One condition is necessary for small-business social media marketing to be effective: your company’s social communities must be engaged.
Unfortunately, many companies make the mistake of prioritizing visibility way ahead of engagement. Though whether 10 fans or 10,000 see your social media posts, you won’t generate any leads or sales unless those fans are engaged — that is, interested in your brand and enthusiastic about your products and services.
Here are four tips for increasing engagement in your social media fan base:
1. Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
In March 2015, comScore reported 187.5 million Americans own smartphones — nearly 80 percent market penetration. Plus, one of America’s favorite smartphone activities is spending time on social media sites.
To achieve social media engagement, you must provide a seamless mobile experience for users who go from your social media pages to your website. If you are posting links to product pages and special offer pages, and users have to deal with a mobile-unfriendly website, they will not convert.
Features of a mobile-friendly website, which are best built using responsive Web design, have a variety of important characteristics, including simple navigation, brief content, easy online ordering, and simple design with plenty of white space.
Bonus tip: Make your smartphone conversion-friendly! If you are talking to customers in store, at a convention or other business function, they may see something they like on your social media pages and want to order now. If your phone accepts mobile payments, you can close the sale immediately rather than leave it to chance.
2. Run Exclusive Social Media Specials
When your website is mobile-friendly, you’re ready to launch special offers that drive social media traffic to your website. Many companies build engagement with exclusive social media offers, because they encourage people to connect and, more importantly, pay attention.
Offers need not be unique to each of your social media sites because fans are likely to connect with you in more than one place. The important thing is to make the offer irresistible. In addition to social media exclusivity, what are the elements of an irresistible offer?
- Substantial value
- Easy to understand
- Limited availability or deadline to order
- Visually engaging presentation
- Easy for user to buy, sign up, or otherwise convert
Don’t be discouraged if your first offer or two fall flat. Repetition and patience are key to social media marketing, as it may take fans a while to “get into the groove” of your promotional approach, or they simply may not be in the market yet.
3. Get Your Fans Talking
Not every fan likes to talk to companies on social media, but many do. The talkers are your secret weapons for conversion, because their conversation is a powerful third-party endorsement for your company, products and services. Examples of ways to get fans talking:
- Asking questions: How do you like our products, how do you use our products, what ideas do you have for new products, how can we improve our products, etc.
- Invite fans to upload or submit photos of them using your products, or using them in unique ways.
- Post an online quiz, offering prizes to the first 10 correct respondents.
- Send fans a free product and invite them to review it on your social media page(s).
As these examples suggest, introducing a fun factor to your social media communication helps spark conversation. Always keep in mind, social media is mainly a recreational medium. If you’re all work and no play, fans will gravitate elsewhere.
When fans speak, listen and respond. There is no greater turnoff to a customer or prospect than the feeling that a company doesn’t care. Quite the contrary: today’s consumers and business buyers want to feel like they are your only customers.
If someone asks you a question on social media, publicly or through a private message, your answer should be prompt, personal, thorough and thoughtful. People will not only appreciate — and perhaps be flattered by — your response, they are likely to tell their social communities how great you are.
Rapid response, like the other three tips, takes time and an investment. However, social media, like any other form of marketing, is far from free, despite what so-called gurus may claim.
The good news is, when you put an effort into social engagement, you will be rewarded with motivated fans, leads and orders.
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