Small business owners are notorious for their impatience. Years ago, when I first started freelancing and still needed a client – any client – I made the mistake of taking on small business owners who knew nothing about social media. Here’s what I learned: small business owners expect hundreds if not thousands of Twitter followers in just a month or two, without putting out anything in return. This means that these otherwise smart successful people thought that just hiring a social media manager to made moderate updates on their social accounts would somehow yield hundreds of followers. Any conversation to help them understand reality was in vain. Small business owners didn’t want to invest in blogging, they didn’t want to invest in curating or even engaging customers on social media. Instead, they just wanted one post a day on Facebook and Twitter, much like clockwork. No rewards, no contests, no initiatives – just boring self promoting posts.
And somehow this was suppose to generate loyal followers? Right…
The keyword is loyal. You don’t just want any followers. You want followers who are industry based, who are interested in what you have to say. In this case, you’re better off getting a couple hundred followers for your local bakery business than ten thousand followers across the world, with only 10 of those being in your demographic. You see my point? Who your followers are matters more than just how many you have. Getting these types of quality follows take time.
I, for example, have accumulated 530 followers in the last couple years, mostly business industry types that I was able to attract with slow and steady pace by following one simple rule: Tweet consistently. I’ve only got about a little over 2k tweets in the last few years and I’m proud of that low number. It means I’m not Twitter bombing my followers. It means that I share what I find relevant, rather than what I had for dinner or what I thought about Dancing with the Stars. I tweeted out just about every business related piece of content or thought I had. I included hashtags, linked my accounts to Facebook, engaged with reader replies, and made sure I created a wonderful resource thought setting up a “marketing/business” of 151 valued accounts.
Another highly prized return I’ve received from my Twitter account is connecting with wonderful people, including industry leaders and even the average keenly curious entrepreneur that has paved the way for other great connections. They’ve given me tips on what’s the hottest trending platform, app, or used Twitter’s Follow Friday (#FF) to not only offer me a shout out but directly connect me with other heavy hitters that I should probably know of.
That said, allow me to add a disclaimer. People who work in new media usually have the least developed personal resources. For example, excellent graphic designers usually don’t have the most impressive sites. Why? Because they’re busy designing other people’s sites. The best writers usually write as well on their own blogs. Why? Because they’d rather write for paying clients. The best marketers, unless they can afford a team of marketers of their own, usually market themselves rather horribly? Why? You guessed it – they’re busy marketing other people.
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