When you start a new business, one of the first things you need to do is create your social media pages and start building an online presence. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of expecting to have thousands of followers the moment they set up their page only to get discouraged when they have a hard time getting recognition.
Sometimes all it takes to gain momentum in building an audience is one post to go viral. However, this is easier said than done, and you may find yourself feeling more often than not that you’re just sharing posts into a void. Here, eight experts from Young Entrepreneur Council share their best pieces of advice on how a new business can gain those first few followers and start building an audience.
1. Find An Audience That Truly Cares
The number of followers you have is not an indicator that you’re successful on social media. You can have thousands of followers, but they don’t ever read your posts or even click on the links. What you need is an audience who truly cares for your brand. First followers are always going to be people you know, so keep them engaged, like by holding contests. This is also an effective way to get new people to follow you! Contests such as caption contests, comment to win, trivia, and photo contests can help in increasing your engagement and audience. – Kyle Goguen, Pawstruck
2. Give Them Something Of Value First
At first, you want to avoid promoting yourself in your social media at all. Focusing on marketing content and selling will only put off people who come across your profile. Instead, engage people first by giving value first. Create free “how-to” videos, do giveaways and make fun and entertaining stories. When you give good quality content to your audience, you’ll win them over and get more followers. Further down the line, you can start promoting your brand or product while continuing to share posts that your audience wants to see. By making nonmarketing content first, you’ll build your audience easily and then nurture them into customers later. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
3. Look At The Resources You Already Have
Look at the resources you already have: friends, family and any professional associates who are interested in what you do. Reach out to this pre-existing network and ask them to follow your new account. This doubles as a great way to not only reconnect, but also share that you’re starting something new. If you’re comfortable, you could even ask them to share your new account on their socials. Creating accounts on all social networks, and making sure to link them together, is critical. Creating an account on just one platform is less effective. Then, use these accounts to interact with other businesses in your space. Eventually, these initial, authentic connections will organically accumulate, and, if your content is strong (shareable content is always best!), you will be able to have a real impact. – Ryan D Matzner, Fueled
4. Document Your Daily Routine
Most people who are trying to grow their social media following organically do it in the most inorganic way possible. They over-plan and strategize a persona of fabricated images or videos that are way over the top and out of context with their normal life. Instead, try documenting your daily routine or happenings. Whether you use images, video or both, think about how you can tell the story of your day-to-day journey. For example, a video walking to a meeting, a snapshot of heading to the gym in the early morning before work, a quick Boomerang of you cooking dinner late—you’ll find people relate to you more and will start interacting with your authenticity. – Emily Stallings, Casely, Inc.
5. Collaborate On Posts With Influencers
Growing your followers for a new social media page can be challenging. But there are ways to gain quick exposure. One of them is to reach out to influencers for collaboration posts. It’s a great way to engage with a whole new bunch of people who are already following the influencer you have collaborated with. But before you do that, make sure to create some helpful and engaging content for your page, so that if anyone visits your page they have some content to go engage with. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
6. Engage With Accounts That Have A Similar Audience
Engaging with accounts of a similar target audience will generate followers. It is important to provide good content that caters to the needs and interests of that target audience. In addition, posts with an engaging title can be shared across multiple platforms for more publicity. Either become a savvy social media user by following these steps or find people who are already successful in your target demographic on the social media platform you want to use so they can follow you back. If it’s not possible or practical to find someone else in your target demographic for your preferred social media platform, become really engaged through other means. Commenting on posts always gets attention from big accounts because they know their audience really pays attention. – Devesh Dwivedi, Idea2Inception
7. Create A Social Media Calendar
It may seem like an unnecessary first step, but creating a social media calendar is critical to your social media efforts. Calendars help you create relevant and engaging content so you don’t miss opportunities of finding potential audiences. Many social media calendars also encourage team collaboration and allow you to get feedback from everyone in your company and marketing team. Some social media calendars I like are ContentCal, Falcon.io or Hootsuite. With these, you can plan, schedule, edit and post across all your social networks, which in turn will allow you to attract those first followers and to start building a committed audience. – Shu Saito, All Filters
8. Leverage Social Media Hashtags
Use hashtags. Hashtags offer a free customer acquisition opportunity. What’s even better is that “followers” on social media aren’t a one-time opportunity; a user on social media continues to follow as long as the content is valuable. People follow hashtags on social media to find content they may be interested in. Hashtags are often misunderstood, however. For example, although the hashtag #mydoglikesmailmen may be funny, it has no followers. When deciding what hashtag is best to use, you can consult the social media platform. For example, on Instagram, a quick search reveals that about 22.6 million people follow hashtag #bitcoin. As such, the first step is identifying who you want to reach. The next step is to flag your post with a relevant hashtag. Last, if your content is good, you gain followers! – Bill Mulholland, ARC Relocation