How do you build a robust social media following from scratch? Small business people want to know. The answer: It takes a community to build a community.

If you want to build a strong social media following for your business and you haven’t yet, take a moment to answer these 7 questions:

  • Who are the most ardent fans of your products or services?
  • Do you know them?
  • Are you in touch?
  • Will you invest the time and, yes, money to connect with your customers and make new ones?
  • Are you willing to handle customer care in semi-public (for example, by using a Twitter feed that doesn’t yet have a huge following)?
  • Are you (or a staffer or consultant) excited to jump in?
  • Do you acknowledge that communities (like plants and everything good) take time to grow and won’t sprout overnight?

If your answer is yes to most or all of these questions, let’s get started.  After all:

  • more than 75 percent of Americans use smart phones,
  • 52 percent of American adults use two or more social media sites,
  • the average person now checks a smartphone an astounding 150 times a day.
  • your business already has a digital footprint when people do research on it — why not jump in and share your perspectives?

The challenge is to find the super-fans, the people who love what you make or sell AND have a following of their own. These ambassadors may be younger, older or different from what you expected.  (To me, that’s part of the charm of social media.)

While early adopters jumped in awhile ago, some companies haven’t felt ready to move ahead. Turning again to nature, consider the tale of the man who yearned to grow a certain tree.  His gardener shook his head and said it would not reach maturity for years.

The man’s response: “In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon.”
That’s the spirit.

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