Could you name half of the people you follow on Twitter? Ok, go!
...I'm guessing all you could come up with was Oprah and Nike? Perhaps there's a brand or two that really stands out in your mind because they've interacted with you and tend to post more stimulating content then the average tweeter. Those are the accounts I want to focus on, and how to make your brand become a community rather than a pool of unconscious followers. Yes, having 20,000 followers provides credibility in a sense, but that can only take you so far.
Image from Flickr
"Twitter is like the 'live TV' of social media," according to Founding Editor of Marketing Land, Danny Sullivan. "If you're not tuned in to catch the live tweet then you've missed it." This no longer applies for just Twitter. Unless you're paying to play on Facebook, your chances of reaching a follower of your page organically is slim to none.
Stop collecting followers to lose them at hello. These four strategies will turn your social presence from an unfertilized farm of dead leads to a field of blooming customers and brand promoters.
#1: Ignite Your Content with Humor, Spunk and Personality
It's called SOCIAL media for a reason folks! All too often I see brands using the same messaging style on their social channels as they do in their email marketing and paid search campaigns. You wouldn't wear the same outfit to a family barbeque as the one you'd wear to a wedding, right? Frankly, you also shouldn't be wearing the same outfit (or writing the same content) on your social channels as your email blasts. You're reaching people in different mindsets looking to relax, unwind and kill time. On social media, people are often looking to be entertained so your copy should do just that. You'll also want to consider each social channel as its own unique community because your LinkedIn followers and Pinterest followers are not in the same mindset, even if they overlap. You might need to do some testing to figure out the right style that resonates with each audience, but regardless, spend time making sure your copy is infused with personality.
BarkBox is easily one of my favorite social accounts to follow because all of their posts are hysterical and entertaining. The majority of their content features an adorable pup with a tagline reading the dog's mind. Just look at the example below.
#2: Tell a Powerful Story
One way to really stand out is through a charitable, inspirational or emotional component. How do you do this? Through the art of storytelling. I could go and on as to why storytelling is so incredibly powerful to the human mind, but all you really need to know is that our brains value stories over all else. We have to be taught to not fall for anecdotal evidence because of how compelled we are to stories. It's just in our nature!
So, how can you tell a story when you only have 140 character on Twitter? Well, you can't, but you can compel the reader with engaging tidbits from a story that will leave them wanting more, and therefore leaving the platform to go to your site.
Charity:water continuously knocks it out of the park with their heartstring-pulling stories. Of course their business model easily allows for this, as their mission is to provide clean drinking water to every person in the world. Regardless of their strong cause, they are phenomenal at marketing their brand on social media. The stories they tell range from a 5th grader raising thousands and thousands of dollars to provide clean drinking water for children like him rather than asking for a birthday present, to a simple posts like the one below showing some of the lives of people the cause was able to drastically improve. Charity:water's social presence has a way of spurring their audience to get involved, whether it be through a birthday campaign or spontaneous donation.
Of course, not all of us have a strong cause like charity:water although any industry should be able to tell a moving story. Let's say you're a B2B marketer for software. Utilize your happiest customers to tell their stories of how your software helped take their small business to the next level. Perhaps your software saved them from losing their biggest client or led to a special moment of recognition from their manager. Draw out those powerful quotes, and tell them an engaging, emotion-provoking manner.
Moral of the story? We can't all be charity:water, but we can find ways to tell emotional or inspirational stories to our social followers to truly intrigue them and leave them wanting more.
#3: Make Your Social Media Channels More Social
Again, the word SOCIAL in social media needs to not be misconstrued. You need to make sure your social channels are having conversations rather than just automatically pushing out content. There's nothing more disheartening then tweeting to a brand that turns a blind eye. You must respond to every inquiry and mention of your brand.
If someone messages your company page on LinkedIn or comments on your Instagram photo they expect a response, even it's just a general statement. It's common courtesy, people! Check out the example from the Nike Women account - whoever is managing their Twitter is insanely fast at replying to the several fans that tweet at their handle often.
Another example I love is this tweet below I spotted from Expedia, which shows how to post content that spurs interaction. They partnered with dating app Tinder, where you swipe right if you find someone attractive and left if you're not interested, to create this ingenious quiz. It's the same swipe concept as Tinder, but rather than matching you with a romantic interest, it matches you with a travel destination. Very clever!
A few more tips to become more conversational on social media.
- Craft conversation content: This comes in the form of questions or thought-provoking statements that evoke a response.
- Join community chats: Use hashtags to join social conversations or participate in LinkedIn discussions within relevant groups. I try to participate in my industry's most well-known live chat, #ppcchat, on Twitter every Tuesday, and every chat I gain a few new followers, and have even formed relationships with regulars (I've met a few in person at industry conferences!). These interactions not only help build your follower base, but they build your brand and could lead to critical relationships.
- Assign a social media first responder: You need an employee who's able to track and respond to queries in a reasonable amount of time, ideally within an hour, especially if there's issues involving product quality, satisfaction, and finances. It will reflect incredibly poorly in a response isn't made in a timely manner, and bad customer service can kill a brand completely.
If you actually want your social media efforts to pay off, then you need to stop focusing in on follower growth, and start focusing on how you're treating your current follower base. By following these steps, you'll gain the followers that actually matter to the growth of your brand.