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As seen in HuffPost

As an experienced brand and marketing consultant in Miami, it wasn’t long before I had to turn myself into a social media expert. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve shared a lot, and just like the algorithms on Facebook and Instagram continue to change, I am constantly compelled to stay ahead of the game.

Having added social media strategist to my giant collection of hats, I get asked the same question on a daily basis, multiple times.

How can I grow my social media following AND convert that following into sales?

Well, first you MUST understand the cardinal rule of social media. It’s a mistake I see newbies making time and time again, providing the same level of confusion my grandma finds herself in whenever she receives a text message.

Mistaking a high number of followers for anything other than, well, a high number of followers.

Sure, the more followers you have, the more you, your product and/or your business are seen. But did you ever check out a social media account belonging to someone with 50,000 followers and notice that their posts are getting only a teeny tiny fraction of these followers’ likes and attention? That’s called poor engagement, folks. And having little social media engagement means you’re definitely not making the money you’d like to be making from those thousands of followers.

Bottom line: engagement > followers.

Contrary to popular belief, size doesn’t matter. At least not in the social media world, anyway. You can have the biggest following on the ‘gram, but if you’re not getting noticed, you’re not making money.

So, let’s change that.

Let’s focus our energy on getting you noticed, and organically growing your following into one that converts to sales, referrals, and the holy grail of all social media posts: shares.

Here are my top four tips for generating more engagement from your social media posts:

1. Connection

Have you ever followed someone on social media that you felt like you knew personally? Whose posts you connected with so deeply that you could swear you’d be best friends forever with this person in real life? No, it’s not creepy, it’s called making a social media connection, and it’s what you need to be doing for your own followers.

You make a connection with your followers by being authentic, sharing parts of your business journey and/or personal life that your target market can relate to, and by showing people that, hey, even though I’m out here working hard and making money, I’m not perfect and I, too, have bad days.

It works. I promise. No matter what you’re selling, what story you’re trying to tell, or who your target market is, followers will connect more to the posts that relay personality and a sense of being human, more than anything else.

Most importantly, stay away from posting things just to get attention – this screams desperate and will end up costing you your reputation with your target market in no time.

2. Consistency

It’s like going to the gym. One session on the treadmill does not a hot body make. This is another mistake I see people making all the time. Spending a few days posting, getting frustrated that they’re not seeing the return they expected, and letting their Facebook and Instagram pages sit dormant for days, or even worse, weeks.

In order to make that connection we just talked about, you have to appear present, front and center, and committed to your cause. That takes a level of commitment to being consistent very similar to the one you exhibited when growing your business or trying to get to back into your skinny jeans. Think daily posts, heck sometimes even twice daily, all while staying consistent to your brand’s message.

3. Stay Competitive

Making good money and getting decent leads from your social media accounts? Don’t stop applying steps one and two now, unless you’re ready to fall behind. Social media is a competitive world. Business is too. You know this. Continue your mission as if you were competing for a gold medal in the Olympics because I can guarantee you’re not the only person in the world selling what you’re selling, and there are tons of people gnawing at your heels, just dying to take your place.

Getting too busy to worry about your social media accounts? Great, sounds like the perfect time to hire someone to maintain your presence and continue sharing your message through social media. Call me, call someone, call anyone, but don’t sit back and kick up your heels just yet, unless you’re ready to lose steam in the success department.

4. Collaborate

Ever hear of the term, “Don’t hate, collaborate”? Social media is a great way to not only figure out who your competition is, but grow with them, collaboratively. Sound crazy? Ever hear of that other term, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”? Okay, maybe it doesn’t need to be that dramatic, but collaborating with your competition on social media is a REALLY good idea.

Start by finding an account similar to yours, who seems to be targeting the same audience as you, and has a solid level of engagement on their posts. Invite them to collaborate by offering to share a post of theirs on your page, if they share one of yours on their page. Voila – collaboration magic, and you’ve likely just earned a few more followers and quite possibly, clicks back to your website.

Yes, it sounds like a lot. Because it is. There’s a reason why people like me get paid to help companies manage their social media accounts – there’s a literal science behind it. But if you still want to try it on your own, I can promise these steps will make all the difference.

You’re welcome. Now let’s connect and get your social media strategy up to par.