In one of my previous articles, I briefly mentioned the importance of a company’s online presence and its benefits. Quite apart from the advantages it offers, being present across major social media channels is almost expected from audiences nowadays. These days, a social network page is just as important as a company’s website in terms of acquiring information about a particular brand.
It is no cliché to think that first impressions are everything, and time is even more precious in the digital arena. People are constantly being bombarded with ads and suggestions for dozens of new websites and social media pages every day, further strengthening the need for your page to stand out. This starts with a strong design and aggressive copy; with both of these aspects complemented by attractive content which encourages the viewer to further explore your page and what your brand offers.
Building a significant online community obviously takes a while to accomplish but once you have achieved that, the rewards are invaluable. Not only does it allow you to promote your brand through more channels, but engaging with your existing and potential customers on a daily basis builds a certain level of trust that money just can’t buy. You have a front-row seat to real-time views on your brand, which consequently allows you to focus on what you may need to change in order to satisfy your customers, or what your overall positives are.
Helping give your brand a personality allows you to differentiate yourself from others. If your set of tools and services are equal to your competitors, your one chance of standing out is to take a personal approach and build a lasting relationship with your audience.
Positively interacting with users who in turn have a large number of followers could easily work in your favour if they decide to share/retweet your posts, which are then distributed to a large untapped audience who will come to know about your brand through these users.
Not only can you widen your overall audience reach with a strong online presence, but those new followers could eventually turn into leads.
Know the tools
The top three social networking websites – Facebook (1.49 billion active users / month), Twitter (316 million active users / month) and Linkedin (100 million active users / month)- have repeatedly been identified by companies (brokers included) as the most effective networks to promote their products and interact with their users. I certainly hope, for the sake of your company, that you know how to use these websites and all the great tools they have to offer. If not, let’s go through a quick rundown of these perks.
For instance, Facebook’s Page Promotion tool allows you to create an in-site promotional campaign with a few clicks. You can target your audience by location, interests, age, gender, their ability to balance a bowl on their head, and how much slower they inevitably are than Usain Bolt.
Crazy, I know.
You can upload your creatives and advert text, and of course tailor the campaign’s price and duration according to your company’s budget. Once you set your daily budget and the campaign’s duration, Facebook will inform you of the estimated likes per day. Assuming your sales team achieves a 10% conversion rate, a minimum of 28 leads for a €5/day campaign gives you good value for your money. Add a ‘refer-a-friend’ bonus incentive to newcomers, and you can maybe boost your sales a bit more.
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Twitter also allows you to set your budget for objective-based campaigns including acquiring followers, website clicks/conversions, tweet engagements, or getting leads through Twitter. As well as promoting your account, your tweets and your trend (#yourbrandisawesome), you only pay when a user takes action (signs up, follows you, etc).
Linkedin allows you to create similar banner placement and objective-based campaigns with some more interesting filters including the user’s profession (useful if you’re running a B2B campaign), and the industry in which they work.
Is one of them better than the others? Probably. Am I going to tell you which one yields the best results? Nope. To each their own, I say. Some companies have a more significant Twitter presence than others, while the rest find more success in Facebook and Linkedin campaigns. Trial and error, my friends.
So, are paid campaigns the only way to boost my social media presence?
Thankfully, no. I’ve seen a hundred-and-one companies start off with a minimal marketing budget which just couldn’t accommodate these types of campaigns, no matter how beneficial they could prove to be.
What they did was place their social media buttons on their website, and created promotions which involved interacting on those pages. For example, you can tell new or existing clients that in order to get a $200 bonus, all they have to do is Like your Facebook page, or follow you on Twitter, follow your company on Linkedin, and in extreme (matter of national security) cases, like your page on Google +.
What was that joke about Google + users only being Google employees? That was it actually; punchline ruined. Sorry.
So, as mentioned above, using social media pages as incentives for bonuses, or even channels on which to host certain competitions (quiz winner gets a FREE Pez dispenser – but no Pez sweets) can do wonders for your social media pages. People always want free stuff, that’s no secret. Sure, you can do a few giveaways, so long as the user does something in return. Want that $200 bonus? RT to your 50,000 followers (and say how much you love us).
It’s a two way street, folks. Give your new or existing followers something to stay and interact for, and you’ll get those crispy-fresh leads who’ll call you every 5 minutes because they still can’t figure out how to place a trade. Happy days.
As much as I wish there was a secret to getting 50,000 followers in a week, there isn’t. I mean sure, you can buy fake followers from those absolutely dodgy websites, but a little hard work never killed anybody, which is what my absolutely-real grandpa from Mississippi used to say. Scout’s honour and all that.
I believe it’s just a matter of combining a few different strategies and finding that sweet spot of getting to the point where the likes and followers arrive by themselves. It’s all about putting the hard work in and enjoying the fruits. There are countless books on social marketing techniques out there, which will be able to tell you much more than a blog post could. I sincerely hope, however, that I planted the right ideas and pointed you in the right direction.
Until next week.