In a previous blog post, we talked about the importance of building your online brand, and the most important platforms to help carve out your online presence.
Just how do YOU build a loyal following online? Where can you find a community of people who will care about what you post and be interested in what you have to say? Here are 10 Tips on How to Build a Loyal Social Media Following!
1. Create value for your followers (Content is King): It’s one thing if you’re just on social media for fun, with the intention of following your friends and sharing funny memories or pictures from your vacations, staying in touch with family members, or to show everybody you went to high school with that you’re successful and happy in your adult life. But it’s a whole other deal when you’re trying to brand yourself and present yourself as a thought leader, or as somebody who’s successful in their particular field. Before you decide to become active on Twitter, and create a fan page, or create an Instagram account, you have to ask yourself, “Why would somebody want to follow me?” The only logical reason why people would want to follow you is because they enjoy your content (unless you’re famous and no matter what you post they will like it). You have to see the value you’re providing to your followers. Determine why you’re providing them something different from everyone else online. You have to believe that if you post great content, then people will be attracted to your account and want to follow you. Also, if your intention is just to flaunt your success, or to prove to people who you’re successful, then you’re not engaging social media for the right reasons. You are there because you want to engage with like-minded people, elevate your industry and help people who’re pursuing similar things. As well, to connect with an audience and work towards building a following of loyal followers and like you, and find a connection in your thoughts and opinions on relevant subjects. In order to set yourself apart, you have to always strive towards providing value, something that’s unique, relevant and different.
2. Create a community: The word community can be defined as, a group or network of persons who are connected (objectively) to each other by relatively durable social relations that extend beyond immediate genealogical ties, and who mutually define that relationship (subjectively) as important to their social identity and social practice (Source: Wikipedia). The whole essence of community drives around connection, and to connect with a group of like-minded individuals. This means that your engagement and interaction in your growth towards building a community must be a two-way relationship. Simply creating one-dimensional posts without ever engaging with your followers is not going to help build you a group of devoted followers. You have to follow your followers back, retweet and favourite posts of theirs that interest you, as well as make comments on their posts, and respond to all their comments on your content. You also need to make sure that you target the right audience. Be specific about who you follow, and the information you put out to make sure there is symmetry between your content and your followship. Fewer followers that are more active in your industry is better than having more followers that have absolutely no relevance to your industry.
3. Speak with your followers, not at them: This again correlates to building your online community and having ongoing dialogue with your followers as opposed to just posting things about your life that your followers won’t be able to relate to. Ask your followers questions and get their feedback as often as possible, whether it’s a topical issue you’re addressing, or just your opinion on something that you want other people to weigh in on. It’s important that you always connect with your followers on a human level, which will make people want to follow you. You have to speak with your followers as equals and individuals, as opposed to “fans” who are there to worship every move you make.
4. Build Relationships: Relationship building is going to be one of the biggest keys to growing your social media following. A great way to do this is to target industry leaders and professionals in your industry who are active on social media. Follow, and read what they’re talking about regularly, and find a way to engage with them. You can also begin the early foundation stages of building relationships by simply following those who follow you back. If you immediately follow them back, they may take notice of you, and possibly be interested to build a rapport with you. This is a great way to open doors to building virtual relationships. You can also like other performer’s pages that are similar to your own, and interact with them through private message telling them that you like the work they’re doing. Just be sure to be authentic in these connections and make sure you’re building relationships with like-minded people. Helping other people to promote their work and spread their content is also a great way to develop mutually beneficial relationships online, as they will be much more inclined to help you spread your work if you’ve taken initiative in becoming one of their key followers.
5. Stay on brand: As an individual artist, it is important that you’re consistent with your brand from the start. Even individual people have to be cognitive of their personal brand (at least if they want to develop a real strong online following). If you’re an actor, then be sure that you’re focusing on what’s happening in the entertainment or music industry and don’t stray too far away from that. Be consistent with the direction you’re taking your brand from the start, so that way, your followers know what they can expect from you and won’t be completely thrown off when you post something completely different to what you were previously doing.
6. Stay relevant: Reading regularly is going to be just as important as posting regularly and updating your platforms. You have to always be on top of what’s happening in the film industry and be paying attention to important trends. When you post on your pages, cover important subjects that are topical and being talked a lot about by people in your industry. If you’re creating blog posts, this is also another way to improve your SEO, as well as increase the chance of people landing on your website or blog from Google landing pages. Stay in the know, and study the industry, paying attention to what the key players are talking about, then finding your own unique angle to cover/provide commentary on that subject for your followers to get value from.
7. Be patient: You aren’t going to go viral and become the next online sensation overnight. Well, unless you’re creating impeccably irresistible videos that go viral. But for most, it takes a year and more to build a solid and devoted online following. In doing so requires you to be consistent and active, day-in-and-day-out. Social media is a great tool for you to promote your brand, but you have to be in it for the long haul. You can’t expect immediate results. Be patient, and trust that if you’re posting great content that is extremely relatable, entertaining, and useful to a specific audience (that you’re actively seeking out and targeting), and you’re consistent with your activity, that in time the followers will come streaming in and you will create a loyal fan base.
8. Be unique: One of the big problems with social media is that you see so many people talking about the exact same thing. Many are just creating the same information, in the exact same way. They aren’t offering a unique perspective, or anything different from what everyone else is saying. It’s very important that you don’t fall into this trap if you want to build a real, credible following of people who will look up to you as a leader. The best case scenario is that you create all your own original and organic content that you come up with, whether it be articles that you write, or quotes that you brainstorm and brand yourself. Obviously coming up with all your own content takes a lot of time and effort; so curating information (aligning your brand) is going to be an effective time-saver for you to associate yourself with a particular community. Just be sure that you wager your own opinions and tell stories in a perspective that is original to your voice, to who you are, and your talent.
9. Be consistent: Apart from creating great original content, this is probably the most important thing. You can’t expect to build followers if you’re constantly forgetting to post anything for days on end, especially once you’ve built a following. You have to set up a system for yourself that is manageable. Check out social media-planning tools like Hootsuite or BufferApp to keep yourself organized and schedule your tweets ahead of time on all platforms. If you have a blog, create an editorial calendar so that you can plan your posts in advance and make sure that you aren’t scrambling last-minute to get the content out, which will inevitably sacrifice the quality of the content. Content is king, but consistency is the fuel that is necessary to keep the social media train running.
10. Humanize yourself and your brand: This is a big reason why so many celebrities are so active on Twitter, it’s because it gives them an opportunity to present themselves as real people. It’s like engaging in personal PR that will allow these celebrities to control their brand directly. Twitter creates a platform to offer fans an inside look into their personal lives, keeping fans up to date with their projects that are coming out, as well as connect with others. If you using Social Media, it’s important that you make sure you brand yourself at a very human level. Make sure that you show pictures of your natural self and create posts that are self-deprecating in a way that makes you likeable so that your followers will be able to relate to you and want to connect with you. Being able to connect with followers on a real human level is going to be one of your keys to success on social media, as well as building authentic and beneficial relationships.
Social media is a very valuable tool, and not just for businesses and celebrities. It’s essential for anyone trying to promote themselves and their skills, in whatever area that may be. You have to believe that you have the personal power to become an influencer online and connect with people in a way that will enrich their lives and get them excited to follow you. You just have to make sure that you’re doing the correct things, and not spinning your wheels online by engaging in strategy that requires a lot of work for no reward.
The three most important things to take away are: interact with your followers and people in your industry whenever possible, post great content, and be consistent with posting your content.