How do you grow a robust social media following from scratch? Small business people need to know. The answer: It takes a community to build a community.
If you want to build a strong social media following for your business, answer these 7 questions:
• Who are the most ardent fans of your products or services? You can’t just pretend to have customers. Lay the groundwork and find some, even if you have to tap your family, friends and college buddies to do so.
• Do you know them?
• Are you in touch? When did you last hear from them?
• Will you invest the time and, yes, money to connect with your customers and make new ones? Speaking of investments, you’ll want to set aside a budget for images and photos – yes there are some free services but you should also plan to invest in some low-cost or higher-quality images as well. And if you’re not a graphic designer, budget for a designer’s time – they’re well worth it!
• Are you willing to handle customer care in public (for example, by using a Twitter feed that doesn’t yet have a huge following)?
• Are you or a trusted associate excited to jump in and build your fan base and subscriber list?
• Do you acknowledge that communities (like plants and everything good) take time to grow and won’t sprout overnight?
If your answer is yes to these questions, let’s get started. After all:
• 75 percent of Americans use smart phones,
• 52 percent of American adults use two or more social media sites,
• the average person checks a smartphone an astounding 150 times a day.
• your business already has a digital footprint — why not jump in and contribute to the conversation? When prospective customers research your company, they’ll hear your perspectives.
“The challenge is to identify and discover your super-fans.”
The challenge — whether it’s on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, Pinterest, Snapchat or another platform — is to find the super-fans, the people who love what you make or sell and have a following of their own. These ambassadors may be younger, older or different from what you expected. That’s part of the charm of social media.
While early adopters jumped in a while ago, some companies haven’t felt ready to move ahead. Turning again to nature, consider the tale of the man who yearned to grow a certain tree. His gardener shook his head and said it would not reach maturity for decades.
The man’s response: “In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon.”
That’s the spirit.