Who doesn't want more Twitter followers, more Facebook likes, and more conversions from their LinkedIn connections?
The challenge today however is information overload. With so much noise from brands, news outlets, and your friends, it can be difficult to stand out and get attention.
People's attention spans have gotten shorter and their spam radar detectors have gotten more sensitive. So anything that looks or closely relates to spam-like content is quickly discarded.
Despite the noise, it is still possible to make social count. When done right, social technologies can be leveraged to create a loyal following and convert sales down the pipeline.
How can you scale social? Here are six ways that can help you win in social.
Whether you are a social newbie or a veteran, learning what is working on social is probably one of the key things you need to be doing. New networks and new ways of doing old things are coming up, and social platforms are on the bleeding edge of new marketing approaches. As social media matures, marketers have had to keep in step and learn new things all the time.
There are also marketing gurus that have carved a name for themselves on what works on social. There are videos, webinars, and podcasts that teach almost every facet of social. Subscribing to a few of these will get you one step ahead of anyone who relies on experience and gut feeling.
Just like anything else, a target helps you focus your efforts. In social, your goals may vary. You may want to increase your fan base, get more retweets for your content, or move people to a landing page for conversion. Your goal determines the approach or strategy you are going to implement. Will you run Facebook ads, or will you create how-to videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to use your product? A goal is essential if you don't want to spend money and time experimenting.
Your goals need to be as concrete, measurable, and achievable as possible.
For example, if you have 500 followers, setting a goal of 1000 Likes in the next 6 months is more realistic than setting a goal of 10,000 Likes within the same time period.
Some goals you want to have on social may include:
Having goals will also help you define and measure your metrics much more effectively.
According to social media marketing expert, Gary Vaynerchuk, you need to give, give, give, before you ask.
When you provide value over and over again, then it is much easier to ask for that sale eventually and get people onboard as opposed to simply asking for the sale without first having provided something in return. Give by offering valuable industry insights, posting educational and entertaining blog posts, creating visually appealing infographics and videos, and answering questions from the community.
When you provide value, your followers will love you for it and when it comes time to make that purchase from you down the pipeline, they are less likely to feel like it's a sale. Your history of value will boost your chances of getting conversions.
Content is king. Sharing valuable business and industry insights that can help your community make smart and informed decisions will position you as an authority, a key driver to converting leads to sales. The community will consider you as a go-to resource and anything you recommend, including your own products and services, will be adopted without question.
Content can be in various types. It can be in form of blog posts, image quotes, infographics, webinars, or YouTube videos. By creating a variety of content, you stand a better chance of targeting various demographics. Some people may prefer to watch a YouTube video over reading a blog post. Image quotes are more shareable on Facebook over plain old text status updates. Having this dynamism in your content gives it more shelf life and higher chances of getting distribution.
We are social beings. We like to interact and engage with people and brands that have the same interests, goals, and aspirations as we do. It is no wonder that the brands that are winning on social have adopted a kind of persona that is almost human. Humans also care deeply about causes. Again, is it any wonder that brands that advocate for a certain cause on social media tend to get the most traction? All of this is called being human and if you are not doing it, you are not going to win on social. Period.
Most brands avoid sharing or posting information that seems personal with fear that they will look unprofessional. They forget that they are interacting with real human beings and the last time I checked, social media is all about being social. Your business is made up of people with a common interest. Share these common interests, fears, goals, and causes. These are what make humans inherently human and if you can inject a part of that personality onto your brand pages, you are going to attract others who feel and think likewise.
A lot of businesses are not measuring the impact of social on their bottom line. This is a big mistake. Social media has reached a point where it is now possible to compute for social ROI and put a price tag on each engagement your brand establishes. It may have taken a certain amount of manpower, skill, or ad space to increase your following or convert a lead into a sale. Are you doing the math to see how much each conversion has cost you?
Metrics help you see if your goals are being met and at what cost. Metrics make it easy to set realistic goals and measure your success. They can help you know what is working and what isn't, what areas need to be optimized, and help you set deadlines for achieving your milestones. It will also help you work towards achieving your objectives on a set budget. There are now plenty of tools across the web that help you see where each dollar is being spent and if the returns are worth it.
The use of social technologies for business continues to grow. It is crucial that brands know what it takes to truly scale social. Not everybody will win in a social world. Only those who are prepared, well positioned, and well equipped can expect returns.
Tim is president and co-founder of Axero Solutions, a leading intranet software vendor. He's also a bestselling author of Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Mastering Employee Engagement. Tim’s been featured in Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur, CNBC, Today, and other leading publications.
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