Social marketing is what all the young kids are doing these days. Nearly everyone has heard of it, and even more people have been exposed to it. You’ve probably been considering doing it yourself for your business. But how do you talk to your audience? What topics do you choose? Do you talk about business alone or do you talk about what you ate for breakfast as well? These were all questions swirling in my head when I first began, and I’m positive other newcomers to the field feel the same way: Lost.
The number one thing for social marketers to remember whenever you want to engage an audience for your company is to be likeable. Social marketers are in the business of making friends. You need to make your page friendly enough that people want to come visit you and still get your business related message through. I’ve found that for Loopycube, a mix of 9 parts fun and 1 part business is the ratio that sees the best reactions to. Less than 2% of Loopycube’s fans have hidden my messages from their news feed and over 40% of them view my posts the same day as I post them. Those are numbers that I like!
People like simple. Or, more accurately since this is based off my experience, Loopycube’s fans like things to be simply put. When presented with a few options to my engagement questions our fans were more likely to respond than when I left them with open ended questions. Some of them came up with very creative replies that weren’t among the options I originally gave or used a combination of options that I never expected. You can see a good example of a multiple choice question here: http://bit.ly/9Ti39X compared to an open ended one here: http://bit.ly/chSZUV .
Post frequently, but don’t spam. Try to find a rhythm that your fans like. Also you need to take a look at your medium. Tweeters expect several short messages in a day whereas Facebook fans would be bothered by that many branded messages cluttering their newsfeeds. What’s the magic number? I’m not sure there is one; it is something you need to feel out yourself. My advice would be to start off making a few posts here and there then ramp it up as you go along. Your fans will let you know when they’ve had enough and when you’re approaching too much.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are many things that don’t work when you are trying to develop and engage an audience. The biggest of these pitfalls would be failing to ask anything from your readers. Without something to do they won’t talk about what you’ve got to say, which means they aren’t getting their friends involved as well. You should always ask their opinion or advice in your posts; a call to action that gets them even more involved with your brand. You don’t see large brands like Skittles only saying “Eat Skittles”. They proclaim, “If you love Skittles than click the like button to show us!”
The other pitfall I’ve fallen into is one that captured me with my “Coconut list” post. You can see it here if you like: http://bit.ly/c41Ywa . This post got no comments or interactions of any sort, not even from my wife! Any post that only people who work with you will understand is a post that shouldn’t be made – this is a new rule I’ve imposed on myself. No one normally cares about coconuts, the only people who do are the people who are making the game where instead of points being given out coconuts are! That was a huge oversight on my part but it is a lesson well learned. Social marketers need to be sure their message is interesting to the majority of people outside the company – not inside. No matter how funny you think your office antics are, if the rest of the world won’t understand then you need to keep them inside the office. This may seem like common sense, but I completely missed it that week.
I’m fairly new to the scene and I’m sure there are many other lessons to be learnt for social marketers. Lessons like trendy topics will tend to do very well; or controversial ones may get a lot of hits but is it worth the number of people who you will annoy and ultimately lose as a potential audience member? What are the biggest things that every social marketer should do that you would like to point out?