So far this year I’ve been spending a lot of my time developing and delivering social media training, and no matter which industry I’m working in the same few questions keep coming up. So I figured, if the people in my sessions can benefit from the answers, then why not share them with you guys?

Whether you’re in a huge organization, or just getting started, I know that there are kernels in here for you, so here we go:

Conner’s 3 Most Consistently Asked Social Media Session Questions

Q1: How do I get more followers on Instagram?

Let’s be honest, you were thinking it, you just didn’t want to admit it.

The first (and hopefully most obvious) thing that we need to establish is that “followers on Instagram” are just a vanity metric with very little value until we build a reason for them to follow and a story that we’re telling them.

Once we’ve done that, a new follower on Instagram has a ton of value – it’s a human (hopefully) who has voluntarily clicked our logo and approved enough to ask for our content to appear in their personal feed. That’s a big deal, and applies to every channel, not just Instagram.

To get that happening, first we have to be able to answer the question: Why would my best customer tell their friends to follow us?

If you can’t answer that question, then I guarantee that they can’t.

With a reason that people might follow developed, and great content going out, then the next steps are straightforward:

Tell everyone.

Email, text, signage, in-person – use whatever channels that you have available to let people know not only that you have an account, but what you’re doing with it. If you’re proud of the content that you’re creating, then why wouldn’t you want to tell everyone?


Do something awesome with someone else who’s telling a similar story, then create content that talks about your collaboration. That could be a party, a series of recipes using each others’ products, having that brand design your labels/storefront/playlist, etc. The most creative ideas win, and your audiences win because they get rad content in their feeds, and you each win because you get access to each others’ audiences.

This is business, and if building a legitimate audience is valuable to you, then put some cash behind it. Instagram advertising only works well when we start with great content that people want to see, and then amplify that to a broader, well-targeted audience.

Reach out.
Your brand’s IG account has the same abilities as everyone else’s to like/comment/share. If you showed up at a party filled with people you didn’t know, you might laugh along at someone’s joke (like posts) or ask them questions (comment on them). This is absolutely not permission to act like a spam bot – the bot would get kicked out of that party – instead, it’s a recommendation that you act like a real person and gain relationships through reaching out.

Q2: Should my business be on Snapchat / Can I delete my Twitter account?

Channels are just tools. I’m personally biased towards Twitter because it’s the channel that best rewards great content and punishes those who try to fake it, but if you can’t dedicate the time and attention necessary, then you absolutely have my permission to delete your account.

With that in mind, here are my filters for channel selection:

Will your voice improve upon the silence?
Gandhi may not have known it at the time that he said it, but he’d slay as a social media consultant. To paraphrase: Can you add value on the channel? Do you have the resources/understanding/ideas to do it well?

Who are you?
Social rewards authenticity and punishes garbage, so think for real: If my brand was a human, then which channel(s) would he/she be active on?

Who are you talking to?
All of the major channels have hundreds of millions of people, so I won’t accept the “my audience isn’t on social media” cop-out. 75-year-old males are aggressive YouTube watchers, and there are ambitious 15 year olds on LinkedIn. They’re there, your job is just to identify who they are and the best place to communicate with them.

What is success to you?
There is a ton of value in building an owned audience, and a different, but equally valuable, opportunity to just get great content seen. Your job is to determine what success is to you. If cash in the door this quarter is all that matters, then community building on Snapchat is not for you, but I’m hopeful that many of us are more ambitious about our hopes and dreams for our companies.

Q3: How do I prove to the bosses that this stuff is worth investing in?

Start at the start: What is valuable?

I love data and spreadsheets, so the ROI question is a fun one for me, but it’s just a tiny part of the conversation.

I like the differential-method of uncovering value: What are we currently spending money on that could be supplemented by, or replaced by, social media outcomes?

Lots of companies spend a lot of money on recruiting. Some build attractive brands on social media that cause so much interest that their biggest problem is sorting through all of the inbound resumes.

Other companies spend a lot of money on PR so that they can get their stories in front of targeted audiences. Others invest in their own storytelling channels and get the same, or greater, attention.

Finally, how are we making sales? Do people go from never having heard of us, to making a purchase and telling their friends in 1 session on our website, or does it require multiple touch points that develop that relationship? Look for the biggest opportunity in your funnel that takes people from “never heard of you” to “I can’t wait to tell my friends” and invest there.

The point is: Find the things that the company finds value in and develop a plan to deliver on those. The conversations become much more constructive, and shift away from dollars and followers to the objective(s) that you agreed on together, and how you’re getting that done.

Thanks so much for reading – feel free to use any of those answers the next time you get one of these same questions at your next boss meeting/client call/family dinner.

I’ve just announced that I’ll be taking everything that I’ve learned leading social media strategy and applying it specifically to the real estate industry. If you, or someone you know, could benefit from a 1 day workshop where develop your own social strategy complete with habits that will produce results, then sign up below & I’ll see you there:

Real Social at Brainstation