There is a saying in retail: Location, Location, Location.
It’s not because some locations have magical, mystical powers that attract buyers. It’s because some locations get better traffic. The more people that pass by your store, the better likelihood that more people will come in, and therefore buy something. It doesn’t matter how flashy your sign is or how attractive the storefront if people don’t see it, they aren’t going to enter.
It’s the same with social media, and while location is important, what we are really talking about here is traffic. Location only matters if your niche gets better traction on certain types of social media. For instance, Pinterest and Instagram work better for some markets than others.
No matter which social media site you are trying to market on, your traffic is your followers, and to a certain degree, their followers. The more people you attract to follow you, the more people will see your posts.
As you attract people with much larger followings than you, enticing them to share your posts puts them in front of even larger audiences.
If you have 1,000 followers, then that is the potential market for your post. But if one of your followers has 10,000 of their own and shares your post, your exposure just went up tenfold. Also, that person’s posts may carry more weight just because of who they are. “Well, if that guy likes it, there must be something to it.” It’s like a celebrity endorsement.
So, how do you get all of those followers and, more importantly, attract those influencers to your posts?
You have to stop making it all about you.
How often, scrolling through your feed to you keep coming across posts from the same person screaming, “Hey, look at me. Buy my stuff.” You don’t even slow down, much less click the link. It’s like the car dealerships with all the flashy signs and banners, maybe an inflatable gorilla. Attractive? Not so much.
But what if you were driving past a car lot that had a simple sign out front, “Free oil and tire check.” Wow. I think I’ll pull in here and let them check out my car. And while I’m waiting, maybe I’ll look around a bit.
Yeah, I don’t know where that dealership is either, but it would attract my attention. And maybe my business.
And it’s the same online. The first thing you have to do is to get people to stop scrolling. You won’t do that by just trying to sell. You have to offer something. Entice them in some way, to stop and at least look at your post. And just maybe, they click on it. Now, you can start selling.
How do you do that? Offer them something. Give them a reason to stop. Free is always good. What can you offer your target audience? What service do you provide that you could give away to a potential customer?
Another way to attract customers to your storefront is to go outside and meet them face to face. Stand on the sidewalk out front and greet passersby. Maybe offer them some cold water or hot coffee. Get them to slow down long enough to at least look inside if not actually come inside.
Do the same thing online. Take an hour every couple of days to just scroll through your feed and meet people. Offer help where you can, and just stop and say hello where you can’t. If someone posts an accomplishment, congratulate them. Don’t try to sell them anything, just be social and speak to them. Chances are good they will take a look at your feed, maybe follow you.
But be specific. Going out and rounding up a hundred new followers is useless if they aren’t at least potential customers or influencers of potential customers. There are plenty of people out there just trolling for clicks. If they look spammy, pass them by. You are looking for a mutually beneficial relationship.
And relationship is the keyword here. Good relationships are built slowly, over time. This may seem counter-intuitive in the instant gratification world of Twitter, but the principle still holds. You want them to remember you. That will take more than a random good luck post.
This is especially true with the influencers. If you are trying to attract the attention of someone in your niche with tens or hundreds of thousands of followers, you will need to stand out. You want them to pay attention and not piss them off. I can’t tell you how many new people I follow and interact with, thinking they are good leads, and then the next morning, I get twenty retweets from them. That’s just annoying.
Don’t do that.
Build a relationship. Read their posts. Find one that resonates with you and respond to it. Like you would in person. If you were working a room and just walked through, patted everyone on the back and said, “nice job,” they would all forget you as soon as you were out of sight. But if you took the time to stop and listen to what they had to say, and then gave a thoughtful reply, they will remember you.
It’s the same on social media, but it may take a little more effort. You can’t stop someone like you can in person. All you can do is try. They may see your reply; they may not. Try again another day. Keep trying until they answer your post. Now you have the beginnings of a relationship. Feed it. Keep it alive. Then one day, they retweet your post with a personal note.
And that is how you increase your following.
It’s a numbers game. You have to keep at it. You have to work it regularly. I do this often and pick up a follower or three a day. Then one day, my number jumps by a hundred. What happened? I hit the right person on the right day with the right post.
Some social media sites work better than others with this technique. I have found Twitter to be the best for my niches and style. I have increased followers by 300% in the last few months. And I am beginning to attract some heavy hitters. My top follower last month had almost one million followers. And while I will be a tiny fish in that huge pond, just think of the potential if they share only one of my posts.
But don’t spend all of your time on social media marketing. After all, it’s called ‘social’ media. Be social. Be nice. Just talk to people. Maybe they become followers, perhaps not. But if you just be social with people, most will reciprocate. And everyone else who glances at your posts will know you are someone worth listening to. Because you have something to say, not just something to sell.
And just maybe, they follow you.