Building a social media following is like trying to be the most popular kid in school only about 1000 times harder. Oftentimes it seems you need to crack some kind of highly selective popularity secret code in order to successfully connect with your target audience.
Thankfully however, the majority of your followers have finished high school and since your followers might not necessarily be the ever-exclusive prom queen or school quarterback, being the "coolest" brand on the market is not necessarily the only way to your followers’ hearts.
In fact, a study on the psychology of sharing actually reveals a few different types of followers. Each of these types are attracted to your content, your social media posts, and your overall brand persona for a variety of reasons which differ from one another.
In order to engage your followers, you first have to establish which follower type you’re targeting, how they interact on social media, and most importantly – what you can offer them.
If you belong to any career-centric Linkedin group, you’ve probably noticed the few dominant players who are constantly posting articles, asking questions, and creating conversations around their industry. Their motivation, of course, is no secret
They have realized that today, there is little separation between our personal and professional selves. As a result, they have mastered which content to share, which questions to ask, and which platforms to use in order to maximize their professional image. These individuals shape and develop their online persona in order to be seen as thought leaders and experts in their fields.
Of course, such followers primarily use Linkedin, along with occasional Facebook appearances.
Hubspot, for example have succeeded in captivating the career-minded social media user. The company provides B2B website software and analytics for inbound marketing professionals, and they also are the go-to source of information for much of the inbound and digital marketing profession.
Trendy followers are young, popular, and creative. These individuals are always on top of the latest and greatest fads and will therefore, only engage with you if you provide them with the "cool" factor. Like trying to get in with the prom queen and football captain, trendy followers are difficult to capture, but doing so yields highly significant results since they are regarded as influencers among their peers.
Apple’s products and marketing strategy have quite literally defined this generation as is proven by their millions of Facebook followers. The brand knows how to use visuals and interesting content to create hype, gain a following, and solidify customer relationships.
73% of people share online in order to connect to people with similar interests. These followers use social media exactly as it was intended for – to connect socially with others. As a result, these individuals will only engage in content that they feel is worth discussing with their friends and acquaintances as well as mediums which allow them to do so. These mediums generally include Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Buzzfeed’s to-the-point posts include interesting news stories, quizzes, videos, humor, and even bits of nostalgia that create discussion points for users.
Love them or hate them – we all know someone who fits the description of an online attention-seeker. 57% of millennials claim their peers use social media as a means to get attention and seek validation from others. You’ve seen them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat – and they always seem to have something to post – whether it’s pictures, articles, or status changes.
Attention seekers are all about themselves, and shaping their online personas to achieve the most ‘likes’.
Coca Cola’s #shareacoke Campaign allowed users to customize their own personalized coke bottles and take a picture of it on social media sites under the hashtag #shareacoke. Since its launch, about 125,000 people posted their own pictures under the hashtag.
These individuals are the exact opposite of attention seekers. They use social media to interact with people they already have relationships with and could care less about impressing them through such channels.
If they choose to follow a brand it’s because they personally connect to the products, their messaging, or content. Choosy individuals rarely follow because they seek out exclusively top-notch information that could either help them personally or their friends and colleagues.
Though we all know gaining a following on social media can be hard, it is by no means impossible. By classifying and segmenting your potential followers, you can adjust your strategy as needed to make yourself approachable, while also giving the right type of content to engage your users.
In order to step up your social media game, you should also consider using on-site social media so you can keep your social and business endeavors on one site and easily track all communications surrounding your brand.
Editor’s note: This is written for Hongkiat.com by Nadav Shoval. Nadav Shoval is the CEO & Co-Founder of Spot.IM, an on-site community that brings the power back to the publisher. Prior to Spot.IM, Nadav has developed and founded 4 technology startups. Nadav is a technology erudite and a sports addict. Contact him on Twitter or LinkedIn.
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