One of your New Year resolutions for 2016 is likely to be to grow your social media audience (along with the obligatory resolution of getting more exercise!).
With that in mind (and the exercise resolution likely to flounder), you may be tempted to dip into your pocket and buy some followers for your Facebook or Twitter audience. But is this really the right thing to do? And if not, why not?
Well, the answer is that you shouldn’t…under any circumstances. Here are three compelling reasons why.
Your audience and followers are two different things – If you think that the number of followers or likes you have is the same as the number of people who see your message, you are wrong. You can check out your actual audience (or post reach) by looking into your Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics, but it will be significantly lower than your followers. So don’t focus on growing followers without growing your audience.
Bought followers are fake followers – There are a lot of horror stories about when people have bought followers and the seller has been tweeting on their behalf and using the account to follow other people who have signed up. But quite apart from anything, bought followers are invariably fake or zombie accounts. You really don’t want to be associated with this dark side of Twitter (sorry, Star Wars references are so 2015).
Your objective should be engagement – If you want to move from people liking you to people loving you, you should focus on engagement. This is the way to ensure that people remember your brand and keep revising your social media page. Increasing your engagement is so much more likely to have an effect on your bottom line, so increase the ‘social’ part of your social media in 2016.
So, if you shouldn’t buy followers, what should you do instead? I recommend these 3 simple steps:
- Entertain and inform – If you consistently provide content that either informs or entertains (or in an ideal world does both), then this will drive engagement. And engagement enables you to unlock the second tier of audience, i.e. your audience’s audience
- Engage with your audience – Ask questions, answer questions, have conversations on your social media accounts – making connections with your audience always has a positive effect on engagement
- Get into the numbers – If you are close to your analytics, then you will know when the best time to post and with what type of content is. The answers are in front of you if you can invest the time
So, given that you shouldn’t be buying followers, perhaps you should go for that run after all?