Followers & likes are two of the most coveted things in social media on brand and personal pages alike. Amassing hundreds, thousands or even millions of followers was part of the digital goals for many brands. But then what? Over the last few years, it’s become obvious that having tons of followers isn’t the only important metric; it’s about keeping them there. Before the obsession with the amount of followers, it’s important to remember the core purpose of social media: to be social. Depending on what kind of account you follow, you’re waiting to catch different bits of content to respond to in some way, whether that means to reply to the person who posted it, or simply share and offer your own commentary. It’s meant to stir some kind of conversation that will in turn spread your brand messaging further than you can on your own. It’s imperative that brands remember that in the quest for more followers, there needs to be relevant content that not only keeps them interested but also pushes them to engage with the content you post, by sharing, reposting, or simply talking about it.
One of the biggest mistakes many digital marketers made in the early days of social media dominance, around 2010, was actually purchasing followers in order to “jump start” their Twitter marketing plans and efforts. In a bid to appear more established, they failed to take into account that not only would this become glaringly obvious due to the lack of real interactions later on, but that these fake followers offered them nothing in terms of conversion and create an actual customer base from their followers.
As impressive as lots of followers may look at first glance, it’s much more important to have consistently engaged followers than those who simply add to a number that may not even contribute to your bottom line by being converted into paying customers. It’s important to focus on fostering relationships with your existing followers (who are hopefully also customers) in order to gain traction that way.
Granted, common marketing wisdom would say that with more followers comes more opportunity to engage – and more people to engage with. While this may be true, it’s vital brands focus their effort on these interactions from the very beginning and not just when they have an “appropriate” amount of followers. Always think about cycling your content when you do amass more followers so you can reuse the most impactful posts so more people see it the second and third time around. Having even just a few hundred highly engaged followers means free marketing, in a sense. With every post you make, it will be amplified with retweets, re-blogs, shares, links, hashtag use and more to expose you to not only your own followers, but each users’ followers as well. This means more impressions, views, clicks and eventually: more followers.
Engagement doesn’t just come from one direction, either. It’s important to use your social media as an informational hub and point of customer service contact with existing and new customers alike. And don’t just respond to the tame stuff, go for the gusto. While some social media gurus warn against even acknowledging negative feedback, it’s important to not only zero in on them but actively work to fix the problem. Bad news spreads faster than good news, so it’s imperative you take to social media to address the issue and direct them to another medium to resolve the problem. Not only are you helping that particular customer’s issue, but you’re showing your other followers that you’re willing to provide more than just updates and will be there when they need your assistance the most.
It’s important for brands to shift their focus from solely the amount of followers towards how much acrtive, involved and engageed followers they have; and ways they can encourage more of tht kind of participation and open dialogue.