Stop me if you have heard this one before: social media is about engagement and connections. You could Google the words social media, engagement, connections and probably come up with millions of results. Everybody worth their salt talks about how engagement and connecting in social media is vitaly important but very rarely do they give you real world examples. This blog post is about to change that because while it is about engagement and connections it is another thing to see it happening right before your eyes.
Social Media Is About Engagement And Connections......duh!
- How much time could I dedicate to a new social media platform?
- What did I want the platform to be about? Food? Triathlon? Inspiration and Motivation?
- Would people be tired of seeing my posts on Facebook and Twitter as well as my blog and not want to engage on Instagram?
I answered these questions with 1) 1-2 hours daily depending on the number of pics I took. 2) Food 99% of the time with a few personal photos. 3) If the content on Instagram is different than the content on Facebook, Twitter and the blog then it will generate more interest in those areas as well.
So I set forth back in January to start the account. I took photos of the meals I was making but simultaneously I was searching for keywords around the sport of triathlon as well as living a healthy plant-based lifestyle. I found lots of accounts and began following them. From there I found other accounts because of the conversations as well as who liked what photos. Not one to stand on the sideline I jumped into conversations as well.
Rapidly the following of the CTER brand was growing. Before I knew it I had 100 followers, then 200. Next up 1000 and so it moved forward. Along the way I made friends with Amy and Sarah. I exchanged emails with them regarding a 21 Day Sugar detox and before I knew it the number of followers had jumped into the 3,000 range. This was all happening so fast I was beyond surprised.
Then something happened that showcases with engaging and making connections on social media is important. Yes, your content is important as that is how you will attract people but making sure to be genuine and posting on others content is just as important. One day I came across a #WaffleChallenge in Instagram. If you follow my blog or accounts you know that waffles are a big part of my 'diet' so I could not participate. The challenge was being hosted by the account @FamFitFood and I began to comment on not only that page but on other participants pages as well. The creations were out of this world.
Then a second challenge came and while during that challenge I received an email from the FamFitFood account. There was a real person behind the account and that again is another example of connecting. Be real and engage with people beyond the platform. The email was a request for a picture of a dish I had posted and that they were going to feature my account on their feed.
One afternoon I was going through Statigram and saw a picture that looked just like a dish I had made. I clicked on it and sure enough it was mine and it was being featured on the @FamFitFood page. There was my handle in the picture about three times. I opened up Instagram on my phone and at the time of the posting the account had approximately 4300 followers. I went out for a long bike ride and came home to see that the account jumped nearly 600 followers to 4,900. This was less than two weeks ago and today the account is nearing the 5,000 follower level.
In my email exchange with @FamFitFood there was an expressed belief that I was genuine and truly enjoyed talking with people based on the comments I left behind on pictures. I think for me, the reason this is genuine is because I don't try to be somebody else behind the computer or account that I would be in person. I didn't win any of the challenges and that didn't bother me, but instead is inspired me. That being said I would commment and vote on the ones that truly astounded me and began following their accounts.
We are 8 months from the day I started the Instagram account and have grown from 0 followers to ~5000 in that time. On average that is 625 followers per month. If you were a business do you think that kind of exposure would help your bottom line? Would knowing that you could reach 5000 people with a single picture, blog article, Tweet or Facebook post be beneficial to helping you sell your product? I would think so and if you go back and read there was no pixie dust or magical formula to helping me grow the community.
I figured out how much time I could spend on the account. I figured out the target market (so to speak) and then posted pictures for that target market. I engaged in conversation and took myself out of my comfort zone by participating in contests to showcase the food I created. If you apply these simple steps to your business account on social media whether it is Instagram, Facebook, Google Plus or Twitter then you will see the fruits of your labor resulting in a community that you can grow and grow with.
How have you grown your social media platform community?
Jason Bahamundi is a marketing specialist with Sonix Studio, a web development, design, SEO and hosting firm with offices in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Dallas, Texas. An MBA graduate from Iona College in New Rochelle, NY with a BS in Marketing from SUNY-Oswego Jason started his career in marketing in the television industry creating marketing plans for Fortune 500 companies including Pfizer, Clorox, Kraft and Darden Restaurants to name a few.
Jason is not only a marketing professional, but also an Ironman triathlete, which is to say that he knows no limits. Being able to be creative on the fly is one of his assests and has benefited him and his clients along the way.