The Importance of Increasing Relevant Engagement
There are two things that often happen to marketers who incorporate social media into their marketing strategy. The first is that they try to gather as many followers as possible. The second is that the followers they gather don’t have a vested interest in their brand. The reality is that social media is a game of quality versus quantity. What’s the use of getting 100 followers when 98 of them aren’t the right followers?
It’s difficult to ignore the follower count when it’s prominently displayed on most social sites. And although it may look like the larger the number is better, this isn’t always the case. In the early days of social media, users were much more active in their networks, but the concept of ‘following’ has changed. Today, only a portion of followers are active: Twitter has 320 million users with an estimated total number of registered users at 1.3 billion. Even so, how many of the 320 million are actually engaging with brands?
While it would be nice to create a Facebook or Twitter page and get qualified prospects to magically follow us but it doesn’t generally work that way. Let’s look at some practical and effective ways to develop a following in social media – and more importantly, develop the right kind of following.
Gaining the Right Followers by Monitoring the Competition
At its best, social media builds customer advocacy, drives traffic, and converts sales. And one way to ensure that this actually happens is by tapping into a fan base that’s already established – the fan base of your competitors.
Leading companies succeed because they are good networkers. They take advantage of the fact that the followers of their competitors are, in reality, their own target audience. On Twitter, they look for conversations that are taking place with prospective buyers, and then they swoop in at the most opportune time. With LinkedIn, they engage in conversations in groups and forums (see below) and vie for the attention of potential buyers which the competition has their eyes set on as well..
An engagement tactic: providing customer service to get the right followers
Leading companies are providing customer service in social media – a smart way to carve out social media real estate. According to NM Incite, 71% of consumers who experience positive social customer care are likely to recommend the brand to others. This means that customer service is a powerful technique used in an effort to reach out to social consumers. By using social media for customer care, brands are setting the stage for gaining more of the right followers – because they are demonstrating attentiveness and are offering something of value.
The following is a list of 5 methods that will work to not only grow your audience but will also work to help you gain the right followers.
Create and join groups and forums
By creating or joining a group relevant to your market, you can work to provide helpful and informative advice to members. A good reason to be in a forum is to participate in discussions, but the main reason is to get the right followers. By ensuring that you aren’t shamelessly promoting your content but sharing valuable insights, you can gain credibility from those you build dialogue with. This will get your name out there and entice qualified followers to join your own LinkedIn page.
Conduct polls and surveys
When it comes to social media, most audiences are very vocal and provide their opinion whenever they see an opportunity. This is why conducting polls and surveys is a great way to show that you are genuinely interested in their opinions. When others see that you are ‘rating’ a brand, some want to do jump in and do the same. This is a great way to gain more followers – provide a platform on which to give others a voice.
Hashtags do a great job at making it easy for users to find more of what they are looking for. Hashtags are a great way to be found based on areas of interest. Gaining genuine followers could be accomplished by letting users join in on conversations that are found through specific keywords and phrases on social sites like Facebook and Instagram.
Responding quickly and thoroughly
When we intervene as close as possible to the time of the conversation, customers are more responsive because they are going through the motions at that moment. By ensuring that you respond quickly to people’s comments, you are showing others that you are available and care about your customer base. By responding thoroughly, you show audiences that you have their best interests in mind.
Choosing the right channels
Deciding on which social media network you want to grow a following in is an important part of your marketing strategy. The last thing you want to be doing is dedicating a load of time and effort (and money) into growing a following within a channel only to find out that your ideal customers are not there. Measure efforts against each other to determine where you achieve the most success and work within the boundaries of the channels which have followers that are genuinely interested in what you have to say.
Turning social media users into qualified leads
It’s important to understand that users in different social networks often have different reasons for being there. That’s why sometimes followers won’t be compelled to convert on LinkedIn, but will be via Facebook. This means that you have to determine which network is most likely to convert followers into qualified leads. By gathering insights and granular data on your successes and failures, you can determine what kind of messages to craft across each channel.
How effective is your social media strategy? Do you have a random or dedicated following on social media?