By now we’ve all heard the argument for using Social Media to reach our audiences. Some of us may even be using multiple platforms in our daily lives to communicate with friends and family. In this article, we’ll show you six simple ways to get your business in front of the eyes of your target audience thereby increasing your brand awareness and reach and hopefully your bottom line.
Identify your target audience’s preferred platform; then use it
There are dozens of ‘main’ social media platforms; everything from Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest and now Snapchat and Music.ly. Your job is to identify which platforms your target audience uses most and engage with them there. Do not attempt to maintain a presence on every single platform as that will only serve to decrease your substance because you are spread too thin. Part of your social media strategy needs to include communication and if you are attempting to host six personas on six different sites there is little time left to truly respond to and chat with your customers.
Identifying where your audience hangs out is actually quite simple. You know your target demographic, say 32-48 year old suburban middle class fathers, and with that knowledge you can do a quick search for which social media site they are most likely to be using. Become familiar with the nuances of that platform and then dive in and begin the conversation.
Engage with your community
Once you identify which social media site your customers frequent, and you learn the rules both written and unspoken, your duty is now to communicate through that platform. The rule of thumb is either ⅔ to ⅓ or ¾ to ¼ interaction versus selling your product. People do not appreciate brands that are only selling to them and end up scrolling past or unfollowing those that do. Rather, customers deserve value added to their daily lives and if you are the brand that injects their news feed with useful content they are more likely to look forward to what you have to say. THey’ll keep you in their news feed, may even interact with your brand often thus increasing the frequency with which the platform’s algorithms display your content to those consumers. Top of mind and appreciation of your brand gives you a better opportunity to place an advertisement here and there and actually have it be a worthwhile investment.
Conduct time-sensitive giveaways or contests
Research has shown that humans are hardwired to gravitate toward instant gratification. We don’t want to miss out on opportunities to win something, earn a freebie, or get a discount. If you have an Amazon Prime account, you’ve seen the countdown clock for the lightning deals. Same idea for some of the Living Social or Groupon deals that offer extra discounts for purchasing within a certain time. And if you’ve ever purchased concert tickets on Ticketmaster you’ve watched the timer countdown urging you to complete the purchase.
You can offer the same strategy with your products giving a small discount for purchases made within a designated time frame. You can provide a similar psychological boost by saying the more shares of a post equates to more opportunity to win thus increasing your reach. Another tactic is to encourage users to comment and share within a certain time in order to be placed into a drawing for a product or coupon.
Reach out to influencers to promote your brand for you
Even though our lives are increasingly conducted online, people still trust and value the opinions of their friends and family and celebrities. This is becoming more and more apparent with the reviews of products and services playing a large part in the purchasing decisions we make.
Once you’ve identified which platforms your customers are on, take some time to find out who the most influential users are on those platforms. Make sure they align with your brand identity and values, and then begin to engage with them thus building a relationship. Some influencers are making a living endorsing certain products and that may be the best way to get your brand to the widest audience. Some are happy to use their position and reach to promote products and services they themselves actually value. Be careful to find influencers who your audience will trust, and then cultivate a relationship.
Reward and praise your most loyal followers
You can view the analytics on each social media platform your business has an account on; do this. Then you’ll know how much engagement you are actually earning, what KPIs are of value to you and how they are shaking out on that channel, and in some cases who is interacting the most with your posts and page. You can also simply scroll through your feed and see who is consistently liking, commenting and sharing your content. Give them a shout out, public recognition, a freebie product or offer of savings or a simple thank you for being a loyal follower. Don’t ask for anything in return; just give the credit and allow them to bask in your brand’s shine for a bit.
When disaster strikes; own it and make it right
We’ve all by now seen the fallout of the United Airlines debacle from early April and the poor manner in which their social media accounts handled it. And we’ve also seen how American Airlines handled their latest crises. Two very different methods. The conversation about the actual incident on American Airlines quieted down very quickly whereas we are still talking about the United Airline’s response. This is the power of social media and the viral nature of the megaphone broadcasting platform. American owned their mishap, apologized for the issue, and vowed to make changes and do better by the customer. United failed to admit their poor performance or even own the grievance as their torch to bear.
It’s inevitable that a customer will eventually have something negative to say about your brand and will do so publicly. You can choose to be like United Airlines, or you can choose to be like American Airlines.
We hope these tactics help your business reach new heights of engagement on the social media marketing realm that is surely part of your marketing strategy. Remember, you don’t have to be everywhere online, but you do need to be social wherever your audience hangs out.