The idea is: Too often those who are using social media as an outlet to market, advertise or build brand recognition with consumers, generally put an emphasis on engagement and stats, rather than focus on why users “liked” them in the first place. Brands and businesses jump into the social media world in hopes to redirect potential customers to their websites, offer deals or interact with consumers. These platforms are the new marketplace and they generate a fast moving word-of-mouth campaign, so it makes sense to be there and promote a business. However, at what cost, time and effort to the business, and what’s the value to your brand advocate?
Mixing Fun with Business—Stay In Front of Consumers
Facebook created an algorithm to govern what is displayed and how high a post sits on the news feed called Edgerank. Briefly, Edgerank scores each post’s value and worthiness to Facebook users. A lot of this scoring has to do with engagement. For example, if you own a plumbing business and you post a video about how to unclog a bathroom drain in five minutes—depending on your audience—if it gets shared, liked and commented on, that post will rise to stardom on your fan’s news feed. This will increase your visibility to those who are already following you, but can also spread to non-followers by your fans sharing it.
Engagement and Edgerank definitely play a big role in social media, but they should not be the lifeblood of your social presence. The problem with Edgerank is people get too focused on Edgerank. They begin to lose sight of why they began marketing on social media networks. It’s as though brands have mixed too much fun with business. Posting videos of people slamming around the inside of a speed boat, biased political coverage, pictures of babies making funny faces and videos of hurricanes and tornadoes really do nothing for a business—except possibly entertain people for a few minutes or offend potential customers.
It’s not that posting funny videos and entertaining links are bad, in fact it’s sometimes necessary, but it should not deter a business from talking about their services, providing value to their fans and truly using social media for what it is intended to do: socialize. The business may not receive as many likes, shares and retweets, but it will be providing a valuable outlet for customers and brand advocates to talk about their products and services.
The 80/20 Rule
There’s an unspoken social media rule for businesses and brands using social media. That rule is: 80 percent of posts should encourage engagement with fans and followers through entertainment, timely topics, how-to videos and beneficial information, while 20 percent of posts should focus on the business itself. It’s OK to talk about yourself and the quality products or services you provide—as long as you don’t overdo it. And just as I said about having too much fun, don’t overdo the off topic cat videos that provide no value to your business or its customers.
3 Easy and Crucial Tips for Businesses Using Social Media
Here are a few helpful hints to increase engagement, spur conversation and promote sharing through social media. These might sound silly, or even obvious, but they actually work.
1. Ask your followers to “please share” (on Facebook) or “please RT” (Retweet on Twitter)
This is one of the easiest things you can do to help boost your Edgerank and have brand advocates share your content online. It never hurts to ask, right? It’s totally true. However, don’t abuse this little tip. You will lose followers and fans extremely fast if every posts demands users to share it. This should only be done once a week at the most, every ten days is best.
2. Use graphics and pictures on Facebook; Verbiage such as: “How to,” “Top Five Ways,” “Excellent information,” on Twitter
If you can slap a statistic on a nice graphic or picture, talk about how awesome your service/product is on a picture of that product/service, you will see an increase in shares and likes. People like visuals; it’s a no-brainer. On Twitter, there is really no secret to why advertisers and marketers have used action verbs for centuries—it works. As annoying as it sounds, “Five Hot Deals” entice a large percentage of people to at least look—try it out.
If someone leaves a comment on your page, on a post, or sends you a Tweet—respond in a timely manner. Don’t wait a week, or even two days, answer them back as if it were an email, a phone call or someone inside your store. By not responding, you are ignoring your customers—no one likes being ignored. Talk, socialize and engage with people—that’s what social media is for.
By Mike Hines