How To Use Social Media To Build Your Digital Following
Social media has given us the capacity to be the master of our tribe from anywhere in the world, and being that master means one thing and one thing only — you must lead them.
But before you can lead you must cultivate your tribe of online followers by learning how to successfully engage them. Without this engagement any effort to build your fan base will be in vain, which is why it is the first critical step and attracting fans is the second.
If you already have a tribe, these strategies will help you push past any plateau in growth you may have experienced of late and immediately attract more fans to your media pages.
And if you’re just getting started, you’ll have an unbeatable strategy by which to arm yourself.
We lead our tribes by using the engagement ruler as our guide…
STEP 1:THE ENGAGEMENT RULER
The Engagement Ruler is a way of measuring the potential impact of a social media post. First we need to look at the different types of posts because they each have a different level of impact.
There are three key levels – conflict, neutrality and elation.
1. Conflict. Creating a certain level of conflict within your posts can pay off dramatically. By not being afraid to voice your views on a variety of topics, you will help draw an audience who share similar views. Not everyone will agree with you but those who don’t will move along and that’s OK. They aren’t your tribe.
Now, creating conflict doesn’t mean that you should post something rude or insulting. That’s just not acceptable. When I’m talking about conflict, I am referring to the inner conflict a simple question can raise. Think about the reaction often sparked by a post on breastfeeding in public. It brings out clearly divided opinions which, when handled well, allows you to build and guide a conversation around the topic.
Think about the hot topics in your industry, and the questions that your followers are likely to be weighing up in their minds. Come right out and ask the question. An agent of influence must have firm views – and not be swayed, or prepared to soften their stance just to be liked.
Conflict posts can go viral and bring you a huge amount of attention. They will also attract the people you want to be working with – the ones who are on your wavelength.
Here are a couple of simple examples of posts by Redhead Writing (she manages conflict posts exceptionally well) which may spark conflict. Just pay attention to the number of comments, likes and shares these posts received. Worth it?
2. Neutrality. It is neither here nor there; it just is. These posts won’t go viral but they will gain you likes and they are a necessary part of the social media mix. They are great for showing that you know what you are talking about.
Here are some examples for you. In both you see the authors sharing information. Two link to their own blog post and the other to a useful external source. The important thing about each post is the comment which shows the author’s expertise on the topic.
Why would you bother with a neutral post if it won’t go viral or spark debate?
This kind of post can allow you to teach, share or demonstrate things to your audience. You are giving them what they want and feeding their interest. Your post is a different way of meeting their needs. That’s what makes it valuable to your followers. Once people learn that they will find answers to their questions on your page, they won’t need to look elsewhere or go through the effort of sourcing the information themselves. You have become a trusted resource and that’s a fantastically attractive position to be in.
3. Elation. Elation is all about passion and personality. By doing this you are sharing something that your competitors can’t compete with – the real you! When you add personality, you become real to those who have never met you. You give them something to know, like and understand about you as a person.
Elation does not have to be all about your successes, although they will be exciting for your followers to see. It’s about your genuine joy when something happens that you agree with or believe in.
Take a look at this example which shares a success. It is impossible not to be happy for her, but just as importantly, this post gives proof that she’s great at what she does. Pretty convincing.
The next examples are a couple of my own posts. I posted this to show my excitement at the possibilities I was starting to feel ahead in my future. I show you exactly how I feel about it (in my own expressive language!) and give you some insight into the person I am, too.
Your elation posts don’t even have to be in your own words but they do need to represent you and your belief system. This quote means a lot to me. Churchill certainly was an agent of influence in his own time, and what he says is true of the modern day agents, too. This post is a powerful insight into the way I work which will uplift those of my followers who need it.
STEP 2:THE ENGAGEMENT RULER
Now that you know what each type of post looks like, it’s important to get the right mix of posts on your page. Conflict posts can be very tiring to follow, and elation posts may be overwhelming. The last thing you want is to drive away your followers because you are either dull or too much work.
In my book, Flee 9-5, I use this table to show the breakdown of each level of post. Here is where the 3 levels are on the Engagement Ruler:
Conflict posts will register 0-4 on the scale,
Neutral posts rank at 5
Elation posts reach 6-10.
Take a look back at your last few posts. How do they measure on the Engagement Ruler? If you notice that your posts are all sitting at number 5, it probably explains why your page is quiet and lacking in engagement! Let’s look back at the posts from Redhead Writing. While they have the potential for conflict, they are not provoking an outright division in the ranks so those posts might sit at around a 3. We know that the neutrality posts both sit at a 5, smack bang in the “middle of the road.” Our elation posts provoke a positive emotional response. They are exuberant and inspiring, so they would sit at about the 8 level.
As you can see, there will be extremes even within the conflict and elation posts, some more dynamic than others, and that’s great. It gives you more room to move, so not only can you share posts from the three levels, you can choose posts to prompt a stronger or lesser reaction, depending on your chosen outcome.
STEP 3:BUILDING YOUR STRATEGY.
Clever marketers build the best engagement using a strategy which includes posts from each of the three levels.
With more than 30 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook each month, it takes strategy to keep from being lost in the news feed. Be strategic about what you post and make certain the content varies between each level so your tribe stays excited and engaged.
Now that you understand the three levels of engagement and what they look like, you can make an informed choice about what you post and when. Consistent posting which varies across the levels of the engagement ruler is your key to boosting social reach and becoming the leader of your tribe.