So, you’ve finally reached your goal of 5,000 or 10,000 followers (or however many it may be) on social media – fantastic! Congrats. That’s a big deal. But it’s also not enough. Sure, having several thousand followers looks great for your small business, but that number can’t actually do you much good if few of those followers are actually looking at your posts.
Luckily for you, there are solutions. Strengthening your follower engagement may seem like a tricky task. You can’t exactly force someone to engage with you on social media, however like most things in this digital world there is an algorithmic method to the madness.
All you need to know are these two key ingredients:
1. Increase your visibility
Increasing your visibility is exactly what it sounds like; it’s a matter of becoming more visible to the human eye while scrolling through any given social media news feed. Remember, most social media users follow hundreds – even thousands – of other accounts. You need to make sure that your small business doesn’t get lost among the pixels.
Generally speaking, the most effective means of increasing your social media visibility is simply to never underestimate the value of good content. Don’t get lazy. Post regularly, of course, but it’s more important to make sure that your posts are consistently eye-catching and engaging.
Here are some of the best tips on how to make that happen:
- Include links in your posts. According to Forbes, Tweets with links get retweeted more than those without.
- Use relevant hashtags that you think other users are likely to search for. Posts with hashtags get double the engagement.
- P.S. hashtags are not Twitter exclusive! Take advantage of them on all of your social media platforms.
- Use images in your posts. The human eye is naturally attracted to pictures and colors, so using images is sure to increase your visibility on any given social media platform. There is research to back this up.
- Ask for retweets or shares. Data suggests that the phrase “please retweet” can actually generate up to 4 times as many retweets.
- Vary your posts. Your followers might scroll right past you if your posts become clockwork, predictable and homogenous. Don’t be afraid to post a pithy inspirational quote that is harmonious with your brand and purpose – these are always popular retweets for others.
- Don’t be afraid to repostthings that you’ve already shared. Apparently, the “lifespan” of any given Tweet is only around 18 minutes, so posting it multiple times is sure to reach as many users as possible and increase your overall visibility.
2. Personally interact with your followers
Having good visibility on social media platforms will give you maximum results when supplemented with regularly reaching out to, and personally interacting with, your followers.
Don’t worry, it’s easy:
- Make sure your tone is friendly. Nobody is interested in talking to a robot.
- Reply to tweetsand comments that come your way. People like to feel special and listened to. Make sure to tag them with their @username.
- Reply to questions and complaints. Nowadays, quick and excellent customer service can be easy and is expected.
- Ask rhetorical questions. Even if you are not talking to any one follower specifically, phrases like “how many of you folks have wished there was an easier way to…” will invite lots of engagement.
- Ask your followers sincerely about certain things they would like to see your small business do, or maybe how they would do things differently. Your followers will appreciate the humility and enjoy the opportunity to share their thoughts – even better, you will receive valuable feedback that you can use.
- Thank people for following you. And if you would like, feel free to follow them back.
- Get creative. Start contests that require people to retweet or tag you. For example, offer discounts to the first 50 retweets.
The great thing about social media is that you have the freedom to completely do things your own way. Be visible, interact, and put your best foot forward. Your business will be all the better for it – and you can be sure people will be sharing about how much they love it!
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.
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