How many Twitter followers do you have? Are you engaging your colleagues on LinkedIn? Those are all things to consider when evaluating your social media presence, but what else should you keep in mind?
Don't Evaluate Social Media Success on Audience Numbers Alone
Perhaps the greatest function of a social media presence for your brand is the ability to connect with your customers, your peers, and members of your industry at large.
Having 1,000 Facebook likes seems great, but if you’re not able to “talk” to someone who has a real question about your products or services, it’s not a terribly effective measure of your social media efforts.
If you focus solely on the numbers, then you might miss the great sense of community that can come from a small but loyal following, and that would be a shame.
Grow Social Media Following Organically
Remember that point, lo 10 seconds ago, that said don’t focus on the numbers too much? That doesn't mean don’t focus on them at all. Talking to yourself and the Twitter account you set up for your cat probably isn't the greatest use of your time, so you’re going to have to spend some time growing your following.
Virtually every social platform offers some sort of premium service that promises to do just that for you. But those are often expensive and the effectiveness of the resulting fan base is suspect.
Go ahead, use fertilizer in your garden. But when it comes to growing your following on social media, you might find organic is the way to go. Do the time, talk to the people who engage with you. Thank new followers and those who re-tweet your content on Twitter. Acknowledge every post on your Facebook wall, with a thank you if you can or just a click of the Like button if you can’t. Keep in touch with your peers and former colleagues on LinkedIn to do more than ask them for favours after you strike out on your own.
Growing your social media presence organically takes longer than running a campaign on Facebook or promoting a tweet, but it keeps you closer to the very people you’re trying to reach. If you find it hard to grow a social medial presence AND your business, consider engaging the services of a company to help connect with your following – NOT a click farm - a business that specializes in creating meaningful relationships on your behalf.
Where to start?
There are dozens of social media properties and hundreds of services to monitor your reach on those sites. But when you’re just starting out, your time is limited and sometimes so is your budget. Start one social media account for your business, preferably on one you already use a lot in your personal life. You’re familiar with the site’s layout and can capitalize on your connections to get a head start on building your following. Then, when you’re ready, add another one.
Make a note of your web traffic the day before you share a link on one site, and then wait a day or two before sharing it on another. See which has the greater impact on your web traffic and then focus your efforts on that site. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Getting attention and building a community for your business using social media doesn't have to be exhausting. You really can do it one day and one post at a time. If you need further guidance to get started, you know who to call!