3 Tips for Social Media Growth / by Del Belcher

For the past few weeks I have been trying improve my Twitter game. Out of the list of social media sites out there, Twitter has been the most difficult for me to get a handle on and because of that, I'd grown stagnant. This is probably because when the Twitter/Facebook divergence began 7 years ago or so, I chose the side of Facebook and have been going strong in that camp ever since. For a while I had a lot of Facebook/Twitter crossover but I quickly learned that Facebook and Twitter folk want and need different things. While these platforms are used to communicate similar ideas, the way I needed to go about communicating these ideas had to be different. Those differences were, unfortunately, enough to turn me off from Twitter for a while.

So here I am today. Trying to grow my Twitter profile....

Throughout this mission of reclamation and redemption I did get a hang of a few of the obvious Twitter/Facebook differences: hashtags (lolz...Facebook hashtags aren't real), appropriate use of images, how lists work, RT etiquette, etc. But the most interesting thing I realized was that, when it comes to the heart of fostering strong social growth, there are three actions that hold true for Twitter, Facebook and everything in between.

You want to foster social growth towards a strong social presence? Here is what I learned:

1. AIM HIGH

Maintenance is good, it keeps things running smoothly. I had not been maintaining my Twitter and so began the journey of cutting back the weeds and getting things back to running like a real Twitter account. Now, if done properly, a well maintained social presence can create a good environment for growth but maintenance is not a catalyst for growth.

Growing a strong social media presence requires aiming high and taking risk. I found what my next level was by looking at the thought leaders in vertical. How do they do what they do? What do they blog about? What is their brand? What is their plan? Aiming high means watching, listening, copying and experimenting. Don't forget, I am talking organic growth here. Without cash on hand there probably won't be a lot traction on day one. But the great thing about social media, and specifically Twitter, is you will get back what you put in. Remember, it takes time. 

2. KNOW THE GOAL

What on earth am I doing online anyway? Knowing the answer to this is key. As a social media blogger, I probably won't get a lot of relevant growth (or even noticed at all) if I mostly post rando music videos. Goals point a social media presence in the right direction. With a goal, content can be created, honed and noticed by like-minded professionals. A goal puts a profile in the vicinity of the right people and being around the right people is huge in social media - it is "social" after all.

Speaking of social, fostering social media growth is almost the exact same thing online as it is in person. Who do we generally want to be around on a day to day basis? People who challenge us, have similar interests, who can encourage us and give back to the community. It is the same thing with Social Media. Get around like minded profiles, learn from them and give back. Having a goal is the first step in this process.

3. DON'T BLOW YOUR LOAD

This one is hard. I have my goal, I am following all of these thought leaders and things are getting hot and heavy! The social media fire is about to ignite! I am just sharing and RTing like a mad man. Sounds good right? Well, this is what I call blowing the load. And I am using this euphemism on purpose. Why? Because fostering social media growth is more akin to being a passionate lover than it is to wham-bam-thankyoumam. A true lover won't waste a batch of goodness only to shrink away before morning. A passionate lover is consistent, knows their environment and knows when to engage. It is so easy to get on Twitter, search that #SSM hashtag and RT everything in sight. While this method may get you noticed, you are playing the short term game that will only result in getting the gratification of a few pithy favs in the next 10 minutes.

Time needs to be invested in the social platform if long term growth is desired. The audience needs to know and be known. There may be a hot trend flying by the feed but it is very possible that there is a benefit to delaying the gratification of an instant share. Practices safe content curation. Using curation apps to content will be worth it in the long run. Knowing the audience and having content to share for a later date will allow us to lovingly plant these pieces of content them in the most fertile soil. I know you are excited to get off the ground and feel the pleasure of social media success, but seriously, don't' blow your load.