Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Murray Newlands, a reporter and host of Perform Insider TV on YouTube. A native of the UK, he runs Influence People, an international new media agency based in San Francisco.
Do you think that your brand is getting the most engagement out of your social media accounts? If you have to think about the answer then you’re not. It’s easy to post content on Facebook and tweet to customers on Twitter but not each piece of content deserves to be put out there. Taking steps to ensure that each post or tweet or blog will have the best engagement with customers is necessary. It can take lots of time but take into consideration what can save you time and boost your engagement levels.
For a small business starting out Facebook can be all the marketing they need. Placing an ad in a newspaper or television spot costs lots of money but with a Facebook page businesses have total control of the content they post. It’s easier to keep track of how people are reacting to your product as well as updating fans on news.
Use your voice
Social media can increase your market presence but it all depends on how much your audience grows to love your brand. The Facebook page is the most important social account that has potential for growth. So post content in your own voice, this isn’t a business meeting. This is what Diamond Candles, a small candle shop in North Carolina, does with their Facebook. Their posts are varied with some asking questions like “Name your favorite childhood game…and GO!” and others like “Burn, baby, burn that ring RIGHT outta there!” stand out. Fans know that there’s a person posting these that likes the candles as much as they do which is why the page has over 100,000 likes.
It’s cost effective marketing to be on Facebook. Posting content is free and you can see the feedback people give you without paying to get data. People will be honest in comments and it’s important to always interact with them. Take Naples Botanical Garden from Naples, Florida for example. They have daily conversations with their 3,000 fans. They’ll mention fans in comments like “I like the way Marti Willis thinks!” and “Thank you for all the ideas!” adding a more personal voice to their brand.
Each audience is unique so consider the way you interact with content. Build off of negative comments and improve, don’t just ignore them. Add on to the personal voice route by having a blog where the people behind the brand can share opinions. Setting one up is easy with sites like WordPress and you can offer more insight into the products they like. Don’t turn off readers by overly promoting but instead make your experience and opinion show. So make use of your voice and connect to appeal to new customers so they know your expertise and can distinguish you from the pack.
Engage with Facebook tabs and Incentives
Business can build their Facebook page up so customers can spend more time on it. You can add tabs that connect fans to an online shop, offers, photos and videos. It can help a niche audience grow in fan base that would be harder to market to. Remember Veggietales? Well, creator Phil Vischer has a new DVD series called “What’s in the Bible” that has accumulated a strong fan base through Facebook. His target audience is Bible readers so it can be hard to mass market it, but audiences can connect with it easier through Facebook. The tabs offer email signup for news, a shop and videos that can keep fans busy on the page and keep them without having to go to partner sites for information. The page currently has over 100,000 likes that have added to the success of the products.
Incentives are a way small businesses can introduce new customers to their products. Since a small businesses are new to the market offering lots of coupons and giveaways can help customers learn about the products. Diamond Candles has weekly giveaways for one of their candles where they ask for fans to tweet them with a specific quote. They have grown their loyal fan base so fans do this because they have an affinity with the brand. It takes time to build up to this loyalty but the more customers know your product, the more loyal they will be.
Cako Bakery from San Francisco has a following of over 1,000 on Facebook and uses its page to let fans know of promotions and incentives.
It has statuses that read “Like us on Facebook and get a free cupcake!” to attract new fans and keeps fans up to date on promos with posts like “Father’s day is tomorrow! If you just said ‘Oh, crap!’ don’t worry Cako is offering a special, buy 5 get the 6th free!” Notice that Cako writes in a friendly voice without making it sound impersonal.
Keeping track of your Brand
A small business team can be constantly busy but making time to update Facebook should be a priority. Just like a business answers every phone call, they should answer to every post. It’s important to know how your company is being perceived and identify new customers. Read what people are talking about and fix issues that are keeping customers away. Going through each post and managing your page can take away time from other tasks so looking to an SMM tool for help is an option. Programs like Alerti* and Infinigraph can provide social data analysis with graphs and reports as well as monitor the brand on the Internet. The prices for the programs vary but the information you get and efficiency of using social media can assist your business to stand out among competitors.
*Disclosure: Alerti is a client of Murray Newlands at Influence People.
Editor’s Note: An image previously included on this post showed a Facebook entry from a company calling for Likes, Shares and Comments as actions that would enter fans in a contest. That is a clear violation of Facebook’s terms of service related to promotions. Social Media Explorer in no way would recommend such actions from a company and apologizes the image made it past our normal watchful editorial eye. The image has been removed and the Facebook Promotional Guidelines are here for you to see.
Murray Newlands, originally from the UK in the USA on a O1 visa (alien of extraordinary ability), is a reporter for and host of Perform Insider TV. Newlands produces the popular YouTube video series future of engagement and future of publishing. He runs Influence People, an international media agency, based in San Francisco.