Building an engaged and reputable social media following rapidly and effectively. That is one of the key pillars of social media marketing. There are as many ways to achieve this as there are practitioners. However, there are certain core skills, tenets and practices which hold true across the board.

So, how do you take an account form nought to sixty thousand? That depends on the answers to a few simple questions:

What are you building for?

Clients tend to look at audience growth as a central metric. It’s an easy one to understand and a higher number not only presages popularity and a boost in other areas of the business but also greater brand trust. People tend to trust things that are popular: “one million people can’t be wrong”. Numbers for number’s sake though are a vanity metric. An audience of unengaged followers is almost worse than no followers at all. Social media is meant to be social and a target market should be targeted. You have to beware any and all “I can get you followers fast” programs or people.

What platform works best for you?

Here’s a little secret – not all social media platforms are right for all businesses. All have their own advantages and disadvantages and businesses should think long and hard about who their audience is and where they hang out before putting significant resources behind a platform. For example, a design-lead restaurant will probably want to gain a significant Instagram presence with beautiful imagery and video clips while using Twitter primarily as a customer service tool, while a street food operation which moves from pop-up to pop-up will want to leverage the local business power and rapid-response nature of Twitter.

How social are you, really?

Building a following is about three things: finding your audience, engaging them with them and then keeping them engaged. Competitions with a follow mechanic are a good way to draw people in but they rapidly drift away if you don’t keep posting high quality, engaging content and interacting with them. If you make people feel like just a number they will rapidly lose interest.

So, once you’ve got the answers to all three of those, let’s talk – we can build you a following that’s right for you…