10 Social Media Tips That are More Important Than Growing Your Fans and Followers
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make as a social media marketer is focusing too much on the number of likes and followers that you have. Likes and follower counts are just digits that don’t really amount to anything if they aren’t backed up by actual user engagement and sales.
Unfortunately, a lot of brands online don’t understand this, and they continue to focus on “getting more fans” through contests and other fancy strategies. And while some marketing tactics can definitely work in upping your fan count, they can only take you so far. The real challenge is keeping those fans and getting them to actually buy something from you.
1. Ask your fans what they want – This is probably the most basic step in social media, but for some reason, so may brands ignore it. The first step in giving people what they want is asking them what they want. Post a Facebook status or a tweet asking your fans about what kind of content they want to see. Do they want more posts on social media? Do they prefer How-To articles vs. news posts? In any case, the only way to find out is to ask your audience. Facebook has a convenient poll feature that easily lets users vote on the choices that they prefer or add in their own opinions. Want to be more formal about gathering data? Conduct an actual survey on your website or via email, or better yet, use a free polling service such as GoPollGo to easily gather information and track results.
2. Check back on your posts – When publishing content, don’t just post and run. Be sure to check back to see if people left comments or interacted with your post, and then respond accordingly. This will not only help you track and analyze the popularity of your posts, but it will also help you build relationships with users. Not responding to comments shows that you’re not socializing with users, which can a big turn off.
3. Speak the language of your audience – Want people to engage with you on social media? Then make sure that your audience understands exactly what you’re saying. Identify your target audience and determine the type language that you should use in your posts. If you’re communicating with big corporations, then formal and academic language may be appropriate. Average consumers on the other hand, prefer light and conversational tones that are easier to understand. For instance, while B2B organizations and research companies such as ComScore and Nielsen can afford to publish technical posts filled with data, not all types of businesses can follow suit. If you’re a B2C type of business then you should probably avoid publishing posts filled with industry jargons and stiff language.
4. Be mindful of spelling & grammar – Speaking of being more casual, just because using informal language is acceptable in some cases, doesn’t mean that you can get away with spelling and grammatical errors. Nothing turns off customers more than poorly written copy. As Peter Shankman said, “If I go to your page and see a spelling error, how can I trust you to do anything else right?” Whether you’re dealing with a blog post, a tweet, or a Facebook comment, double check what you’ve written before hitting the publish button. If you know that writing isn’t your strong suit, then hire people who can do it for you. Spelling and grammatical errors can cost you fans (and sales, eventually) so be sure to get your copy right.
5. Inject some humor in your posts – You don’t always have to be so stiff when posting on social networks. Sure, it’s great to be informative and helpful, but instead of posting about industry issues all time, consider throwing in a funny meme or a cat video on an occasional basis. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should turn your Facebook or Twitter page into a lampoon. You shouldn’t lose sight of what your brand is all about; but do remember that it wouldn’t hurt lighten up your posts every now and then.
6. Be consistent – Don’t be one of those sporadic pages that posts frequently one day, and then disappears from the social realm the next. Doing this will give users the impression you’re not a reliable or serious company. You don’t have to post content every day, but you do have to develop some sort of publishing routine. If you can only post content twice a week, then that’s fine, as long as you do this regularly. Besides, you don’t have to come up with original posts on a daily basis. Feel free to curate relevant content from other sources, as long as your audience will find it informative or useful.
7. Be where your customers are – Social media is always evolving. New devices are being developed, and other social media sites are sprouting up everywhere. Not every single gadget or website will be a success, but it’s best to keep yourself updated on the interests of your target audience. Aside from Facebook and Twitter, what other social sites are they using? What kinds of devices do they have? Answering these questions and determining if you need to upgrade your social media marketing strategy is crucial to staying relevant to your customers.
8. Take advantage of what you have – Take a good look at the features of the different social sites that you participate in. Are you really utilizing all the great the features that they have? For instance, are you making the most out the added real estate of the Facebook Timeline or are you using a plain cover image? Is your Twitter bio descriptive and informative enough to get users to check out your company? Sometimes, brands look elsewhere for the next revolutionary app or service that can boost their social media presence, without realizing that the basic features of most of social networks are already more than enough.
9. Show your appreciation to the fans that you already have – People love it when you put the spotlight on them, and social media lets you do this in a quick and easy way. Why not conduct a “Fan of the Week” promo to bring attention to your loyal fans? You can also show how much you appreciate your fans by giving them exclusive discounts and early access to products or features. If you don’t have any prizes or merchandise to give away, then at the very least, make it a point to respond to people’s comments and thank them for the likes or retweets that they post. Showing people some social media love builds loyalty, and doing these things will not only get people to “like” you online, but they could actually like you for real.
10. Mention other pages – Interacting with customers and fans is definitely a must-do, but did you know that engaging with fellow brand pages and accounts can also bring you lots of positive social media karma? Make an effort to reach out to brands in your industry. These could be businesses that complement your products or services, or organizations that support the same things that you do. You never know who could return the attention. Tag other pages on Facebook or participate in Twitter’s Follow Friday (#FF) tradition by mentioning other Twitter accounts. Chances are, they might just return the attention, and in doing so, their own fans and followers will get to see your brand.
Image credit: Gavin Llewellyn on Flickr