Growing your social media channel in terms of gaining new followers is crucial, but it’s only just one factor for success in online marketing.
The most important item in any social media campaign is to keep the people you’ve managed to sign on engaged on a continual basis.
This is where a lot of businesses fail. They push hard initially to sign up social media followers and then fail at the follow-up: providing their followers plenty of what they came for, or at least managing to sustain their interest.
Running a social media campaign is an entrepreneurial endeavor, not just a contest. Like most things entrepreneurial, when cultivating social media, you have to ask yourself: “What value can I deliver to my audience?” And keep asking it over time.
Let’s take a good hard look at how to treat your social media campaign like a business so it enables you to achieve more than just impressive sign-ups, but the far more important thing: loyal followers.
Consistency is key
Like anything, consistency is key to keeping your followers interested. If you are going to keep your social media profiles active, you have to share information over your channels on a regular basis.
But you don’t want to share information just for the sake of doing so. You want to share information that is of sufficiently high quality and utility that your followers will get value from it.
Pay attention to the time of day when the majority of your followers are most active on social networking sites. Those are the times when it’s best to get their attention.
Share only what’s useful and interesting
A great deal of your audience is online for basically two reasons:
1) to find solutions to their most pressing concerns, or
2) to be entertained
When you share information via your Facebook page or Twitter profile, share something that not only relates to your service, but also furnishes a step-by-step guide on how to build something or solve a problem. The type of content you share could be anything from links or blog posts to images, infographics, and videos.
And it doesn’t hurt to show the humorous side of your business. Now and then, it’s a great way to break the ice with newer members, especially, if you share funny stuff.
Remember, the goal is to help your audience remember you and your brand by becoming an essential part of their social media routine. It’s perfectly fine to promote your products or services — that’s what social media marketing is all about. But keep promotions to a minimum; say, one promotion for every five posts you share.
One of the most effective ways to create trust and boost customer loyalty is to encourage your readers to air their feelings about your products or services.
Ask them for feedback. That doesn’t just mean asking “What do you think about our new store at… ?” Likes, Recommendations, Tweets, and +1’s are also forms of feedback. Make it easy for your audience to appreciate your business by spreading social media buttons across your sites and encouraging social media interactions.
The reason some businesses shy away from social media and especially avoid asking for feedback is the understandable fear of learning what their customers dislike. But that’s actually a great thing: to learn the raw and dirty truth about what customers find unpleasant or inadequate about your business.
It provides great opportunities to improve your performance.
Respond right away
When customers do send their feedback, you should respond in a quick and timely manner. Express your appreciation for each compliment, and offer viable explanations or solutions to complaints and negative comments.
One study showed that 25% of consumers expect a response on social media, but only about 9% get one. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your audience’s feedback, no matter how trivial the issue may seem. Responding to feedback is a great opportunity to show your audience how much you truly care about providing excellent service.
Contests are a sure-fire way to pique the interest of your audience. They not only grab your existing customers’ attention; they also tend to attract a significant number of new follows. Contests can vary from captioning a photo or creating a video feedback, to helping you create a tagline for your business or sending photos of cute little critters.
Just make sure to be transparent about the rules and regulations, and the prizes to be awarded. When winners are chosen, be sure to acknowledge them publicly.
Make sure you only run contests that social networking sites allow, however. Facebook has a clear policy on running contests, which you can read about here.
Cross-promote your social media pages
Let your followers know where else they can find you in the social space. A good way to do this is to include links to your other social media profiles. If you’re on Facebook, add links to your Twitter and Google+ profiles on the About section.
Google+ made it easy for users to include links to their other social profiles by adding links for business on your Google+ pages. YouTube also allows users to include links to social media pages.
If you actively promote stuff via email, be sure to include links to your social media pages, which will constantly remind users they can get updates from you more easily via social media.
Be mindful … always
The goal is to keep your audience engaged, not turn them off. That’s why when you share information on your social media pages, try to be as certain as you can that whatever you post will only boost their loyalty. In other words, ONLY POST APPROPRIATE CONTENT. Do not knock the competition. Avoid circulating comments that are derogatory or offensive. Do not indulge in discriminatory remarks.
Hiring a dedicated social media guy for your business can ensure that each piece of content that goes out on your social media profiles is screened and appropriate for your followers.
A final note on sharing information
Remember that social media is primarily about sharing information that matters to your followers. Encourage your audience to share your stuff with their network of friends and connection. But if you choose to encourage your audience to share your content, be sure you’re the first to share, praise, and promote other people’s stuff.
Social media is an incredible tool for spreading your business. Use it to your advantage liberally, but use it skillfully by sharing only what matters to your community.
For more information on running a successful social media campaign for your business, reach out to us and we will happily share some great options.