How to Get Your First Followers on Twitter and Facebook

market motive social mediaFrom the Market Motive Forums: Here’s How to Build Your Audience on Twitter and Facebook

I bet this scenario sounds familiar: A client asks you to build its social media properties, including Twitter and Facebook. You create the accounts, add the company logo, and fill in all the important fields like business location, store hours, mission statement, and all that fun stuff.

Everyone is super pleased that there are social media pages today where yesterday none existed.

But now what?

How do you get people to follow you? Do you post about things you think you’re audience might find interesting, or do you just post about your client’s services and how awesome they are?

When it comes to getting people to follow your client, it’s almost always about what you have to offer.

For Twitter, following is usually about having fast and speedy access to something. For instance, a food truck might use Twitter to post its location and specials on a given day. A restaurant might post menu changes, happy hour specials, or spur-of-the-moment special offers on days when things are slow. A B2B service company might focus on sharing well curated news stories that allow followers to quickly get up to date on the most important news of the day.

I presented with a distillery at an event last year that came up with a brilliant way to build its Twitter followers. The bottles from the distillery are all hand labeled. Each month they throw a labeling party complete with cocktails and food and have a limited number of fans come in to label the bottles. The only way to get an RSVP for this monthly event is to spot the announcement on Twitter and then register before space fills up. (They have around 20K followers, primarily because a spot at that party is so coveted.)

Now, you may not have something on par with this to offer, but think about what you do have. Are your client’s customers regulars or one timers? What does your client specialize in?

Think about what you might be able to offer via Twitter that would motivate others to follow you. Consider having your client ask its customers what type of info they might want to see on Twitter.

Plus, make sure you always cross-promote in every email, newsletter, page of the web site, etc. Each should have a “Follow us on Social” set of links to encourage followers.

For Facebook, it’s both the same and different.

It’s the same in that you want to provide information that is useful to customers. It’s different in that you want to be more selective and share only your very best content – maybe 3-5 posts per week max.

Take a look at great example sites like Runner’s World, which is chalk full of useful articles (almost too many, to be honest), Smarty Had A Party (lots of discounts, product usage ideas, etc.), and Animal Friends (a huge no-kill rescue in Pittsburgh that does a great job of engaging on Facebook).

Look at the content they post, the responses people give, and then think about the target audience for your group. What would spark their interest? Is it tips and tricks? Reviews of your products? Upcoming events?

You need to figure out what they want and come up with a content plan to provide it.

For both Twitter and Facebook you can do a combo of organic growth, current customer exposure, and paid advertising.

Your organic growth will come from interacting with people and providing the type of content people want to share.

Your current customer exposure comes from using everything from your storefront, email marketing lists, flyers, and word of mouth to let the people who already deal with you as customers know they can also hear from you on social media.

Paid advertising is the easiest, but it’s clearly the most expensive way to do this. Facebook has outstanding targeting while Twitter is pretty strong as well. You can promote your post or account to people who have a demonstrated interest in similar accounts, and/or you can target followers by their interest levels, demographics, and locations.

Oh, and don’t forget, you’ll need to be posting content to your social media channels before people begin following you. It’s generally a good idea to start posting and wait a few weeks before you push it to people. Otherwise you’ll have folks checking out the account, see little to no activity, and leave without following your business. You want them to be able to scan through your content and see things that are worthwhile and of interest.

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