There are 845 million monthly active Facebook users. Those users produce 2.7 billion likes and comments per day.
It’s no longer a novel idea for organizations to participate in social media. Nowadays, consumers expect every organization – large or small, nonprofit or for-profit – to at least have Facebook and Twitter pages. That means the social media landscape is crammed with more brands than consumers can keep up with. Even if a lot of people “like” you, chances are most of your posts and tweets fall on deaf ears. Today, we’ll look at how you can become a preferred brand in the social media space and make your message heard.
Users spend an average of 7 hours on Facebook each month – not nearly enough time to keep up with all brands they follow.
Between all the social media channels and all the activity on them, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to absorb information. As a result, consumers – both consciously and unconsciously – are taking large social circles (all the organizations and people you like on Facebook or follow on Twitter) and whittling them down to inner circles or groups (this very idea is the concept behind Google+). They create preferred groups based on the perceived value of the information provided by individuals and organizations.
Example: An individual may like 100 organizations on Facebook, but only actively seek out information from five (5) of those organizations. The other 95 have a chance of catching their attention, but those five have the advantage of being preferred brands in the inner social circle.
In a world of social media clutter, consumers only have the time and capacity to develop a strong bond with a handful of brands. So how can your organization create a close relationship and crack into the top few?
Here are five ways to develop strong bonds with consumers and position your brand in their inner social media circles:
Provide VALUABLE CONTENT
The key to breaking into consumer inner social circles is giving your followers something they perceive to be valuable. That may be information, resources, links, deals, coupons, products or services depending on your organization and audience. Don’t just post – post with a purpose. A valuable post will get consumers involved with your brand and keep them coming back. Make your social media content valuable enough to create audience anticipation.
- For-profit: Provide exclusive daily deals on Facebook and Twitter
- Nonprofit: Promote a new individual/project to help each week
Spark CONSUMER INTERACTION
You’ve convinced people to follow or like your organization. Now you need to take the next step – you need to get them involved. Social media is about interaction and communication. Compel individuals to take action. Give them a call, an incentive, or a compelling reason to post on your wall, respond to your tweet, retweet your message, or share your post. Once you get a user to take action, they will become infinitely more connected with your brand.
- Ask a question on Facebook and raffle off a prize to respondents
- Encourage Twitter followers to retweet a link to achieve a goal
Make DIRECT CONTACT
By now we all know that across channels personalization creates a stronger bond and greater response. Incorporate that idea into your social media. It will require time and effort, but it will pay off with closer relationships. If a user leaves a comment or sends you a message, respond to it – even if it’s negative. Make an effort to get to know people personally. Direct contact can make a huge difference in becoming a preferred social brand.
- Message people individually when they follow, thanking them
- Response to all comments and questions, publicly or privately
Analyze CUSTOMER RESPONSE
Don’t fly blind with social media. Find out what’s working with your social efforts. What are people responding to? What posts are they viewing? What’s compelling them to action? Tailor your efforts accordingly. If one specific type of post is getting the best response, provide more posts like that. Use data to dictate your contact and spark interaction.
- Identify what posts get the best response and model after them
- Look at who responds – what characteristics do they share?
Target SOCIAL EFFORTS
Think strategically. Use data to identify your social media audience (age, gender, marital status, children, etc.). It may be different than your other marketing audiences. Suggest products, offer deals, or provide information catered to your core audience. If in you want to reach a new audience, target your efforts accordingly. Knowing your social audience will help you better create content they will find valuable.
- If your audience is primarily female, offer deals catered to women
- Who is following you on Twitter? Companies, individuals, press, employees – tweet to your audience
Like the Internet itself, social media has gone from a new and exciting realm for brand engagement to an increasingly crowded marketplace. As a result, users are only paying close attention to a handful of brands. Don’t get stuck on the outside, make a concentrated effort to work your way into consumer inner circles. When you do, you’ll develop stronger relationships and achieve better results from your social media efforts.