Are you looking to grow your following in 2017? Here are 6 quick easy to follow tips.
1. BUILD TRUST
If you’re asking yourself what’s more important going viral or a steady band of dedicated users, think on this:
Exposure is great. It can make you feel like you’re doing something right and the world is catching on for good reason. But exposure can also leave you bare naked in the public eye with no plan to backup your following. Trust is the most important element to growing exposure and that doesn’t usually happen with a viral hit. You want to grow your influence steadily, giving your followers a reason to stick with you, not give you a 15-second-of-fame career.
2. MAINTAIN CONSISTENCY
If trust builds brand loyalty, than consistency builds brand recognition. According to Lauren Hooker, founder of Elle & Co, “recognition is key to branding. It's why we automatically think of Chipotle when we see a foil-wrapped burrito or Apple when we hear Siri's voice or an iPhone ringtone. These businesses don't switch things up regularly; they maintain consistency across all of the visual and invisible components of their brand.”
She advises, to “choose fonts, colors, and imagery and use them over and over again. Over time, people will begin to associate those design elements with your business and easily recognize your graphics.”
“Consistency,” adds Lauren, “also makes your brand appear professional.” Speaking of…
3. ALWAYS APPEAR PROFESSIONAL
We turn to Lauren again for this, who says, “First impressions are huge; they can make all the difference between someone taking you seriously or writing you off. If you're just starting your business, you don't have to look like you just started your business.”
4. DON’T EXPECT INSTAGRAM TO DO IT ALL FOR YOU
Instagram is an amazing tool that can broadcast your brand to millions of people. That’s the goal after all. But it’s not a magic app.
Instagram is the connector, it’s not the business. Use it wisely (and maintain consistency), but if you want to market yourself, you need to cast your net wider. There are a TON of fish in the Instagram sea and you need the social platform to funnel back into something else.
Whether it is a website, a service, or a product there needs to be something. Especially if you want to build out your brand to do more than schlock products in paid posts.
5. PARTICIPATE IN OFFLINE EVENTS
A like will never replace a handshake. And in many ways, they are not even comparable. You can pay your rent with a like, but you can bank on an IRL relationship. That means, attending conferences, like the upcoming Create & Cultivate New York, where you meet with like-minded professionals. Or pitch yourself to companies to speak on panels.
6. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR COMPETITION
Marketing yourself isn't solely about you. You can't change the game if you're standing in one place. While an authentic brand is a successful brand, you also need to have a leg up on the competition. That means keeping in tune with what they're doing.
Fine tune your marketing efforts as you go. Pay attention to their audiences and see what they want and how you can provide a better service or product to them. Learn from their mistakes, and know that you can do much better.