Social media, like any engaging conversation, is a two-way street. If you’re having a conversation and you’re the only one talking, is that really a meaningful conversation? With social media, listening to others and showing that you’re listening is just as important as pushing out content. In this new series, Steps to Social Media Success, I’ll offer tips and guidance on how to increase social media followers and, most importantly, social media engagement. This first post will focus on the basics and what to do before you can increase engagement.
1) Produce quality, newsy content. Social media is no longer a fad brands are experimenting with in the marketing department. It is here and it is real. In fact, our recent survey, Watch It, Read It or Tweet It: How Americans View and Share News, found that 50 percent of 18-24 year olds share news on social media. But what’s the backbone to social media success? Content. Without content you have nothing original that is insightful or even entertaining to offer and no one will want to listen. To show just how significant content is to success, 78 percent of CMOs think customer content is the future of marketing and videos on landing pages increase conversions by 86 percent.
2) Know where your audience ‘lives.’ With 60 percent of all social media traffic to business to business websites coming from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you need to know which social media network is best for specific posts. Keep your cat pictures on Facebook. Or to yourself. Are you posting about a job opening or a new product launch? That post would work best on LinkedIn rather than Facebook. LinkedIn generates 277 percent more leads for B2B companies than Facebook, Twitter or blogs. Are you posting images of your company’s summer outing? Show that great company culture in a Facebook album. Are you searching for relevant industry events to talk about and share your point of view? Do that on Twitter and join the conversation. Social media is just the umbrella term, but Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all very different. Each needs its own strategy in order to increase followers and engagement.
3) Follow the right people and organizations. Without a fan base, you’re talking to yourself. Like most things on social media, you should have a strategy about who you follow. Simply following random masses people who have nothing to do with your industry, product, messaging, etc. will make you look like a spam account. Take the time to follow analysts and media influencers in your core industry by leveraging lists – search specific people’s Twitter lists to find a specific topic and interesting people to follow. Look at who they’re following and follow those people. Are you following your employees, partners and customers? Are you looking for relevant hashtags and finding people who talk about topics you value at your company? Follow them, but make sure your ratio is in check. You don’t want to follow significantly more people than you have followers – this is another surefire way to appear spammy and, as we say in Boston, not legit. Give it time and expect about 5-10 percent follow-back after two weeks.
4) Unfollow the right people. Go through and unfollow people who never follow you back or become inactive on Twitter – leverage tools like Tweepi and ManageFlitter. It’s just as important to follow relevant and active Twitter users as it is to have relevant followers.
In the next post I’ll discuss even more tips on increasing social media engagement such as the power of a retweet and how to start a dialogue on Twitter. I’ll also cover how to humanize your content so people actually care about what you have to say, making you more "followable" and your social posts more shareable.