San Diego Business Journal

Small businesses and large corporations alike have joined the social media movement in effort to have a presence online and, in a nutshell, increase sales. But what happens after you create that Twitter profile and Facebook page? And more importantly, how can businesses gain and retain quality and relevant followers?

These three simple steps will ensure your business is reaching the movers and shakers of your category:

You’ve heard it over and over again — content is king. Like many others, you may be thinking to yourself “how do I know what content to post?”

First off, posting content that resonates with your target audience members is crucial. It’s especially important to speak “their language.” You wouldn’t talk to a nanny the same way you would to an engineer, would you? Include posts that your followers understand and are inclined to respond to, and always put yourself in the consumer’s shoes — would you be interested in your message?

When it comes to the actual meat of your posts, address current events and trends. Remember, although your social channels should never be used for constant shameless promotion, this is your chance to include brand messages periodically and see how they’re received — think of it as a digital focus group. Consumer feedback can even strengthen your company’s services or products, and it’s free.

Within the content bucket, be sure to properly tag your messages so consumers can easily navigate their way to your profile. For example, if you’re on Twitter, include key hash tags and validate handles.

Once content is uploaded regularly, this allows you to interact with your followers, further gaining their interest in your brand personality, and in essence, enhancing your brand.

Interaction

Engaging consumers online is fairly simple, and can be immensely helpful when building your company’s profile. By regularly checking your direct messages and mentions, you may already notice a steady stream of consumer feedback (once you funnel through the spammers). Whether positive or negative, responding to these messages gains your followers’ trust by showing that you’re listening.

Another simple way to begin a conversation through digital platforms is to use search engines — be it through real-time Google results or internal tools. Utilize these resources responding to any conversation — whether it’s a general comment or competitor mention. This is your chance to introduce your brand to an entirely new influential audience, one that has an opinion and wants to be heard.

Point of View

Let’s think about a physical interaction — when you speak to someone in person, do you enjoy listening to a monotone voice with no personality? Or do you prefer to speak with someone that has a point of view, and actually has an interesting perspective?

This can be directly applied to online conversations. Having a personality is a key component when interacting online — whether it’s about a current event or news about your company, providing some type of interesting comment will typically appeal to your target audience and spark conversation.

This doesn’t necessarily require controversial perspectives and snarky remarks, rather an opinion that may include a question to continue the flow of content and showcase that your brand is engaged, involved and cares about what’s going on in the world today.

With these three simple yet effective tips, you’ll build trust in your demographic, which in turn leads to an increase in site traffic, sales, and brand success. Just remember, at the heart of any tweet, like and follow, you have the power to unleash influential messages to shape your brand.

Stephanie Shkolnik (@stephanie00) is Social Media Strategist at Digitaria, a JWT company.