September 12, 2019// Category: Digital Marketing
I see you. You’re frustrated, right?
You’ve got the Facebook. You’ve got the Twitter. You even bit the bullet and got the Instagram. You’ve been taking some awesome pics with your Pixel and posting some clever memes and sprinkling in some hashtags, and you’ve built a following of dozens or maybe even thousands of followers who are all about your content. But when it comes to selling your awesome product, your business may as well still be under one big off-the-grid rock, because all of these followers ain’t following through. What gives?
Social media is a strange and powerful and wonderful tool. It’s kinda like that weird, intimidating machine at the gym; you can just hop on and start moving stuff around and see what happens (hint: probably not much, and you may even hurt yourself), or you can do some research or ask an expert first so you can best use the machine to your advantage. Consider me your personal trainer today.
You may say, “Well, what about cardio? Who needs resistance training anyway? I can just hit the treadmill or the elliptical, right?” Nah, fam. I’m gonna stick with the fitness analogy for just another sec here: just like adding resistance training to your routine has been shown to be more effective than cardio alone when it comes to losing weight and increasing overall fitness, social media is now a vital element of business marketing.
So follow me and let’s dive into this workout. (OK, I’ll stop with the analogy now.)
I’m gonna show you Seven Ways to Be a Social-Media-Savvy Follower-Converting Fiend, so that those followers of yours realize what they’re missing in their lives and become your loyal customers. Savvy?
Side note: For you marketing wizards out there, you might be wondering whether it’s cleverness or coincidence that I’ve outlined seven rules. That’s for you to decide, but now that you mention it, social media does lend itself quite wonderfully to the sacred Rule of 7. Take this example: a Twitter user follows hashtags to a stunning picture you posted from Instagram. They check out your brand’s Instagram profile and see an invitation to join your exclusive Facebook group. In the Facebook group, you lead them to your website, where they sign up for your email list and receive a newsletter within the hour. That’s already five touchpoints!
Now, let’s take a look at these seven rules (or are they more like guidelines?).
1. Be Aware
“Knowledge is power.” – Some wise guy somewhere
Who are your followers? Who are they, really? How old are they? Where do they work? Are they in high school? Do they have master’s degrees? Do they have kids? Grandkids? Pets? Do they enjoy knitting? Boating? Cosplaying? Social media is perfect for this discovery because it provides much more than just a name and address: depending on the platform, you’ve got pictures, posts, comments, likes, dislikes, followers and followees, groups they’re in, events they’ve RSVPed to, and lots more all at your fingertips.
Now, compare your findings to your target demographic. Who’s most likely to buy your product? If your social media followers are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed college students while your business hopes to attract middle-aged corporate America, you’ll want to immediately rethink your social media strategy.
Tailor your voice and your content to your desired audience. Are you using too many emojis? ???? Too many exclamation marks? Or are your posts too formal? Too wordy? And what kind of pictures are you posting? Who are the subjects? Can your demographic relate to them?
Can they see themselves in your pictures? Put yourself in their shoes. Be your audience. Become one with the Force.
2. Be Intentional
“It takes real planning to organize this kind of chaos.” – Mel Odom
Cross-platform social media posting is basically like running errands in December. Your first stop is at the post office as soon as they open to drop off the packages for your in-laws in Delaware; then you head to the laundromat to drop off your husband’s tux for the work holiday party on Thursday; then it’s off to the grocery store to pick up some wine and cheese for your neighborhood block party tomorrow night (and you have no idea which wine to select, so you go with the fanciest-looking label); then you go BACK to the post office because you forgot stamps for your Christmas cards; and so on. Forever. Between Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and LinkedIn and SnapChat and Vine and Reddit and TikTok and any number of other social media platforms, just creating and posting content can be exhausting enough; add in keeping up on engagement and you’ll eventually find yourself in the dark staring numbly at the Christmas tree with one of those fancy-looking bottles of wine in your hand.
What if I told you that there’s a better way? That you can create a life-sized clone of yourself and send her to sit in holiday traffic and do all these tasks for you? Enter social media automation. There are some pretty handy tools out there like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Crowdfire that will connect to all of your accounts and allow you to schedule your posts: whatever you want, whenever you want.
