With so many bustling markets online, one of the keys to success for today’s business websites is to amass large social media followings. Doing so can encourage engagement and loyalty, which can lead to increased brand exposure and sales.
Building a strong following can be time-consuming, creatively challenging, and easy to place on the backburner while business owners and their staff focus on more routine day-to-day tasks.
But with countless potential leads surfing the web daily for products and services, there’s never been a better time to begin attracting new social media followers. Here’s how to get the ball rolling:
Best Free Ways to Grow Your Website’s Social Media Following
1. Social Platform Exposure
Promote Your Brand’s Platforms
Make it as easy as possible for existing and potential customers alike to discover and follow your social media platforms. The best way to do this is by simply creating linked buttons to your social media; these should be placed in key areas on your website, and within all emails (newsletters, general correspondence, etc).
Since not all customers will be ready for the checkout just yet, links will provide quick access to social content. Once there, people can become followers; they can now get a better feel for what your company has to offer, keep up to speed with news, and also interact via comments and direct messages.
Share, Share, Share…
Social media is all about sharing, right? While this does sound fairly obvious, forgetting this important fact can quickly lead to loss of brand traction with audiences. If you’ve published a new blog article, have interesting news, an exciting offer, or would like some customer feedback, create a social media post about it.
Generally speaking, the more active a business’ social media platforms is, the more likely its followers are to be satisfied and engaged – and therefore more likely to share that content with friends. (Just ensure that your posts remain relevant – and never spammy!)
2. Audience Interaction
While one major aspect of social media promotion for business may be the sharing of great content, the other is interacting with the people who follow or have gotten in touch. Here’s four different areas of social media interaction to try and keep on top of:
- Reply to Direct Messages: This should be a given, but we’ll cover it anyway. Put simply, you should always respond to any direct queries and communication received via social media; it’s the least customers will expect from you, and is just polite.
- Monitor Brand Mentions: Outside of direct contact, people often talk about brands with other users. Monitor these mentions to keep an eye on what folks are saying; offer help to those who’ve had bad experiences, and thank those spreading praise.
- Join the Conversation, Expert: Because you’re an expert in your field, your opinions will likely carry weight and influence among everyday folks discussing related matters. By using the relevant hashtags and or keywords, you can identify social media conversations in need of your valuable input. This is a great way to raise brand awareness and increase followers (just be sure to avoid coming across as spammy!).
- Build Rapport to Grow Brand: Influencers (be it individuals, companies or organizations) can have anywhere from thousands to millions of followers, meaning that, should one choose to share your content or mention you in a post, your brand could be exposed to a massive, untapped audience. But don’t go rushing in with requests and favours just yet – instead, lay the building blocks to develop positive relationships with influencers.
3. Content Plans
Growing a social media following tends to be a slow-moving process – and so it’s no wonder why many business owners end up losing patience, gradually dedicating less and less time to their platforms. What many of these businesses tend to lack is a solid Content Plan.
The Importance of a Plan
With a content plan fleshed out on paper, full of interesting topics and ideas to cover several weeks of posts down the line, you can ensure that your business will have a regular flow of content to share with your audience and satisfy their hunger for information.
Without an effective plan set in place, conjuring up fresh content on the spur of the moment can soon turn into a rather exhausting, creatively challenging task that you, along with your staff, would much rather avoid altogether.
Creating the Plan
One of the best ways to create a social media content plan is to get everyone in the office involved; ask them to email over a bunch of ideas, or, even better, hold a meeting where they can all get together in person to engage in some back-and-forth brainstorming.
Remember that posts should be varied and targeted at your intended audience, while also fulfilling your business’ unique goals. A great way to maintain focus when creating a content plan is to firstly create a Mission Statement (this can consist of half-a-dozen or so short, concise bullet points setting out your social media goals).
Lastly, try not to send your followers running for the hills by including too much promotional content in your plan, and, don’t forget to produce a realistic posting schedule in order to make the whole process going forward as obstacle-free as possible.
4. Influencer Networking
As we briefly touched on earlier above, social media influencers can be a magnificently powerful force when it comes to introducing your brand and products/services to a potentially huge audience – which could be in the thousands or even millions.
While it is true that some influencers will charge a fee to share your content or promote your brand in post mentions, etc, not all will; by understanding the needs of an influencer and gradually building a relationship with them, it’s very possible to grow your social media following through the simple exchange of non-monetary favours.
To get the ball rolling and kick-start a relationship with an influencer, you could, for instance, offer to write a free blog post for their website, geared to satisfy the needs and interests of their followers.
So long as the article is genuinely compelling, well-written, and appropriately purposed for the intended audience – and certainly not loaded with self-promotion! – this type of strategy could really work.
Let’s go over that again: in return for providing free content for an influencer’s blog, in return, you would receive the exposure of the influencer’s loyal audience, who you know will already hold a strong interest in your area of industry and products alike.
The great thing is that, because followers trust in the judgements and opinions of influencers, they’re also much more likely to trust in their business partnerships, affiliates, and you, too. (They don’t call them influencers for nothing, after all!)
Influencer networking can require a fair bit of time and effort, it has to be said. But if you can be patient and put the work in, your brand exposure could potentially break all new ground, leading to a flood of new social media followers, and ultimately sales.
Pairing Social Media Marketing with effective SEO can be very beneficial to your business. Click Here to learn about the best tools to help optimise your Keyword Research.
Alternatively, Click Here to check out all of HostGrids built-in marketing features.