Increase your FollowersDevelop Engaging Social Media Campaigns
Social media is a key component of your marketing program. Particularly for small businesses it is a powerful way to reach potential customers with minimal financial investment. Successful campaigns on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook can guarantee increased opportunities to connect with your audience and grow brand recognition while cultivating loyalty. In a competitive market, higher recognition and loyalty have a positive influence on your bottom line by increasing the number of visitors to your store, the frequency of visits, and the number of purchases. For existing customers it is an effective way to offer prompt and personalized customer service.
There are three main social media platforms that are of primary importance to small business: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
With over 1.5 billion users and still growing, Facebook is the biggest site. Everyone is there and so you need to be too. For many people it is the first place they will look to find out about your business. Facebook is the best location to tell stories. It is a platform that allows you to use as many characters as you want as well as many forms of content. You can upload pictures and video, you can share what you are listening to or how you are feeling. Sandy Lane Liquor is a great example of how to use Facebook well. They share valuable personal pictures of people enjoying the store and introduce their staff and willing customers.While following the rule of 80/20 – that is 80% non-promotional and 20% promotional information – Sandy Lane Liquor creates a relationship between the store and its followers without relying solely on promoting product. This guarantees followers will stay, share information, and bring more people into the community.
The second key network is Twitter. Twitter is an open space where anyone can engage with anyone. It is here that you have the opportunity to talk to the people you want to know, not only those you do know. Unlike anywhere else, Twitter allows for the chance to microblog and interact regularly. People want you to join the conversation. You can respond publicly to anyone and gain followers daily by sharing your expertise. Kensington Wine Market has capitalized on this by showcasing their Scotch selection and knowledge, so they are known as experts in their market. By creating confidence through this expertise, they are able to gain new and interested followers, who have a demand for other products in their Twitter feed. This then drives engagement and increases traffic to the store.
Third and currently the most exciting platform is Instagram a social sharing site built exclusively around the most successful medium of content: pictures. Whether daydreaming, educating or acting as a voyeur, people love to look, and this is the medium to actually show, not just tell, what you are about. It is rapidly growing, especially with millennials, the group that will take over the bulk of consumption in the coming years. It is here that you can tell your story in attractive and attention-grabbing images. If you are able to create visual content that is appealing and honest, you can build trust in your brand and business while increasing your community of followers. Sierra Springs Liquor has a brilliantly conceived and executed Instagram strategy. By using a consistent style of branded photo to showcase their comprehensive product range, Sierra Springs is showing their followers that they are dedicated to providing the best selection available as well as showcasing a reliable source of visual content. Through focused hashtag use, they are able to find followers by highlighting their geographical location, the product being showcased, and always doing it with a sense of personality and fun.
Creating a Community
For these platforms to be successful, you must consistently build a growing community of fans. It is important to ensure you are providing content that encourages and even demands engagement while you yourself engage and communicate. Without this relationship your followers and fans get bored, tune you out, and eventually unfollow and unlike your accounts.
To successfully create a community and build your follower base on any of these platforms, your customers and potential customers must know you are there and have a presence on social media. There are a number of ways to do this:
- Add all your handles, preferably with a link, to your email marketing and signatures. Whoever receives an email or your newsletter can be easily directed to your accounts.
- Put your usernames, addresses and handles on all your print material – fliers, business cards and signage for example.
- Be sure to cross-promote all accounts. Ask your Facebook followers to follow you on Instagram and Twitter. Mention your accounts in your blog or tweet about interesting conversations on your Facebook page.
Now that you have begun to build your community and increase followers, there are ways to garner engagement and ensure your base grows and not shrinks:
- Do it well! Use proper grammar, don’t make spelling mistakes, and create images that are beautiful. You want to communicate your expertise, and that message is sent more convincingly when there are no errors.
- Communicate with candid, behind the scenes information that cannot be found anywhere else. Your followers come to you to see what really happens in the day-to-day operation of your business and they love it.
- Like and comment on other accounts, retweet, ask questions and tell someone you love their picture. Engagement works best when it is a two-way street. The more accounts you engage with, the more people will notice you and the more they will engage with you.
- Hashtags are a powerful tool. Less so on Facebook, but with Twitter and Instagram they are an excellent way to create communities or interact with specific causes and subjects. Regional hashtags can be especially powerful for small businesses as you can reach out to those in your local market.
To understand what your audience wants, it is important to know who they are. Spend time on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you know your audience, you know how to appeal to them and you can harness the potential power and excitement of well-executed campaigns to consistently increase followers and drive business through engagement