Keeping Social Media "Social"

Social media has been a buzz word for the better part of the past decade.  It has become an integral marketing tool for many, especially since it is one of the most cost-effective marketing options.  Businesses are therefore trying to build their social media followings - through both organic efforts and paid efforts.  One of the most frustrating things we hear from clients is that they've tried to integrate a social media platform, but haven't seen much return from it.  

When a client asks for help with their social media integration, the first thing we look at is how they are using their social media.  It doesn't make sense for us to offer suggestions without first making that assessment.  If they're doing something that is working, at least in part, with their particular demographic and clientele the last thing we want to do is stop that forward motion.  However, we find that it is normally a culmination of things a client is (or is not) doing and we offer a formulated plan to assist with their social media development.  

While I am not going to delve into every possible option for fixing your social media campaign, I do want to start with a simple part of the equation.  

How social is your social media campaign?

Do you find that your social media campaign tends to come off as if you're standing on a street corner trying to yell at passing cars in an attempt to get someone to listen to your particular message?  Social media should be just that - social.  Sure, you want to get your message out there to as many people as possible.  But, if you're shouting the same message that the guy across the street is shouting and he has a group of people surrounding him and listening to his message how many people are you going to attract if you're just shouting?  

The key is to engage with your followers.  The reason the guy across the street is gathering a crowd is because he caught the attention of a few people to begin with.  As people saw those people gathering, they began to stop to see what the commotion was about.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.  All you need is to reach a few people through quality engagement and interaction.

The best ways we find to engage people is by utilizing something visual - a photo or a video, tied in with a call to action.  The visual element catches the attention of your reader.  The call to action engages them.  It can be something as simple as mentioning an upcoming event you are hosting or participating in, or it can be part of a regulated campaign where you ask a question or offer some sort of motivational message.  As followers respond to your post hit them back.  Have a conversation.  If they commented on your post, acknowledge the comment.  If they asked a question, answer it.  Before you know it, people within their network will see the social media exchange and will follow you based on those conversations.  

Take for example, one of our clients who manages the social media campaign for a pair of soccer players.  One of our suggestions to assist with engagement was to offer a #MondayMotivation campaign.  Mondays are training days for the soccer players.  Something as simple as taking a photo on a leg press machine and tweeting "Going for 500 today!  What's your #MondayMotivation?" can easily elicit interaction.  For starters, you have a photo of someone on a leg press machine.  Photo = Eye Catching.  "Going for 500!" lets people know you're motivated toward reaching your goal of a 500-lb leg press for the day.  And, "What's your #MondayMotivation?" does two things to get people involved.  First, it asks for feedback.  Instead of leaving the tweet as a statement, "Going for 500," it becomes a question for followers to respond to.  Secondly, by hashtagging "Monday Motivation" the tweet becomes searchable.  Anyone who searches #MondayMotivation can see the tweet, choose to follow that individual on Twitter, and choose to respond to the question.  

Remember, your focus should be on quality over quantity.  Building a quality social media platform will help lead you to the quantity of followers you're looking for.

Missy Sorg