Building followers and building community are not the same thing. You can have thousands of followers that are uninvolved and don’t check your page – or have a dozen that comment on every post and check your page religiously. Ideally you’ll have both – thousands of active and involved individuals. So, how do you get there?
Building followers: You don’t want to be talking to yourself, so the first step is to get followers. There’s no magic bullet to getting followers. It just takes actively working on it. The first and most obvious thing you should do is ask your friends, customers, family, etc to “like” or “follow” you. Hopefully this will get you started with at least a hundred people following you. From there, you’ll want to continue ask people as you get new customers and friends. You also could consider running a campaign to get more followers. Many businesses have done this quite successfully. For example, some businesses will have coupons but you can only see them if you like their page on Facebook. Another business I am familiar with offered a steep discount to the person who got them the most likes on Facebook. You could also have some sort of competition to incentive people to post about you. For example, have a prize for the best answer to “If our business was an animal, what type of animal would it be and why?” Then people would have to answer it linking your name on Facebook – which then puts you in front of all their friends.Lastly, you could consider purchasing a Facebook ad asking people to like you for coupons, etc.
Building community: Having an active group of followers is ideal for any business. Not only are they frequently posting on your page, responding to your posts, and posting about you – they are also loyal to your brand. By them posting about you/on your page, they are getting your name out there in front of their friends – basically doing marketing for you. Getting that active community is the tough part. There are two essential components: 1) Frequency 2) Content.
Just like blogging, you want to update social media frequently. For Facebook, you’d ideally be posting stuff daily – if not a few times a day. What can you post about? Lots of things. For example, your blog posts, pictures of customers at your business, pictures of new products, articles relevant to your business/customers, polls/questions for customers, contests, funny jokes/pictures relevant to your business, trivia, etc. With many of these things, you can use them to build your followers. For example, when you ask customers a question/poll you can also ask your friends on Facebook to answer it (there’s a button for it) and it will show up on the page of anyone that answers it. The nature of your content will also determine whether your community is active. If you just post an article link, it won’t inspire participation. But if you post an article link, share some thoughts on it, and ask others what they think – then you might get some comments. Similarly, running contests, polls and trivia will also get people to comment. The key is not doing these things just once a week – you should do something daily that encourages people to comment. Obviously you shouldn’t ask a trivia question every single day – but asking one a couple times a week – or at least once a week “Trivia Thursday” will help build commentary. If you post interesting, comment inspiring stuff frequently, it will help pave the path to an active community.
Wondering about social media for your business? Check out 30 days to Becoming an Entrepreneur: Promoting your business through social media
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