Millions of daily users flock to social networks to connect with each other and their favorite brands. Many companies have taken advantage of this phenomenon to build large followings and high-profile success stories. Correspondingly, a large number of brands have created social media with lofty expectations only to fail.
Although this may be true, you can successfully use social media to attract followers who may eventually become customers. However, doing so requires a substantial investment in terms of time and effort. Furthermore, keeping and growing your social media following requires discipline, patience and hard work.
Many companies have achieved high-profile success on social media and you can do the same. Here are five tips that will help you grow your audience and make them stay for the long term.
Have a Content Marketing Strategy
Every piece of content you publish on social media should follow a consistent theme. Such a tactic can fuel a successful content marketing strategy that will attract new visitors and followers who have interests that relate to your brand.
For starters, plan a schedule for publishing content and stick to it. Although your content shouldn’t directly pitch sales, it should naturally position your brand as the solution to the problems, needs and desires the people in your audience face.
When you train your readers to anticipate the next iteration of your series of articles, they will regularly visit your social media profiles to stay up-to-date. However, you must provide high-quality, relevant content if you expect to retain your following.
Your content marketing strategy should also involve formatting. In fact, it should begin with a mobile-first attitude. After all, more than three-quarters of all social media traffic comes from mobile users. This means that everything you publish needs to quickly load on mobile and display properly on small screens such as smartphones.
For one thing, content that doesn’t look good on mobile devices creates a poor impression of your brand. Moreover, it communicates a lack of competence and professionalism when you post material to social media that people cannot view. With this in mind, you should never consider a job complete until you have tested it on one or more mobile platforms.
As you work on your content marketing strategy, remember to address problems and needs more than you promote your products. Supplying content with value to the social media community will help you establish yourself and your brand as industry leaders.
Exhibit the expertise of your firm by educating people about the issues that involve your industry and market. When people know that they can turn to your brand to learn how to solve problems and improve their lives, they will spread the word of your expertise, giving you an ever-expanding audience.
After all, when people recognize your leadership, that authority will transfer to everything you sell. Of course, you should always make sure that people know you’re there to help them regardless of whether they decide to buy from you.
Of course, you always want to make sure your social media content is easy to understand and share. Still, when people get ready to buy, they often will want to get in-depth product specifications and other information. In this case, you need to make sure you have a website that supplies the additional value that is necessary to convert sales. Also, make sure you have high-visibility links on your social media profiles and within your content that people can use to easily visit your site.
To keep your audience energized and returning to your social media profile, get in the habit of periodically hosting contests where your followers can win valuable prizes. No one will want to miss such opportunities, so they’ll visit you often and, hopefully, become loyal customers.
Connect With Your Audience
When people log into their favorite social networks, they expect to socialize. Don’t disappoint them. Show the humanity of your brand by sharing links and other content with your followers, even when the material is not directly related with your brand.
Additionally, follow your customers and share and repost their content. Whenever possible, inject non-offensive humor into your social media effort. When you become part of the community, you connect with people on a personal and emotional level.
As you connect with your audience and consistently engage them, you demonstrate that your business values people more than profits. As you interact, share valuable information that solves their problems and improves their lives and careers. When the time comes when your followers need the type of products and services that you sell, they will naturally spend their money with you.
Building connections with the people in your audience requires sincerity on your part if you will ever get to know your followers. As part of your effort, make sure that you address people by their real name and reflect their style of speech as you communicate. Your goal is to form bonds that will lead to lifelong, mutually beneficial relationships.
Another important way to attract longtime followers is to avoid generic responses. Always directly address every question, concern or comment. Also, show empathy. When people see that you understand their emotions and feel their pain, they will begin to regard you and your firm as a partner and friend rather than as a business.
Remember that relationships are dynamic, not static. To put it another way: never stop after your first engagement with a follower. Instead, re-engage them by following up with them to determine their level of satisfaction and to discover what new circumstances they face. Such opportunities can give you new opportunities to reintroduce your brand to them from a new perspective.
Ask for Feedback
Buyers often trust the opinions and experiences of other buyers more than they trust your brand’s marketing messages. For this reason, online reviews can make a big difference to your bottom line.
Of course, many customers don’t instinctively leave feedback about their experience with your firm, especially if they are completely satisfied. Consequently, you might discover that you receive a disproportionate number of negative reviews. However, there are some things you can do to change that.
Simply by asking your customers to provide feedback about their experience, you can dramatically increase the number of positive reviews left for your brand. Of course, when you ask, never stipulate the nature of the feedback that you want your customers to leave.
Encourage everyone to leave honest assessments of the products and services they have received along with their recommendations for future prospective customers. Consequently, you can expect to grow and retain your social media following by having a large volume of customer-generated feedback on your social media pages.
You will inevitably receive some negative reviews as well, and it’s necessary to know how to deal with them. Express your appreciation and promise to use the provided information to improve your operation. When you follow through on such promises, you inspire loyalty by demonstrating how much you value your customers and their opinions.
Never limit the scope of the feedback to purchases. Instead, encourage your followers to suggest improvements to your product line. Also, you can ask for input regarding possible marketing strategies. If you develop your own products, you can use your social media followers as beta testers who can give you vital feedback that can help you satisfy the real-world needs and expectations of the marketplace.
Excel at Customer Service
Businesses that deliver outstanding customer service achieve a competitive edge that can lead to increased customer satisfaction and long-term growth. Still, companies suffer because they fail to give customer service a high priority. You shouldn’t let that happen to you.
As a matter of fact, social media offers a fantastic venue for your customer service strategy. After all, prospects and customers generally enjoy the ability to communicate with their favorite brands while logged onto their favorite platform. For that reason alone, you can attract many followers.
Part of customer service is responding to every message left for your company. This means that you should promptly answer every question and address every issue. As your audience recognizes your responsiveness, they will notice that your brand is different from many others.
While providing customer service online, professionalism is key. You always need to treat your followers with respect and stay calm, even when people say bad things about you, your products or your business. By demonstrating that you are always available to provide exemplary service, you will build and retain a social media following that will value your brand.
Make consistency part of your customer service strategy. For example, ensure that you and your team follow a routine schedule, so people know when they can communicate with you. Similarly, create an editorial calendar so that people can depend on finding new information on your social media on particular days or at certain times during the day.
In conclusion, the benefits of social media can give you an edge over your competitors and set the stage for long-term growth and profitability. By taking deliberate measures such as those described above, you can improve your chance of success.
In fact, simply by starting with a well-defined content marketing strategy, you can achieve much. At the same time, the time you spend executing that strategy will help you get to know your audience and put them on a path toward conversion.