Growing a business following on social media is usually a marathon rather than a sprint. There are definitely businesses that are overnight sensations, but those are rather rare. In our digitally connected world, there are two opportunities for black business owners to gain a social media following: paid and organically. Since paid is often too much investment for small businesses, organically growing your social presence is a must, although there almost as much strategy involved as with paid.
Here are our top recommendations for growing your social following and increasing awareness of your business!
Tag Other Businesses, Groups, Organizations, and Partners:
One of the fastest methods to grow your following is to use your network to give your posts greater visibility. Tagging news outlets, specific causes you support, people as well as speakers who help you along your business journey, etc. are all opportunities to introduce your business to a new audience. In the same way, this strategy helps you to reinforce your social capital among an audience that already knows about you, but may not have made the connection yet to start following you. Be strategic about this: pages that have larger followings means greater visibility, but smaller pages are a more intimate audience that you can potentially connect with easier.
Make Sure You are Using the Right Platforms:
Not every social media platform is worth the time and money investment. Determining which platforms to use requires market research and sometimes trial and error, understanding that your audience interacts with your brand digitally on platforms that make sense to them. Knowing what platforms to use is the first step in determining how to grow your audience: maybe you already use Instagram to reach that millennial demographic and want to branch out into using Tiktok? (If you are using primarily images on Instagram, be prepared to add video for Tiktok.) Entering a new social space is one way to grow and engage with a new group of people.
Note: Different platforms cater to various demographics – no one platform will hit all of them!
Pay Attention to the Data:
Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are three of the top platforms that collect data on your business’s following. Demographics, age, and interests are all indicators of how well your content is doing with your audience. Use this data to your advantage – know your numbers!
Encouraging your followers and supporters to share your content is definitely one way to engage with a brand new audience. Most of us have seen shared content from our friends and family that we then explore – this is often how new brands are introduced on social media! This process really starts with you as the business owner: start sharing that content! Ask friends and family to share as well. Some of the best ideas for prompting followers to share your content is to offer something in exchange, like a gift card or a contest prize.
Many businesses will often create their branding hashtags, which is an excellent strategy for cementing your brand’s relationship with your current audience. But to truly grow your following, research and invest that social energy into commonly used hashtags in your industry. Those hashtag types ensure that your posts are visible to everyone who follows, likes, and engages with those particular hashtags. Examples include #benefits, #nationalblackbusinessmonth, or even #smallbiz. (Black BRAND is personally a fan of #BDW2020, which you can learn more about here.)
A note about hashtags: Make sure that you are using these correctly across platforms! Facebook is not the place to use more than 3-5 hashtags per post. Instagram can handle many more, up to thirty in one post. Twitter and LinkedIn have sweet spots as well, so do your research!
Look at the Competition:
Are there similar businesses that are in your space that seem to have large followings? Or do their posts receive a lot of likes, comments, and shares? Studying what your competitors are doing is an excellent way to curate the content that will attract new audiences to your products or services. This does not mean, however, that you poach your competitors’ ideas. Unique content does better for most social algorithms than copied content, although there may be ideas in your industry that are considered “universal.” Use those ideas, but put your brand’s spin on everything.
Are you a business owner interested in networking, and getting connected with a marketing professional in and around the 757? Contact Black BRAND for recommendations and advice in this area! We work with a wide variety of professions on the southside as well as the Hampton Roads peninsula, and we would be happy to consult with you.