Ask The Experts: Building a following

Last updated 05:00 30/06/2014

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In this week's Ask The Experts, we look at using social media in business.

Q: The power of social media as a business tool has been well documented. We are a services business finally getting around to setting up Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles. What things should we be thinking about when developing our social media strategy and how do we grow our number of followers?

A: It is important to understand marketing through social networks isn't as much about selling your product as it is about engaging your followers.

So first establish your goals and what you will be using social media for. Then figure out which social media tools your customer demographic uses, to find the platforms you should consider jumping on.

If you have enough staff to handle multiple social networking sites, that's great. If not, focus on one or two to make sure you don't spread yourself too thin and end up going days without any activity.

Remember that your social media profile is the online representation of your brand and company, so pick the right person or people to be the voice of your social networking site.

The companies that are most successful are those which interact most with the users, frequently post content related to their brand, and provide an open and honest conversation.

Don't be afraid to get a little personal with your followers, share photos and videos (no office party snapshots though). It shows the personality of the company and the people who make up the brand. The worst thing you can do is be a blank slate.

In terms of growing followers, be careful of the ‘vanity metric' of Facebook ‘likes' or Twitter ‘followers'. It indicates reach but is a simplistic way to look at the return on investment from your social media effort.

If you are posting relevant, engaging content through social media, your followers will build organically. These are the types of followers you want, and a smaller number of heartfelt fans beats bucketloads of unengaged followers.

Nick Churchouse is venture manager at Creative HQ, www.creativehq.co.nz

If you have a question for our experts please email roeland.vandenbergh@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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