Edmonton Journal «February 10, 2016»

How do you grow your social media presence?

By Capital Ideas via Capital Ideas in The Journal
We asked Capital Ideas members to share their tips for growing a business’s social media presence. Here’s what members of our community of business owners helping business owners had to say:

“Our social media strategist Jay Palter suggested we use content curation as a way to attract followers and be advisors to our clients. We try to offer tidbits of key industry information sprinkled with personal messages about our community involvement. It allows clients to get to know us and and offers insight into leadership development tips and strategies, which is the core of our business.”
— Michelle Devlin, partner at Creating People Power, @michelledevlin
“Three steps: (1) Inspire. Inspire people with the content and value you share with them without any intention of selling. (2) Interact. It’s social media after all. Be social and find people to talk to who you want to build a relationship with. (3) Influence. Share your authentic story in a way that influences people to buy from you or refer you. Create your brand of influence and connect with people either hyper-local or around the world.”
— Kimberly Allison, CEO and director of Marketing Rx Inc., @MarketingRxCa
“Talk about things your customers and stakeholders want to know more about such as more on your industry, new tips and tricks, ideas that spur dialogue and more. In essence, allow for excitement, interaction and easy sharing. Also, cover all the relevant platforms — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Share stories that your stakeholders can relate to and you will gain a lot of followers.”
— Ashif Mawji, president of Trust Science, @ashifmawji
“A fun and interactive way is to get involved in Twitter chats. An example is #startupchats put on by @Startup_Canada. Twitter folks share ideas about the topic of that day’s small business startup chat. Another idea is for you to host your own Twitter chat. A good read about doing it, is ‘How to Start and Host a Twitter Chat’ on inspireplanning.ca”
— Barry Yewchuk, website and marketing coordinator at Business Link, @yrraByrraB
“The best thing you can do to grow your social presence is be consistent. So many companies either post five million times a day or not at all. Develop a rhythm, but more importantly invest in quality content to engage your audience and profile yourself as a thought leader in your industry.”
— Alexandra Kulas, marketing project specialist at Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, @AWEbusiness
“Social media is an inexpensive way to reach your existing and potential new clients, but is very time consuming. I have found that tasking the various staff that are experts in their field with generating interesting information and educating the public has been the most beneficial and rewarding approach. The team member drafts content that we as a team go over, then we structure times to broadcast this information. Not only do you get varying styles of writing and opinions but truly engaging content with variety. It also empowers and challenges your staff to critically think about their approach to business and connecting with the world in a meaningful way.”
— Edward Langer, managing partner at ThinkTank Advertising, @ThinkTankCanada
“First, I focus on quality rather than quantity of followers. The way I grow my network is to be helpful. I’ll send a Tweet or message if I notice something that will improve someone’s business or their website has a broken link or anything else that might be valuable. It feels great to help people, and it creates connection and opens a dialogue that leads to lasting engagement and friendship.”
— Jon Symons, director of marketing at Until They Smile, @JonSymons
“To grow my social network, I send a thank-you reply to every connection I receive via Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. I ask if they have any questions about my industry. This makes an online presence personal.”
— Nadine Litwin, advisor and solutions manager at Integrity Plus Financial Inc., @InsuranceNadine
“On Instagram: (1) Identify the right content for your audience. This includes the theme of the content (memes, quotes, photos, videos, etc.) and the hashtags used. (2) Ask for engagement. Use calls-to-action like “tag someone who…” or “double tap if…” (3) Be consistent. Post regularly or you will be forgotten. (4) Automate. Use tools like Instagress or FollowLiker to automate following and liking people in your niche. Think of follows and likes as your ads.”
— Chris Gatbonton, founder of Creation Crate, @CreationCrate, IG: creationcrate
“To grow on social media you need to start from scratch. First focus on building 100 true fans who will be your tribe, then move on to build 1000 true fans and take that further from there.”
— Ali Salman, strategist at Rapid Boost, @RapidBoost
“I grow my social media presence by cross promoting my accounts on my different social media platforms. Most of all, I engage with my community and try to add the most value to them.”
— Kevin MacDonald, business consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc., @L6SBC
“When I was creating content (by blogging), I found that the number of Twitter followers I had increased significantly. I find that writing blogs about my industry has helped show everyone that I truly do love what I do along with, hopefully, positioning myself as an authority figure.”
— Ameet Khabra, online marketing specialist, ameetkhabra.marketing, @adwordsgirl
“I use Buffer! (It’s a) fast, free and user-friendly social media scheduling system.”
— Chelsea Krupa, CEO of Rehab & Retreat, @Rehabandretreat
“I take an hour a day and post on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I make sure to ask any new customers we’ve serviced to join. We have all our profiles on our business cards. Every other day I put an hour aside for Instagram and Pinterest. Though there are many others out there it’s important to stick with your most popular ones and nurture them. We like to keep our postings positive, informational and fun so people look forward to what we post.”
— Suzan Burtic, president of Legends Limousine, @LegendsLimos
“It’s tricky gaining a social presence to monetize a ‘fashion’ business in Edmonton. My client demographic is wide and their interest in social media is mixed so they often trust the opinion in print over the social platform. My greatest reach has been enabled by my diverse interests in music, design and technology. This may not drive sales locally, but it has connected me with like-minded designers/creators to develop ideas and exchange resources, which is invaluable to me.”
— Kathleen Todoruk, creative director of Todoruk Designs, @TodorukDesigns
“Be Relevant. It is not rocket science but it does take time. Time is the enemy to good social media because we don’t have it or invest in it. If you do not take the time to be relevant then you are irrelevant. Just like your presence at a mixer, conference or social gathering, if you are not providing relevant content — values, intelligence, humor, action oriented or sharable ideas, etc. — you have reduced influence or impact. Be Relevant. It is hard to do on a consistent basis.”
— Darryl Moore, vice-president of marketing and communications at Executrade, @Executrade
“I look at social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. as the modern day newswire. I’ve tried my best to post pertinent information pertaining to the economy and financial planning on my feed. Hopefully, it strikes a chord and interest among those that are wanting to learn more about finance and investments. Admittedly, I should find more time to interact with my followers which would help in developing my following.”
— Desmond Chow, senior financial advisor at ATB Investor Services, @DesandLinzATBIS

“Trend spotting is part of our daily routine. Everyday we set aside time to read the latest news and share it via social media. Some of our industry favourites include Fast Company, DesignTAXI, and Dwell. We also look into what our competitors are doing to determine if they’re reacting to what we’ve identified as an emerging trend.”
— Kris Hans, strategist at Market Grade Ltd., @krishans

The above answers are in response to a question posed by Casie Stewart (@casiestewart), iMedia social media conference keynote speaker. Here’s her take:
“I get asked this question often and my response is always the same — engage with your audience and create good content. You can’t just set it and forget it, you need to talk to people, like, comment and share. It’s called social media for a reason! Great content encourages sharing; take good photos and write things worth reading. Another way to grow your following is to partner with influencers who have earned a trusted audience.”
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