The number of followers that you have is an indication of how many people are interested in what you have to say. But it has little to no impact on the amount of people who actually see your content, or who engage with it.

Building a community is like nurturing any relationship, you get out of it what you put into it. So in order to grow a community of followers who follow and engage, but also shop with you, you need to ensure that you are regularly engaging in it yourself.

Define your audience(s) so you know who you are speaking to and why. Ask yourself whether they are male or female, how old they are, how regularly they shop with you and what for? Who influences them in the press or online? What other brands might they like locally and nationally? Are they parents, young professionals or empty-nesters? What other passions do they have in life? Think about this before you start posting content, it will help increase the relevance of your content and therefore increase engagement.

Show your community who you are. People use social media predominantly to stay in touch with friends and family. Make sure that you regularly introduce yourself, tell your business’ story and help people get to know your business as human beings!

Create special offers just for your social media community. You can do this using the Rewards feature of Maybe* and create bespoke offers or prize draws. It’s a great way to say thank you and provides a reason for people to follow your page.

Engage with other businesses, local press or your local authorities. Building online relationships with other businesses, your local media and your council and BID will ensure they engage back with you or re-share your content. They may have a larger or different audience than you, so engaging with them is crucial to help other people discover and follow you.

Grow with paid advertising. You can use paid advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to grow your audience or followers. You’ll need to be smart about your targeting and ensure you are targeting people in your area, and who are interested in other brands like yours to ensure you attract the right people.

The most important thing you can do is stay engaged and create relevant and regular content, so however you decide to grow, make sure you continue to nurture the community so they have become a customer rather than just a follower.

Pro tip Competitions are a great way to increase your followers but be mindful that will attract a broader mix of people who may not always be your customer or in your location. Make sure you balance running competitions with other engagement tactics to ensure that the followers you are attracting are also likely to shop with you.

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