Although it is easy to stick with Facebook and Twitter and follow the obvious steps towards building an online presence, rebooting your social media strategy is sometimes what you really need to do in order to prevent things from going stale. For most companies, expanding their online presence with the help of social media simply means setting up Facebook and Twitter fan pages, posting occasionally and reacting calmly to negative comments. However, you need to expand on the above if you really want your company to stand out online. You do need to have a website first before anything else. Makes sense, right? Yup. and if you are not familiar on how to create websites or how to design one, there are always web development outsourcing companies out there that can give you a hand.
It is common sense to at least try and sound like a human being rather than a corporation yet so many organizations hire ghostwriters and the personal touch is lost. While outsourcing is often necessary for larger companies, they need to be strict with the messages that do get posted as the idea is to establish a rapport with visitors to your social media sites and the only way to do that is by engaging them in conversation and answering their queries with genuine concern.
Automating the entire process to save time is also tempting but can backfire spectacularly as the owner of one marketing firm found. He tried to send automated welcome messages on Twitter but got reported for sending spam! Above all else, never post fake comments or reviews about your own company. A New York company tried this but their IP address was tracked and it was fined $300,000 because employees posted false positive reviews without admitting that they were part of the company.
Increase Your Fan Base
A Connecticut fruit basket seller offered coupons for free chocolate-dipped fruit for the first 100,000 people to become fans of the company on Facebook. Unsurprisingly, every single coupon was snapped up within a few days with many of these fans becoming long-term customers of the company while overall sales increased dramatically. When the cost of the merchandise and advertising are taken into account, it was a very expensive exercise but it worked! Your company may not have the resources to do something similar but you can try and do it for free. A bookstore in Oregon tried asking for Facebook and Twitter fans outside its store and managed to increase followers of both accounts twentyfold! Not all can work, an owner of a bakery tried using mylife.com and found that although the service was interesting, it really did not serve its purpose. Hence the reason why he asked for a MyLife.com Refund.
Increase Customer Input
Modern customers love nothing more than to have their opinions heard. Give them a voice by conducting a Q&A session online using sites such as Mahalo, Yelp and Yahoo! Answers, Google+ hangouts or even in your own website. Yelp in particular is a handy resource as it contains millions of business reviews. You can set up an account for free and answer questions about your business while discovering how many people are viewing your page. You can use the popularity of Yahoo! Answers to your advantage by asking and answering questions related to your industry. Since anyone can ask or answer a question, the standard of replies is typically low so a well-thought out answer stands out. Do this often enough and you could become an industry authority.
Mahalo allows people to post questions and offers cash to the person who gives the best answer. Use this to ask important questions about your company that can be answered by customers for a $50+ reward. You are pretty much guaranteed to draw a huge number of respondents who will think long and hard about an answer and may well provide some insight into your target market as an added bonus.
Be An Active Poster
Research suggests that the most active companies online when it comes to posting comments and replying to customers are also the most successful. This makes sense since the modern consumer wants to be listened to and expects their voice to be heard. The Facebook Fan Page is the prime example of how to market a company through social media. If you use this tool correctly, it will give you a closer connection with your customers and target audience than ever before. When Facebook users become ‘fans’ of your page, all of your company’s Facebook activity will appear in their News Feed.
Clearly, this is extremely beneficial because it keeps your company in the spotlight but by the same token you can’t post new comments every 2 minutes as this will only irritate your fans. They don’t want company updates to flood their Feed as it may cause them to miss out on items posted by their friends. You should also use the Insights tool on Facebook because it helps you to see how many people view your page and News Feed posts.
The above may seem to be disparate tips but they all have one thing in common: You need to be more active on social media networking sites. Although we can’t guarantee that the effort you put in will be rewarded, we can guarantee that doing little or nothing will lead to outright failure.
image credit: SmashingMagazine.com