Updated: Apr 21, 2020
It's a question we're often asked by businesses embarking on their social media journey, "how can we get more followers?"
Many controversial opinions endorse one metric over another, but the biggest misconception about social following is that they inherently have value as a number alone. If you want to use Instagram strategically to meet your business goals, follower count is merely a vanity metric, their level of engagement is the key to delivering an ROI from your social channels.
Although gaining thousands of followers on your chose social media channel isn't a BAD thing, it's essential that these followers are relevant, interested in your content, and geographically placed to benefit your business.
What good is the size of your audience if no one is paying attention or they're located in another country (unless that's a relevant sales channel for you). That's why measuring the quality over the quantity is absolutely key. Are your followers real? Are they engaged? Is your content resonating with your current audience, and better yet to your potential customers?
Big numbers might look impressive, BUT they're irrelevant if they're the wrong audience or not engaged. In fact, if they don't interact, they may even damage your long-term engagement and content reach based on the social media algorithms.
What you want is to grow your audience responsibly and sustainably. The proven formula of sharing consistent and valuable content, having timely and meaningful interactions, and above all, having an authentic voice for your brand is still the best recipe for growing your audience on any social platform.
Share content that your audience and potential customers will respond to. Higher quality content is defined by relevance, interest, and novelty to your targeted audience, which in turn should encourage them to interact and start conversations. If your followers are engaged, they are also more likely to curate content surrounding your brand (user-generated content) and share it to their wider network - bonus! The crux of social media is as much about engagement and socialising with your community than it is broadcasting content.
Don't believe it? In technical terms, the more engagement your content has, the better positioned your brand will sit in the social media algorithms, thus the more exposure and reach it will get. A hot tip: keep an eye on your competitor's engagement and benchmark their performance to determine which content resonates better with your potential customers.
Engage intelligently with any feedback. When customers openly express their love for your brand, treat that like gold. Always thank them first, then delve deeper and look for ways to integrate them further into your community. On the flip side, do not shun the negative feedback – respond swiftly and authentically. Solving issues and complaints can increase customer advocacy and reduce churn. One great course of action is to send them your customer service email address or phone number and ask them to contact you directly to resolve it.
So, if you are sitting there wondering how to proceed with your social media strategy, our advice is to focus on building relationships, not just chasing followers. If you use engagement as the foundation of your social media strategy, we guarantee your business will be on its way to success.
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