I’ve been having a lot of fun this week with a project that I’m running for ChooseFI International Foundation. If you didn’t know, I am a co-lead personal finance curriculum writer for them, and I was part of the team that created the PreK-12 Personal Finance Curriculum that is now offered on our site for free.

One of our goals for 2021 is to increase our social media followers and subscriber numbers since that is one of our main ways of communicating with our customers (we also have an email list). I know that growing your social media platforms is a question that many of you have been voicing back to me in response to my weekly newsletter. Click here to subscribe if you haven’t already!

One of the best ways to attract people to your social media platforms is to offer value beyond whatever your product or service is. No one is going to be interested in following a social media page for a business if all they do is talk about how great their products and services are. That would be like subscribing to be blasted with ads all the time!

Instead, try to think about ways that you can educate or entertain your audience. What are some things that you think they would like to see? Could you educate your audience around the topic of whatever your business does? For example, if you are a photography company and you shoot landscapes, could you teach your customers how to shoot better photographs themselves in small tips/pointers posts? If you are selling baked goods, how about some background into the science of how baking works or a little history as to where the type of cake you are making originates from?

Connecting with our audience and building a relationship with them is another great strategy for building a loyal following. Sharing insights to how you make your products or provide your services can really help an audience member feel connected to you. Going “live” or sharing videos of you explaining your process or sharing some news about your business are very effective ways of helping your customers to get to know you, which will in turn keep them checking in for more and inviting their friends to join in too.

Now back to my project! This week marked the start of March Madness (the college basketball tournament) for which I have no interest, BUT many of our customers and followers do. Rather than trying to educate myself on what is going on in the basketball world and posting content around that, I decided to try and run my own March Madness tournament, but for personal finance books instead of basketball. While it may seem like an odd play, bear with me. Most of our ChooseFI Foundation audience has read a personal finance book at some point in their lives AND/OR are interested in buying a new one soon. In our tournament I match up 2 books at a time and ask our audience to vote on their favorite. This gives the audience something to do and a reason to check back in. We love seeing if other people think the same way we do or “will my pick win?”. Even with nothing riding on it!

A side play here was that I set up an online bookstore for the Foundation that had all 32 books in the tournament listed in case anyone wanted to purchase one of the books and also wanted to support the Foundation at the same time. You can check that out here. So this could have some financial gain too, but that is not the main focus.

Another thing I really liked about this tournament is it allowed me to tag big author accounts in my posts, and I reached out to each of them to let them know that their book was included, and invited them to share with their communities to try and get their books through to following rounds. I was giving value to the authors by highlighting their books, and they reciprocated by directing their audience to come to our page to vote! Win, win, win.

Is there a way you could do something similar for your own audience? Think of resources that are valuable to your followers. Are there favorite books, podcasts, movies or songs related to your content? Set up a mini tournament and let your followers vote through their favorites, and tag the bigger accounts to let them know you are doing it.

You can check out our tournament on Facebook or Instagram (We would appreciate the follow and the vote if you know any of the books mentioned!), and then tag The Simple StartUp in any tournament you run for your own audience!

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