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Don’t be a copycat to boost social media shares

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Wondering why you aren’t getting more shares from your Facebook posts and blogs and re-tweets on Twitter? Maybe despite all your efforts to engage with customers, your content is missing the mark. After all, it’s not always easy to understand exactly what motivates followers when some of the most popular social media content involves cats and bacon, according to Marketo. The marketing automation firm estimates that there are 30,400,000 searches for cats each month on Google and 6, 120,000 for bacon – the sizzling kind not the actor.

However tempting it might be to populate your social media with lots of cute cats and bacon recipes, they aren’t going to do much to increase your sales over the long run, unless you’re Friskies or Hormel. You need to understand what motivates followers to share. A study conducted by the New York Times of 2500 medium/heavy online sharers indicated that:

  • 49 percent say sharing allows them to inform others of products they care about and potentially change opinions or encourage action.
  • 94 percent consider how the information they share will be useful to the recipient
  • 68 percent share to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about.
  • 73 percent share information because it helps them connect with others who share their interests
  • 78 percent share information online because it lets them stay connect3ed to people they may not otherwise stay in touch with
  • 69 percent share information because it makes them feel more involved in the world
  • 84 percent share because it is a way to support causes or issues they care about

Plan ahead

Now that you know what motivates followers to share, put your content plan in place. Start by knowing exactly who your audience is and what they find of interest. Don’t make assumptions. Check out some of your competitor’s sites, if necessary, to see what they are posting and how well it’s being received.

Create an editorial calendar for content and stick with it.  You can supplement scheduled posts with other content as it becomes available – news or market reports for example. Also don’t spread yourself too thin. If you don’t have time to populate every social media channel with content, pick the ones that are most popular with your targets.

Take stock of interactions. Your followers will tell you what is meaningful to them by commenting and asking questions.

 

 

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Written by Barbara Kohn

March 19th, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Follow Me! Converting Social Media Leads

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I have been receiving a lot of spam messages lately from hucksters offering to sell me Facebook “Likes.” The most common come-on is $60 for 600 Likes:

Addition of 600 REAL Worldwide Facebook Fans’ “Likes” for $60

- All Likes/Fans Will Be a Mix Of Male And Female Real random Worldwide People.

- Likes/Fans come from real active people from our Facebook applications(~400) and websites(~200).

So is your online loyalty worth a dime? I think it’s worth more than just $0.10.

True online followers want to read what you have to say, and comment. They are engaged because you have given them something interesting and informative and entertaining that keeps them coming back for more. Your followers are putting a degree of trust in the online experience they will get from following you, which means you need to work to honor that trust by providing content worth reading.

Of course, lead generation and revenue generation have to be a priority for any social media campaign, but if you use hard-selling content, you won’t attract many followers, and you won’t keep the ones you have already acquired. You need to give followers a reason to follow you; you want to attract prospects and nurture them until they are ready to buy from you. Remember that no one is sold a product, but they will buy a solution that solves their problem.

Why is social media so valuable for lead generation for a number of reasons:

  • It’s basically free
  • Your prospects are self-selecting; you are attracting pre-interested parties.
  • It’s viral. Like attracts like, so your followers are likely to share with their followers so you social media base could start growing geometrically (if you entice them with interesting content).
  • It’s intimate. Social media gives you an opportunity to get closer to your prospects than direct mail, advertising, or any other vehicle. You can see what they respond to, talk to them directly through comments and Likes, and get a true understanding of where their interest lie.

How do you convert social media fans into paying customers?

Not all Facebook followers are created equal. Some are qualified prospects who ultimately will buy from you. Others may know qualified customers. Still others are just interested fans, but you never know who they know. So how do you convert followers into customers?

