How to Build Thousands of Engaged Followers on Any Social Network
Social media engagement is something that many agents shy away from because they know it entails a lot of work, which can be hard to fit in when your time is limited. However, it’s a step in the process of marketing oneself that you overlook at your own risk.
While there are many companies out there that promise to build your following quickly, the hard truth is that engagement takes time, and it is something you have to be involved with almost daily.
Entrepreneur John Rampton, in a recent piece on the Inc Magazine website, discussed how he was able to build 500,000 engaged Twitter followers through a “recipe” that is simple in theory but tough in execution.
His “recipe” can be found at this link. It is tailored specifically to Twitter, however. Here are some thoughts on how you can adapt it to your platform of choice as well as the one thing you should keep in mind throughout the process.
The first thing that Rampton recommends doing is to thoroughly research what your target audience is doing on the platform.
“This includes information sourced from studying your target audience’s behavior and patterns on Twitter, who they follow and the type of content they like, what your competition is doing on Twitter and how it’s received by their followers, and who appear as influencers and why,” Rampton writes.
Facebook, Google+, and virtually every social media platform out there allow you to dig deeper on the people, who become your connections. It’s as simple as going to their profile, viewing their pics/posts, etc.
We are often defined by the company we keep in the “so-called” real world. Well, the same is true here, be it our friends and followers or the pages and interests that we keep up with. Put in the time and make note of the commonalities people within your target audience share.
One big mistake that people make when they create a social media account — Twitter, Facebook, or otherwise — is that they fail to define their own specific purpose.
Just like you wouldn’t start an insurance blog and then write about anything and everything BUT insurance, your social media platforms must have a specific focus to be appealing to the people, who choose to connect.
Defining your brand should be specific, Rampton adds, right down to “the visual or graphic display of those attributes.”
Content strategies will differ from one platform to the next. If you are using Pinterest, photos and infographics that are of interest to your target audience are essential. The same could be said for Instagram.
Facebook lends itself to longer posts, while Twitter should be kept to around 140 characters or less.
If you want your target audience to be engaged in your brand, then you need to have a specific strategy for each platform, and, yes, it should differ greatly, at least in presentation.
This is what Rampton calls “the seasoning that flavors the engagement part of the process.”
“It involves regular interaction with followers through conversations and responses to their comments,” he adds.
There isn’t much to add to that except to say that you should maintain a professional presence in HOW you respond.
Don’t run from questions or concerns that your followers may have, but be dignified, informative, and thorough in how you respond. Show that you care about their concerns, in other words.
Let’s face it. Content creation is hard. That’s because there is so much information out there that your own content faces two dangers whenever it rolls out onto a feed. 1) It’s in danger of being lost in the echo chamber; and 2) It’s in danger of not being as good as some of the other stuff out there if you’re trying to rush it.
That’s why, when it comes to social media, you should keep your audience engaged through a mixture of original and aggregated content.
You do that by linking to other valuable content — things that your audience might not have seen but would definitely find of value.
A second benefit of this is that great content begets great content. If you’re struggling for ideas of what to come up with, in other words, an informative blog post from another source can help you generate new ideas with your own spin and expertise.
Of course, if you plan on linking to outside content, who you follow on social media is as important as who is following you. Find the influencers in your field if you wish to keep your pulse on the industry.
Visit people you respect and admire in the insurance industry, you specific niche, and/or your community. Check out who they are following or who they’re friends with as well.
By doing this, Rampton notes, you are incorporating “a larger part of the recipe because influencers hold the power to sway others to follow you and share your information.”
In other words, it’s how you can grow very quickly and build brand respect in the process.
“This involves promoting content across platforms in order to attract or retain more followers,” Rampton writes.
This is also where many insurance agents dipping their toes into the online marketing field fall short. They believe, rightly or wrongly, that they do not have time for an extended social media presence that goes beyond Facebook or [insert network of choice].
However, neglecting multiple networks is something that you do at your own risk. By establishing your presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., you are creating a uniform branding mechanism that reaches your audience wherever they are.
Not every member of your target audience will be on the social network of your choice. It’s good to have a presence so you can bring everyone together under one umbrella.
One Thing to Keep in Mind
Just because you are represented on every network, that does not mean you have to become an expert at working each one.
It’s common for insurance agents especially to have a network to which they devote the most time and attention. Go all in and be an expert at the ones that come naturally, but be mindful of the other options for reaching your audience that are out there.
It is readily apparent that there is no such thing as a shortcut to social media success, especially for insurance agents. You don’t see any direct revenue from the networks where you are active, but you do set yourself up to have a brand that can grow quickly and cheaply over time. Following Rampton’s recipe should help you figure out the rest no matter which network you prefer. Good luck!