How To Utilize Social Media To Work For Your Business The benefit for any marketing campaign in utilizing social media is to promote the brand value. Social media provides access to large group of people who are actively online. But the challenge for most organizations is how can a brand infuse itself into the social media arena and be accepted. Additionally, enable the social media audience to promote the brand, drive awareness and ultimately become a loyalist. It begins by truly understanding the social media arena, who are the people on the social sites, what do they do, how do they behave, what are they looking to do and how can you become part of the world?
In the social media platforms today, (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace) people are attracted to these site because its away for them to communicate with people the like, about the things they want to talk about – not necessarily your brand. And all social media site have both active participates and passive participants. The active participates (lets called them the influencers) primarily set the tone, and drive the core behaviors and conversation by been relevant to the audience needs. So, to be successful in a social media environment the brand has to essentially influence the influencers.
Which means first identify the influencers and get the people (to love your brand) and to support you by talking about the brand and get them to convert or acquire new and additional fans for you. The ways to do this is constantly look for and recognize your brand champions among your fan base, reward them for been good citizens and give them things for them to do or tools for them to use to help spread the word about your brand. Additionally, it should be your way of telling your fans that you care and that you are listening to them and appreciate their contribution.
Below are 8 things that you can do today to engage with the “likes” on Facebook and build loyalty with your fans:
1. Develop a clear and targeted message for a specific audience:
You need to have a better understanding of your Facebook fans. To do this, I suggest spending time looking at Facebook’s page insights. It will enable you to determine the ages, gender, and locations of your existing fans. And start to see the demographic breakdown in order to focus your messages. And begin to talk to audience segments in your post copy such as: “A good morning shout out to our Philadelphia fans”). By targeting your posts, you are been relevant in your message and you will see that your “Philly” fans will engage.
2. Be active member and show the fans that you care:
Everyday find ways to tell your fans that you appreciate them and their support. Send special offers maybe once a week to thank them for supporting you. Offer recognition badges and/or a special “club” status that comes with discounts. Invite them to publish guest posts/videos on owned properties; let them have the microphone. Ask questions in your wall posts is one of the best ways to engage your fans. By asking questions, you increase your reach and turn fans into loyal participants.
3. Respond to posts by your fans (the good and the bad):
Human beings want interaction; they want to engage with the brand, they want to know you, understand you and they themselves want to be understood by you. You’re not the only one who is seeking interaction! So, when the fans post questions, make comments respond to those comments. Tell them that you are there listening to them, that you care. There is nothing more discouraging to a fan than a lack of response to a question, compliment, or complaint — especially since they have opened up the communication channel by liking you on the Facebook page.
4. Give them things to think about and talk about: serve up new content regularly:
Your Facebook fan page should be a regular destination place for the fans. It should be a live, and dynamic community. Leverage the many Facebook tools: photos, videos, audio, polls, notes, discussions, reviews, and custom tabs. Keep new content flowing regularly to keep engagement.
5. So appreciation: thank your fans for liking you:
The greatest human hunger is to be appreciated and to be understood; once you accomplish this, all the barriers in the communication dialog are removed. You should regularly thank your fans. It’s important to acknowledge their willingness to form this two-way communication channel. If it’s possible, send out a wall post thanking your new fans once a month. Acknowledging your new fans can add to the loyalty factor in a big way.
6. Encourage your fans to share content:
Fans’ sharing content with their friends is the ideal situation that you want to accomplish; because in return you gain new fans. And it is a way to strengthen your relationship with existing fans. By asking fans to share content, you are making them a partner in your world. This is what will increase loyalty. But, understand that only a small percentage of your fans will share without some form of an incentive. Decide if you want to provide an incentive, to whom you and when. This can be random incentives that run for a few hours, or a contest that runs for a few weeks. They key is to mange this because too often will lose its steam. I encourage organizations that are actively communicating with their fans on Facebook to develop a custom tab within their Facebook fan page or a custom application. The custom tab allows a brand to provide a controlled place to interact with fans without leaving the boundaries of Facebook. The custom tab gives you more control on how you manage, display and capture the responses and/or data.
7. Always be looking for better ways to engage: stay on top of the competition
You may want to “like” your competitors’ fan pages. Visit them weekly. Look at how they are interacting and how their fans are interacting with them. Study the complete fan experience so you can see exactly how to make it better for your fans. Ask yourself if your competitors are doing this on your fan page.
8. Always track & measure:
Utilize a combination of Facebook insights, web tracking tools like Google analytics, and daily aggregations of posting, comments and fans counts to see how social media is impacting your bottom-line sales. Start to understand which influencers are the most active, and which influence the highest percentage of sales — and reward them. See which campaign worked the best to influence the influencers, and which did not work with your biggest fans. And just like with other marketing campaigns, you need to monitor and look for ways to continuously find efficiency. Learn what works, what doesn’t, and plan for the future in order to create lasting and effective programs.
Building an effective and scalable Facebook marketing channel is more than acquiring fans. It requires time, experimentation, and a focus on metrics to turn a new fan into an active and loyal one. Most organizations spend a lot of time and money in getting customers to “like” them. By implementing some of the strategies above, they will come loyalist.