When it comes to social media many (wrongly) assume that having enough likes on posts and generating more followers is the way to success. But getting people to like your posts or follow your Facebook page is just part of the battle to getting to the right level of customer engagement.
According to one report, roughly 48 million Instagram users are fake. Of course, Instagram is making an effort to get rid of fake accounts but until that is tackled there’s no telling if you’re being followed by an authentic user. You see, you can have all the likes and followers in the world but if it doesn’t translate into sales, then what good are they?
Getting real followers to take action can be a challenge as well. People can really be lazy and there are some believe that a like, share or even a comment is a way of showing support to a cause or company. They’re part of a growing trend called ‘slacktivism’. Slacktivism is armchair activism. It means that people effectively believe they are making a difference by supporting a cause (political or social) by sitting on their sofas and liking a post or signing up to an online petition. This type of action makes them believe that they’ve contributed in some way when in fact their action may have little to no desired effect on the cause they think they are supporting.
This trend has, unfortunately, translated through into the business world. People like to ‘watch’ from the sidelines. They may monitor the feeds they get from you or your business. They may even like what you say, share it or provide a comment or feedback. However, this typically doesn’t translate into sales.
But there are things you can do to change that. Here are some basic tips to get you started:
- Engage with your audience
No one likes to be subjected to constant adverts and posts about how wonderful a product or service is. You’ve got to mix it up a little. So, keep your engagements with your audience interesting. Has your business helped a customer in a unique way? Do you have a funny or exciting story to tell about your brand/business? Can you make even more alluring with beautiful imagery and videos? Then all the better! Don’t bore your audience to death with specials and adverts. People like being entertained and sharing stories.
- Be subtle with your selling
You know there’s no adverts in movies, right? Wrong! It’s all subtle. You could find a character typing away on an Apple Mac or the villain driving away in the latest Aston Martin. It all fits in with the story line but it’s also a clever way for companies to promote their products while looking cool.
- Offer coupons
Do you have special running at the moment? If not, make one up and promote it on social media platforms like Facebook. You can even boast about how this is an exclusive offer for Facebook followers to make them feel special and cement their reason for staying and following your feeds and page.
- Offer a discount on the next order
Have any of your customers bought something from you before? If so (and they haven’t complained) they are likely to buy from you again. Gain their trust and loyalty by offering them a discount on their next purchase. You can offer this to your customers that follow your newsletter or even the ones on social media platforms. It’s a practice used time and time again – because it works.
- Don’t ignore your customers
Do you have customers posting questions or complaining about your service or products on your social media platforms? Don’t delete or ignore them hoping they will go away. They will just find other ways to complain using their own profiles on social media, on forums or on review platforms like Trustpilot.
It’s never easy getting a complaint on your social media feed. But the beauty about this is that you can control it by responding to it and dealing with the problem swiftly. Correct the mistake, offer them a discount or send another product free of charge.
There are many ways to earn the trust and respect back. Don’t delay either. These days platforms like Facebook shows you whether a company is swift with their response times. If you don’t have the time to monitor your social media accounts on a daily basis then it’s time to hire someone to do the job for you.
- Optimise your social media accounts
Think about how much you’ve populated your social media accounts. People may not be active on your social media pages but there may be a good reason behind it. If you don’t post regularly, have a profile image and a proper user name that’s linked to your brand how do customers know that they can, in fact, trust you? Fill out your bios, link to your company’s landing page and put as much detail down on your contact information as you can.
- Be consistent with your messages
Do you make haphazard posts at any time of the day or night? Or do you post something once every fortnight? If there’s no consistency in the way you engage with your audience how could you possibly expect them to follow you? Experiment with the time and days you do your posts to see when you will get the most engagement. Just don’t make too many posts in the day. You also don’t want to overwhelm your customers – balance is key. If you don’t have the time to do this, either hire someone to do it for you or schedule your posts to go off at a certain time using tools like Hootsuite. Some social media sites, such as Instagram have their own scheduling tools that you can make use of. Set some time aside to create an entire selection of engaging posts for the week or even for the month.
- Make use of hashtags
To target the right audience, it’s important to make use of hashtags when you post on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. But try not to use a hashtag that everyone is using as this will only drown out your message in a sea of posts that are using the same hashtag as you. If you find the right hashtags that your users will be interested in, you will then gain more of a following which could translate into sales if you use this technique combined with the ones above.
- Don’t buy followers
You may be jealous celebrities like Cristiano Ronaldo and Ariana Grande who have a reported 187 million and 166 million followers respectively. But to build that kind of a following takes time, popularity and the ability to build a reputable brand. It can also cost money. But it’s not always wise to buy followers. A simple Google search reveals a whole host of services willing to sell followers for a very cheap price. But there’s no guarantee that these followers will be real. So, you may be paying for something that’s fake and will not result in any contribution to your bottom line. Rather opt to grow followers organically.
- Make sure you follow the right people
Make sure you follow influencers, journalists and other VIPs that may specialize or operate in the same industry you are in. Who knows, they may well like what you stand for and share something about your brand or your post. Be clever about who you follow so that it’s relevant to your audience and don’t be afraid to share another brand’s content that’s relevant to your customers.