You can have a thousand friends on Facebook, and 10,000 Likes, but what do they mean? If you’re running a social media campaign for your brand, how do you convert “Likes” to sales, friends to customers? The whole idea behind setting up a successful brand page on Facebook, and of course getting ‘Likes’ is to truly engage with your best fans – your loyal followers, your brand believers. If you are able to identify – and cultivate – people out there who are genuinely interested in your products or services, they will in some way or another tell others about it. And, eventually, with the trickle down, and with friends trusting friends etc – your following increases – and your chances of selling and moving product gets better.
One way of genuinely engaging your target audience via social media include finding out what your target customers are interested in and then talking to them about it. That’s “content marketing” and this emerging leader in the tools of the trade game is showing up as one of the strongest performing channels – a very close second to e-mail. Yes, brands that are becoming “content publishers” – providing engaging, interesting content are winning the game. When you find it difficult to hard sell – and social media is not for hard sell anyways – creating and publishing content is a great tool.
Content is a great trust tool. If you provide value addition via content, people get to trust your brand. They find your brand and everything they associate with it relevant to their space. They end up trusting your product, believing in it. You get to the top of the top-of-mind position.
Another way is to ask your customers, your target audience about what they really want from you as a brand, or from your product or your industry. When you ask your ‘audience’ what they want to hear, you’re playing their hits, they’ll listen without hesitation – because it’s theirs, not yours. It’s relevant, and meaningful. That’s engagement, not monologue. If you are able to talk to your audience about what their interests are – and then build (or revise) your profile, your benefits around that dialog, you’ve got a winning strategy.
Lead them to where they want to go, not where you think they should. Follow their interests, listen to them, see what they’re really clicking through to, and provide a destination, a result that they want to see, to experience. If you are offering information on a new feature on a camera, no point taking them to a home page. If you’re selling a low-interest car loan, don’t take them to the Financing section on your bank site – take them to a page on the loan and a form that they can apply on.
Hard sell is the last thing you should be doing on social media. Think about it, you don’t go over to a friend’s place for dinner and start selling him your golf set. Friends don’t like that. If you’ve really gotten into “social” media, please do be social. Engage them, tell them a story, provide some information, share a joke, show them an interesting video. You can sell the product downstream.
And, finally, social is about shared experiences. If they genuinely “Like” what you have for them, they’ll tell friends, and friends will tell their friends, and like that it rolls forward. Make what you say easily shareable. If it genuinely adds value, brings a smile to someone’s face, causes a positive reaction – they’ll share it. But it’s your job to make that process easy. Provide all the buttons, the links, the encouragement. And, of course, the right stuff.
First posted on Innovations Digital blog. At Innovations_Digital, a digital marketing agency in Dubai, we work closely with our clients to harness the power of social media.