Small businesses which resort to social media for boosting their sales or marketing presence often have a daunting task of finding the right mode of operation. What works for big organizations and world brands needn’t work for small companies. These days there is a popular statistic that a Facebook fan is worth $174 to a business. Still, you can hardly find a startup company whose 300 fans are contributing $52,000 in the revenues. The ultimate question is where to start, and how to get the most effective audience buildup. These tips are the result of discussion with entrepreneurs and marketing strategists alike, who worked together in building successful social media strategies.
Many self-proclaimed marketing experts will tell you that the greatest benefit of social media marketing is that it costs nothing. Platforms are free, no arguing about that, but the social tower is inclining towards pay-to-play arena. R.G. Logan, director of strategy at Carrot Creative says that it’s difficult to break to the surface if you are not putting money behind the push. This claim is followed by Facebook’s own confession that an average brand post is seen by just 16% of the followers. If you pay to promote, you are nailing your ad higher up the post.
Platform of Choice
The truth is that not every business will benefit from every platform. While some businesses will get a stunning potential from Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, the others are more likely to hit the jackpot with Twitters 140-character announcements. It is worthwhile mentioning here that visual content will perform better that text-only messages, no matter where they are posted. Doug Quint, owner of Big Gay Ice Cream say that every business that is considering moving into the social media playground should first watch and analyze what pages to they like, and try to figure out why. And in the process eliminating the platforms that you don’t like, or feel they won’t resonate with your brand.
The Community of Believers
People like “liking” a Facebook brand page or following their favorite store or local venue on Twitter because they are to get rewarded by firsthand information about events, discounts, promotions and special offers. In return a brand is provided by a chance to show the audience its human face, to take them on a tour behind-the-scenes. A.J. Nichols, senior director of public relations and marketing at Rent the Runway says that their goal is to interact with their followers individually, nurturing a close community of brand insiders who feel comfortable talking to them on a regular basis.
Listening to fans is important. They take time to look you up online and their comments and suggestions should be taken seriously, even if they are negative. Only a poor PR manager will ever consider deleting customer feedback without giving thought and addressing the issues promptly.
Push it too Hard, You Lose it
Social media is not an advertising block in the prime time. One of reasons why more and more people are spending more time on social networks than in front of the TV is the matter of choice. They want to be able to browse the content they like and not what is forced unto them. One thing they don’t like is forced and aggressive advertising. They want content, not ads. If they suspect they are lured into buying something straight out, they’ll disperse. Talking too much about how awesome your company is will drive fans to unfollow you. Rather try to appeal to audience’s emotions. A well placed and motivating social video will benefit you more than a hundred promotional posts.
Be there 24/7
Even when you flip the plate on your store door to “closed”, your audience is still out and about. The ultimate social media strategy doesn’t exclude the off hours and weekends. You can hardly develop and maintain long-term social presence and engage your customers if you aren’t posting, tweeting, reposting and then retweeting on daily basis. Of course if you are running business, you don’t need a team of hired watchmen who will respond to every single click, but going AWOL for certain periods will surely do you no good.
In conclusion, a good audience building approach should always be based on quality content and consistency, rather than being a-like nuisance in the news feed. Honesty is the best policy and learning how to communicate it properly can add a tremendous boost to your business reputation.
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Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and webpage design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.