Your business needs a high quality and engaged online community. Here are 15 tips to help you grow your small business community into a large community. It’s easy to get more likes and get more followers with these tips.
Before You Start: You have social media accounts and you want to grow your community.
Learning level: 4 | Creating Solutions
Article Last Updated: Sunday, January 25, 2015
Grow Your Online Community
I talk a lot about the value of having a passionate and engaged community rather than a large community of people who don’t care about your business.
But let’s be honest. Even better than having a small, passionate community is having a large, passionate community.
So how can you take your current success with your online community and ramp it up to get bigger numbers?
Here are my best tips and secrets for growing your online community. I’ve focused on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but most of these tips apply to other social media sites.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
15 Tips for Getting More Followers and Likes
- Fill out your profile completely. Do a check on each site and make sure that you are using all of the available profile features. Don’t leave anything empty, especially your profile photo.
- Update your profile. If you already filled out your profile completely, make some changes. Add some personality. Swap in a fresh headshot. Mix it up so your profile is laser focused on the benefits of using your products and services. And show a little leg (have a little fun).
- Check your tongue. Look back through your 2 dozen most recent posts. Sure, you like them, but do they really add value for the people reading them? When was the last time you gave away a tip or insiders secret? Don’t write for yourself. Write for your audience. Tell them what they want (and need) to hear from you. Answer their questions. Help them solve problems.
- Post consistently. If you are not posting on a regular schedule, your account might look like a ghost town. Make sure you show up every business day.
- Post consistently but not too often. This is a balancing act. You want to post often enough that people know you are there, but not so often that they ignore you (or turn you off). For Facebook, don’t exceed 3-4 posts per day. With Twitter, space out your messages to once an hour during your business day (except for conversations). With Pinterest, leave some breathing room between pins of about 15 minutes, and don’t flood the pin stream with many similar images in a group.
- Reply to every comment. Even the small ones. Take what they say to continue the conversation. Make it about them and their comment, not about you. Remember that people love to talk about themselves and that’s the fastest way to get them to open up.
- Connect with your existing customers. This is easy to say and harder to do, but is really important. Look up your best customers to see where they are online and add them to your community. This is easier for B2B than B2C. My secret weapon is Rapportive (for Gmail), an email tool that shows me the social media accounts for people who send me an email.
- Share your business social media passport. Add links to your social media accounts to your website, blog, your email signature, and your email newsletter footer. Put up signs in your business that say “Like us on Facebook” or “Follow us on Twitter” or “Follow us on Pinterest.” Add the social media icons to your menus, invoices, order forms, receipts and anything else you hand to customers.
- Comment on other people’s posts, tweets and pins. If you are waiting for people to find and like you, it’s a little like sitting by the phone and waiting for it to ring. Reach out to people by commenting on their blog posts, replying to their Facebook posts, retweeting and replying to their tweets, and repinning their pins. Jump into conversations that someone else started.
- Use hashtags to connect with other people looking for your conversation topics. Include hashtags in your posts, tweets and pins to help people find you. It’s a powerful and practical way to reach out beyond your current community to other people who care about your topics.
- Use your hashtags to find other conversations. Use your post hashtags to find other people talking about the same things and join in those conversations. Like and follow those people. Build relationships with them.
- Actively grow your community every week. Invest a little time every week to find, follow, and like other people in your industry, related industries, and your neighborhood. Some of them will notice you and follow or like you back.
- Run a Facebook page promotion. It’s not free, but it’s an effective way to reach out to people who might like what you offer. Start with a small budget and experiment with your ad each time you run it. I recommend a monthly ad while you are building your audience.
- Add social media widgets to your website and blog. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have tools that allow people to see your account without leaving your website or blog. These widgets also let people follow you right fromyour website. Don’t miss this important opportunity to capture their attention. These tools work!
- Send an email asking people to like and follow you. Email is still the most effective and efficient way to reach out to the people who care about your business. Send out a message with links to your social media accounts and ask people to join your online community.
Measure and track your results. Your community needs to grow both in size and in interaction with you. Learn and use the tools for each site, including Facebook Insights, Twitter ads timeline activity, and Pinterest analytics for business accounts (all free services). There are also 3rd-party tools to help you track things.