Growing a following on social media is a challenge in itself; tracking down the right types of followers and attracting a sizable following through the quality of your posts takes a significant amount of time and effort. The last thing you want to happen is losing those followers after only a few days or weeks of interaction.
Follower acquisition gets most of the attention in the social media marketing world, but follower retention is just as—if not more—important. Fortunately, there are several tricks you can use to keep your followers around for longer and maximize your audience potential:
1. Make Regular Offers
This is a principle that leads you to both greater user acquisition and greater user retention. In order to attract people to your social media profile, you have to offer some kind of value—in this case, the value comes in the form of a special discount or a free giveaway.
Unfortunately, there’s a major drawback to this initial strategy: once a user redeems the offer, he/she has a high chance of leaving. The way to prevent this, and to keep your followers interested over the course of an extended period of time, is to make these types of offers regularly.
You could have a “deal of the month,” or weekly surprise discounts—whatever you choose, make sure you stay consistent with it to keep your followers coming back for more.
2. Create a Content Series
Hopefully, you already have a content marketing strategy in place to aid in both user acquisition and user retention. This tactic involves creating a specific sub-series of content articles that fit in a certain theme or carry on one story or one message from one piece to the next.
If you release these content pieces gradually, such as on a weekly basis, your readers will be more interested in seeing the next piece, and they’ll be more likely to stay with your brand than they would with an unlinked content strategy. Pick a theme that can warrant the development of 10 or more pieces and start churning them out.
3. Respond to Everyone
Make sure you’re getting all the “social” out of your social media. The word implies that there’s a level of interaction between you and your users, not just a constant feed of posts coming from you.
If your posts are interesting or if people are inquisitive about your brand or position, there will be ample comments, questions, and messages for you to go through on a near-daily basis. If you want these people to stay with your brand, you need to respond to them, and respond to them with more than an automated or formulaic message.
When your followers feel like they’re seen and heard, they’ll feel important, and they’ll be far more likely to stay with you for the long run.
4. Reach Out to Individuals
Because social media has a huge potential audience, most social marketers think of everything in terms of groups—they think of communication in terms of broadcasting rather than in terms of conversation. If you want to forge stronger, more personal relationships with your followers and improve your retention rates, you’ll have to operate on a much more individual basis.
If you see a regular contributor who hasn’t posted in a while, reach out to him/her. If someone shares a tweet of yours, share one of theirs. Show some individual love and your followers will feel more bonded with your brand.
5. Start Discussions
One of the most effective ways to maintain a following in social media is to cultivate a social community, and the only way to do that is to get your followers talking to each other. Starting a group discussion is an easy way to accomplish this; simply pose a thought-provoking or timely question to your audience related to your brand or industry, and let your followers have at it.
Interject as a mediator, and don’t be afraid to get the ball rolling with your own opinion. You’ll want to generate enough attention and buzz that a significant portion of your audience wants to participate.
6. Incorporate Feedback
Throughout the course of your social media profile development, you’re going to get feedback from your users. They might love your regular discounts but find your content boring.
They may not like the posts you share but love your original posts and wish you had more. Listen to these comments, and incorporate that feedback into your process. You’ll make a bigger, better impact on your audience and you’ll let your followers know that they’re important to you.
7. Avoid Radical Change
While it’s important to gradually improve your strategy over time, you’ll need to avoid making any radical changes to your approach. Shifting your tone or your posting schedule all at once could alienate the followers who have grown to know what to expect and love about your strategy. One radical change could be enough to prompt them to leave. If you do have to make a radical change, such as introducing a new brand, make sure you warn your followers and introduce the concept before unleashing it on the world.
With these strategies in place, you should have little difficulty retaining the size and scope of your social media followings. The keys to remember here are that users need recurring value and a sense of belonging if you want them to stay—leaving is only a click away, so you have to make it worth their while to stick around.
The greater your follower retention is, the better chance you’ll have at converting each new follower; a longer relationship means more opportunities to generate revenue.
Readers: What are some other ways you’ve managed to retain followers?
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