So you’re all set up with a little Facebook Page, Twitter account and perhaps even a LinkedIn profile. You might have thought that already you would have had a storm of activity and loads of money in your account with all the customers you brought in. If you have, let me know your secrets. If you haven’t, read on.
Planning your Social Media Campaign
Before you do anything, draw up some plans about what you want to achieve (goals), how you are going to get people coming to your profiles and what you’re going to do to keep them coming back for more. Having a clear set of goals will help you shape up your campaign and more importantly, let you measure and repeat success.
Make sure you’re on the right Social Networking site
Following on from Planning, you need to make sure that you’re on the right social networking websites. Whilst it makes sense to secure your brand name on every site you can using a service like KnowEm, the amount of effort you put into certain sites may be better used on sites where your customers are likely to be. Do a little research and see what successful companies in your field are doing. You wont find a lot of people getting business through LinkedIn selling cupcakes, whereas on Facebook they might be creating quite a stir.
Know the Rules, in particular the Facebook ones
Facebook have a set of guidelines which you should adhere to when using their pages. Failure to comply with their rules could see your page removed by Facebook. To summarise what the guidelines go over any offer or competition run through Facebook must not,
- Use Likes, Wall Posts or Comments as the entry process.
- Provide benefits to selected fans, not all.
- Announce or contact winners via Facebook.
In addition to this, you must,
- State publicly that the promotion is not endorsed or sponsored by Facebook.
- Post a disclaimer advising that all information provided by applicants is shared with you, not Facebook.
This begs the question, so how can you run a promotion on your page? Well, you can use Facebook to promote a competition that’s not hosted on Facebook—so something that’s running on your website for example, as long as the entry process doesn’t rely on likes, wall posts, comments, etc. And of course you don’t contact the winner through Facebook!
If you see a competition running which offers a prize to a random fan after 1,000 likes, or offers a prize to whoever shares a picture and gets the most likes, then you know now they are breaking Facebook’s Terms and Conditions. Stay safe.
Make conversation, not spam
People don’t want to follow or like you just to get advertising about your business. It’s quite likely that they already know, or don’t care about what you might be trying to ram down their throat. Social media marketing is about interaction, not strictly about advertising. The last thing you want to do is annoy your customer base by saying five times a day “come buy this”, “look at me”. Make sure you ask questions and put effort into following up peoples responses and follow your potential customers back instead of ignoring them.
Give the punters what they want
When people follow you on Twitter or like your Facebook page they are authorising you to promote directly at them. They probably visit these social networking sites in their free time to catch up with friends and family, sharing what they are up to and their holiday snaps, they don’t want your nose in telling them to buy your sewing kits. Don’t abuse it, and give people what they want. They’ll want to get something in return for them allowing you to advertise on their turf. This might be a discount code for your services, some great fan only content, opportunities to book events early or even have a chance of getting a freebie! Whilst doing this, remember it’s a social networking site so be social and create relationships.
Get the word out
Follow us on Twitter. See what I did there? Now you know that you can find me on Twitter. Just because you’ve created your accounts doesn’t mean people will flock to them on their own. Only the really big brands are likely to gain from just being who they are.
If you’re a small company start off by sharing your social media websites with friends and family. Just due to the way social media sites work some of their friends might pick up on it, and before you know it you’ve got a little boost with little effort.
If you’ve got some form of database with contacts for a mailing list or similar—use it! Send your customer base a little mail to let them know about your great new voyage into social networking. Just because they might have already been and gone as your customer doesn’t mean their input into your social networking campaign is of a lower value, it’s quite the opposite if they are likely to spread the word with recommendations!
Make sure your website has links through to your social networking sites. If you write a blog, link to your social sites at the end of it and let people know that more great content comes out your mouth.
You can also utilise your email signatures, forum signatures, business cards, use your imagination!
When you started you should have set out goals. Perhaps these goals were to get a certain amount of followers or likes to help increase brand awareness. Or maybe you wanted to get an increase of 10% in sales in products you pushed out through the campaign.
With your goals in place you need to work out the best way for you to monitor the results. There is a few ways in which you can see how well your campaign works. You could create a discount code which ran with the campaign, or actively ask customers how they got to your site and products in your contact form. You might even use analytical software such as Google Analytics to track referrals and statistics.
Repeat what works
Once you have a rocking recipe—keep it! If you found out what really works for your customer base use it again. One thing you don’t want to do is repeat the same campaign over and over, mix it up with other offers or fan content to keep your social profiles fresh and current. Generating new stuff for your customers will keep them coming back.
It takes time to make things work. Others might lead you to believe that Social Networking Campaigns are a quick money, all gain approach—they’re wrong. It’s all about building relationships and trusts. People often untick that box on a website which says “Please don’t spam me”, so why would they jump on your Social Networking ship to get the same?