It crept up on us pretty quickly, this need for social media. It went from an optional little side project to occupy the college intern to a fundamental aspect and significant percentage of our marketing activities in well under 10 years. For many, however, social media still feels quite new or even overwhelming, in no small part due to the ever-evolving nature of the beast. For most small business owners, keeping up with these trends is something they simply don’t have the time for. At TribalVision, we make time for it, and we enjoy sharing that knowledge. To that end, today we’ll feature TribalVision’s Top 5 Ways to Boost Your Social Media Following.
Number 5: Be Present. Not only is it inherently important that your small business has a social media presence, but you and your chosen representatives must be actively involved in that effort on a regular basis. That means you need to choose the social media outlets you want to focus on (usually two or three is enough) and make those content streams count. Stagnant Facebook pages and neglected Twitter streams are more than missed opportunities for exponentially shared publicity. They’re signs that your company is tuned out. If you’re not posting, your followers won’t post either. And if no one’s talking, that takes all the “social” out of your media.
Number 4: Be Consistent. This one goes along with being present. Being there isn’t quite enough on its own. You have to infuse your social media content with a consistent corporate image. For many consumers, who you are as an organization is very much defined by who you are in the social media stratosphere. So you cannot be quirky and tongue-in-cheek one day and then overtly political or serious the next. You must also be consistent in your quality, which takes us to Number 3.
Number 3: Be a Thought Leader. “Thought leadership” is one of those buzzword terms of the last few years that’s really stuck around because it just makes sense. Being a thought leader means being willing to share your knowledge and inform your clientele and the general public to create an educated consumer base. Selling auto parts? Blog about common maintenance tasks with insider tips and post your blog articles to your Twitter and Facebook streams regularly.
Number 2: Be Responsive. Social media is about circular marketing; two-way conversations generate inbound marketing via followers’ responses. Have a customer posing a difficult question or lodging a complaint on your Facebook wall? Don’t delete it. Instead, respond publically and appropriately by answering professionally, providing contact resources, resolving the issue, and following up in a private message. Let people see how your company handles consumer challenges.
Number 1: Be Focused. People who subscribe to social media streams do so because they’re interested in the topic of discussion or products being offered. Direct your efforts appropriately by choosing a core competency and focusing your content on that. For example, the TribalVision Facebook page is specifically geared toward small business marketing even though our firm offers business and web development services. Yes, those are related to small business marketing, but you won’t see posts on our Facebook wall about learning to build websites with jQuery versus HTML.
The bottom line with social media marketing is that you have to be dedicated to these efforts and make them a priority. Simply because something is being posted on the casual format of Facebook doesn’t mean it should be of any lower quality than something you’d put on your website during a site revision. Remember to make all of that high quality material easily “shareable” by adding prominent social media links throughout your website, on blog articles, and yes, even on your Facebook page.
The social media conversation is ongoing. What does your company have to say?