It didn’t happen overnight.
Although his drive for competition hit early in life, as a teen he was faced with an arduous task of establishing himself as a starter and leader in his sport. But when cut from the team in high school, Michael Jordan persevered and is now one of the all time greatest to play the game and a role model for athletes or anyone trying to find success through tribulation.
Ok enough with the sports analogies.
To the chagrin of anyone who has had to work hard to accomplish a goal, success is a process that is developed, earned and worked on overtime.
So often do we expect change to happen quickly and in some business endeavors it does, but without unlimited marketing dollars, social media is not one of those situations. Amy Morin, a Forbes contributor who writes mainly about the psychological aspects of business describes the process of change in five stages.
If you are reading this, you have probably passed stages one and two. According to Morin, precontemplation is when you are not yet aware that you need to change or are unwilling to accept guidance from others who are already contemplating a solution. However, if you are in stage two, contemplation, wondering if your hard work will be worth the effort, this article will get the ball rolling–or dribbling, if you will.
Your social media company account page is your face, storefront and introduction to your brand to potential followers, and better yet, customers. Step one should be to have an attractive bio. Although the bio section length may change depending on the site, your bio should always easily describe your brand, tell how your brand is different and use keywords that are accurate to what you plan to share. Social networks are an extension to your brand and should be designed in that same fashion. Use of branded colors and imagery are crucial to creating a consistent brand message. Header image and profile images are important too. People want to be able to get to know you better, but they can’t do that by looking at the Twitter default “egg” image.
Create a base.
Make sure to post a few times before you start to following and interacting with others. If you only have a few posts on your account, make sure the posts are concurrent to each other and to your brand’s message. Be as precise and consistent as possible with your first posts. If you are in the business of pet grooming and sell natural products on your website, perhaps your first few posts should include topics like treating stinky pets, grooming frequency and the harmfulness of chemically-enriched products.
It’s all about who you know.
Social media is all about increasing your followers so that when you have something to share, your post can be seen. To be seen right off the bat, go ahead and dust off that old Rolodex and start inviting your contacts who you’ve known for years to connect. Personalization is key to email marketing and readers respond quicker and are more willing to interact when they recognize the person or brand on the other side of the screen. LinkedIn is especially good at using your data to find connections with people you already know, but with little effort you can grow your social media presence using this tactic on every social network.
The more targeted you are the better. Building a quality following online is a tough task because instead of solely adding numbers to a tally, you are finding like-minded people who have similar interests, and in doing so will find connections with people most likely to purchase your product. Be interactive and don’t forget to like things! Ask questions and start conversations. A short comment on a tweet or post can go a long way. But more than anything, to be followed you have to share topics readers will find value in and follow others who you find share valuable information so that you can better educate others with. It is the bigger the better with social media and to gain a following quickly it is more efficient to follow and interact with account that will be seen by the most amount of people. Follow accounts that have strong retweet, shares and engagement numbers and then piggy-back on their success.
Build real relationships.
If you are interested in others, there is a good chance they will be interested in you. Tag people in photos and in post when applicable to call out a job well done or to encourage conversation. Be honest and let your followers know what your likes, dislikes or thoughts are and chances are they will share their preferences with you too.
If at first you don’t succeed keep trying. And if at first you do succeed keep it up still. It is important to note that at if you first see movement one way or the other, you must understand that social media success is a process.
Optimize loyal followers.
Do your followers know you have accounts on other social networking sites? Do they follow you everywhere? Make it known and make it worth it! A complete list of social media accounts should be easily accessible everywhere your readers interact with you. Proudly display your social network links on your website, email footer, business card, corporate advertising and any other way you can think. If you have a growing presence on Twitter, why not share a tweet promoting your Pinterest account? Use the attention you have gained on one network to build your following elsewhere.
Share the love.
Respond to new followers with direct messages and share tweets that you especially fancy. A thank you can go a long way and a direct message saying thanks for the new follow can spark a new conversation you may have never received.
The proof is in the pudding
Your goal is to establish enough social proof that you attract followers due to the sheer idea that if they did not follow you they would be missing out on valuable information. Accounts with an extremely large following, usually over 10,000 followers, start to build on this status because people look at the amount of your followers and are influenced by the fact that if you are followed by so many people, they should too because of an instinctual fear of missing out.
Getting there is the hard part– a process that is developed, earned and worked on overtime.