It should come as no surprise that building and maintaining a good social media following will benefit your business in a number of ways – in fact there are social media companies who will do this on your behalf.
The audience will become your brand advocates, share stories and (hopefully) post positive reviews of the service they received at your hands – remember the best form of advertising is word of mouth!
However, being able to boast thousands of followers doesn’t necessarily mean they’re engaging with your brand and providing the fringe benefits you would expect. Building the right following requires so much more than a couple of ‘like and share’ competitions each month. It takes time, patience and an in depth understanding of both your customers and the social channel you plan to find them on.
The following hints and tips will help you uncover your social customers and keep them interested in your brand and business.
Pick the right platform
You may be fooled into thinking that the more social accounts you appear on the better, when in fact the opposite is usually true. Pick one or two (maximum of three) platforms that are most relevant to your customers and spend plenty of quality time perfecting your approach on them.
For example; audiences on sites like Facebook and Instagram tend to prefer image led posts, whereas text works well on Twitter and Linkedin. Pinterest has a predominantly female audience and is ideal for businesses for which visual imagery is a main feature.
Monitor results closely to establish which platform is working best for you.
Know your audience
You probably already think you know your audience pretty well and have a good idea what kind of social messages they’ll like and dislike. In fact, you’ll probably use some of the same tried and tested messages you’ve used for countless other marketing campaigns, right?
Stop right there! This isn’t necessarily the right approach for your social audience and you should spend some time thinking about who you are going to connect with. Hint: It may be a very different demographic to the ones you have conversed with before. Create some detailed personas for your new audience to help you fully understand their wants and needs.
Adopt a consistent brand voice
A strong branded voice will help your business shine, gain attention, and help customers easily identify with you and your business ethos. You probably have a pretty good idea what your ‘voice’ is and already use it within your marketing literature, customer service teams, etc. Make sure this voice is carried through into your social media campaigns to ensure consistency across the board.
There a reason it’s called social networking and that’s because it’s all about being social. Try to avoid consistently posting one way sales pitches, and instead adopt a conversational and collaborative style which will entice conversation and feedback.
Don’t be afraid of the negative – the two worst ways to deal with such feedback is to delete or ignore the messages. Instead, use this as an opportunity to demonstrate that you listen to your customers, and will even take the time to respond to them. This is your chance to turn a disgruntled customer into a brand evangelist!