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by Andy Williams on 6th November 2013
Hi guys. Today I’m going to be talking about a question that seems to come up quite a bit in conversation at the moment and that is ‘How do I get more followers on my social media platforms?’
First off, social media … I think we’ve got to the stage now where if you’re a online business, you need to have a presence socially. I know a lot of businesses still feel nervous about getting into this kind of field, they don’t want people to be able to leave comments about them on Facebook or tweet about them on Twitter or anything like that. I think we’ve got to the stage now where so much information is taken by the likes of Google regarding social media activity, be it conversations, retweets, people engaging [and] sharing content from online businesses, that it’s unavoidable. If you don’t have a social media presence, I think you’re going to start getting left behind, because there are so many social signals now, and so many factors that Google are taking into account that you just can’t afford not to be social anymore, so make sure that you start to get your presence up and running if you haven’t already.
But, how do you get followers once you’ve got your profile set up? Well, the first step is to make sure that you are completely optimised. All your profiles are completely set up and they’re branded, they have your logos on there, they’ve got links to your main site and all the descriptions and all of the information is exactly how you want it. What this naturally does is it builds up authority, so if people are looking for you on social media as a lot of people now start to do, they’ll know straight away that this is exactly the profile that they should be engaging with, that they should be talking to you. So, you naturally start to build up followers there, especially if you’ve got a big brand or a brand that a lot of people talk about. They will naturally start to copy in your Twitter handle or they will start to link to your Facebook account. That’s how you start to naturally get followers.
But this isn’t really going to be enough in order for you to think that you’ve got an audience in front of you. I think it is, at the same breath, important to understand that it’s not about how many people follow you, it’s about the people that are following you. You can have 20,000 followers on Twitter, but if none of them are really that interested in what you’ve got to say, then it’s irrelevant. You are tweeting to the wrong people. They’re not going to engage with you, they’re not going to retweet you. They’re not going to have any interest in anything you’ve got to say.
In the same breath, don’t buy followers either. There are lots of services out there where you can quite quickly buy followers. It’s not something I would recommend. Some companies do it so they’ve got their initial follow count quite high, so it looks like they’ve been around for a while. There’s no harm in it other than if you get caught out or someone looks at your Twitter profile and they looked at the followers, it might be completely obvious that you’ve got a load of spam followers following you. If they call you out online, that could be embarrassing for your brand. You don’t really want that sort of information out there, so I would just completely avoid it. Again, it’s about who follows you, not the amount of people that follow you.
Once you’ve got your site all optimised and everything’s branded up, it’s then time to start looking to how you can get more followers coming to you. First off, I would start looking at what your competitors are doing. Because so many people are now using social media, chances are they are going to have a Twitter account already set up, as they are with Facebook. See who’s following them, especially on Twitter. You can quite openly go on to their profile and click on ‘Followers’ and this will give you a complete list of who is following that Twitter handle. There’s no rules when it comes to Twitter and followers.
If they’re following your competitors, chances are they’re going to be highly interested in what you’ve got to say as well. It’s only natural that they’re probably going to follow you. Follow them, start engaging with them. Start seeing what these people are saying. It could well be that you can help them out. They might well be talking to your competitor directly, but if there’s something that you can help them with, help them. Talk to them. You will naturally then start to build up your followers that way. Start following hashtags as well, or key words as well that are relevant to your products or your services. Start to see what people are asking. Start to see what people are talking about. Because this is social media, again especially on Twitter, you don’t even have to be following them, they don’t have to be following you.
You can reach out directly to them just by including their handle in your tweet. If you’ve got TweetDeck or anything like that, you can just follow hashtags, you can follow key words and you can follow the stream of your information as it’s coming through the day. If there is an opportunity for you to jump in and help someone out, brilliant. Chances are the knock on effect of that is that other people will start to follow you as well, because that information is out there. People can start to see what you’re doing. You’re almost giving customer service in real time.
Again, use these platforms for customer service. If people are engaging with you, if people are asking you questions about your product or your services, make sure you answer them back. Don’t leave it quiet. Don’t not get back to them. The more you engage with people, the more they’re going to be impressed with this. If you don’t reply back, chances are they’re going to start getting angry because they feel that they’re talking to you directly. They’re of the opinion that someone is sat behind a screen 24 hours a day, monitoring their Twitter profile. If you don’t get back to them in real time, they’re going to start getting angry. This can be a bit time consuming, but you do need to throw quite a bit of time to social media just to make sure that you’re doing this engagement correctly. The fact that you’re doing this, this is out there in the real time world, everyone can see what you’re doing. Good customer service online, especially again with Twitter, this means that other people might start to follow you. They’ll see that you’re doing all of the right things.
