When advertising on social media, the keyword is social. Engagement is synonymous with promotion on social media. Your goal should be to build a community around you and your business, with direct sales as more of a lingering after-thought. People aren’t oblivious to marketing techniques. Most can smell a pitch coming. So, you’ll want to build relationships that create loyalty and trust so that a pitch feels more like a recommendation from a friend. The sales will come as a byproduct of the relationships.
Below are the six tips that will put you well on your way to building a social media presence -- and best of all, none of them cost a dime.
- Be Personable - You’re not some big corporation using a shotgun method to get as many hits as possible, indifferent to those who don’t take the bait. If you were, you wouldn’t be looking up promotion tips. The good news is, this is one of your bigger strengths. You get to shape and mold the actual face of your company, right out there in the field, as it happens.
Treat your followers well, and they will learn to trust you. Treat them with indifference, dismissiveness or even combatively, and they’ll be gone so fast you won’t see them leave.
- Offer Content of Value - I’m sure you think your business is great, and maybe it is. Maybe you do something that none of your competitors do, but the only way people are going to know is if you show them. They aren’t going to take your word for it, so as you’re posting content, be it articles that spur conversation, images or video of your product, or other related content, make sure it’s something worth their time.
There are a lot of demands on people’s time, especially in the ADHD-tailored social media. You need to stand out and the simplest way to do that is to offer people content they will care about. Whether it be tips, advice, or mind-blowing industry secrets, give them something to be excited about when they see a new post from you.
- Be the Expert - You don’t have to know everything to be an authority, but you do have to speak from authority. You are presumably in your field because you are good at what you do and you have something to offer your future customers. That’s great! Show them.
Give people insight into what you do, offer opinions, correct misconceptions about your field, share new and exciting news that relates to your brand. Do you sell something eco-friendly? Talk about the benefits of considering the environment. An interior decorator might post style tips. A restaurateur might write about nutrition. Find what makes sense for you and show your audience some things they’d need an expert to know.
- Follow the One in Seven Rule - Only your closest friends and family will follow your social media accounts regardless of your salesmanship skills. Everyone else needs to be won over. While there is no sure fire way to gain loyal followers, one of the easiest ways to drive them away is by over-promoting yourself.
Just as you wouldn’t turn every sentence into an advertisement when talking to a stranger on the street, you don’t want every post to be about promoting the company. This might feel counter intuitive, but it’s about remaining effective. After all, if no one is there to listen, it doesn’t really matter what you say.
As a rule of thumb, make one post of every seven about your company and let the rest be more casual, no pressure posts. You’ll have your followers along for the ride, getting exposure to your company name in passing, while sticking around for the rest of your content.
- Ask Questions - You want people to not only follow and observe, but to engage, and then you’ll want to engage back. Posing fun and open ended questions can be a great ice breaker, as well as a way to get people talking. Ideally, keep your questions at least tangentially related to your brand, but feel free to play and have fun. When people are talking, you’re building a relationship. That’s good for building trust, which is good for business.
- Lastly, Reward the Interaction - you want to acknowledge the positive interaction that your followers offer with some good ol’ fashioned positive reinforcement. When people answer a question, comment on a picture, or respond in positive way, make sure to give them something back. That doesn’t mean you have to give away prizes or discounts, though it wouldn’t hurt, but sometimes just giving them personal feedback and interaction is reward enough.
In this technological age, you can make your rewards easy with a voucher or a gift certificate with something like Shopify’s gift certificate template. If you show them that reaching out to you elicits a response, they are more likely to do it again. Keep rewarding engagement and you’ll build a cycle of interaction.
Remember, promotion is engagement in the social media world. People are looking for connection, so the more often and better quality interaction you provide, the larger and more loyal you can expect your audience to become.
This article was authored by our special guest expert - Nick Rojas.
Nick Andrew Rojas is a business consultant turned journalist who loves working with small and medium-sized companies. He has contributed to many publications such as Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, and Yahoo. In his spare time, he hang out at the beach with his dog Presto.