Although this article mainly focuses on Facebook and Twitter, many of the pointers also apply to what you do on your other social media sites as well.
So consider this situation – you have made your choice of which social media platforms to use and you’ve now started getting into the habit of regularly posting on a daily basis
You now feel so much more confident and comfortable then you did even a few weeks ago.
You’ve also noticed that you are getting a few ‘likes’ on Facebook & your Twitter account is beginning to see more followers.
So far so good!
So this would be the right time to start driving out some ‘ full-on’ promotional messages then and bringing in that welcome extra income and cash injection – Right ?
In fact… you’ve already guessed it ….a resounding WRONG!!
But with a few caveats
Look at it this way, how well do YOU respond when you feel you are being given a ‘Hard Sell’ when you have little or no relationship with the business or person concerned ?
Well if you’re anything like me, even if you might actually be interested in the offer or sales message, the chances are that at best you will be cautious –and at worse you will walk away – or in Facebook & Twitter terms you’ll stop following that person or business.
This Spells Disaster!!
Without fans or followers you have no social media campaign!!
So what should you do instead in the early stages of building an active and passionate ‘fan-base’ ?
Here are the Top 5 ideas from the successful Facebook & Twitter pundits:
Remember the ‘Social’ element of Social Media
Remember that people want to get to ‘know’ you and your business at a more social level. So allow your personality and the ‘personality’ of your products or services to shine out & speak to your followers.
Be friendly but authoritative.
Be approachable but clear in your messages.
Keep the interaction going
People want interaction – it gives a sense of the real person behind the company and provides reassurance and a sense of a personal relationship.
So it is critical that you regularly interact with your followers & fanbase and by doing so you can really demonstrate that you care about engaging with your customers.
Good examples of larger well-known businesses that very effectively use social media to do this include:
- Nike at the 2012 Olympics who managed to combine both their hugely audacious brand marketing with the creation of a passionate & hugely involved fanbase, through clever and regular engagement with their followers
- Ford Motor Company (U.K) – who ran a contest to select 100 young drivers who would be able to drive their Ford Fiesta free for a year, with all fuel, insurance & road tax paid for. The winners were also given video cameras and were simply asked to regularly tweet and post video reviews and diaries under #TheFiestaMovement hashtag. The result – social media was awash with viral commentary and this massively accelerated youth following for the Ford Fiesta brand in the U.K and a huge 30% increase in income against sales target for the UK operation.
In effect – both these companies very quickly created a massive ‘tribe’ of followers which not only had an effect on their short-term sales and reputation , but which is still having an effect months & even years after the original campaigns had concluded
Now of course you and I don’t have the budgets or income to spend of a Ford Motor Company or a Nike – BUT we can use some of their principles of creativity, engagement & regular and timely communication and apply these principles to our own growing following
Position yourself as the ‘expert’ in your field
By regularly sharing information and content that doesn’t just relate to your business but also to the broader business niche, you are both providing valuable and convenient information to your followers AND also setting yourself apart as a niche expert- which again helps to promote trust & loyalty and set you apart from others using social media as part of their strategy.
Listen to customer feedback that can help your business
It sounds so obvious, but so many small businesses actually forget this VITAL step!
Pay close attention to the information and discussions around you –what are you are picking up from them?
Remember – this is valuable real-time market research and whilst you may not agree with everything that comes out in these discussions, there will some real ‘nuggets’ in here that if you can respond to them and it’s appropriate to do so, may shape your product or service far better for the needs of your customer.
Also given that your customer group has actually told you that’s what they want – the chances are that if you can give it to them you massively increases your chances of greater engagement with them AND of course Greater Sales!
This is really the ‘glue’ that binds all of this together.
Neither Nike nor Ford Motor Company in the examples given above created successful campaigns by being inconsistent in what they did & neither should you.
Regular and quality interaction is the key – sharing good content, listening to your fanbase & responding and anticipating their needs as appropriate
And then what….?
Well …and then is the time to promote & sell to your fanbase, knowing that you already have a relationship of trust and engagement.
And this is when the ‘moneybox’ really opens and the income flow from your social media campaigns really starts to pour in!
So …Good Luck with your continuing social media journey & see you in the next article!