Once you’ve started to follow hashtags and you’ve looked at your competitors, start to look at influencers within your sector. This could well be a competitor as well. Don’t be afraid to follow a competitor. Start to engage with these people as well. Start to talk to them. Start to provide them with information. Join in discussions because if you get a key influence within your sector following you, retweeting you, or sharing a link from your site, that outreach is going to be far bigger than anything you can handle right at the start. You’re going to get the knock on effect of people again, following you, because a key influence was talking about you, therefore it must be good. So make sure you do that as well.
Engage, be human. Make sure that the tweets that you put out there are human. Be a face behind the account. It doesn’t always have to be that you’re tweeting links to content on your site or services or individual products. If you just fill people’s timelines with links, chances are they’re going to stop following you very quickly. One of the bugs bears with the likes of Twitter is that people don’t want to know what you had for breakfast in the morning and I don’t want to know what people are doing every single day of the week. That’s not something that you should do, but you should be human.
If something’s happening within the company, then tweet about it. Put that human element to it. If there’s something happening locally that you’re interested in, tweet it. Update it. Put it on Facebook. The more human you are and the more you mix things up, the more chances are that people are going to follow you. Add images as well. Make sure that it’s visually compelling as well. If someone’s using TweetDeck and you post an image, that’s going to show up on their timeline, not just the link, especially on Facebook. How many times have you gone to a business’ Facebook account and all you’ve seen is text all the way down? Break it up. Put images on there. If you’ve got a really visual web site, say it’s fashion or it’s sports equipment or anything like that, get it out there. Start to put the images on your timeline because people are more likely to engage, the more they see images. They can share as well and the more people that share these images or this information, the bigger the outreach is going to be as well.
Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself either. If you’ve created a blog post, don’t be afraid to tweet about it a couple times a day. Chances are you’re going to miss some of your audience. You’re not going to always hit everyone every single time you tweet. Don’t be afraid to repeat your tweets. Obviously, you need to be sensible about it. Don’t put out 100 tweets during the day because again, this will annoy people. They will stop following you. But don’t think just because you’ve tweeted something once, you can’t tweet it again.
In order to try to make sure that you hit your optimum target audience, you need to kind of know when are the best times to update Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. Because the more people that you hit, the more chance you have of people following you back. Again, you have that whole knock on effect where it you hit your audience at the peak time, chances are they are going to engage with you or they’re going to reshare some of your content. Then the followers that are following them are going to see that as well. The knock on effect is that they might start to follow you.
Having had a quick look before we started this video, the general consensus online looking at peak times, for Twitter was between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Facebook is between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., and surprisingly Google Plus is 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Try and hit those platforms at those times. Do your own research as well. That’s only what I’ve found. You might find that it’s different, depending on what sector you are in so, have a look. Do your own research. If you can hit those peak times, chances are you’re going to get more followers each time you do that.
Be authoritative. Start to be a voice within your sector, because the more people start to trust you and the more you start to have an opinion within things that are in the news or within your sector, people start to naturally come to you for this information. They will start to trust you and if they trust you and they find you to be an authoritative figure, they will retweet stuff, they will share stuff, they will talk about things that you have said.
Again, the outreach is they’re going to hit their audiences and the knock on effect again is they will start to follow you. So start to have an opinion. Don’t be afraid to have an opinion either as well. Don’t just feel that you have to appease your audience and say what you think people are going to say. If it’s controversial, but you’ve got a valid point, say it. Get it out there. Again, it just shows that you’re human. It shows you have an opinion. Everything’s out there to be questioned, so go for it. Do it. Be human, the more chances are that people are going to enjoy this. They’re going to engage with you. If you start a discussion, that’s brilliant. What you usually find is when you start a discussion with someone on a particular subject, other people jump in with their opinions as well. Again, you are outreaching to more people than just your audience, so more followers will come in.
Hopefully, that’s given you a few tips as to what you should do, there’s no exact science to simply following loads of people and they’ll follow you back. It’s more about the engagement on your behalf. It’s more about making sure that you get the correct content out there. It’s about going in front of your audience. It’s about being human. It’s about doing your research and making sure that you’re following the right people, in the hope that they will follow you back. You can just continue to do this. There should be no end to your audience. This is now worldwide.
So, don’t buy followers, don’t think that just because you’ve got hundreds of thousands of people following you that you’ve done your job and you’re now an authority. Make sure you go after your target audience and make sure you engage with them. That should be enough to build up your followers nice and gradually. Before you know it, you’ll be an authority figure on social media.
For more information from us, our social platforms are going to come up at the end of this video, and of course, follow us on our blog for more information on these types of subjects. Thanks a lot.
Andy Williams, our DADI award winning Digital Marketing Manager will be giving you useful insights into local search and the overall SEO landscape. Andy has over 9 years experience in the SEO industry including 2 years as the in-house SEO consultant with a leading Web Design company.