In the world of social media, it’s easy to dwell upon the little things. Yes, it’s awesome if social media strategist Mari Smith favorited your tweet, but ‘likes’ and +1’s aren’t the end all, be all. Instead, your social media efforts need to have a process and strategy that drives fan engagement. Splash Media President Paul Slack likens simple fan engagement to vacation planning. “Most people create a Facebook page and get right to posting without any forethought,” he explains. “Don’t start with engagement. Starting at engagement is as if my family brings up one day that we should go on vacation, so we all get in the car and take off without any thought of, ‘Are we going to the beach or the mountains?’ or ‘Did we pack?’” Instead, follow these five simple, yet easily overlooked tips for social media success.
1. Listen. “What are the words or phrases your potential customers are googling to find or research your products or services?” Slack asks. Monitor these conversations on Twitter or Facebook using their respective search functions. See what they might be saying about you or your competition. Remember, whether or not you’re on social media, your customers—satisfied or disgruntled—are already online talking about it.
2. Building Community. Don’t direct fans to a sparse page. Activate your social media accounts by getting your family, friends and employees to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ first. Once you’ve made your community look lively and thriving, add ‘Follow Us’ icons wherever you can-- website, brochures, email signatures, business cards, etc. (TIP: Keep your username short and sweet. The simpler the name, the easier it is to search.)
3. Broadcasting.“Communicate effectively to fans by using the 90/10 rule—90% of what you create in social media needs to be non-commercial, and once you’ve made those posts, you’ve earned the right to post your 10% of promotional or commercial information,” explains Slack. Being helpful without any marketing strings attached in your 90% non-commercialized posts is key to turning friends into customers. Another easily overlooked key detail is to always point to real content, either on your blog or website. You always want to drive people out of social media and to your website. The average lifespan of a Facebook post is one day. The average lifespan of a tweet is a few hours. However, a blog post, like a diamond, is forever. Blog posts are indexed by Google as separate websites, which is why they are searchable and, in a sense, last on the Internet forever. Deliver value by driving fans to solid, lasting content.
4. Content. Okay, so I need content. How do I make it?
“Stories sell,” remarks Slack. Share stories on how you helped a business, include customer testimonials, etc. Create an Instructional or How-To. Make it fun and helpful. Ask yourself, “What does my customer really want to learn to do?” FAQs. Don’t just point to your stale set of Frequently Asked Questions that you’ve had since your business launch. “Ask your employees what are some common questions they usually receive from clients and turn it into a blog post,” advises Slack. Make a list. You don’t have to be Shakespeare to write good content. Numbers are attractive and lists are to the point—‘Top 10 Reasons to...’ or ‘3 Ways You Can...’ are easy and organized. (Hey, why do you think this article uses a number and mostly consists of a list?)
5. Convert/Conversion. Don’t come across as pushy, but remember your ABCs of selling: Always Be Closing. Make it extremely easy for fans to take the next step by including calls to action (‘Click here for a quote,’ ‘Download your free... here,’ etc.) and visible contact information. Don’t make them search for your email address, phone number or website, make them part of your Twitter background or include in your visible ‘About Us’ section, if necessary. Do be cautious, however, with looking overly promotional.