Why don’t I have any followers? I hear this a lot from my new clients.  I am “tweeting” all the time, why isn’t anyone following  me? I had another new client discouraged because his  Facebook Page had very few LIKES.   I ask these clients if they are INTERACTING on social media. Do they they ever take the time to follow people back? How often are they retweeting interesting posts and/or LIKEing other people’s Facebook Pages.  The response was a predictable “no”.

Most businesses have graduated from the notion that a static website is little more than a business card and realize they need to be engaged in social media. Businesses are advised to create content and post the content on social media to increase traffic and exposure. All great advice but they are missing the INTERACTION piece of the puzzle, which is absolutely critical.

Social media is a vehicle for relationship building! And, like any good relationship it can’t be one-sided. You have to give to get. I immediately sit down with my new clients and focus on the relationship building aspect of social media. We look for opportunities to interact with key players who they can develop a “give and take” mutually beneficial relationship that should result in positive business building for both parties when executed effectively.

I tell my clients STOP the automated postings and actually get involved in your virtual network.  Start following people you think may be potential clients and actually read their tweets and posts.  Interact with their posts by making comments, giving a like or favorite, retweeting and/or sharing. Show others you exist and actually take time to listen. Recognize that social media is not a virtual world but a real authentic channel for building relationships that will benefit your business and increase your bottom line.

Take twitter, for example, you have to find the right people to follow and follow them. I think it is worth following 100+ people of interest every few weeks and see which accounts follow you back. You can always purge those accounts that do not follow you back using one of the many online tools available that make it easy to manage your twitter followers.   I use “Tweepi” to remove those people that do not follow me back. You also have to pay attention to your Twitter notifications and follow back any legitimate account that takes the time to follow your account.  You should retweet and favorite some posts every single day that you find interesting as a way of telling those people you appreciate their efforts.  This is how you build loyalty and relationships.

On Facebook I think it is critical to LIKE other Pages of interest and message the Page owner to like your Page in return.  You should review the posts that appear on your feed and take the time to interact with the good ones.  You would not believe the goodwill earned from simply interacting with a good post and adding a comment.   I often message the person directly when I really love a post. On Facebook it is also critical to have both a profile account and a page for you business or brand.  You can use the profile to add friends and interact.  This allows you to invite new friends to follow your Facebook page.  A Company Page by itself does not allow you to friend people and grow your connections this way.

Try to spend a few hours per week online browsing social media posts and interacting.  Make it a goal to grow your network each and every week. If you stay disciplined you will grow your social media footprint more quickly and make more valuable connections. I have made some of my most loyal connections online because I spend considerable time viewing posts within my network and making an effort to know the people that may be influencers.  The comments and messages I send almost always result in a positive and appreciative response.