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The Dos and Don'ts of Building a Social Media Following

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 4/4/16 11:00 PM
Topics: social media, Marketing to Students

Building a social media following can be tough, especially if you're a smaller store. But it's certainly not impossible - you just have to be smart and execute a well-thought-out plan. When devising and executing such a plan, there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind. In this article at Hootsuite, author Jeff Barrett shares with his readers some things they should do as the grow on social media, as well as things they should avoid. You can read an excerpt from Jeff's "The Dos and Don't of Building a Following" below, but be sure to check out his full article to read through all of his advice.


Reach beyond your audience

Most of the advice I see for growing a following centers around content. Expecting that better content alone will grow your following is like believing in unicorns. It sounds amazing, but there is no proof. Content is important but it’s only part of the mix. You also have to think beyond your existing audience. Determine how to appeal to other audiences.

For example, I’m in PR. If I only talked about PR and appealed to PR professionals then there would be a cap to my growth. So I slowly, strategically and methodically began to identify and connect with groups one degree separate from my own. I started talking about advertising and entertainment. I created humorous content around pop culture—carefully tying it all back to my PR experience. Because of this, I could talk about pop culture. I began interjecting myself into all trending conversation. This year I have started talking about politics because it is, to an extent, related to PR. Being funny about the political circus got me in the door—now I’m starting to speak intelligently about the Syrian refugee crisis and brokered conventions.

Trust content

No person is just one thing. Share more of yourself, branch out and you’ll be able to grow your audience. There are a million ways to find and connect with new audiences, but you have to make that connection stick. Responding to questions from your audience quickly and honestly, and providing feedback are great ways to engage. Live streaming and podcasts are both great ways to allow people to get to know you. The more people know about you, the deeper they can connect.

People connect with real people over robots. Engaging with your audience in an authentic way is one of the strongest ways to build connections and engage others.

Maximize points of visibility

Look to sources outside of social media to help elevate your following. This is something I didn’t do enough in the beginning. You can spend all day on social media trying to grow your following but one media appearance can achieve months’ worth of work. Create as many points of visibility as you can. Go on local news, guest blog, do whatever you can at first but continue to keep networking up so you can increase opportunities for visibility.

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