First and foremost, social media ISN’T a popularity contest, despite what many people may think.
Just because Katy Perry (@katyperry) has got close to 100 million followers (she really has) it doesn’t mean your small business should be striving to get anywhere near that many.
So why are so many companies hung up on the number of followers their various social media accounts have?
If the thousands of people who have ‘liked’ your Facebook page or ‘followed’ you on Twitter don’t interact with your business, they may as well not be there at all.
It’s a bit like eCommerce businesses that only focus on the number of hits their websites get. If those hits don’t convert to sales then they’re all but useless.
So if follower numbers aren’t as important as we think, what is?
Content has been king in the world of blogging for many years now, but when it comes to social media, engagement is definitely the king.
[Recommended read: Why Small Businesses Today Need to Get Blogging]
That’s why you should be looking to cultivate a loyal band of followers who don’t just ‘like’ your page, but also promote your business. People who read the updates you post; engage with them in the form of a comment or like; and share them on their own profiles too.
And the best way to encourage people to engage and interact with your posts is to make them (your posts that is) valuable. Show people that your brand has got a personality and is not just there to shove sales pitches down their throats at every given opportunity.
Never, ever buy likes or followers. You’ll regret it…
Remember, 100 engaged followers will always be more productive for your business than 1,000 disengaged followers.
The problem for many businesses is that social media networks can be daunting places, especially when you’re first starting out. There you are with a shiny new profile and absolutely zero audience. It can be so tempting to buy yourself some page likes.
Whatever you do, don’t ever, ever buy likes or followers!
Here are a few reasons why:
- Bought followers or likes are low-quality connections that have zero interest in your brand or products and services.
- Your brand credibility could suffer. Imagine how it looks if you’ve got a million page fans, but most of your posts get like half a dozen likes.
- There’s a good chance that your Facebook page’s organic reach could take a hit as a result. That’s because Facebook uses the engagement that your posts get to determine how many people should see them. A huge amount of likes, but zero engagement is a smoke signal that tells Facebook your page is perhaps low quality.
- Your genuine customers and prospects will almost certainly be put off if they think you’ve bought artificial likes.
- Fake bought likes screw up your analytics, so you’ll never really understand your true engagement levels.
- It will take you a significant amount of time (and, therefore, money) to remove all those likes again.
Automation? No please!
It’s a similar story when it comes to the engagement automation tools that are out there in the market. While they can help your social media operations run smoothly, they’ll never be able to replace the value or compete with a real person in terms of interaction.
The bottom line is that social media is a long-term game and building relationships is what will bring your company new sales. You’ll only be able to do this with audiences that are engaged and are following your social media accounts because they want to.