When a business first unveils their social media presence to the world, it may have the best looking graphics, the best content production, and the best social media strategy. One thing this new social media presence is missing, however, is followers. Followers come in a variety of forms including Facebook likes, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections and all have the ultimate use in social media: they see and engage with the content your provide. Without anyone seeing the content you are producing, it’s simply evaporating into the social media æther, never to be seen again.
That is why it’s important that your social media strategy include a section on follower building. Whether you are targeting Facebook, Twitter, or another social media platform, follower building is an essential part of how you will engage with your future fans. Your company will need to decide whether it wants to pursue an organic growth model or one that utilizes paid advertising for follower building. Both can be effective and both will reach a different type of follower.
The difference between organic and paid follower building includes:
Organic- Gaining likes on Facebook organically isn’t necessarily easy. The catch-22 businesses find themselves in is that you can only typically reach people who are already liking your page with your content, but you can’t reach those outside of your fan base to gain new likes. This means you need to rely on your fans engaging with your content and sharing your posts so your content gets in front of a new set of eyes. This calls for great content, giveaways and promotions that encourage engagement, and inviting your current list of friends to like your page. It also means that advertising your Facebook presence offline can get your brand in front of more people.
Paid- Since their IPO, Facebook has been really keen on making money and staying profitable for their shareholders. That’s why they make it easy for businesses to now advertise in myriad ways, all aimed at reaching the most people possible. Advertisers on Facebook have the option of gaining likes through sidebar ads or newsfeed ads. They are also able to put themselves in front of a larger audience by boosting posts and advertising certain specials or promotions. Advertising on Facebook, for the purpose of gaining new likes, is highly effective and relatively cheap.
Organic- Gaining followers on Twitter organically is also a lot easier said than done. While large brands of the luxury of notoriety, small businesses need to really stand out to be noticed in the world of Twitter. An organic strategy calls on businesses to churn out a lot of content and hope it gets retweeted by existing followers. Another organic strategy is following people in your community or identifying active users in your area in hopes that they will follow you back. You can also jump on trending topics on twitter and tweet about things that are popular, putting your company in front of more eyes in hopes of gaining followers.
Paid- Similar to Facebook, Twitter is offering paid forms of advertising on their platform in order to put businesses in front of a larger set of users. The different types of advertising include a sponsored account, usually on the left hand side of the screen, or sponsored tweets, which will show up on the timeline. Twitter allows you to target your audience by numerous demographic and geographical factors, making the followers you gain potential leads.
Whichever strategy you pursue, know that gaining followers is an important part of social media and getting your message in front of a larger audience.