BY CHAD KELLER
Social media is now an integral part of every consumer’s daily habits; so much so that when customers need help, they expect the businesses they work with to offer support on-demand via their social media channels. This is where hundreds of companies suffer.
For too long, brands have approached social media as a one-way street. They’ve used it as another medium to push their own personal messages and sales pitches rather than allowing the customer to build a real relationship with their brand: the whole point of social media in the first place. A majority of the blame for this disconnect is due to the lack of a clear strategy and focus as brands structure their social campaigns.
Best of all, the results can be huge for your brand. My company launched a Facebook page last May, and in the time since has built up a following of more than 5,000 people. Our first video ad published last July, and reached over one million views in less than a month. The following million came less than a week later. Social media transformed my business from a small startup to a nationally-recognized brand; here’s how it can do the same for you.
Identifying the appropriate channels
One of the biggest mistakes I see other brands making with their social media strategies is wearing themselves too thin. They create a profile on every social media network without considering whether their consumers are active on the network in the first place.
I’ve found that it’s always better to start small and build out your network from there. Start by creating targeted personas and identifying what social networks they are using as a part of their daily routines. Focus on the few platforms that give you the most reach and engagement with your target audience. If you don’t know where to start, Facebook is always a safe bet. It attracts the highest conversion rate for all social media e-commerce traffic, according to this Shopify infographic.
Once you have mastered one or two social channels, leverage the power of the communities you’ve built to help you expand into other social or marketing channels.
Creating compelling, engaging content
Your social channels are nothing if you’re not doing just that: being social. Don’t expect to just sit back and let the customers and sales roll in after you create your profiles. Instead, create content that attracts and engages your audience, compelling them to take action and convert from mere followers to brand evangelists.
As a golden rule, your social media strategy should start with more listening and a lot less talking. Once you have a clear idea of what it is your audience is saying and what they are engaging in, you’ll know what kind of content will drive them towards your business.
In every conversation you create on social media, you need to focus on providing a unique value to your followers. When you start focusing less on conversions and more on creating compelling content for your brand, you’ll see just how you can transform your audience into a group of loyal brand ambassadors.
Being real with your audience
A big difference between social media and more traditional marketing channels is that people don’t come to social media to see a sales pitch; they come to connect. Instead of pushing your brand’s products and services onto your audience, welcome consumers into your brand.
Social media is emotional in nature. One of the best ways to connect with consumers and build a lasting relationship is to show them the human side of your business. You’d be surprised at just how engaging a behind-the-scenes photo or video into your brand’s operations can be.
Rewarding your community
Once you’ve engaged your community, it’s time to show them how much their loyalty means to your brand. Offering incentives and discounts encourages continued engagement while keeping your brand on the top of followers’ minds.
At my company, we keep our audience engaged by launching contests and promotional giveaways. Our social followers are the first to know when new products hit our store, and the payoff can be a huge asset in gaining traction, customer reviews and referrals for your newest products.
We’re living in a social world. If your business isn’t taking advantage, you’re missing out on more than 2 billion potential customers for your brand. Stop letting your ad spend and marketing efforts go to waste: instead, breathe new life into your brand by connecting with your customers on social media.