Although I usually talk about social media engagement and how important it is, I wanted to take some time to talk about gaining social media followers - and some of the common reasons why you may not see follower growth.
Building a strong, engaged social media following can be difficult - you only have mere moments to attract someone to a post, have them hang out on your profile and convince them to hit the follow or like button. There are so many factors that can contribute to whether or not someone decides to join your audience, but here are a few you may not realize have an effect on gaining social media followers.
Here are 10 reasons why you aren't gaining more followers on social media
1. Your Customers Don't Know You're Online
I've seen many instances when businesses have a social media presence but show no sign of it in their actual businesses where customers are already walking through the door. This goes for online based businesses and blogs as well.
If you're a brick and mortar business, think about ways you can let customers know where to find you online. This can be in the form of table tents, stickers, or printable on a receipt. You can also send an email blast.
For websites and blogs - make sure your social media links appear somewhere on your site (header or footer) and in your blog side bar. Even better? Share buttons on blog posts, and web store items - making everything as easy to share as possible makes getting more eyes (and social media followers to be) easier too.
2. You Come Off as Spammy
No one likes spammy accounts, so take a long look at yours to determine how spammy you may be coming off.
For example, your account might be coming across as spammy if:
- Your photos are not high quality
- Your post the same message over and over
- Your posts are too "sales-y"
- Your captions are all hashtags
3. You Post Too Often - Or Not Enough
Post too often and you annoy your audience by filling up their feed. If you don't post enough you may also lose fans. Each account and industry is unique so you have to find the balance that your audience likes by testing different post volumes. Publishers and news outlets can get away with multiple posts a day but the same may not work for your business.
In my experience, at least three posts a week should keep you gaining followers organically, but punch it up to 5-7 posts a week for faster growth.
4. Your Post Timing is Off
Timing is everything - especially with social media. The right post at the right time can be the difference between thousands of impressions and interactions or just a few likes.
My best advice for you is to test, test, test and figure out the post timing that works best for your business.
Use built in network analytics tools to see which of your posts perform best and take note of the time they were posted.
Lastly, you can use some third party tools (like Tweriod for Twitter) to figure out what time your audience is interacting with you the most. More reach, engagement and shares means more eyes on your content and more potential social media followers.
5. You Aren't Engaging With Others
Who wants to talk to someone who doesn't talk back? Get out there and become part of the conversation, answer questions and show that there are real people working behind those posts.
Respond to comments and interactions on your own channels, including finding, thanking and interacting with those sharing your content. Join Twitter chats, Facebook groups or find relevant conversations and real time events by using hashtags to find new folks to interact with.
6. No Personality/Voice/Branding
People love you for being you, and the same goes for your business.
Give your business a personality that reflects the brand, but can also resonate with your main target audience. Emphasize it all with a well branded account - this means using brand colors in posts, sticking to a specific look and feel for visuals, a concise visual style etc. Branding your account requires thought and planning but will reflect as a unique brand experience your audience recognizes, loves and keeps coming back for.
7. No Good Visual Content
Humans love visuals, and if you haven't noticed, the social media networks we use are centered around images and videos.
You have the amount of time it takes to scroll to capture the attention of your potential social media follower, and even less time to make them stay and hit that "follow" button. Good visuals are essential to this process.
In an age where cameras are in our hands almost full time, people are getting better and better at capturing moments - and you need to keep up.
Use high quality visuals to attract more followers. Having a signature look and feel isn't a bad idea either. Ideally you can hire professionals to create high quality, original content pieces. But those of us who lack big budgets fear not, as there are so many free resources out there. Try using free stock image sites and design apps like Canva to create modern, crips visuals for your social media needs. Fun apps like Boomerang can make great videos. Always make sure your lighting is good (natural light is awesome).
8. You Haven't Set Goals/Defined a Strategy
I cannot stress the importance of a good social media strategy.
Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to gaining social media followers - in every aspect you can think of. You have to be consistent in your voice, visual style, posting frequency, and that's not including the analytics side.
This is where a social media strategy with defined goals is the hero. Objectives and goals will help keep you focused on the relevancy and quality of each post. Your strategy will help you get organized and stay consistent in your social media efforts. All this together equals more reach, and a consistent influx of followers.
9. You Only Talk About Yourself
Just as we don't like talking to someone who doesn't listen, someone who only speaks about themselves is equally intolerable.
Social media is not a platform for blatantly telling people that they need you, it's about adding value to their lives and building relationships. Romance them, show them you know about what's going on in the industry, or that you can relate to them by sharing content other than your own.
Did you stumble upon a great (brand relevant) blog post that your audience may find useful? Share it.
Did a customer post an awesome photo of your neighborhood? Perhaps you stumbled upon a cool lifestyle photo from a non-competing brand or influencer? Repost it (following repost etiquette rules, of course).
The point is - thoughtfully throw content from other sources in the mix. This can be done strategically to support goals like establishing authority within your industry, showcasing thought leadership and that you're on top of trends or simply to become the "go to" of information within your space.
10. You Don't Add Value
This ties into the previous point, and may be the biggest reason why you aren't gaining social media followers - you're simply not adding value to your audience's life.
Think about how many messages we're processing in a day, and hour, even a minute. With so many inputs coming at you at once (both personal and from brands) people are picky about what brands they choose to allow into their feeds. You have to continue adding value to your followers' feeds in order to retain them.
There are so many different ways you can add value. This can be with beautiful imagery, humor, sharing useful information, making followers feel special (reposting content, contests and discounts), and more. Think about your goal, and what kind of content both adds value for your customer while helping you reach that goal. For example, attract fresh relevant eyes to your account by posting a great lifestyle photo each week along with a non-sales caption and relevant hashtags.
BONUS: You're Not Running Promotions
The bonus reason on why you're not gaining social media followers? Because you haven't run a giveaway or contest. Running a giveaway can exponentially increase the amount of followers you have in more than one way.
- You can require follows as part of the contest rules
- If you collect emails you can send your social media email blast to your new subscribers
- Include follow messaging on landing pages, contest emails or other materials
You need to read up on the rules for each network so you avoid any legal issues, but do consider running a simple promotion to gain followers.
Social media marketing is about connecting with your potential social media followers and giving them reason to want to be part of your audience. Social media needs to be a long term strategy that offers quick wins in between - not a miracle traffic and sales solution.
A good social media presence that organically attracts new followers and keeps up engagement takes time and effort to cultivate, but will pay off over time.
This post originally appeared on Dhariana Lozano's blog.