Mainstream marketing advice tells us that numbers matter above all else. But the surprising truth is that most businesses don’t need 10,000+ followers to facilitate consistent sales. As a brand visibility consultant, India Jackson specializes in working with entrepreneurs and small business owners who are focused on social change. Jackson has helped clients achieve six-figure years by selling to an Instagram following of less than 600. Her secret? They concentrate on engaging with their followers to raise their visibility and create superfans who help them sell their product.
It doesn’t matter how many followers you have – small or large – engagement is what you’re aiming for. If you don’t have engagement on your social platform of choice, social media algorithms can actually work against you. If you can create amazing relationships with your audience, you’ll have a group of people ready and willing to sell your products for you.
Ready to focus on relationship-building instead of growth? Use these four strategies that will take your engagement to the next level.
1. Give Thanks
Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users. Linkedin rakes in 260 million and Facebook has a chart-topping total of 2.7 billion. Out of all of the possible profiles in the world, your followers chose to connect with you. Take a moment to acknowledge that and them.
“One of the easiest ways to acknowledge them is to greet your new follower with a simple direct message. If you feel inclined, send this note of thanks as a voice memo. You can bet none your followers are getting many of these from someone they just ‘met.’
“You can add further value to this new relationship by liking, commenting on, or sharing one of their recent posts, helping them with their own visibility. The key is to show genuine interest in who they are and what they have to say,” says Jackson. “Not to be confused with the ‘follow for follow’ game many accounts play, this gesture shows you value their contribution and presence.”
2. Ask Questions
Most of our time spent on social media is mindless scrolling. We do it to fill time. We do it without even realizing it. And you can bet your followers are doing the same.
“Online marketing often fails when businesses drop a post and expect a slew of engagement. That’s like expecting someone to write down a number and call a business they saw listed on a highway billboard. It’s just not going to happen,” notes Jackson.
“One of the most effective ways to interrupt this pattern and stop the scroll is to ask questions. Posts, stories, and polls that ask questions are much more likely to get engagement. And not every question has to be directly tied to your industry. Consider asking open-ended questions about habits, preferences, and experiences like:
Are you a morning person or night owl?
The tie-dye trend: oh yes or no way?
What podcasts are you enjoying right now?”
3. Highlight Your Values
While historically many brands have not focused on discussing their values, the shifting landscape now demands it.
“Consumers are voting with their dollars and in turn want to support brands who align with what they believe in. They want to know if your business gives back, has sliding scale pricing, or takes an anti-racist stand,” explains Jackson.
“Sharing what your brand stands for—beyond the mission statement—will help your followers feel connected on a deeper, emotional level. Identifying these commonalities can result in engagement and interaction in a way that a static product image isn’t capable of.
This could look like documenting your annual give back day or using your platform to amplify awareness of change-making organizations and individuals.”
4. Offer A Peek Behind The Scenes
People love to see the “messy middle” and behind-the-scenes posts give them just that.
We crave this type of content because it isn’t there to be perfect. It shows the work in process and allows us all to feel better about our own progress.
“Behind the scenes content focuses on creation and connection. Creation content shows how your product and service is made while connection content shares what it feels like to work with you and/or you team.
“It also allows your followers to see the time, effort, and detail that goes into what you sell, increasing the perceived value of your product or service. And that’s exactly what turns a social follower into a loyal customer,” says Jackson.