Everybody knows their business should be more active on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, but it’s not always easy to know where to start.
Companies who have built their business through traditional advertising mediums like print and television have grown accustomed to having total control over the way they present their brand to the public. These forms of advertising effectively only allow for a one-way conversation, rarely giving the customer a chance to voice their opinion on a brand or product.
Herein lies the reason many businesses are nervous about using social media. All of a sudden their customers have a voice—a voice that can be used just as easily to complain as to compliment.
While opening up a two-way dialogue with customers might seem like a frightening proposition to many business owners, it is important to realise that social media is not going away any time soon. What’s more, companies who are choosing to embrace it are reaping enormous benefits.
Social media is being used by some of the world’s biggest brands to generate levels of brand awareness and engagement that are simply not possible with traditional forms of advertising. By introducing a human and interactive element to their brands, these businesses are able to cultivate deeper levels of engagement and loyalty that results in more people staying informed about their brand, talking about their brand and ultimately, buying from their brand.
If you think it’s time your business jumped on the social media bandwagon or you would simply like to use social media more effectively, here are 10 tips to help you get more out of arguably the most important marketing channel of the 21st Century:
1/ Be a Real Person (Not a Soulless Corporate Machine)
Gone are the days of the faceless corporation. Customers in this day and age expect to deal with real people, both in person and on the web. When you create your social media profiles, be sure to include your full name, some personal information about your interests, and photos of you and your team.
Also don’t make the mistake of believing you should only write about your industry. It is perfectly acceptable to include a 10-20% ratio of off-topic updates about anything you find interesting—whether it be a hot topic in the media, news about your favourite sporting team or exciting personal news related to your co-workers, even your customers.
2/ Be Social (Duh!)
When it comes to online marketing, it’s very easy to fall victim to over-analysis paralysis. Many people would have a lot more success in engaging with their followers if they would just lighten up, be friendly, helpful, humorous and most of all, social. You should also not make the mistake of just sitting and waiting for other people to interact with you. This is the equivalent of sitting in a darkened corner at a party with a glum look on your face. You can interact with others in your industry by:
– Leaving blog comments
– Re-tweeting great posts
– Sharing, “Liking”, “+1-ing”, “Stumbling” and “Digging” great content from people in your niche
– Linking out to other people
– Responding to emails and messages
– Contributing great blog posts, tweets, updates and media content
Always remember, the same things that make you likeable in person will also make you likeable online. Which brings me to my next point…
3/ Don’t Worry About Whether People Like You
Don’t be too self-conscious or calculating, instead allow your true personality to shine through. People can tell when you’re trying too hard to make them like you or your product. Don’t come from a scarcity mindset. If you truly believe in your product or service, your natural enthusiasm will help to sell it better than any kind of contrived convincing or persuasion.
4/ Don’t Be Afraid To Polarise People
As Tim Ferriss says in his book The Four Hour Workweek, “People can dislike you—and you often sell more by offending some—but they should never misunderstand you”. Never be afraid to state strong opinions, regardless of whether some people might not like it. If you try and please everyone, your voice will become inauthentic and diluted. Besides, we all know that controversy draws attention and as many social media experts say “where attention goes, money follows”.
5/ Show a Genuine Interest in Other People’s Work (Even Competitors)
Give credit where credit is due. If other people are doing great things in your industry, why not spread the word? Showing that you are capable of identifying excellence also implies that you are capable of creating it. Not only will giving due praise make you seem more humble and likeable, it will also make others more likely to praise your company when you are contributing great things.
6/ Don’t Just Focus Your Attention on the Big Guns
Everybody started at the same place as everyone else—at the bottom. Rather than spending all of your time trying to attract the attention of high value people in your industry, consider that there are a lot of rising stars out there who may one day be just as prominent. Develop relationships with people who are doing great work, regardless of how popular they are.
7/ Offer People Your Very Best Advice—For Free!
Even if you’re in the consulting biz—offering people a taste of the very best advice and information you can offer will often wet their appetite enough to turn them into a paying customer. Afterall, if you’re giving away such good quality information for free, imagine how good your paid services must be?
8/ Talk About What’s Hot
Even if it’s unrelated to your industry (remember, 10-20% of your updates can be off-topic), initiating conversation on hot-topics will always draw attention. Aside from general news sites, there are lots of other great resources for finding out about the latest trending topics. Here are a few of them:
– Twitter – view trends in side bar
– StumbleUpon (marketing category as example)
9/ Share Mind-Boggling Images and Video
In this age of unlimited media content and short-attention spans, people often don’t have the time or patience to digest long slabs of text. Image and video content often has far more viral potential than an article or blog post, especially if the content is shocking/surprising/interesting/humorous or otherwise mind-boggling. Obviously creating your own content is the best option, but feel free to share other people’s content too—it will still draw attention to your profile/page.
Some great places to find awesome content to share via social media include:
– Know Your Meme (Cheezburger Network)
10/ Don’t Bother Reading This Point (It’s about Reverse Psychology)
People are tired of big companies telling them what to think and do. The empty rhetoric and brazen sloganeering used in traditional advertising simply doesn’t work on the tech savvy, banner-blind social media users of today. But you can still lure them in with reverse psychology.
Using lines like “99% of people will be too lazy to take this advice”, will still trigger people’s curiosity if done right. It works even better if you can target their egos too. Try using statements like: “don’t bother looking at this unless you are of above-average intelligence”. Slightly evil maybe, but watch your click-through rate soar!
Thanks for reading!