Social media can be a powerful tool in the business world. These days, platforms are popping up left and right to provide businesses with access to unique pages and new opportunities to engage with their target audiences. While setting up a social media presence is rather easy, building a following takes a lot of planning, consistency, and strategic thinking.

Here are some tips to help your company expand its reach and build a loyal following:

1. Use a social media management tool

Posting across numerous social media platforms can be overwhelming for many businesses. If you want to build a following, it’s imperative to maintain activity across your accounts and closely look at what’s working and what’s not working. To help make the process easier, businesses should explore tools that can help them schedule posts, condense locations, and analyze results. Platforms such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social allow you to monitor every social media page your business has through one user-friendly website. Some benefits of using a management tool include:

  • Post scheduling
  • Platform consolidation
  • Engagement and feedback tracking for your posted content
  • Metrics and reports
  • Team access

Using a social media management tool can help reduce the stress of maintaining a good presence and provide you with important metrics that help you adjust your content and tailor it to your audience to keep them coming back.

2. Don’t waste your time on unnecessary platforms

For some consumer-driven businesses, applications such as Snapchat and Instagram can be beneficial for building a following of engaged customers. However, in the B2B sector, it can be more challenging to generate leads and activity using these “trendier” platforms. It really boils down to knowing your audience and understanding what they use. Getting to know the preferences of your regular customers and figuring out the best channels for targeting them is a top priority. It can be almost impossible (and time-consuming) to build a devoted following on platforms that your customers aren’t using. While your number of followers is important, it’s even more critical to make sure that you’re connecting with the RIGHT followers for your organization. If you’re unclear on what platforms your audience is using, ask around the office, conduct a survey, or consult with an outside company to help you develop a strong social media strategy.

3. Create a conversation

Once you start to build a following, you need to keep them engaged. One of the best ways is by sharing interesting, interactive posts. By asking a question or setting up a poll, you’re inviting followers to become an active part of your conversation—and your business. You should also consider incorporating hashtags relevant to your industry or a specific topic to help extend the conversation to accounts that might not be in your network yet. It’s equally important to set and maintain control of the tone of your conversation. Always keep the questions non-controversial and related to your business.

4. Keep it consistent

One of the biggest challenges businesses face is maintaining consistency across their social media platforms. All of your posts should use the same tone and voice on every platform. Another factor to consider when keeping your posts uniform is how often you post. Don’t neglect your accounts for long periods of time—be sure there’s something new and relevant to your company posted at least twice a week. If possible, spread out your posts to ensure they will appear on the feeds of those followers who might only check once or twice a day. Just as we discussed in tip #2, know your audience—know when they’re checking their social media accounts and when the best times are to post content. In many cases, this is the difference between gaining new followers and losing old ones.

5. Follow them first

Social media users may not know of your presence. But a great way to catch their eye is to follow them first. Search for profiles that are appropriate for your company, and be sure to share, retweet, and link to suitable material that they post. Interacting with others interested in your industry is a great way to accumulate a following and get noticed!