How Businesses Can Get More Followers or “Likes” on Social Networking Sites*

Do you want to know what the secret is to quickly gaining a lot of followers or “likes” on social networking sites?

Well, here it is: Create a brand that is loved by people all over the world or become famous in some other area of your life.

I say that somewhat tongue in cheek, but the reality is that this statement is actually pretty accurate.

If you look at the top 100 accounts on Twitter, you find that most of them are owned by celebrities. Furthermore, most of the top 100 Facebook pages are owned by major brands, celebrities and a few movies and television shows.

Ways for Small Businesses to Gain Followers and “Likes”

Although major brands and celebrities top the lists of accounts with the most “likes” on Facebook and followers on Twitter, that doesn’t mean that small businesses or businesses that are still trying to make a name for themselves should write off social media as a way to acquire new customers or retain existing ones. In fact, social media is perfect for small businesses. It just takes more time and effort.

Most experts suggest that businesses should post great content and interact with fans and followers to increase the number of followers and “likes” that the business has on social networking sites. For additional suggestions, you might want to check out this article that was posted on the HubSpot blog, titled “8 Guaranteed Ways to Increase Social Media Reach.”

More “Likes” or Followers Isn’t Necessarily Better

Having a lot of followers or “likes” on social networking sites doesn’t always translate into increased sales.

For example, say you own a business in Honolulu, Hawaii, and have a lot of “likes” on your Facebook page from people who visited your establishment when they were on vacation, but not a lot of locals connected to your business on Facebook. If you have a product that can be mailed to customers when they get back to the mainland, having the out-of-town customers connected to your business on Facebook or any other social networking site could be a good thing. However, if your product or service can only be enjoyed when your customers are in town (e.g., if you own a bar, surfboard rental shop, etc.) then these connections will only lead to increased sales if these customers visit Hawaii on a regular basis or recommend your business to people in their network who might be planning to visit your city in the near future.

In this scenario, if you use your Facebook page to push out messages to your customers and potential customers, it’s not going to do a lot of good for your business, unless you can build connections to locals who might be able to use your services more often.

Furthermore, as JD Rucker points out in a post on socialmediatoday.com, titled “Why Local Businesses Should Stop Focusing On Their Facebook Page,” just because a lot of people “like” your Facebook page or follow you on any other social networking site, doesn’t guarantee that these people will see your posts. And, if they do, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be motivated to use your products or services.

What you are really going to want to do to get the most out of your social media marketing efforts is to get your customers and potential customers talking about your business online. In the post, Rucker offers some suggestions about how you might get these conversations started.

Final thoughts

Although it’s clearly easier for a well-known brand or celebrity to get users to connect to them on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking site, social media can still be a valuable marketing tool for small businesses. It just takes more work.

There are steps that businesses can take to increase the number of users who “like” or follow their business on any of the many social networking sites out there.

Posting great content and interacting with the people who have connected to the business on these social networking sites should be a part of the business’s social media marketing strategy.

However, the real magic happens when a business can get its customers talking about and recommending the business to their friends, family and other people in their social graph.

* Note: There is an asterisk in the title of this post, because after reading this you should now realize that getting more “likes” or followers shouldn’t be your only goal. In fact, the most important goal should be to do things that make your customers happy and then encourage them to share their love of your business with their friends and family online.

Photo credit: warrenski on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.

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