6 tips on how to build your social media audience (Part 2)

4. Social Is Not a Hard Sell

We have said it before and will say it again: The social channels are not the place to force your corporate messages on unsuspected fans. Your online audience is highly wary of thinly veiled advertising labeled as “content”. This might be a very heavy pill for a business to swallow, particularly for small business owners that want to share their innovative new concept with as many people as possible. “I love hearing about my company and how awesome we are, so why anyone else wouldn’t?” This stance is a perfect way to drive your fans to “unlike”.

Don’t be the overly promotional social page – it is the equivalent of your Harvard educated annoying relative who dominates every dinner conversation bragging about various accomplishments. The occasional humble brag ca be acceptable by your audience, especially if your brand or business have created something worthwhile or is up for an award – but there is a thin line between sincerity and smugness. Your social audience will know the difference.

Businesses should adopt a strategy about their content so that it appeals to their fan’s emotions. It is a balance. You have to focus on the emotional analytics as well as the numerical ones. To push out content that is strong, conversational, and especially that provokes an emotional reaction, will build stronger conflict and increase your audience. A fan is more likely to comment, retweet or share content that elicits memories or positive associations. You are marketing to humans, not robots.

And it’s not only what you say, but how you say it – delivery is the key.

5. Social is 24/7

Show us a job for a social media manager from 9 to 5 and we will show you a thousand and one missing opportunities. The truth is that potential customers will probably be online during the evening and weekend hours, and the ideal social strategy doesn’t shut off completely for hours or days on end.

The social media avenue is very strong for everything, from customer support to customer acquisition, to building a long-term relationship with those who are passionate with what you do. From advice and resources to user and merchant stories, new and trending products to promotional contests and giveaways – social media never sleeps.

Posting on social platforms on a daily basis – and monitoring comments, retweets, reshares etc. – is one way to engage with the online community. This of course does not mean that a small business should hire someone to monitor the social media on a 24-hour basis (for big brands or corporations, this is another story). But to vanish completely from 5p.m. Friday evening till 9a.m. Monday morning may mean missing out important potential business, or fueling the flames of an upset customer by seemingly ignoring his complaints.

6. Sweepstakes and Giveaways

One of the easiest ways to extend to an online audience is to offer your customers incentives to “like”, “follow” or “connect” with your business. Hosting a sweepstakes or contest can generate valuable fuzz about your business, create brand affinity ad entice potential customers – who might otherwise have never heard of your company – to check out your site.

Everybody loves free stuff. That’s been true since the dawn of time. Sweepstakes and contests is a great way to generate leads and build your CRM database.

Nevertheless, no businesses should expect that every participant to translate into a loyal, converting customer. The dark side to this is that while you’re attracting a wide audience, you risk sacrificing the quality of those leads, and may end up with a low-value customer who doesn’t care about your brand in the long term. Brands and businesses must accept the fact that not everyone who participates is going to be a brand loyalist, but know that you now have the ability to nurture them toward loyalty in the long run via content and worthwhile experiences.