The marketing potential in social media has become such a powerful force, that ignoring it is simply no longer an option. On Facebook alone, you have access to over 500,000,000 people with the click of a button, making it the most effective and low-cost solution to marketing your business. While your ultimate goal is essentially to increase your revenue, it is not considered good practice to use social media as a forum to aggressively advertise your products and services. This could actually drive away potential customers. It is about spreading the word and building a community. With increased awareness and exposure of your brand, your sales will subsequently grow. Below are some tips on how to increase your following, engage your audience and ultimately, increase your sales!
Everyone loves free stuff!
An extremely effective method for gaining new “likes” or followers is freebies. Who doesn’t like free stuff? This doesn’t necessarily have to be a tangible product. It could also be in the form of charity donations, free entertainment, free information, etc.
Engage your Audience
Self-centered posting is one of the biggest social media faux pas and interest in your page will likely die out very quickly should you post in this style. The best way to build an active community is to engage your audience. This can be done in a number of ways:
- Start a poll
- Start a contest
- Ask thought provoking questions to initiate a dialogue
- Allow and encourage your fans to post photos and videos
- Create events like seminars or webinars to share your expertise with your community and advertise these on your pages
The idea is to create a valuable experience for your community. Your pages should be informative, educational and/or entertaining to create a following that will continue to return to your page often.
Generate Great Content
Posting content such as informative articles, recipes, infographics, blog posts, strategies and tips, how-to guides, videos, pictures or anything else that warrants intrigue will help captivate your audience and build a following. Remember to keep it fresh. A wide variety in content type and topic is ideal to maintain a grip on your audience’s interest. Generate content that is interesting, educational, thought provoking, quirky, passionate etc. Always remember, your mentioning your products or services should be subtle and relevant. Be slick. Nobody likes a hard sell.
Timing Your Posts
Did you know that the timing of your posts could significantly affect your social media success? Self-proclaimed “Social Media Scientist,” Daniel Zarrella, dedicates his efforts to analyzing social media behavior and activity from a marketing standpoint. Use the following data to learn how you can gain the maximum exposure when sharing content.
For Facebook –
The best day to share: Saturday
Best hour to share: 12 pm
Frequency: 0.5 posts per day.
For Twitter –
Best time to post: Noon and 6 pm.
Frequency: 1-4 tweets per hour
Best days to share: Mid-week and weekends
Check out the infographic here: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/science-of-social-timing-1/?wide=1
Note that this data is based on Eastern Standard Time. It is important to keep this in mind as nearly 50% of the U.S. population is based within this time zone. The Eastern and Central time zones combined represent around 80% of the entire U.S population.
Promote your Pages
What good are all of these tips if no one knows your page exists? It’s crucial to promote your presence on the various social media platforms.
- Ensure that each social media page contains links to your other pages. (eg. Make sure your Facebook page contains your linked-in, YouTube and twitter accounts.)
- Put all social media links in your email signature
- Put all social media links on your website
- Promote your social media presence on offline marketing initiatives such as your printed materials, transaction receipts, coffee cups, posters, brochures, business cards, menus, flyers, on vehicles, etc.
- Add QR codes on your marketing materials, in-store signs, business cards, etc., that can be scanned with a smart phone and link to your social media page.
- Invest in Facebook Ads. These are relatively inexpensive and can help you effortlessly target a specific market
- Integrate Facebook commenting as well as Facebook “Like” boxes on your blog or website
Like anything, cultivating a solid social media community takes time and effort. The chances of your page going viral in a day, or even a month, are slim to none. Social media is a game of trial and error; do not get discouraged if no one is responding right away. Try the variety of aforementioned strategies to engage your audience and form an active community. Assess which strategies work best with your target audience in peaking interest, and build off of that.