For many businesses, growing their social media following is a common concern. While you may already know about the more time consuming tasks of sharing relevant content, engaging with your community, answering customer questions and being generally helpful, what happens when you've done all of that but no one follows? <br><br>
When it comes to social media, if you have an online presence, it does your potential audience a disservice if they can't find <em>you</em>. So many business owners fail to benefit from the promotional tools that are right at their fingertips. To grow awareness of your social media community, you don't have to reinvent the marketing wheel. But you do need to think like a marketer. These five easy-to-follow steps will help promote your business—all while cultivating a strong social media presence.–<em>Amanda Miller Littlejohn </em>
<strong>Leverage Employee Email Signatures</strong> <br><br>
All employees using a company email address should have the company's social media information listed in their email signature. Since every email deployed is another opportunity for you to grow your following, you should be leveraging every message sent out on behalf of the organization. So take the time to craft the social media portion of the signature (embedded links and all) and request employees add it on to their message.
<strong>Add Social Media to Your Voicemail Message</strong> <br><br>
If a customer calls after business hours and reaches your voicemail message, why not give them another place to find more information and connect with you? Take the standard greeting a step further by telling customers to follow you on Twitter—@yourbusinessname — in order to get up to the date information on new products, weekly deals, or daily tips centered around services offered.
<strong>Optimize Your Website for Social Readers </strong> <br><br>
While this is a no brainer to most, you'd be surprised how many websites lack comprehensive social media contact information. Recently, I consulted with an organization that had a Facebook icon on their website’s homepage, but no indication of their Twitter or YouTube presence. Another organization's website had really great content on every page, but no easy way for readers to share those pages on Twitter. We've reached the age of social reading; when many visit your website, they not only want to find out how to contact you on social media, but also how they can share what they find once they're on the site. Take a few hours to optimize your website, adding share icons for all of your social media platforms. You can take it another step further by adding custom landing pages for your Twitter followers and Facebook fans—give them a special message when they click through from your Twitter or Facebook profile.
<strong>Put Up On-Site Signage and CTAs</strong><br><br>
If you have a brick and mortar business, you can't assume your customers instinctively know what to do social media-wise when they get to your location. Help them out by adding physical decals and signage when and wherever possible. Create clear calls to action to let them know what you want them to do when they enter your business. For example, add signs that read: "Check in on Foursquare," "Using <a title="Instagram for Android Now Available" href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/2012/04/03/instagram-for-android-now-available/">Instagram</a>? Tag your photo with #OurBusinessName so we can put it in our album," or "Tweet us @OurBusinessName when you’re on your way over." The more specific you can make your call to action, the better. If you’re ready to take it to the next level, add incentives. Try establishing several social media specials or rewards for the most engaged customers.<br><br>
It’s also important to remain engaged with your social media followers regularly. Staying true to your brand’s voice, respond to as many of your clients’ tweets and Facebook messages as possible in a timely fashion. Giving customers a little shine just adds to the engagement.
<strong>Include Social Info on Brochures and Business Cards</strong><br><br>
I tell my clients to start treating their social media addresses as they would their business address, phone number and web address. Everywhere you would include your direct contact information, start including your social media addresses as well. If you owned a restaurant, you wouldn't leave your reservation phone number off of your tri-fold brochure. And you wouldn't dare hand out a business card without an email address. If you're looking to increase engagement on your social media platforms—and gain a significant number of followers, begin to look at that contact information the same way.