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How to get more social likes, follows & shares for your business. As with any marketing activity, the aim of maintaining a social media presence for your business is to generate more leads and ultimately bring more business.

But to be successful on social takes a different approach than with traditional advertising – you need to build up a following on your chosen platforms. Whether you’re focusing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or any other channel, your best efforts will go unrewarded unless you attract fans and followers.

The greater your reach on social media, the more opportunity to reach potential clients, so here are our tips for building a valuable social following:

Find potential fans

One of the most commonly-asked questions by businesses thinking about a social media presence is “Which networks should I join?” While we’d recommend creating and maintaining profiles for all the main ones listed above, we’d also advise you to spend most effort on the ones where your target audience is likely to be. More women than men use Pinterest, for example, while over-50s are more likely to be found on Facebook than Twitter.

You may need to do a little research to help you decide, perhaps by asking existing customers which networks they use most. You could also consider an anonymous survey using a tool such as Survey Monkey; this is either free or inexpensive, depending on your needs. There’s also nothing wrong with checking out your competitors’ profiles and seeing how well they interact on each platform.

Optimise social profiles

Each platform gives you the chance to create a biography or overview of you and/or your business – so use it.

Choose a username that is easily identifiable with your business and a relevant image. Your company logo is fine for Twitter or your Facebook page, while on LinkedIn you should have a photograph of yourself for your personal profile.

You should also include a clear, concise description of your business and don’t forget a clickable link to your estate agency website. You can also add a UTM code – a snippet of code that lets you track exactly how many visitors are viewing your site from each social profile.

Create content carefully

The best social media business accounts post valuable, useful and engaging content. They gain followers and fans because what they say is worth reading, and operate roughly on an 80/20 rule where 80% of updates are helpful, educational or entertaining and just 20% are promotional.

Variety is key to keeping your audience engaged – run competitions and polls, share links to current industry news and events. Compelling visual content (images and video) is arguably the most powerful tool you can use to attract fans, and don’t forget the important of fun – not all posts need to be serious.

Use keywords

Social media updates appear in internet search results, so use relevant keywords to help you get found. Some platforms, such as Twitter, also helpfully show you which topics are ‘trending’ at any one time, so don’t be afraid to piggyback on those.

For example, during the 2015 season of The Apprentice, one task involved selling high-end real estate in London – what a perfect opportunity for an estate agent to post comment and opinion on their Twitter feed!

Promote your presence everywhere

Put buttons linking to your social media profiles on your website. Include details on your business cards and stationery, in adverts, as part of your email signature. Tell people you’re there! Don’t be afraid to cross-promote – invite Facebook likers to follow you on Twitter and vice-versa. You shouldn’t simply duplicate content on your social channels, so promise different, valuable updates on each platform to entice them to join you. If you have a blog, add social sharing buttons to all your content so visitors can share it with their own personal networks easily.

Interact, interact, interact!

Possibly the most important way you will grow your following on social media which, after all, is about making connections and having conversations.

As well as posting your own content, comment on others’ posts and talk to your fans. Ask questions, take the time to reply if anyone mentions you or engages with your brand. Thank them for any compliments, answer their questions and, if they say something unfavourable – something you should also monitor – don’t ignore it as that’s the fastest way to attract more negative comment. You do, however, need to take any discussion off your public feed so invite them to message you privately or send you an email, and deal with any issues away from the public eye.

Build relationships in your industry, too – find influencers and talk to them, engage with journalists who write about property sales and lettings issues.

Be patient

Remember social media is not a magic bullet for sales. It’s not like placing an advert in the newspaper, and if you expect an instant response you’ll be disappointed. All those accounts you see with thousands of fans and followers have been built up over time – it didn’t happen overnight. Yes, you could buy your first few hundred followers on Twitter – but what’s the point? Most buy-per-follow accounts are either fake or low-quality – you’ll gain no meaningful interaction and they won’t extend your reach. The key to high-quality social media following is to earn your fans, followers and likes, and by investing time and effort in your social presence, you will reap the rewards.