Individual thought leaders are usually asked to speak at public events, webinars, and conferences, to share their insights.
The term thought leadership refers to the content these experts share with others. A 2019 Edelman survey, in collaboration with LinkedIn, focused on how business and marketing professionals perceived the value of thought leadership and how they chose the companies they wanted to work with.
Over the past year, the consumption of thought leadership has increased by 8% (from 50% to 58%). Over half of decision-makers surveyed said that they use thought leadership as a key tool to vet businesses. The study also showed that companies often choose to work with organizations based solely on the quality and value of the content they generate. In fact, participants said that they will remove a company from consideration if they don’t have a strong thought leadership presence.
Every content creator should be aware of the fact that thought leadership matters at equally at every stage of the sales process. There is, however, a major difference between what decision-makers and salespeople are saying in regards to thought leadership. On the one hand, 61% of decision-makers are willing to pay more for a product or service if it's backed by strong thought leadership. But only 14% of salespeople believe that thought leadership allows them to charge more than their competition. Click To Tweet That’s a disparity of 47%!
But as Tom Pepper from LinkedIn puts it:
“When B2B organizations don’t appreciate the impact that thought-leadership has on business pipeline they are less motivated to invest time and resources in producing content of real originality and value.
Marketers who treat thought leadership solely as a means of driving awareness are likely to worry less about how fulfilled an audience is when reading content – and be more concerned that they notice it and engage with it in the first place. Our research proves that this is a costly mistake.
Decision-makers don’t just add new businesses to their consideration set on the basis of strong thought leadership. They also remove businesses from consideration if that content isn’t up to scratch.”
Aside from thought leadership, several other digital marketing tactics will help you increase your social followers, boost your influence, and generate new quality leads.
Make Yourself Worth Following
Your social media profile has got to be appealing, pique interest, and make people want to know more.
First, fill it all in. At the most basic level, make sure your business’s information is complete and that you don’t leave any lines of information on your profile blank. This gives visitors to your profile to a reason to stay on it longer. On most social networks, try to make the bio tell a story. On Twitter, for instance, where the bio space is limited, carefully choose your words so that you are including the keywords you want your business to be associated with. Also, don’t neglect the quality of the cover image and headshot, if applicable. Images capture and communicate feelings, use high quality images that help you tell the story you want to tell.
When it comes to your feed, make sure it’s always up-to-date with recently-shared, valuable content. Keeping the content flow moving shows your followers and visitors that you are invested, engaged, and a trustworthy source for content. For social platforms that allow you to pin posts, which remain at the top of the feed, make sure to use the latest and most valuable content you have.
Work with Powerful Social Influencers
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that simply having more followers will also increase your influence. That’s not always the case and makes the strength of your megaphone dependent on a limited set of people. Instead, look for a social media influencer who is actively engaging with your target audience and is aligned with your brand’s values. Once that said marketing partner is found, and the influencer marketing campaign is put in place, allowing them creative freedom has been proven to generate the best results. Leaving them to their own devices will give the most authentic feel to their audience, which will spark the most engagement and generate the most influence.
Build Contacts by Using Keywords and Hashtags
Keywords and hashtags are a popular tool to reach new people on social media. By using them you are ensuring that people who are engaging with content having to do with those hashtags are more likely to see or find your posts. In fact, if they frequently use or engage with a set of keywords or hashtags, certain social media platforms will often show them those posts in their feed. As such, you should take advantage and learn new ways of using them. The most effective use of hashtags is on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.
Always search the hashtags you are thinking of using before you actually use them to make sure that it isn’t being used for something other than what you want your brand to be associated with. Also, keep in mind that posts with between two and three hashtags tend to generate the most followers. So, don’t go nuts. Various tools such as Ritetag can help you find the best hashtags for each of your posts.
Being active and engaged is a critical step in building a valuable following of real people on social media. Think of it as showing up. You always remember who is in the office and who isn’t. Staying engaged and posting valuable content frequently equates to showing up and staying top of mind for your audience. Users are getting tired of link feeds. Instead, you should comment on and reshare others’ posts. This way, you will demonstrate that you’re not simply a bot, but a person actively engaged in the network saying, “Hey, check this out!”
When a company shares content, it shouldn’t just reshare it. It’s far better to also provide a remark on that specific topic, providing a personal point of view, and tag the original poster. You can do this on Twitter by using the “quote option”. Being active on others’ social threads, particularly influencers and other thought leaders in your industry, will expose you to their audiences and will help you gain additional followers and influence.
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