When it comes to social media, don’t forget about quantity

July 2, 2015

Quality trumps quantity. It’s true of friendships, dessert and, for the most part, social media. Most anyone who dabbles professionally in the socialverse will tell you that having 1,000 valuable followers (prospects, customers, analysts) is way better than having 10,000 irrelevant followers (robots, followbackers, Taye Diggs). And they’d be right. But there’s a caveat.
No matter how witty our tweets may be, or how poignant a Facebook graphic, reach still matters. You need eyeballs. You need a base. In the social media world, where “engagement” is (deservedly) the gold standard, you won’t get very far if you don’t have an audience with which engage in the first place.
Of course,the idea here is to reach the right people as you build your follower base. Quality still wins – one valuable follower is better than two irrelevant ones – but the point is that you can’t abandon quantity. It’s important to take proactive, conscious steps toward growing your audience and to make sure you’re reaching the right people every step of the way.
Sounds simple, right? Here are a couple of tips to help you increase both the quality and quantity of your social reach.
Define and measure valuable followers: The first step to increasing reach is defining whom exactly you’d like to reach. Prospects in the auto industry? Marketing and advertising media? Big data influencers? All of the above? Once you know who you want in your audience, you can shape outreach accordingly and track new followers to measure the success of your efforts. It sounds tedious, but tracking each new follower over a 30-day period can be tremendously useful in helping you evaluate who you’re reaching and where you can improve. 
Tailor your content: Once you know who you want to reach, do some research to identify how these communities engage on social. When are they most likely to post? What hashtags do they use? Who influences them? Use these insights to tailor your posts.
Go direct: Each month, identify a select group of priority individuals, companies or media outlets that you want to reach. Look for opportunities to directly engage these folks on social channels, whether that means replying to their tweets on Twitter or tagging their company in LinkedIn or Facebook posts. The more you get in front of them (within reason), the more likely it is they’ll follow you.
Make the ask: Do you think your Twitter feed has value? What about your Facebook posts? If so, don’t be afraid to encourage your community to follow you on these channels. This could include a call-to-action on your website, a button in an email newsletter or a sign on your office wall. Just be sure to give people a clear sense of what value they’ll gain by following you on these channels.
Pay to promote: You can’t buy friends, but it turns out that you can, in fact, buy valuable followers. Social advertising enables you to hypertarget based on interests, location, profession and more. There’s no shame in this. It’s just a matter of doing it right, and being smart about whom you target and how.
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