by Kim Tonkovich
How To Build a Following and Convert Followers Into Customers
Your business blog and social media posts are of course great ways to not only communicate with your existing customers, but also your followers and other potential customers. Using these platforms to post business updates, informative content, and other news is critical to build and maintain your brand awareness. But no matter how informative and interesting your articles and posts may be, that doesn't necessarily mean that your followers will automatically start purchasing your services.
In fact, even though you may (or may not yet) have built a following, unless you take the next step to actually reach out and personally engage with your followers, it's pretty unlikely that they'll make the effort to contact you. So let's take a look at some tips on how to build a following and convert followers into customers.
Undoubtedly, you absolutely must have or start building a strong social media and online presence. And not just on FaceBook. But also Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, your optimized website, and blogs. Refer to my "Crushing a Rock Star Website Design" series, parts 1 - 4 for some help with making sure your website is in good shape. Bad advertising is worse than no advertising. So you don't want to start accumulating followers and driving them to your site if you haven't done the work on it yet. Pay close attention also to the tops on SEO and Google listings. The more reference points your followers can find about your business, the more credible you look.
Once you've settled on your brand and gotten some help with designing and launching your incredible website, it's time to start building your social media pages. Make sure you open business, not personal, accounts so you have all of the business tools and analytics available to use. When your social media pages have been created, cleaned up, and are ready to go, then it's time to start your content marketing with blogs and e-Newsletters.
PROVIDE VALUABLE CONTENT
The purpose of content marketing is to provide relevant and useful information to your audience. This helps them learn about your brand, gain an awareness of your expertise, and build trust. Valuable content gives your followers a reason to engage, and to keep coming back for more. When you educate your audience, you've already provided them with information they can benefit from, and for free. Sharing helpful tips and information in your e-Newsletters, on your blog, and in your social media will no doubt help you build a loyal following.
You need to keep in mind when considering your content, who your target market is. What you write and share needs to again (I can't stress this enough) be relevant and useful. If you don't know your target audience, how do you know if they'll need or want the information you share? Take the time to consider the demographic you want to reach and what their interests are, relative to the products and services you provide. Then create some helpful content that also demonstrates your knowledge in that area.
According to Campaign Monitor, marketers that use segmented content campaigns show as much as a 760% increase in revenue. And according to the 2020 Content Marketing Institute B2B Survey, for building brand awareness, the highest performing form of content marketing is blog posts and short articles. To nurture leads, the highest performer is email newsletters. For actually securing and converting your leads acquired through your social media, blog posts, and eBlasts, the best way is in person. So it's important when you launch your content marketing campaign, that you keep in mind at some point you'll need a strategy for actually calling on and reaching out to your followers.
Although your followers probably really love and appreciate your articles and posts with news updates and informative content, if you rely solely on technical information, you and your business may appear impersonal and out of touch. It's important to show your followers that you have a personality too, and are happy to personally respond to their questions or concerns and offer advice.
Posting occasional bits of information about you and your employees, perhaps an accomplishment, an exciting special project they completed, or even photos of your company picnic also helps your followers get to know you better and makes you more approachable. People like doing business with people they feel like they know. So don't be afraid to get a little personal.
Also try sometimes just asking your followers a question or taking a survey. This lets your audience know that you really want to know what they think and how they feel. And be sure to follow up and comment on their responses. When you engage with them, try not to sound too technical. Be real and relaxed so they know you're really paying attention and care about your relationship.
Consider offering incentives to your followers for completing a specific action. You could offer a discount, a free gift, a free service, or anything you think your followers might have an interest in. Let them know that they'll be entered into a drawing to win if they share a post, follow your blog, sign up for your e-Newsletter, take a survey, etc. This will help engage your current followers, as well as potentially bring in new followers through shares.
CALLS TO ACTION
Any and every time you post a blog article, send out an e-Blast, or post on social media, you should include a Call-To-Action. This lets your audience know what you want them to do. If you don't tell them what to do, they won't know. Do you want them to visit your website, call you, send you a message, like and/or share your post, buy a particular product, sign up for your newsletter? Even when you take the next step of emailing or directly calling your prospects, be sure to always let them know what they need to do next. And be sure not to simply tell them what to do. In as few words as possible tell them why they should do it and how they'll benefit from it.
Ever heard of, "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours"? You might find that some of your followers are in the same industry and may be a good vendor for you. If you're interested in their products or services, do not just go to their website or contact their customer service to make an order. Contact your follower directly and let them know how great you think their company is. Then them that you're potentially interested in ordering, and that you think your company might be a good fit for them as well.
MAKE THE CALL!
If you have a subscriber list of people who have signed up for your blog or e-Newsletters, you should be able to download that list to your computer. You may also be able to construct a list of your social media followers if they display their contact information on their profile pages. If you spend some time analyzing your follower lists, you might find that there are multiple people from particular companies that follow you closely, or certain people that read and maybe re-read all of your articles. Make a list of or highlight those followers, and actually make a phone call to introduce yourself. Let them know who you are and that you appreciate their interest in your topics. And ask if they would mind if you could bring by some coffee and meet with them for a few minutes about your services.
At the very least, work with a professional graphic designer to create some marketing materials that you can stop by and leave behind at their office, with a personalized hand-written note asking them to take a look, and letting them know you'll be following up. Keep a list of the businesses you visited, and make sure you follow up! Send them an email or call them again to ask them if you can bring them lunch, or even just invite them to your business for a tour.
MIND YOUR MANNERS
And finally, but very importantly, don't forget to show your gratitude. Regularly and sincerely thank your followers on social media for being so great and for their interest in you and your business. Let them know how much you appreciate them. And any time you exchange comments, emails, phone calls, or have a visit, be sure to send an email or personalized hand-written thank you.
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- "Using List Segmentation to Increase Engagement"; CampaignMonitor.com; July 2019
- "B2B Content Marketing 2020 : Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends - North America"; ContentMarketingInstitute.com; October 2019
- "How to Convert Followers to Customers"; James Wright; Chron; February 2021
- "How to Convert Followers Into Customers"; Ashley Terstriep; Strategic Content Marketing; July 28, 2017
- "7 Ways to Turn Instagram Followers Into Customer for Life"; Kim Walsh Phillips; Entrepreneur.com; June 07, 2017
- "How to Convert Social Media Followers into Customers"; CoverWallet.com; February 2021