Before you play the game, you have to know the rules. Social media — in all its bright and shiny forms — is a communication tool between friends, colleagues, and even family members (if you decide to friend your parents, that is). And it represents a massive resource that every small business owner and multi-billion dollar brand wants to tap into. The question now is “how do you effectively engage and, ultimately, convert, this massive group of individuals into customers? Let’s first examine the basic tenets of engagement and community-building:
Rule #1: Quality Over Quantity
Social media is not solely a numbers game and the concept of quality over quantity is something that many business owners find difficult to wrap their heads around. They believe that more followers equates to more sales — that, if you build it, they will come. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. You have to give people a reason to want to like you, incentive to learn more about you, and, ultimately, buy what you represent.
Here’s a classic example of quality over quantity in play: A local salon could have 250 followers on Facebook and get proportionally more quality exposure and interaction with their fans than a major hair coloring brand that has 250,000 followers. It’s about engaging your customers and stimulating conversation within your social community with valuable content and visuals. The last thing you want is a one-and-done fan: Someone who Likes your page and then never ever comes back for a visit or a viewing. Remember that the content that brands post to their Facebook Pages reaches only about 16 percent of their fans. You had better make those impressions count.
Rule #2: Strategic Outreach
Increased virality, Retweets, shares, comments, and Likes: Words that every marketer and small business owner love hearing. But, what’s your outreach strategy? Have you considered SEO optimizing all your content and visuals? What are your key performance indicators? According to one Altimeter Group Report, 70% of businesses believe that social media can help them meet their business objectives…But, only 43% had formalized any kind of strategy for how social would actually meet those specific goals. It’s great to post on Twitter and Facebook but, knowing what to say, when to say it, and to whom you’re actually saying it to is how you ensure you’re getting the most bang for your engagement buck.
Rule #3: Measure, Analyze, Improve
Social media is no different than any other marketing tactic that companies use to connect with their target market. Having said that, any results garnered from your social media efforts should be measurable and quantifiable on some level. I recommend using Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and TweetReach just to keep your numbers simple, digestible, and, most importantly, actionable. Remember that to know whether or not you’re achieving your company’s goals and objectives, you have to measure your results and determine what’s working — and what’s clearly not working — in your campaign. It is here that you’ll be able to identify where you have opportunities to grow even more.
Everyone wants a sale and everyone wants a large fan base but, you have to know what you want and identify where you currently are to determine where you want your company to be in the future. Social media is about listening and learning to your fan base while continuously building your marketing strategy in real-time. Make the most of your online presence — and your results will speak for themselves.
We’ll continue this conversation at the webinar hosted by mom inc MOVEMENT at 7pm on Wednesday, September 12. I can’t wait to see you all! (REGISTER HERE)
Emily Chow is the principal of Chow Communications, a Vancouver-based marketing communications, web design, and social media agency. When she’s not building websites or working out to P90X, you can find her on Twitter at @emilyschow, on Facebook and on LinkedIn.
Emily Chow (9 Posts)
Business: SEO and Website Contributor
Emily is a search engine optimization pro, copywriter, and strategic marketer. She’s an expert communicator and a sales aficionado with a knack for identifying areas of opportunity — and maximum profit for clients. Emily enjoys renovating her home, P90X, and long walks on the beach.More…