Social Media is exactly that… it’s social! Connecting and building a balanced and reciprocating relationship with your customers is the key to gaining followers, ‘shares’ and ‘likes’ on your social media platforms. Having such a close relationship with your customers is a beautiful thing and a real dream come true for marketers, but the majority of businesses forget that social media marketing done well is a true skill. There is more to it than simply updating Facebook and Twitter yet many companies start to abuse social media and actually end up losing fans instead of winning them.
The #1 mistake most companies make when using their social media platforms is to only ever talk about their products and offers, and try to generate sales, sales and more sales! Think about it, how many great companies or brands that you love do exactly that? The brands aren’t exciting to follow because you know that they aren’t trying to engage you, but simply entice you to open your wallet. Trying to get followers to spend money through your social media accounts in a pushy “me, me, me” way will only get you blocked and see your follower numbers sink rapidly. Companies that do this are totally missing the point of social media if all they do is think in a limited and uncreative way about how to showcase products and offerings.
So how can you jump out of the gate at full speed and directly in front of your competitors? Well, here are a few ways to shed this unproductive spiral of sales pushes, bring some real balance into your social media, and make your products or services look like the most desirable offers on the planet!
- Creativity is key! Imagine you are launching a new alcohol brand. Instead of blasting “new new new” messages that are essentially a branding campaign, think of delivering a series of unusual recipes for mouth-watering cocktails that includes a fantastic, colourful photo of the drink! Or if your company is B2B focused, use a constant stream of helpful “tips and tricks” that save time and money for your target audience to position your brand as a thought leader. Most online users are sophisticated enough to zone out direct adverts… subtlety and sophistication is the key to influencing their opinion without looking like you’re trying too hard. Go for top-of-mind awareness without coming across as a used car salesman trying to peddle any old thing.
- Create a brand lifestyle profile by taking advantage of visual platforms like Pinterest (see here why your business can’t do without it) and Instagram to show what goes on behind the scenes of your company. Let the world see the fun moments in your company. Those iconic photos of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs working out of the garage are wonderful examples of behind the scenes photos. Don’t just show boring product shots, think creatively as to how you can create a beautiful visual representation of your brand, from the values and ethics you agree with, to the latest image from the sunset of the hotel where your team is staying during a conference…and more! Get personal and show a human side to your brand never seen before.
- Use online personalities! Adopting a blogger strategy is something that more and more businesses are investing in today. Truth is, it is still one of the most economical ways to spread news and is also one of the most underused. As your online presence grows, your fan base will become more and more diverse. Take advantage of the influence that a blogging personality has, and ask them to write about your services to their followers. A recommendation that comes from a trusted source is always going to have more credibility, no matter how good an advertising campaign is. Ask for an impartial review and make sure that you give free gifts to incentivise some positive thoughts. Then, once they’ve launched their article, share it everywhere you can – but not in a boastful way. Say thanks to the blogger and commend them on their great article. Being humble is a welcome trait across social media platforms.
Think outside the box when it comes to social media. Make your customers want to be part of your online story. When they see that you have THEIR best interests at heart and are not just out and about peddling your wares you just may convert customers into evangelists!