7 Ways to Turn Your Customers Into Social Media Followers
If you’re a local business with existing foot traffic, you might be late to the game in social media. You may be accustomed to traditional advertising methods and focusing on customer loyalty and retention, and that may have been profitable for you for many years. However, if you want to remain competitive, you’ll need to tap into the raw power that social media marketing can offer you.
The good news is, all those loyal customers you’ve attracted over the years will already be interested in following you on social media—and if you use the right strategy, they’ll be able to bring even more people your way.
So how can you make this conversion happen?
Turning Customers Into Followers
These are some of the best strategies to turn your existing customers into active social media followers:
- Announce your arrival with traditional ads. For starters, once you’ve created your brand’s social media profiles, you’ll want to announce your arrival in the social media world with some traditional ads (like the ones your customers are probably used to). For example, you may choose to print a batch of flyers that shows off your company on Facebook, or one that lists some of your most recent tweets in the margins. This is especially useful if coupled with some motivation for following you, such as a discount or free gift for first-time followers.
- Encourage customers to take and share photos of your establishment. Next, you’ll want to encourage customers to take and share photos of your place, however you can. In some cases, that means introducing more photo-friendly structures, such as a peculiar statue that people might want to take a picture with, or a designated place to take selfies with your business’s main draws. People tend to share photos they take, so making your place more photogenic and telling your customers to take more pictures will naturally encourage them to post, share, and tag your business on social media.
- Sponsor a contest. Next, you can sponsor a social media contest. The idea here is to incentivize your audience to post a certain way or at a certain time; for example, you might tell your users to post photos of themselves posing in front of your store with a specific hashtag, and enter any users who do into a drawing for a $100 gift card. This will get people posting, and visibility on social media will grow quickly from there.
- Introduce a hashtag. Aside from its use in your contest, you could introduce a hashtag for your customers to use as part of your new social media campaign. Just be careful here—overusing a hashtag could make you seem too self-promotional. Instead, make sure your hashtag is valuable for your users in some way, designating material that they would find informative or entertaining.
- Tag customers in your brand’s photos. Instead of relying on your customers to take the photos, take some photos yourself. You’ll need to fill your social media feeds with more images anyway, so try to take some pictures of people enjoying your store. Afterward, ask them for permission to tag them in the photo; most people will agree, and you’ll both experience a burst in social media visibility. This also gives them a reason to follow you immediately!
- Participate in community events. Next, make sure your business attends and participates in any community events going on, such as street fairs or small business networking events. Every event is an opportunity to introduce your business to new people, and a good excuse to take pictures and video to share on your feed (usually accompanied by a visibility-attracting hashtag).
- Advertise your social presence throughout your store. Though you can’t be too obnoxious with this strategy, consider advertising your social media presence throughout the store. For example, you might include a “follow us on Instagram” prompt on your cash register, or a reminder to scope out your Facebook feed for deals on the way out the door.
How to Scale Your Audience
After using these tricks, you should be able to generate an audience of at least a few dozen—if not a few hundred—people. But what do you do from there? Social media’s potential is best unlocked with a substantial number of followers, so use these tricks to build your audience even further:
- Engage your online community. The more you converse with your followers, the more loyal they’ll become—and the more likely others will be to follow you.
- Produce and share regular new content. You’ll need a regular stream of content if you want to keep attracting more people. That includes written posts, images, and videos on a daily basis.
- Reach out to new people. Go out of your way to find and meet new people, whether it’s online or in person. Every new contact is a potential new follower.
- Make it worth it. Give your customers practical incentives to follow you, such as online-exclusive discounts, or contests that allow them to win prizes.
With a strong foundation from your existing loyal customers, you’ll be able to build a thriving social media audience in a matter of months. Don’t be discouraged if you see slow growth to start; social media marketing is a long-term strategy, but once it gets going, it accelerates quickly.