In the modern, connected world, it has become a truth of business that if you are not on social media, you may as well not exist. Most customers these days will expect to see a Facebook page or a Twitter account for any company they deal with, and to be able to have issues or complaints resolved quickly and easily. Social media platforms also offer a great marketing platform, letting you talk directly to potential customers, and with paid adverts, to target a very specific audience.

With only a small audience, though, it can all seem a little pointless. So how can you build a bigger following for your business’s social media accounts?

  • Be in the right place

Perhaps you’re wondering why your pensions advice company has no Snapchat followers, or why your youth fashion brand has so few connections on LinkedIn. All social media platforms are not equal, each has its niche and target audience, and you need to make sure you are in the right place. This applies to different areas of your business too. LinkedIn might be perfect for keeping in touch with your suppliers, while Facebook is the best place to reach your customers.

  • Show, don’t tell

Post with pictures or videos get more interactions. This is to do with the way the human mind works, and the reason that children’s books always have colourful illustrations. When we see a picture, or have a video to watch, different parts of the mind are activated than with plain text. Post videos of your product in use, photos that picture the easier life your service can give, or even just an illustration that will catch the eye.

Remember when you post video that many people browse social media on their phone with the sound off, so whenever possible you should include captions of any spoken content. You can also improve the accessibility of your posts by adding an image description. This helps screen-readers to describe your content, and allows you to reach visually impaired audiences more easily.

  • Engage, don’t talk

We’ve all met that person at a party who talks and talks without stopping to listen to anyone else. If you’re lucky they will be interesting, but still it’s a lecture, not a conversation and more likely than not your attention will start to wander. The same thing is true online. Your aim on social media should be to develop the beginnings of a relationship with potential customers, and to foster your relationship with existing clients. Try asking open questions or seeking feedback to start a meaningful conversation.

  • Don’t be selfish (retweet, share others’ pages)

On social media, as in life, people don’t respond well to “me, me, me”. To attract followers you need to be a part of an ongoing conversation, rather than making it all about your own business. Seek out groups on LinkedIn or Facebook, and use appropriate hashtags on Twitter or Instagram and see what you can add to the ongoing discussions. When you find posts or articles by other people that might be helpful for your target audience, share them. People are more likely to follow you if you are providing some value, rather than simply advertising your wares.

  • Promote your content

Consider using the paid promotion features to help build your following. Using the datasets that the social media companies hold about their users, you can make sure your content is seen by the people you want to attract. This can be a key step in growing your audience, since the best content in the world won’t get people following you if no-one can see it.

Ultimately, growing your social media audience is one of those things for which there is no magic button. Instead it will take work and attention, but given the near-universal us of Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, it is worth the effort to reach your current and potential customer base. We’d love to to hear the approaches you took to build your follower-base. Let us know in the comments.