What is your objective with your social media campaign?
A lot of individuals and companies alike (especially the companies!) will answer this by pointing to a number or some kind of chart or graph. In other words, they have quantitative goals which involve growing followers and growing influence over time.
That sounds like a good aim because it is always useful to have a yard stick with which to measure your success. But it’s also entirely misguided.
What’s much more important is the quality of your social followers (and I’m not talking about good genetic stock here!) This is a very important concept to understand, so let’s dive a little deeper into what that means.
What is a Quality Follower?
A high quality follower is a follower who is engaged, who is targeted and who would describe themselves as a ‘fan’ of your brand. In fact, one of the best known books on marketing and branding is 1,000 True Fans, which suggests that as soon as you get 1,000 real fans – loyal followers – your brand has made it.
And the subtext here is that having a million followers who don’t care about you, is worth pretty much nothing. So why is this?
Well, let’s consider what it would mean to have an army of highly engaged fans for a moment. These high quality followers would be eager to hear more from you. These are genuine fans remember, and so they’re highly excited to read your blog posts, they want to see your next YouTube video and they can’t wait to hear your podcast. These are the kinds of people that will actively seek out the content you put out, rather than needing to have it stuffed down their throats (just like you probably actively seek out new episodes of your favorite TV shows.)
So, if you have 1,000 true fans, then that means 1,000 views guaranteed for every single one of your new videos and 1,000 people viewing every single one of your blog posts and your social media posts.
That also means some guaranteed profit from every single piece of content you put out due to sales of your carpet cleaning.
What’s more important is that a true fan will be likely to click ‘like’ on each of your posts on social media. Now, your Facebook posts will be seen by roughly 1,000 x the number of people in these viewers’ networks. That’s a pretty big boost and not only will the link be seen, but it will also be talked about and those contacts will also see that their friend recommends your site as something that they should check out – which makes a huge difference.
Now imagine that you want to sell more carpet cleaning. Your average visitor is not going to be willing to pick up the phone and call you or recommend you based on what they see on Facebook or wherever, but someone who absolutely loves your brand and who can’t get enough of your content will – especially if they get to see their name in your next post or video as a thanks.
On top of all this, you’ll also find that true fans buy your products. Of course, they do – they have been won over by the quality of the work you’re putting out and so they more than anyone will be willing to buy more of it!
You have a bottomless revenue stream – guaranteed sales and your own, free marketing agency (your fans) that is shouting about every single thing you do and that is making sure that the world hears about your incredible brand!
As you can imagine, this does make a lot of difference!
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How to Create High Quality Followers
So now you know why you need high quality followers, the next question is how you go about making that happen.
There are several steps and strategies to that end…
Target Your Followers:
The first thing to make sure you are doing is targeting your followers to begin with. We’ve talked about this in a previous step so to keep things brief, the general idea is that not all followers are made equal.
You want to get people on board who fit your ‘buyer persona’ and your ideal customer.
Look for the ‘route to market’
This is the place where your ideal customers congregate. That could be an online forum, or it could be a real-world club that you can attend and speak to the owner of.
Have a Great Brand:
This is one of THE most important things for your social media campaign as well as for your success in business as a whole.
Having a great brand is the difference between being a corporate, dry and unexciting business, versus being a company that is exciting, passionate and something that people want to get behind.
The reason that people are so enthralled about Apple products has little to do with the technology (although this helps, of course!) and has a lot more to do with the branding and the marketing. It’s what Apple stands for that matters to people, because they want to stand for that too!
People are excited about Apple because it represents artistry, free thinking, premium quality and thinking differently. These are all qualities that people want to express and so getting behind Apple is a great way to do that.
Create a Sense of Belonging:
Many of the best brands in the world do this … they create a collective noun for their fans and this then gives those fans a sense of belonging and importance. Suddenly, they are no longer passive users or visitors – they are people who actually belong to that brand. They are a part of it. It is theirs.
You can further this by giving away merchandise. Giving away t-shirts with your logo printed on it has obvious marketing benefits but what it also does is to subtly influence the psychology of people who wear those shirts. Suddenly, they are part of an army of followers or fans.
Another very important tip is to make sure that you are interacting with your fans. This is something that social media is perfect for, but which a lot of creators and brands simply forget to do.
If you just posted a picture to Instagram and someone posts a comment saying that it’s fantastic and they’re your biggest fan, what do you do?
A shocking number of users do nothing because answering involves a bit too much work. It’s hard to know what to say back.
But this is essentially throwing away one of your most valuable assets.
A very small percentage of people will actually comment on your content. If someone does, it suggests they are engaged with social media and very interested in your brand. In turn, that means they have potential to become a top fan. If you ignore them, then eventually they are going to get tired and fed up. It’s normal to an extent but if post after post goes unanswered, then it is hard not to eventually start taking that personally!
If you simply write back and say ‘thanks’, suddenly that person knows you’re there and knows you’re listening.
This can make a massive psychological difference and it’s something that you should definitely put the time into doing. If someone messages you with a long list of questions, it can involve a fair investment of time to answer. But if you do, that user will now feel indebted to you – they will feel as though they know you – and they will be much more likely to like and share your posts in future.
And better yet, don’t wait for them to interact with you – interact with them! Can you imagine how amazing it would feel if a brand that you know and love commented on one of your pictures, unprompted, and said it looked amazing?
Think of this as a relationship and like any relationships, there must be give and take.
Build Real Relationships:
If you can create a core legion of followers then that passion will spread and that will lead to much more engagement with the rest of your followers.
That means it is highly worth investing some time to build some great relationships that will drive your brand onwards and upwards and one of the best ways you can accomplish this is to spend some time on an online community.
Some of the biggest names on the web started out this way. You spend time in the community and don’t do anything to promote yourself. What you do is make friends with other users, help them out where possible by answering questions and be supportive and helpful wherever possible. At the same time, you demonstrate your expertise and your knowledge and you talk about your projects.Only then do you eventually reveal that you have your own brand/site/product and then invite them to check to it out.
What you’ll find is that this leads to a massive amount of visitors, of sharing, of likes and support as those people that you’ve developed genuine relationships with are eager to not only see what you’ve created but also to help out.
But don’t forget your real world relationships either! Social media platforms like Facebook are originally for fostering your real-world networks and that means that you can reach out to old school friends, work colleagues and even family in order to support you and spread the word.