How do you grow a social media following in the current climate? For a start, it seems to get harder and harder as big social media players like Meta change the algorithms and make it harder to “cheat the system” while the competition for visibility is probably higher than it’s ever been. There are those that probably feel like giving up before they have started with so many obstacles. It’s not just the sheer volume of companies using the various platform that is the problem: loyalty doesn’t seem to be what it once was either. Businesses are having to work harder to retain the customers they do have, let alone find new ones. So, with all this to contend with, how do you build a loyal social media following in a tough climate and make the most of this free marketing tool?
Use the Opportunity to Reach New Audiences
Growing a social media following for business is all about targeting the right people. Those that want what you are selling, that engage with your brand and that want to hear what you have to say. It’s a prime opportunity to reach those that may be shopping around! Loyalty is not as strong as it once was. Consider old habits – we had a favourite supermarket, shop or local online store that we used to for everything. Then, as the cost of living rose, we started to look for ways to save money, instead of loyalty being at the top of our list, cost started to become a major factor for more people. Now, we want the best products at the best prices with the best service. This is where you can stand out in a crowded market place, but how? What steps can you take to ensure that you take this opportunity to increase your market share?
This is the prime time to appeal to your competitor’s customers that may be seeking alternatives and that are more disposed to new opportunities. But how? Well, now is the time to up your social media game, consider what you are posting, get a consistent schedule of posts and look for opportunities to reach these new people. While social media lets you publish posts for free, there is also the option to pay for some targeted ads.
Using Targeted Facebook Ads
Let’s say you are a hairdresser and your competitor has recently put their prices up. Perhaps, there are people that are seeking a new hairdresser that doesn’t charge just as much, or those that may be willing to give you a try for an introductory offer. You could set up an ad on your Facebook page to reach all 18-70 year old women in your local geographical area (plus 5 miles) with a weekday offer (when you are not as busy), enticing new people to give you a try. Maybe you are a local tradesmen and want to grow your customer base. Again, use targeted Facebook ads to appeal to those in the locality that are looking for a new plumber, electrician, heating engineer etc.
Don’t Devalue Yourself
While cost shouldn’t be why people come to you, you will find that it is becoming increasingly important to many people. We don’t advoacate that you slash your prices though. This is not the time to take 20% off and encourage a raft of customers to use you. If they come to you for the cheap deal and then don’t come back, you will only end up losing in the long term. Instead look at ways to entice them to you without devaluing your products. Ultimately, you should be focusing on your USPs in your social media posts:
- Why are you the best?
- What do others say about you (customer reviews)?
- Showcase examples of your work
- What is so good about you?
- How do you stand out from the competition?
- Who are you? Introduce yourself and the team
- Show people the face behind the brand?
- As the audience what they want?
Trust, quality of service, great products, integrity, knowledge and experience are still all major factors in the purchasing decision so don’t put a huge emphasis on cost.
The selection of posts below focus on various aspects of why a barber might be the best choice. Using these messages, along with images of the work you do, you can showcase your talents and catpure people’s imaginations. These are all templates available in Canva. A great tool that allows you to just edit your details, add your contact details etc. You can simply post something like this with a caption suggesting people message the page for an appt. Such a simple way to grow awareness. You can boost these posts too. Intersperse graphic style posts with images of you at work, reviews from customers, user generated content – the selfies provided by your clients etc.
hhFocus on Added Value
What can you do without cutting your prices? Can you give something away or add something on? If you offer a physical service like hair colouring for example, why not add on a new treatment to all new and existing clients.
Perhaps offer a discount on certain products and services? The idea here is to not use the opportunity to get rid of any old tat. You should give real value to people. Perhaps 10% discount for a certain amount of time on a popular line? Do something that makes people sit up and take notice but not something that devalues you or breaks the bank. Remember, you don’t just want the customers to come to you for the cheap deal and then go back to their old supplier. You want to encourage loyalty and customer retention.
While focusing on growing a new audience on social media, don’t forget about your existing customer base. They are important, especially in the current climate and need looking after. Look after those that have been the bread and butter of your business. Perhaps offer them a loyalty bonus or a discount of their next order? There are many ways in which you can show appreciation to your clients.
How Will This Grow Social Media Following?
Creating a buzz will help you when it comes to growing social media followers for business. People might tag their friends or family in something that they feel they would be interested in? They might share your posts or spread the word. Consider investing some budget in Facebook and Instagram ads too so that you can target specific people in your target area. You can use Facebook ads to target by area, age, gender, interests, jobs and more. You can share your offer and boost it with a £50 boosted ad for example which will help you reach lots of the right people.
Don’t be afraid to ask people to share your posts too. Helping small businesses is something that many are happy to do. Even if they don’t shop from you, they may share your posts. Ask people to share when you see them or even in a post. As long as you aren’t asking for shares in return for an incentive then you are not breaking any rules.