How to gain more valuable social media followers

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(This article was originally published on Entreprenuer.com. It has been edited for content and style.)

Developing and executing compelling social media content takes a lot of work and, unfortunately, it is only a small piece of the formula that will lead to creating brand awareness and consumer messaging on social media platforms. Sadly, even with the most amazing content, only about 5.2% of Facebook followers, with similar results on other platforms, will organically see posts due to the algorithms that drive what content will be shown and to whom and when.

Even more distressing is that the 5.2% includes visitors to profile pages and search appearances, leaving an estimated 2%-3% of followers that will see content in their timeline. Taking it further, considering that the average company has acquired most followers by paid advertising, the value of reaching the 3% is minimal because those followers were acquired because they enjoyed the picture of your ad—not because they are loyal to your brand—and, therefore, are unlikely to follow through on your call to action.

This can all be turned around by examining the nature of the algorithm and how the results of the algorithm can be impacted by the value of the follower. What’s even more exciting is that the increased exposure to the higher-quality followers will be even more valuable because these are organic followers who are more likely to take your call to action and generate a higher return on your social media investment.

This leaves many businesses feeling like they have their hands tied behind their backs when building brand awareness and customer engagement through social media. It’s a struggle faced by companies big and small and trying to find the right content to market to potential consumers can be a costly endeavor with a minimal ROI due to a weakly engaged base of followers.

Getting new followers and customers through these social media efforts isn’t the only thing that’s hard to do. Retaining already active customers and getting them to expand their buying habits within your business is also a huge challenge.

Following are several tips for maintaining and growing an active follower base.

Hotspot campaigns

With hotspot campaigns, when users access WiFi, they are directed to that business’ social accounts. This intercepts users at just the right moment for instant engagement and captures their unique data to help your business craft a unique marketing message for that individual. This method of communicating to consumers is a great way to boost organic social media results and produce greater business results all without having to spend any money on advertising.

A hotspot is a router with the ability to connect many devices to the internet, and it offers businesses and consumers alike numerous benefits—some of which can be increased data security, faster and stronger connection speeds to the internet, as well as free connection to the internet for customers on your premises. By accessing these hotspots, customers are then agreeing to securely share their data with the business providing that hotspot.

With the prevalence of remote work throughout all industries in today’s work environment, people live on their electronic devices. When someone connects to your business’s hotspot, you are then given a firsthand look into their habits relating to time spent at your location and other important data that can help you provide a tailored experience to that person, which can aid in the scalability of your brand.

For example, WiFi analytics from hotspots can help businesses learn customers’ favorite days/times to visit and the amount of time they’re at your location. When customers come into your place of business and are prompted to sign into your WiFi with their email or phone number, their information is then cross-referenced on social media where they can be retargeted with ads that fit their corresponding data. Customers can also be prompted to provide a one-click “like” to follow your business’s Facebook page as soon as they enter your location’s WiFi, thus growing Facebook followers without spending a dime.

Data doesn’t need to be scary

An article from Harvard Business Review emphasized the trepidation that many people have in the storage and sharing of their data with corporate entities and any other companies. The article also stressed that sharing data is something that doesn’t need to be feared and that data is ultimately how businesses and consumers can find a harmonious and mutually beneficial middle ground.

This is not only possible but probable, because consumers expect and demand personalized experiences from companies. In fact, 71% of consumers expect personalized interactions and 76% of consumers become frustrated if they do not receive that personal touch.

Consumer data is the bedrock from which modern marketing operates and thereby allows consumers to receive the individualized marketing they seek. Going back to the article from the Harvard Business Review, there was another important insight made: Consumer data can help provide the consumer with an experience of finding not only what they want to purchase but also what may interest them and lead to greater joy.

Only 11% of customers have a negative feeling about retargeted ads, while 30% feet positive about these ads and a further 59% are neutral, according to previous data from Entrepreneur.com—thereby solidifying the fact that most consumers today understand the value of their data to businesses and ultimately how sharing their data with these businesses benefits the consumer.

By integrating hotspot campaigns and marketing tactics into your business, you optimize each consumer’s experience and increase the likelihood they have a positive time with your brand. This leads back to how hotspot campaigns and marketing can drive organic social media traffic.

People want to connect with your brand

Research conducted by Sprout Social reports that 64% of consumers want brands to connect to them and 78% want brands to use social media to bring them together. Other key findings in the report showed that brands and social media can power connections and that most people feel connected to a brand because they trust it.

Compiling consumer-generated data via a hotspot campaign and then effectively using this data to give consumers the personalized experience they want opens the door to consumers trusting your brand. Again, this isn’t because you only showed consumers things they would like to buy from you but, rather, because the products/services, sales and communication you bring to each person are substantive and unique to them.

Showing those customers their value to your business and your desire to provide real solutions to them helps foster that trust and opens a door to more organically stimulated traffic and engagement on social media.

The premise is accurate that it’s better to have more followers, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle. Organic followers are far more valuable than paid followers, as they will engage with your social media marketing more consistently and increase the return on your investment.

Social media success, driven by organic, loyal followers will then lead to further increased awareness of your call to action across all marketing platforms, which will secure your overall marketing objectives. Finally, when those loyal followers consistently engage with your brand on social media, on-premise and via digital displays and text messaging, it will provide you with incredibly valuable and actionable guest behaviors and feedback that is necessary to navigate these difficult and competitive times.

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