Many companies find building a social media following hard, often getting stuck at a couple of hundred followers. And there’s two reasons for getting stuck: people either have no reason to follow you, or they don’t know you are there to follow. How many times have you had a friend set up a new Facebook page for their business and they send a message to all their Facebook friends and ask them to follow the page? This might seem like a great idea, but how many of your friends, really, are going to be likely customers and really interested in your page?
And this is the core understanding of building up any social media presence: you need to connect with people who are interested and want to support what you do. Everything that you do successfully on social media will be a direct result of you understanding your customer and understanding what brought them to you in the first place. It’s why I say don’t launch a business, start a movement. It’s why I say create a company that will attract a tribe. It’s why I’ve told you to come up with something REMARKABLE as a company that will make someone spit out their coffee when they first encounter you. A vegan taxidermist?? A plant-based champion power-lifter?? A cupcake company that has closed down a slaughterhouse?? These are companies that people want to hear more from and want to follow. Someone giving you a tiny slice of their social media attention is a big ask; they need more of a reason than just being a customer to follow you. If you regularly post remarkable content, people will remark on it, they will want to share it. They will go into their own local vegan Facebook group and say ‘Have you seen this story from this vegan company?’. And that’s why you need to focus on finding the audience that really connects with you and really believes in what you are doing, and tailor your social media just for them. I would rather have a business that had 1,000 followers who were highly motivated and engaged in what I was doing and felt like we were on the same journey, rather than 10k people who were following me passively and just watching out for occasional special offers.
And even if people do follow you, there is no guarantee they will see anything you post if you are not remarkable. Being unremarkable is the enemy of successful business in general, but especially so on social media. Companies like Facebook need users to keep coming back several times a day for engaging content. This means the posts you are presented with when you go to your feed have been carefully curated by computer algorithms to show you the posts that are deemed to be most interesting. Have you ever run a social media page with a large number of followers but you can see that your posts only get viewed by a handful of people each time? Or have you ever first seen someone’s Facebook post days after they wrote it, but Facebook is showing it to you only now because a mutual friend has liked or commented on it? This is because when you post something on social media a complex suite of algorithms judge how interesting it is and will show it only to the people who are most likely to interact with it. That’s why you may find you have one superfan on Facebook who seemingly likes everything your company posts – when the reality is that Facebook knows that this person finds your content interesting so it shows them everything you post. If over time Facebook judges that no-one really interacts with what you post, then it will eventually show your posts to no-one.
All social media channels favour content created on its own platform, rather than you posting links which take people away. For instance, a photo you upload will get seen by more people than a link you post to a news story. A video that you upload will be shown to more people than embedding a link to YouTube. Social media rewards you for uploading original content. This is why you should create content for your social media accounts and pages, not just link to content that is already elsewhere.
The second reason people don’t follow you on social media is that you are simply not telling them you are there. Do you feature your social media pages on your company’s website – not just as little links in the footer but do you regularly highlight what’s happening on your social media page on your website’s homepage? Remember, giving someone a way to stay in touch when they are not yet ready to buy or get in touch is an important way of capturing future business. Do you regularly feature a social media round up in your email newsletter? Do you send people to your social media page for exclusive behind the scenes fun, promotions, free offers and updates on your mission? Do you let them know they are really missing out on a massive part of their relationship with you and your company if they are not following you on social? No? Then you have just answered the question why no-one is following you.
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