Speaking of whenever, there absolutely are optimal times for posting on social media; however, there’s no one-time-catches-all solution. Sprout Social provides some extensive data broken down by platform and industry to help you find the sweet spots.
And when you do catch your audience at just the right time, where are you sending them? If your calls to action are depositing them on your website’s front page, your poor visitors may get lost or distracted and bounce back out into the great Internet unknown. Targeted landing pages are a great way to focus your traffic as well as find out which campaigns are working better than others.
3. Be Generous
“I don’t care how much money you have, free stuff is always a good thing.” – Queen Latifah
Giveaways! Coupons! Referral codes!
People looooove free stuff. Period.
One current, quite effective trend for businesses on Instagram involves giveaways that are entered by following the brand and tagging at least one friend. Genius! The business instantly gains more followers and, arguably more importantly, word-of-mouth advertising, which has been shown to be the most effective form of marketing in existence. One brand that does the Insta-giveaway thing quite well is @ChocZero; check out this post as an example.
Another recent giveaway I happened to notice – and get reeled in by – consisted of sending out coupons for National Ice Cream Day. (I mean, it was for ice cream; how could a girl resist?) In exchange for these coupons, consumers entered not only their email addresses but also physical addresses. Boom, email AND direct mail marketing!
However you decide to be generous, make sure it works for your business and shows your own flair.
4. Be Exclusive
“You can’t sit with us!” – Gretchen Wieners
If you’ve ever attended a sports event, you’ve seen it. The hats. The jerseys. The handwritten posters. The really big foam hand things. The sheer triumph of success and primal rage of defeat, all based around the actions of a few people that we don’t even know and an outcome that has zero impact on our survival as humans.
What is this phenomenon?
Fandom. Community. Loyalty. Family. Belonging. Whatever you want to call it, it’s the sense of fulfillment that arises from being part of a distinct whole. We as a species crave this state of being, and marketing done well can help provide it. This works uniquely well with social media marketing; on such public platforms, exclusivity is like a badge of honor and can make your followers feel like celebrities.
From follower-only discounts to early access to sales through mailing lists to brand ambassadorship, there are a multitude of ways to mold your ragtag band of followers into a die-hard tribe. Make them feel special because they are yours.
5. Be a Storyteller
If the entirety of your social media offering consists of product photos and descriptions, your brand influence is gonna go the way of the dodo. Your followers don’t need Instagram to keep reminding them that your quinoa snacks are 100% vegan and gluten-free and available at Whole Foods; that’s what your website is for. Instead, tell your followers a story. Show them how your yummy quinoa snacks saved Lisa from starving at her son’s softball season finale, or how they provided Brian with some much-needed energy during his moose-infested hiking trip.
Better yet, repost – with permission, of course – your followers’ posts about your product. What better way to relate to real people than stories about real people? Demonstrate to your audience how your product fits into real lives, and they’ll see how it fits into theirs.
6. Be Consistent
“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” – Dory
Followers are a finicky bunch. Disappear even briefly or allow your post quality to slip even a little, and you’ll find that a significant number of your followers will have moved on to greener pastures.
Consistency with social media can be a hard thing, ‘tis true. But with automation tools as mentioned above and friendly people like me to help you on your journey, you can do the thing!
7. Be Real
The rising Internet generation can smell inauthenticity from a mile and a half away, and will shut down at the first whiff of it. Your followers don’t want to be sold to; they want to be talked to like real people. So talk to them! I’ve mostly avoided the E-word up to this point, but here it is: engage with them. Be available to them. This can be difficult to remember when working with social media, but you’re not sending your posts out into a cold void of ones and zeroes; you’re building a brand with the people who are going to turn into your paying customers. Even though you’ll likely never meet most of these people face to face, you should treat each and every one of them as though you’re managing an old Woolworth’s store and they’re that upstanding boy Fred from across the tracks who comes in once a year to buy his mother a brooch for her birthday with his hard-earned paper route money. Or, you know, maybe not that specific.
So, how did that feel? Good? Ready to go do some work? I believe in you.
Conversions won’t happen instantaneously; just like it took time to grow your following, it’ll take time to lead them in the right direction. But keep at it, and you too can be a Social-Media-Savvy Follower-Converting Fiend. Good luck!