More often than not, we come across businesses who’re stressed about why the social media is not working for them. They’re getting next to zero conversion from the social media. The worst part is, they have no idea why it is not working.
“Our competitors are having a great time on social media. We’re not getting our piece of the pie. What are we doing wrong?”
When we dig more into their social media account, these are the typical characterstics they have:
- They have few hundered likes or followers, in most cases they’re invited/asked to do so.
- They have presence on most of the social media platform on the internet.
- Their social media accounts solely consist of posts describing their services or product.
Now, you might think that, there’s nothing wrong with this. I have a product, service that I’m offering and I’m promoting it on the social media, I don’t see what I’m doing wrong.
Everything! This is wrong at so many levels.
Let’s get to the basics of “Social Media”. People come to these platforms to connect with each other, discuss things, share their opinions and what not. For a moment, forget about the online world. Imagine yourself hanging out with few friends, and suddenly one of your friends try to sell you an insurance scheme. At the time, you already have the insurance and you don’t want to sound rude, you politely say that you’ll think about it. Next time you meet, he does the same thing, this time you politely refuse and explain him that you already have the insurance and might not need it for a while but you assure him that, in case someone he/she knows need an insurance policy, you would be more than happy to refer them to him. But, even after that, he doesn’t stop doing this. This time he comes with the discounted price just for you and you again have to say no, this time more firmly. The insurance agent is a good guy, you’ve known him for a long time and you don’t want to mess up this long relationship. So, you just try to avoid him as much as possible. More importantly, you want to avoid the awkwardness of saying no.
So, what did the insurance agent did wrong:
- One, he was selling to the wrong market/person. You were not interested in purchasing the insurance policy because of a genuine reason.
- Two, he just bugged the hell out of you and lost the chance any kind of future business from you. Now, you just avoid him. Even if you have to renew the insurance policy next year, you would think twice before re-initiating the contact with him. You don’t want to have more of or remember the awkward moments.
Social media is no different. For you it might be ‘social media’, but for others it’s ‘social network’. First time you invited everyone to like/follow your company/business page and most of them happily did it. It didn’t cost them a dime. Now, you just post about the products/services you sell in which they’re not even remotely interested. For couple of times people would let it slide. But as soon as there’s enough posts that doesn’t interest them, they’ll just adjust their news feed settings so as to not see your posts. Some social networks like facebook automatically do this for them. Some of them might even unlike or unfollow your business page.
You see the point? You’re the insurance agent here and on social media you’re bugging everyone at once. Now, you’ve lost any future business from those people, even if you had the most awesome product on the planet.
The point here is, they’re not your target customers. They’re just random people who liked/followed your business page out of courtesy.
Second thing that most people do wrong, is to be on every social network present. Each social network has its purpose and if you haven’t figured that out yet, you’re on a wrong path. You need to figure out, where your target customers hang out and be there. If your social media strategy revolves around Linkedin and most of your target customers hangout on Pinterest, every effort you make is right into drain. Eventually, you’ll get frustrated and give up.
So what’s the right approach to use social media? Below are few pointers to help you out:
- Social Media audience is the passive audience: There are two types of audience, passive and active. Active audience are those, who already knows what they want. They’re actively seeking for someone who could solve their problem. For e.g., the search engine audience. Typically when someone is searching on google or yahoo for a product or service, they’re looking to buy it immediately or in near future. They already have made their mind up.
On the other hand, Social media has passive audience. They’re weak willed and are not even sure if they’re interested in the services you have to offer. You have to warm them up, you have to grab their attention and most importantly, you have to build a relationship with them. The point is, next time if they’re looking for services that 100 other people offer including you, they come to you!
The concept is similar to those catchy superbowl ads. Budweiser knows that you’re not going to buy their beer right at the moment. All they want is when you’re out next time, you choose Budweiser over any other beer and tell your friends how awesome their superbowl ad was. Here are few ways you can implement such a thing on social media:
- Have a catchy caption. Create curiosity or make them smile or connect to them emotionally.
- Graphics are the game changer, a relavent and quality picture with your post would get you far more likes and reshares than an uninteresting graphic.
- Offering a freebie like, “Free E-book download” or “A free webinar” have proven to get the maximum conversion. The relevance is of high importance here, if you don’t have relevant audience for your freebie, you might have to use paid social media campagins.
- The golden 80/20 rule of social media: The 80% of the time you need to share posts without selling anything , which interests people, add value and show them that they did a right thing by following your business page. Next 20% of the time you sell your stuff. Basically, 1 out of 5 posts should be about your business and rest should be just some interesting stuff.
- Consistency and timing: We cannot stress this enough! Social media is not about posting 5 pictures one day and then being inactive for next 5 days. You have to be consistent, even if you’re not getting the desired results. Building a great follower-ship takes time and you have to be patient and consistent enough. But, that doesn’t mean that you post 100 times a day. You have to strike a balance between being valuable and being annoying.
Also, the key factor in getting those posts to reach the desired audience is the timing. There’s no point in posting something when most of your target audience is sleeping. When they wake up, social media algorithms will serve them the fresh content, making your posts practically impossible to get a space in the user’s news feed.
Here’s the general frequency and timings of posts for popular social networks, you should stick to:
- Twitter: Upto 10 times per day, from midnight to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, roughly every three hours.
- Facebook: 2 times a day, seven days a week, roughly around 9 in the morning to 3 PM EST
- Linkedin: 1 post a day, anytime between 8 AM to 12 PM EST. Weekends off.
- Google+: 2 times a day, between work hours. Weekends off.
- Use paid advertisement: this is the most effective way to build followership. The biggest advantage of advertising on the social media platform is, they can laser focus your advertisements to your target market. They’re cheap as compared to conventional marketing. Let’s take facebook for an example, With all the available filters, you can pin point your marketing campaign to as low as 20 people.
A word of caution here, using paid advertisments does not change the principle of social media marketing. Remember the social media has the passive audience, you have to add value to get conversion. For e.g., offer a freebie, or an article in exchange of the email address.