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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

Social Media Best Practice – To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

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Once you have created great content, the question becomes what do you do with it? In addition to direct marketing and web campaigns, you should be using content to help build your social media following. However, that doesn’t mean you use the same content in the same manner on every channel.

It amazes me that many companies consider social media an extension of their brand strategy, but they don’t take the time to consider how to use each channel. Just throwing a blog post up on Facebook or tweeting about your research report is just social media spam. The best approach is to use your content to engage rather than bombard your target audience. And that means using each social media channel differently to reach your target market.

There are too many social media channels to discuss in a single blog post, so let’s take a look at the big four:

  1. Facebook – Everybody engages on Facebook, mostly because of its size. According to CNET, Facebook had 1.06 billion (with a b) active users per month. PC World is a little more conservative, ranking Facebook first with 693 million active users, Google Plus second with 343 million active users, and Twitter with 288 million active users. However, Facebook has a certain way to engage with followers. You want to post information that promotes commentary and builds Likes to expand your brand reach. The best way to build a following is to excerpt you best content in a way that consistently engages followers. This doesn’t mean posting everything, but be judicious, be clever, and talk to your followers. Also remember that Facebook is largely a social medium for consumers, although it does have some value for B2B.
  2. Twitter – Many marketers don’t think much about Twitter. After all, how much information can you squeeze into 140 characters? The value of microblogging is not just in the number of followers (I know that I dip in and out of the Twitterverse at random), but in searchable content. Many people go to Twitter looking for information that is trending or for specific information. As I write this, the hashtag #THingsGirlsLike is the top trend. If you can logically map your content to a trend, or create a searchable presence using keywords, you can make Twitter work for you.
  3. LinkedIn – LinkedIn is one of the oldest social networks and has evolved well beyond the role of job search. LinkedIn has become a terrific tool to connect with other professionals, research new companies and potential customers, and exchange ideas through specialty forums. For B2B marketing, LinkedIn can be an incredibly powerful tool. Sharing compelling content with connections and forums can start conversations that can lead to new business.
  4. Google Plus – Google’s social network is the newest social network and has a different approach. To gain a real understanding of how Google+ works you might check out Guy Kawasaki’s book, What the Plus! Like Facebook, Google Plus lets you share content with your followers, but you have more control over who sees your content. You can set up circles of contacts that matter to you, such as current customers, friends, or prospects, which gives you more control over the kind of content you share. And Google Plus has added the concept of “hangouts” where you can invite followers to an interactive video/voices session, either one on one or as part of a group. I have already seen actors promote movies with hangout meetups, and even the President has used hangouts for an interactive town hall meeting. It’s a great way to use content to move to a one-on-one engagement with your audience.

The real value of any social media channel, of course, is reach. Your objective is to use content to get your brand message in front of more people. You want to tap friends of friends, get people to retweet, share LinkedIn content, or get others to share your posts with others in your circle or hangout. Building a brand following is a matter of delivering compelling, creative content to the right audience, in the right format, so they keep coming back for more.

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Written by Tom Woolf

February 27th, 2013 at 1:58 am