Love Thy Followers: How to Build a Loyal Social Media Tribe

friendsAs our world drowns in information, and shameless product and event promotion fills Twitter feeds everywhere, there’s something special about building a strong, thoughtful social media presence on the Internet that cuts through the noise and stands out among the rest.

What’s even more powerful is creating a community of followers that keep coming back for more—more content, more insight, more of you.

Any business can build a great online brand platform through the myriad user-friendly social media outlets available today—Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, etc. You can share your blog articles, push out your freshest content, and connect with other business owners across the globe. And the more company your presence keeps, the better.

But the size of your online audience means nothing if you’re not engaging with those who follow you.

Engagement is about conversation. It’s not enough to get thousands of likes on your Facebook fan page—there’s more to it than that. You need to build a community of followers who are invested in your brand, are interested in what you have to say, and want to keep coming back for more.

Here are a few key ways to become an active participant in your own social media platform and build your tribe of loyal, dedicated fans.

Listen to your followers.
The old social media “rules” are a thing of the past. What works for one doesn’t usually work for all. To ensure your success, you must customize your approach, test your strategy, and listen to your audience.

What feedback are your followers giving you? When do they respond most actively? What topics are their favorites? What topics don’t interest them at all? Do they prefer photos to videos, or content-rich articles rather than quick tips?

Increasing engagement with your online community is all about trial and error. Choose a variety of strategies and monitor how your audience reacts.

Take note of how your audience responds and comments on your posts. Are they sharing or retweeting? Are they ignoring your posts altogether?

Make time to really engage with your tribe and become an active participant. Answer their questions. Mention thought-provoking subjects. Respond to their comments. Be the ever-present leader that your tribe wants.

Share insight and ideas, not information.
Content really is king—there’s no denying that—but sometimes it’s difficult to cut through the noise to get the information your audience needs. That’s why it’s important to be a traffic cop for your followers.

Instead of flooding news feeds with more blog posts or success tips, change the status quo by sharing your analysis of the content that’s already out there. Provide insight to pique your audience’s attention. Plus: If you can share this insight quickly and easily with a video that’s easily shared through social sharing buttons, your followers will thank you.

Keep your posts short and sweet. Let your humor shine through. Create engaging posts optimized for social sharing. And don’t be afraid to be contrarian or different. People naturally engage around ideas that push the envelope, not generic information. And once your ideas have broken the silence, your role as a thought leader instantly skyrockets. The greater your thought leadership, the stronger your following.

Point your tribe to what other experts are saying. Lead them to third-party resources. You’ll become the trusted overseer of content for your audience. Break through the noise and stand out among a sea of online personas.

Be yourself.
There’s nothing more important than staying true to yourself and to your business online. People buy from business owners that they know, like, and trust, so make sure you’re presenting your most authentic self on the Internet.

Share content and stories that really speak to you. Post insights that emphasize your thought leadership role. Be the online business owner that you’d buy from.

Share personal stories. Post photos from your daily routine. Post what makes you feel good and what you feel best represents your authentic brand. There’s no other business owner out there like you, so embrace what makes you stand out among the noise. Not all online followers will love what you post. But that’s why they make chocolate and vanilla.

Your tribe will find its way to you. Those that crave more will stay, and others will go… and that’s okay. Don’t just create an online presence—create an online personality that really sticks in people’s minds.

Thank (and reward!) your followers.
Your online followers become your brand advocates. If they’re retweeting and promoting your content or insight, directly thank them for it. You could even repost something really great that they shared. For really dedicated followers, offer them something of value—a book, a CD, a gift card, or even a 30-minute strategy call—to thank them for the relationship you’ve formed.

Write a kind note or film a quick video, thanking your community for their engagement and responsiveness. Kind words and giving thanks for your community go a long way (yes, even on the Internet) and say a lot about your business values and ideals.

If people know you and your business as a brand that values its customers and strives to interact with every follower, you’ll reap the benefits faster than you may realize.

When your followers are appreciated, they become happy followers. And happy followers turn into loyal lifetime customers that grow your business.

So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and love your followers.

Want to turn your loyal followers into motivated buyers?
Check out our Strategy + Consulting services to help you grow a steady online presence.




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