Having a presence on social media for your business is important. It gives your business social proof: when potential new customers are thinking of using your services, in most cases they’ll check you out through your website and social media before making any decisions. So investing in your social media is a must, and building up your following and engaging with your audience is an integral part of it.

But how do you know who to follow and what to do?

Increasing your following should be at the forefront of your mind for your business social media because it plays a key role in brand recognition and customer loyalty. If you’re just starting out with a social media strategy, you might think the default position should be to follow absolutely everyone. This can in turn lead to a greater presence which presents more opportunities to convert sales, all of which will ultimately increase your profits. You may think the best way to do this is to simply follow everyone who follows you…

Our advice at SocialBee is to be much more selective in your approach. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  1. Follow limits. Social media platforms all have limits on the number of people you can follow. For example, Twitter has a “reasonable limit” policy on the number of accounts you can follow. This is set at a maximum of 1,000 accounts in any one day, and 5,000 accounts in total. It’s not hard and fast either, it’s based on an unpublished ratio of followers to following. Instagram has a hard limit of a maximum of 7,500 accounts you can follow, and Facebook runs on a similar basis.
  2. Negative impact. Following too many accounts can affect how your profile looks, especially if the ratio isn’t right as it makes your account look less authentic. So following 7,500 people on Instagram when you only have 100 followers doesn’t look great. Aiming for a more balanced ratio will look better and mean you’re able to engage with your audience more effectively. You should avoid following spammy or potentially controversial accounts.
  3. Follow for follow. This has the same effect as the last point. Someone may ask you to follow them if they follow you. Don’t fall into this trap (unless theirs is an account you would be interested anyway). It’s about staying true to your brand and properly reflecting your business personality through your profile.

Of course who you follow isn’t an exact science. You are best off re-evaluating the situation at least a couple of times a year, especially if the focus of your business changes or there have been developments in your industry. This will help keep you current and relevant.

But how do you start?!

  1. Begin with who you like and what you’re interested in. This will mean you’re naturally more invested in engaging with people and will be interested in participating. This isn’t just limited to other businesses or clients, follow your friends and family. They’ll be interested in what you’re up to and you’ll get more exposure as their friends see what they’re up to and commenting on.
  2. Learn from the pros! This is all about knowing who your competition is, looking at what they’re doing well (and what they aren’t!) and adopting it for your own business. When you’re just starting out it’s worth tapping into what works so you don’t make the same mistakes they’ve already made. This will save you time and money in the long run.
  3. Follow your customers. Think of this as a common courtesy and another avenue to show you appreciate their loyalty. It’s a good way to engage with them and show them you care. It’s especially important to follow them if they’re closely aligned with your brand as it’s another way of showing potential customers that your business is the right business for them.
  4. Follow your partners or affiliates. Again this widens your reach, making your business more visible to more people.

Let’s face it, for many businesses managing social media is a minefield and just gives them a headache. If you feel it’s all too much, it’s time to call the professionals! Here at SocialBee Social Media we offer social media management for your business from as little as £25 per week, leaving you to get on with what you do best: running your business!