How to Build Your Social Media Platform
Just recently, I read “Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World” by Michael Hyatt. I’ve been leading the way in expanding our social media accounts and growing our followers, as well as a handful of our clients’ accounts as well.
Let’s face it – everyone wants their brand to be heard. They want to see their followers increased daily. Social media is so fast-paced, but a couple of times, I’ve noticed times where our growth has stalled. I had taken online courses, used what I learned in my marketing classes from college, and looked at how other companies had been promoting their brand. I thought I had been doing all the right things. Frustrated and confused, I wanted to learn how to grow our numbers again, so I knew this was the right time to pick up this book.
In the middle of the book, just when I was overwhelmed with information, there was an excerpt from Hyatt saying: “A few years ago, my blog readership plateaued for a couple of months. The number of my monthly visitors had been relatively flat. For someone whose primary strength is ‘achiever,’ this was a bitter pill to swallow. I immediately though, ‘what was I doing wrong?’ This has forced me to evaluate why I blog.”
This, in a strange way, encouraged me. Flat numbers and slow growth rate happens to us all. When this happens, it’s the perfect time to evaluate WHY you post what you post and WHY you write what you write.
Hyatt said that a successful equation is creating a compelling product (the what) and a significant platform (the who). If you don’t slam dunk the first element – the what – you won’t win the game. Social media is only as good as the content – or the what – they share. You can create a social media sharing process, but you need valuable content to share to your followers.
I’ve learned there are 3 steps to building your social media platform: (1) Creating Valuable Content, (2) Expanding Your Reach, and (3) Keeping Your Followers Engaged.
CREATING VALUABLE CONTENT
This is first and the most important step to growing your followers: creating valuable content that your readers are engaged with and keep coming back for more. Social media only works well if the communication is personal, authentic, and immediate. Content marketing is key to creating something your readers will find valuable. Stories and articles that relate to the reader are more likely to be engaged with. More tips for generating valuable content:
- Have a personal experience – use stories to engage the reader.
- Use bullets or numbers.
- Invite engagement – ask a question at the end.
- Use simple words – you want to communicate, connect, and have dialogues with your followers, not show impressive vocabulary.
- Provide internal links that link back to relevant content.
- Write with the reader in mind – understand that they are looking for a takeaway for their benefit. Don’t make the posts all about you.
- Communicate WITH your readers, never AT them.
- Create catchy headlines – you reader won’t read your amazing content if you don’t grab them first.
EXPAND YOUR REACH
Once you have the content, how can you grow your followers and your reach for others to read your content? Building a tribe of loyal followers is the new marketing. It’s not about shouting to the world, but having dialogues with fellow followers. It’s not about generating transactions; it’s about building relationships. It’s not about exploiting a market for your own benefit, but it’s about serving those for a mutual benefit. It’s about creating valuable content that others will engage with and then look toward your company as the industry leader to ask questions and be a go-to expert they can trust. Social networks are relational tools, not transactional. Social media rewards generosity, other-centeredness, and helpfulness. It’s all about building a loyal tribe of followers.
Follow these tips to build your “tribe” with the content you have:
- Write content worth sharing – killer headlines and generate content worth sharing. This can’t be emphasized enough.
- Adhere to a consistent schedule – you should have a frequent posting schedule without seeming too overbearing. Once a day is optimal, but start with a couple of times a week at a minimum.
- Make it easy to subscribe.
- Optimize your posts for SEO.
- Tag your stories with hashtags to reach different audiences. Have your employees engage with the posts by liking, commenting, and even sharing them to their page to reach different audiences.
- Promote your older posts – identify your most popular posts and repost them! As long as they’re still relevant, post them again after a while to restate a great idea or teaching point and give readers a chance to catch what they may have missed.
KEEPING YOUR FOLLOWERS ENGAGED
Once you have good, solid content your followers will enjoy, and after you have a process in place of sharing this content on social media and growing your followers, you are done, right? Wrong. You need to stay engaged with your followers. It’s like inviting someone over for a party, and then leaving five minutes later as the host. You’ve brought these people into your home, and you need to engage with them, keep them feeling welcomed, happy, and finding their time here worthwhile. Keep your readers engaged by:
- Ending your post with a question.
- Participate in the conversation.
- Link relevant content in your post to other posts for your readers to explore.
- Posting frequently – not leaving large time gaps for your followers to wonder where you have disappeared to. Frequency builds traffic.
Congrats! You’ve built your social media platform. I know, all of this sounds easier said than done, but remember, you are building a place where people want to listen to you, where they eagerly await your next post. Are you just starting to build your online presence? That’s fine! The time to build an audience is before you need it. There is no less-expensive way to create brand equity than by using simple social media tools. With diligence and practice, and even changing your way of writing, I have a feeling your numbers will start growing.
*Written by Lauren Smieszek