Social media is undeniably a great way of putting a face and voice to a company or business and build solid relationships so that you can grow a loyal supportive community of followers for your brand. Social media enables you to respond directly to individuals. By communicating with your community on a regular, more personal basis, you demonstrate to them that their comments are not only being acknowledged but their feedback, whether constructive or otherwise, is being taken seriously, and most importantly, is appreciated.
Okay, I've got a community of people who like me, what next? What's next is getting them to rave about you so that your brand is amplified as one voice tells many. Imagine if everyone in your community brought just two more people to your website. I've formulated 5 easy steps to give you that critically acclaimed continuous flow of traffic that many a social media enthusiast craves.
1. Keeping it fresh
One of the key factors in keeping social media traffic consistent, and preferably on the increase, is to remain on trend. There is no such thing as old news! Every story has the potential to be retold in a new and exciting way. If everyone is talking about a particular topic, don't just rehash the same old facts. Find a new angle, a way to make it more targeted for your community and wow them with your fresh insight. Content curation is another approach to keeping old topics fresh. Content curation is the latest trend in social media and involves pulling together the best of the ideas and information on a topic and providing your community with easy access to them. Remember, if you show that you are knowledgeable and have researched thoroughly about the current key trends and appear up-to-date with the latest goings on, your content will not only be considered a trustworthy source, but it gives it that 'wow' factor, and that uniqueness that many find so difficult to achieve.
2. Quality over quantity
Whilst it is true that regularly updating the content on your website not only gets you valuable Google brownie points (aka SEO ranking) but also encourages your community to visit more frequently, posting poor quality articles for the sake of posting is counterproductive. The gold standard for the serious social media blogger is to post at least once a day. However, 2-3 well written articles per week is preferable to 1 good one and 4 that would score "nil point" if they were an entry in the Eurovision Song Contest! Poor quality material is a waste of everybody's time. Your community are likely to soon tire of the inconsistence in quality and tired content. The key is, not to put yourself under too much pressure if you're new to the blogging or social media scene, just enjoy yourself and immerse yourself in writing top quality material.
3. Controversial content
Freedom of speech is always encouraged in the world of social media (that's not to say go around upsetting people!). I personally really admire people who are prepared to step away form the herd and go out on to the plains in full view of the stalking predator to put across their own unique/controversial views. Most people find it refreshing being exposed to different ways of viewing things and alternative viewpoints. If your aim in social media is to attract attention and stand out from the multitudes you need to be prepared to voice a controversial/different view. Being opinionated doesn't mean you necessarily have to be offensive or show a lack of respect. However, strong convictions will generate more interest and more traffic to a webpage. The more traffic, the more likely you will gain a loyal community, who will re-visit time and time again. Your content is never going to please everyone, its personal taste at the end of the day, but you should never be afraid to speak up and put your opinion, controversial or not, forward for a discussion.
4. Acknowledgement = loyalty
People like to be appreciated and replying to comments on a personal basis demonstrates that you appreciate the individual, whilst creating solid and loyal relationships. If you ask for feedback you need to be prepared to receive the negative as well as the positive. My top 3 tips for dealing with negative feedback:
- Don't take it personally.
- Don't take it personally.
- Don't take it personally.
If you don't take it personally you can move your ego out of the way so that you see validity in their point. Their point is valid even if you disagree with it. Leaving a comment takes time and it is better to see this as an honour that they were prepared to invest some time in communicating with you, even if it wasn't what you hoped for. Remember, the more you encourage social sharing, the more willing an audience will be when promoting and sharing your content with a wider and more diverse audience across their own personal social networking sites. Social sharing buttons are a quick way to endorse the sharing of your content and also promote the work of others. Finally, don't be afraid to ask your community directly to share your content with other like-minded people who might enjoy it. Social Media is about maintaining people's interest, and keeping your community engaged. Sharing is the cement between the bricks - it holds it all together.
5. Getting the balance right
If you use language that is a chore to read, your audience will give up. Your social media content should be engaging and written at a level that is easy to rapid read. The most successful books are those written in grade 8 English, i.e. at a level that a 13-year-old could understand. This is because we are all short of time and if you use complex, difficult language, the majority of your readers will quickly give up.
To summarise, spending time building and working on relationships is imperative and arguably the most important factor when utilising social media, because once you have established that trust, you will start seeing results.