It doesn’t matter if you are a social media expert or novice – we are all impressed when you hear about the amazing number of followers some brands and celebrities achieve on social media channels. Did you know that Selena Gomez had 139 million people following her on Instagram at the end of 2018? How did she do that? You might wonder how it is even possible to achieve this level of engagement. Your next question might be, “Who cares?” Does it even matter?
Yes, it does matter.
Likes and followers are a very quantifiable metric that provides insights into your brand’s popularity. Beyond simply being an emotional boost, having a large following translates into a stronger brand, greater awareness and more revenue opportunities.
The Business Benefit of Adding Followers on Social Channels
In general, there are typically two types of users on social channels: Individuals and Businesses. Of course, the businesses have individuals managing their program, so in the end, it really is all about individuals speaking to each other. The messaging and communications objectives just differ. My career focus has been in the B2B space, so my comments are based on that perspective.
A brand that has many followers on social channels such as Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube or Twitter enjoys many benefits:
- Greater engagement potential with your audience – a higher number of followers will lead to more comments, shares and other activity (assuming the followers are “real”). This translates into a more rewarding experience for the community, driving more to sign up and join.
- Better brand recognition – the more followers you have, the more people will see your brand. Imagine if Selena Gomez were to hashtag your brand on one of her posts on Instagram? Nearly half the U.S. population would then be exposed to your brand.
- More sales – customers are always your best brand advocate. If one of your followers has a positive experience and shares it with others, this will indirectly benefit your brand every time it is talked about. A choreographed Instagram story can drive sales or leads to follow up with on bigger purchase items.
- Better employee engagement and recruiting – we all know it can be difficult recruiting employees in competitive fields or functions; offering an Instagram feed is a way to give an insight into what activities your brand is engaged in, helping with recruitment efforts.
- Amplifies existing marketing activities – regardless of what marketing strategy you pursue, social channels such as Instagram are a great way to further the reach and frequency of such programs, especially when awareness is one of your objectives.
Building an engaged audience that is talking about your brand’s stories and sharing it with their others is a great strategy to drive brand awareness and grow your business.
Should I Add Instagram to My Social Media Strategy?
A question I hear often is what social channels are best? Which ones should I be focused on? It depends. Where are your customers? Depending on the demographic you are targeting, you can then pick the right social channel as part of your strategy. Tools exist that can provide these insights, helping you to decide if the investment is worth your time and effort.
But before you start, be sure to understand that no awareness or social strategy is free. Even though there isn’t a charge to start an Instagram or another account, there is a very real cost to manage the program, including content preparation, and monitoring for comments and responses.
It is More Than Just the Numbers
While it may feel great to see your social followers continue to grow, it is easy to get caught up in just trying to boost the numbers.
If you can build a group of 2,000 followers that is passionate about your brand and what you stand for, then that might be enough to build a sustainable business. Simply buying followers that don’t engage with your posts or share your stories adds no value.
Over time, one of the best reasons to build a social channel audience is to have a communications platform between a brand and its fans. This approach lets you quickly and easily tell your story and share your message with an engaged audience.
Building a Relationship
It is important to realize you have been granted permission by your followers to share your story. Don’t take advantage of it.
Posting sales-heavy promotions to attend webinars or buy a product doesn’t go very far in building the trust necessary to elevate your brand’s awareness. Make your content interesting to read and valuable. The result will be an audience that remains engaged and becomes quite valuable.
Other than employees who are obligated to re-post corporate promotional copy, those choosing to follow a brand do so because they want to learn more. They want to stay current with new announcements, be the first to know about a new product, or to hear about other important information.
By providing entertaining, relevant content that fuels these needs, social channels can deliver exceptional value to both brands and their followers.
For example, if you have a substantial audience on your social channel, you could float new ideas past them for feedback and insights. Or, you could share a special promotion for those who act quickly, to test a new message or campaign concept. The feedback you receive could be invaluable.
The story a large and engaged audience on social channels tells is that your brand is vibrant, alive and leading a path forward in the industry. After all, isn’t this the objective of any brand awareness strategy?