  1. Understand where social media falls in your sales process. If you are using content correctly, then you are using Facebook and other channels to herd followers into your sales process. To do that you need to understand how social media generates leads. Do you need to offer a gift of coupon for a trial? Do you need to get them to a webinar? What mechanisms do you need to apply to incite your followers to become active prospects?
  2. Remove any obstacles to lead conversion. Don’t make it hard to go from social media to a more direct interaction. Use easy to complete landing pages, e-book downloads, white papers, case studies, and other mechanisms that make it easy to ask for more information, and ultimately a sales call.
  3. Offer baby steps for soft conversion. Don’t use a full-court press to convert followers. Let them get to know you better at their own pace. Offer softer conversion mechanisms, such as giving up an email and no more. Maintain the trust you nurtured through social media throughout the sales process.
  4. Treat your fans with greater respect than traditional leads. Your followers are used to valuable content from you. Respect that and continue to provide value and insightful information that directs them to a buying decision. Be prepared to engage, answer questions, overcome objections, and convert the fan to a lead, without hitting them over the head with a sales message. They will tell you when they are ready to migrate into the traditional sales channel.
  5. Measure the results and refine the program. Determine what content and social media channels are working for you. Specific messages and social media outlets will yield better quality results and remove barriers to entry into the sales process faster. Identify them and measure them.

Starting with quality content to help prospects make a decision to become followers is the first step. Once they become followers you have the opportunity to talk to them, nurture them, and persuade them to become customers. And no matter who your followers are, they all have value because you never know why they are following you, or who they might know. And treat your social media followers like gold, because that’s what they’re really worth, not just a measly dime.

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Written by Tom Woolf

September 20th, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Ten content tips to drive engagement on Facebook

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Spark the conversation with Facebook and drive visitors to your website       

“Think of social sites as trade show booths. They’re excellent places to spark conversation, find new leads, and spread the word about what you do. But you still have an office where the main work gets done. That’s your primary site. Keep it …well primary.”

That’s how Copyblogger describes the value of Facebook as part of your content strategy. While Facebook is a great place to engage with your customers and prospects, get feedback on your products and services and share your company’s personality and brand value, you get the most out of it when your posts bring followers back to your web site. There you want to build the engagement with quality content – articles, blog, videos, and infographics – to keep visitors on your site longer and keep them coming back.

Get more Facebook likes and followers

So if you are going to use Facebook to attract more visitors to your website, here are 10 ways to get more likes and more followers:

  • Post often: Data from SocialBakers, a social media analytics platform, indicates that the ideal number for brands is 5 to 10 posts per week. You may find different figures, but posting once a week is definitely not going to build an engagement.
  • Keep posts brief: According to Facebook, posts less than 250 characters generate more interaction and 60% more likes, comments and shares than posts greater than 250 characters.
  • Vary your data: It’s a cliché but variety is the spice of life. That applies to social media engagement as well. Mix up your posts with text, links, images (followers like images; use lots of them), products and even graphs and video to maintain follower interest.
  • Offer relevant and shareable content:  Focus on more than your products and services. Be a reliable source about what’s happening in your market and industry. That includes breaking news on your Facebook page that is relevant to followers or featuring quotes and comments from other industry sources, including your customers/clients and partners.
  • Like other pages: As part of being a resource, like other pages related to your business or industry.
  • Provide tips: Ask someone from the industry or choose an expert on your team provide a weekly tip or suggestion via text or video.
  • Ask questions and ask for opinions: Get your followers more involved in your business. Ask them about new products/services they’d like to see. Ask them how they feel about developments in your market. Get their opinions on events or developments in your marketplace.
  • Guest posts: Ask clients and customers to contribute notable items and photos or interview an industry expert.
  • Employee stories: Let your followers know what your company is all about. Share photos from staff events; post videos to showcase staff expertise; celebrate promotions and other events in the lives of your staff.
  • Surveys: Ask fan to vote on something or conduct a survey. You also can share most commonly asked questions.

These are just some content ideas to grow your Facebook followers and keep them engaged. What content have you found effective in getting and keeping more Facebook?

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Written by Barbara Kohn

February 19th, 2013 at 3:08 pm