Someone recently plowed into the mailbox in front of my house. I decided to replace it with a similar model. I was so familiar with this mailbox (so I thought) I barely glanced at the instructions. As I approached the end of my project, I realized I was holding pieces that should have gone in along the way.
This example serves as the backdrop for the social media experience created by many aloof businesses. They assume that traditional marketing tactics will readily translate over to the social media framework – a huge mistake. As you look to strengthen your presence here, it is imperative to install the appropriate pieces for this particular environment. Understand that people largely participate in social media for fun. They are there for a brief respite and to connect with those relevant in their life.
So if you’ve discovered that you’re not picking up followers or find that no one will “like” your company’s page, it may be time to examine whether you’re leaving out the parts people want.
Here are a few pieces you may have been looking for:
ContestsKeep the audience coming back with short-cycle contests. Make entry for prizes incredibly easy; no forms, no logging in – just a “like” or “retweet” in order to participate. Be sure the prizes are attractive enough to generate the buzz you seek. As you create contests, avoid the type that declares winners after many months or a year. The absence of intervening incentives will inevitably cause you to lose the attention you wish to maintain.
CouponsReward followers with generous coupons - exclusive to your social networks. The goal is to make your audience feel like they’re members of an exclusive club where real savings come with participation. If they happen to see the same offer from your company in the newspaper, it really doesn’t feel special anymore. Finally, push your coupons to the next level by providing free items or services (not free with other purchase, just free) – the buzz will be incredible.
EntertainmentLose the virtual shirt and tie and relax a bit in this environment. Have some fun and provide your followers with a little entertainment. You can do things like post the joke of the day, viral videos, funny stories from your industry and much more. Just be sure that these fun posts are clean and family-friendly.
Informative TipsDraw the audience in by creating posts that contain relevant tips, ideas and even trivia. The goal is to become a trusted resource for all things (insert your specialty here). Providing fresh, insightful tidbits may prove to be a lifesaver for you and your social media following.
At this point, I’ve yet to mention much about “selling” within social media. That’s because it should be done intermittently. In other words, you shouldn’t view social media purely as an advertising vehicle. My belief is that it works best as a public-relations/marketing hybrid.
Walter Dailey is a marketing speaker and proven creative professional. He’s the lead consultant and executive producer for Dailey Sound Vector Media, a creative services organization that specializes in commercial, jingle and marketing campaign development for small businesses throughout the US. Ask Walter your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org