Social media is not a clean formula. It can either intimidate people who have never managed a company account, or excite them with opportunities to elevate the medium. Over the past three months I've been working hard to grow both my personal and company brands on social media. It's been a big learning curve.
You might think that it is easy with so many tools out there to manage, track and grow your social media presence but it is NOT. I've had a pretty hard time growing my presence even with everything I have going for me but I have found some things that have maximized my social media presence.
1. Generate a constant stream of quality content.
This is key and one of the most important tips out there. When it comes to shaping social media content, the more you plan, the stronger your presence will be. Plan posts ahead of time, edit with care, and use a service like Buffer, Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. I personally like to plan them out a month in advance as I'm a very busy person. Pro tip: quotes do amazing.
2. Use each social media network to its best ability.
Every social platform has a unique function to captivate followers - the most effective campaigns don’t just post the same content on both Facebook and Twitter, they truly explore the opportunities offered on each platform. Facebook caters to a more general crowd and is great for pushing promotions; Twitter lets you have a conversation and interact more with your followers, while Instagram helps display your product and all its uses more vividly.
3. Telling stories sells product.
You build a market for your product or service by earning the trust of your users. You can't do that by hawking your wares. Put out the best information possible and once people trust you they will purchase everything you have for sale. A good example is my personal JohnRampton.com site. My Twitter and Facebook fan page drive 50-200 people a day to my personal site, where most of what I publish is content submitted by other people. That site drives 10-45 people a day to my company site. Don't sell, teach.
4. Respond immediately, and be a human.
The best thing about Twitter is that it removes the distance between a company and their customers. Twitter allows you to build a relationship by reacting instantly to feedback and helping your customers with any technical or customer service issues. Knowing this, it’s a shame so many companies schedule posts and go on autopilot, use dry and impersonal language, and tweet taglines for the sake of tweeting taglines. Instead, be sincerely friendly and alert, share fun videos that appeal to your users and respond with humor and kindness, then reach out to people you have reason to think are interested in what you’re selling.
5. Have social media contests.
Facebook loves promotional contests. It takes people less than a second to share an image, and it qualifies them to win free stuff! Who is above getting stuff for doing nothing? Nobody! Give away a good prize on Facebook to really get your business circulating. Take to Twitter to offer a small incentive for pre-ordering your product before it's available. That is a friendly nudge to the people who are thinking about buying it anyway.
6. Specialized Twitter accounts.
Dedicated Twitter accounts where people can direct their questions and complaints is a practical way to take the best care of your customers. Have a separate Twitter feed for customer care, complaints and questions. Tell customers that a human is manning the account by simply tweeting, “Mimi is now taking over the customer care account” at the beginning of a shift. End your replies with your initial.
7. Do Q & As.
Use the immediacy of social media to let your customers and potential customers find out more about you. Use an #Ask___ hashtag to find questions on Twitter, or hold an Ask Me Anything on Reddit. As always, be a human: get the face of your company, like the founder, to field questions. I don't do this often as I'm busy. But find 30 minutes a month to do these, they work.
8. Introduce yourself to new markets by following and engaging influencers.
Meeting the gatekeepers is the direct way to enter a specific market. Every industry has its recognized experts, like journalists, academics, entrepreneurs and other thought leaders. These leaders have loyal and passionate connections. By engaging with the people at the top of their industries, you find credibility among their crowd. I went to Freelancer.com and hired someone for $100 to find me the top 1000 people in my industry and write me something unique about each one. Turns out, over the next month I became and got followed by 90 percent of them.
9. Do one thing really, really well.
Some companies sign up for every available social platform and expect to execute brilliantly on every one. However, these intentions campaigns often turn out flat, lifeless, and one-dimensional. Their Twitter is a reflection of their Facebook, their Facebook repeats their Instagram. Social media managers should establish a strong presence on just the one best platform for them, then expand it the next most promising platform with fun, well-executed content tailor-made for that platform. It’s much more effective to put your personality and time into making a name for yourself on one platform than to be unremarkable on all the platforms.
10. Post a call to action.
Having a lot of followers doesn’t mean much unless you inspire them to act. Don't execute a new campaign, you should have an idea of the purpose of your campaign. Raising awareness requires a call to share your content and “like” your page, while a customer acquisition campaign should implore people to subscribe to your newsletter. Don't do this often, but do it to prove results and pay for your time!
11. Have a signature move.
Use a nice, recurring little flourish to draw people into your unique vision. Whether it’s an inside joke, a small but regularly occurring contest with a fun edge, or a personal connection to the social media poster (people respond better to other humans present as humans, and not brands). I like to use humor!
12. If all else fails, be yourself.
If you’re a social and charming person IRL, but not necessarily social media savvy, there’s a simple solution to add your own twist online: just be yourself. Be helpful and passionate, stay on message, but don’t stress about sticking to the script. If you’re passionate about your product or service, then let that passion flow from your fingers. After all, enthusiasm is infectious, and people will always be responsive to genuine moments.
Here's to becoming social media giants!