As someone who is in the process of launching a new consumer-focused startup, I was keen to understand the factors that helped businesses grow their social media influence. How do companies go from the initial dozens of followers to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of followers? Here are some tips from fellow bootstrapped start-up owners who have successfully grown their social media influence.
Follow the trends: One of the most common advices from successful social media influencers is to identify the popular trends in the industry and ride the bandwagon. One way to do it is to find and engage with people using popular hashtags that relate to your industry and engage with them. You may also start conversations using the popular hashtags. This strategy helps you reach out to a wider audience of users who may not be following you but can come across your posts and start following you.
Monitor keywords: Another popular strategy that does wonders in building followers is keyword monitoring. For instance, do you run a tax consulting service? You could use the Twitter search function to find people tweeting about tax advice and engage with them. There are a number of tools that provide with you with instant alerts each time a user posts a tweet or Instagram post containing keywords you monitor. This is a wonderful way to not only gain social media followers, but also find new clients for your business.
Automate social media engagement: As social media networking grows, there is an increasing need to be visible on these platforms all through the day. No matter how much valuable your contributions are, they may still not be visible to all your followers. This is both because of the real-time nature of the platform as well as because of the algorithms governing social media platforms like Facebook. The way out is to automate your business’ social media engagement. There are social media tools like Hootsuite that can help you here. Alternately, you can also use the Social Studio module on Salesforce to integrate social media engagement with other aspects of customer relationship management.
Kickstart with advertising: One way to gain a lot of followers and become more influential is by producing content that gains viral traction. With viral marketing, there are a lot of variables at play and this makes it an extremely difficult marketing channel. There is however an easier way to build virality provided you have great content. The trick is to allocate small amounts of advertising budget to your new articles. According to startup owners, they spend as little as $5 per post to help get thousands of Facebook likes and shares for their new blog posts.
Contests: This is by far the trickiest tool to help building a social media influence. There are dozens of blog posts extolling the benefits of running contests to build a social media list. However, business owners need to look at this strategy more holistically. The ultimate objective of any business is to sell products. From this perspective, it makes sense to build a follower-base that is tightly knit to your niche. At the same time, a niche-targeted contest is not likely to help you build a follower-base that is millions of users strong. As a result, the chance to go viral is relatively lower. With a larger follower-base, the virality quotient is higher. However, there is not enough evidence to prove that this helps in sales.
So why are we discussing this? Contests consistently help businesses grow in popularity. But depending on the reward, there is a chance for you to end up attracting the wrong crowd. Unless you sell a generic product that appeals to the mainstream crowd, it is not advisable to use consumer-oriented rewards like iPhones or movie tickets. For businesses targeted at niche demographics, always pick a gift that will appeal to your niche crowd.
What are some other tricks you have tried to gain social media followers? Share them in the comments.