Social media marketing has really proven itself in recent years to be one of the most influence mediums of communication with a target audience. A recent survey concluded that some 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase. By ignoring this fact, you do so at your peril!
While difficult to attribute your social media campaigns directly to your ecommerce or lead generating strategies, they play a part in the overall process. It is merely another platform for you to get your message across.
So what are our best social media tips we hear you ask:
Grow Your Audience
Nothing helps decision making more than looking at numbers. Increasing your audience not only spreads your message but also allows you to get definitive feedback on who heard it. Further analysis will help as refinement of your message, what time to deliver it and by what method all contribute to you getting the biggest bang for your buck.
Growing your audience however can be a time consuming practice; but one worth doing. To do this, you need to be seen as not only a market expert, but contradictorily not trying to over-sell. By helping customers, you in-fact improve your position as the place to go to for the best information and advice. This will give credibility when it comes to the buying process.
Posting helpful links to external websites (i.e. not back to your website), engaging with customers directly in conversation and occasional selling messages (i.e. linking back to your website) all play their part in this complex game.
Give External Links
Why give external links I hear you ask? Well, both users and Google like when you do it. As stated above, you need to ensure you are not trying to over-sell, and constant promotion of your brand will make users tired of your messages. Furthermore, giving advice linking to other websites will make you an industry expert.
Google likes to see this also. Similar to how users will perceive you, so will Google by seeing you as an authority and potentially giving you a bonus. Finding the right content here however is the key issue. Obviously linking to a direct competitor is out of the question, but linking to industry related blogs, other experts in your industry or general news is all good and should be added to the general conversation.
Don’t Fake It
Don’t fake it till you make it! You’re not as clever as the search engines so there is no point in trying to fake it with thousands of Facebook fans or Twitter followers. Algorithms are too clever these days and faking it will actually have the opposite affect to your initial intention. This goes for Facebook and Twitter algorithms as well as Google.
Build your following legitimately. On Twitter for example, you can start to follow people who follow different accounts. Extreme care is needed here so as not to follow more than 10 in any one day as you could be seen as a spam account and kicked off Twitter. Usually, you could see a 30% follow back ratio. Finally, be sure to try and have an even figure between your followers and who you follow.
Increase Your Brand Loyalty
Not everyone likes to shop where you’re constantly being harassed by pushy sales staff. Users are no different and like to be loyal to certain brands thanks to the service they are provided with. Loyal customers will wait for your next post and will appreciate it all the more once it arrives.
Reward your followers for their loyalty. If, for example you are a food distributor, give your audience high quality cooking recipes. Building on what we covered earlier, you don’t even have to create them yourself but simply link to an external website which isn’t a competitor.
Simply out, you can’t ignore users’ complaints on social media. You need to be able to respond to them directly and help them as best you can. Users like to see that theirs, and other users’ problems are being responded to. This is important, as users like to research before they make a purchase.
Suppose you got a complaint in via Twitter along the lines:
“XX trying to rob us by double billing us!”
Not only is harming an existing customer, it has the possibility of putting off potential customers who may see this and decide to take their business elsewhere.
By addressing them directly, apologising and offering a satisfactory solution for all to see the positive response is far more valuable and could even result in more business.
A poor representation of customer service may deter a potential sale but will also affect loyalty with current customers if they feel their custom isn’t worth your time. Try your best to respond in a way that fixes any issue a user may have. This goes a long way, and while it may not easy to track its effectiveness, it’s far easier than trying to overcome a customer care disaster.
The internet is littered with good and bad experiences of other companies, try and be one of the good ones. Remember, the internet never forgets so don’t make a bad situation worse!
There is never a one-size fits all approach when it comes to social media. Some industries will have better results than others, which some businesses will embrace it more than others. There is a balance that needs to be achieved.
Social media can work hand in hand with other areas of your business is getting your message across to helping customers with their problems.
Social media is valuable also in terms of SEO, so don’t ignore it.