Small business owners are now using social media follows and follow backs as the new virtual business card gathering technique. In this Owned By Vets internet marketing tip of the day we talk about why small business owners should focus on their “follow” list.
Unless people can instantly recognize your business on social media, you’re not too established to be adding to the list of who you are “following”. While everyone understands that the list of people who follow you is important as a potential customer base, the people and businesses on your “following” list are vital to you as a business owner since these represent your personal virtual “chamber of commerce”.
Especially when you are first starting out on social media, many small businesses will find they are “following” more than being “followed” as they begin to grow their network of businesses that they have a connection with.
Even if you’re considered a social media influencer or someone who’s brand is associated with their name, building who you “follow” on social media is as important as the number of “followers” you have.
Small business owners who are mainly focused on building their number of “followers” rather than also building up the people they are “following” then they are neglecting a vital piece of internet marketing.
Your Social Media is Your New Business Card!
In the days before the internet, salesmen would go around leaving and collecting business cards wherever they could to build their prospecting lists. Walk into any diner in America and you’d be likely to find a bulletin board full of business cards for this service or that one. Networking was a lot harder when you had to put in some physical miles to connect with your next potential sale.
These days if you have put in the work by “liking” and “following” companies and people that share common interests with you then you can spend your time online in your air-conditioned office going through your contact list rather than out cold calling at local businesses.
Limiting Your Follow List Limits Your Network
If you are not looking to expand the list of businesses that you follow, then you potentially:
1. Miss seeing trends in the market.
2. Miss seeing buying and selling opportunities.
3. Miss seeing that one post that could impact your business in a huge way.
What to Remember for When Looking for Pages to Follow on Social Media
1. Whenever possible, if you have a business you should keep your social media pages separate from your personal pages, so the page content and membership focused on your business.
2. Not every person who will be connected to your personal pages will be connected to your business pages.
3. Search for pages to follow that have a connection with your business; location, interests, products etc. (don’t just follow high-traffic sites because of their volume).
4. Look for pages that are willing to network, if you find pages with lots of “followers” but very few pages they are “following” they are probably not interested in networking with other pages.
5. Be wary of 3rd party list growers unless you can have one-on-one discussions with them, and they understand your business needs. The majority of the time owners will end up with lists of names that have no connections to them that quickly disappear.
6. Follow Social Media Etiquette or Risk Burning Bridges that you might need in the future. Don’t just follow a person or business on social media to get a quick follow in return only to “unfollow” that person or business right after. Not only is it rude because you devalue the other person’s business compared to yours, but you miss a potential opportunity to build your own network.
Building a social media following takes time and it is about forming connections, if you decide to hire a 3rd party to build up your following quickly by using practices like this then the people who are following you won’t really have loyalty to you and those people who find out you no longer “follow” them might just burn a bridge with you that could cost your business.
“Social” is in the Term “Social Media” for A Reason
Social Media is just that “social”, it can be a powerful and effective tool for growing your business through the network of connections you build, but you’re not only looking to grow your business you are also offering to help others grow theirs.
Check out the Owned By Vets blog Internet Marketing Tips section for more tip on growing your business.