Generating leads and deepening customer loyalty are two major reasons that businesses and organizations add social media to their marketing and communications. However, in order to achieve either of those two objectives, you need a wide social reach, that is, a substantial social media following.
You have several options for increasing your reach but below are some content-related tips and tricks for that purpose:
1. Share Useful Content
People want information that will make them better at something and/or improve their work or personal lives. In fact, that’s why they’re interested in your goods/services. So, rather than promoting yourself or your products/services, focus on helping your targeted groups via useful information related to your industry or field of expertise.
Some people may argue that focusing on fun (or funny) content would be better because it has a much better chance to go viral. And yes, Oreo’s Super Bowl blackout tweet and these other examples of successful viral marketing did raise awareness and regard for the brands in question. But you don’t know what will go viral though, according to this Social Triggers post, some people have an idea.
Actually, that post does say that one of the characteristics of content with the potential to go viral is usefulness. I didn’t see much usefulness in the examples I cited above (except the“Dumb Ways to Die” PSA), but I’m not going to argue with Jonah Berger about usefulness being an important characteristic of effective content and increasing the odds of people sharing it.
Additionally, providing helpful content brings prospects, customers and clients back to your social channels again and again, and of course, share your content again and again.
2. Differentiate Messages for Different Social Channels
Posting the same exact message to all of your social platforms at the same time can alienate the people that you want to follow you, connect with you or be your fans. Why? Because that tactic does not play to the strengths and styles of the different channels. Even if the same types of audiences are following you on Facebook and LinkedIn, it’s unlikely that they are interacting in the same manner or want the same things from you. For example, Facebook interactions tend to be a tad more informal than LinkedIn interactions, and while I’ve seen giveaways on LinkedIn Groups, social contests are held on Facebook and some the other social channels.
Additionally, when they see you posting the exact same content everywhere at the same time, at least some followers will interpret that as spamming, which will hurt your online reputation and your efforts to build your following.
This does not mean that you can’t repurpose content for different social platforms, but consider the timing of the posts. Time-sensitive material like contest announcements are candidates for being posted at the same time (on Twitter, you should post it more than once) and/or optimizing content for each platform’s attributes.
3. Use Visual Content
Social media experts have been touting the value of using video and other visual material in your social media for increasing engagement. Visuals capture your audience’s attention and increase the chances of engaging them. Even Twitter, which used to offer just 140 characters, now lets you post 140 characters and a photo or video. In fact, Twitter for Business states that tweets with images garner twice the response . Some sites, like Vimeo and Instagram, are completely visually oriented.
You have a variety of visual choices:
- Illustrations and charts
- Slides and SlideShare presentations
4. Offer Incentives for Becoming Fans/Followers
Run social contests on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. in order to encourage members of your targeted group to join and participate in your social network. Each social platform will have guidelines for how to go about creating contests platform, so go to the help section of whatever platform you’ve chosen and take a look at the rules to ensure that you don’t run afoul of them.
Of course, the contest prize or the offer should be something that appeals to your targeted group. A shopping spree or trip to a popular destination will draw a“mass market” response, but if you’re aiming for a more specific group, make your incentive specifically something that someone in that business/field/interest group would want.
Another incentive would be exclusive offers. More than half of the people (52%) who follow brands on Twitter do so to be notified of special deals and promotions. Offering exclusive deals or giveaways on appropriate social platforms will encourage prospects to join your network. Of course, that will most likely involve creating landing pages on your website for your social followers to click through to, which is actually a good idea to measure how effective your incentives are.
Content can mean online conversation as well as prepared text and media, and there’s a reason that it’s called“social” media. Leave useful, relevant comments (see how this pertains to #1?) on blogs related to your field or industry. Participate in Tweetchats and LinkedIn Groups, and look for ways that you or others at your organization can respond to or initiate conversations with fans, followers and others throughout the day.
Using social media for customer service is one of the most talked-about approaches nowadays, with recent research revealing that many people on social media expect a very fast response indeed. The thing is, a customer complaint or question posted on social media isn’t just between you and that customer; several other people can see the interaction (or lack thereof). But if you make customers happy and appreciative, they may express their appreciation or satisfaction on the same social media, turning their complaint into an endorsement.
How have you increased your social reach? Share in the comments below.