Social Media is All About Engagement
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Number of fans and followers …
If you’re posting once a week or less to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter or posting only announcements or info about your business, you might also notice that you don’t have very many followers or fans. There’s three bits of information that I’d like to share with you on this.
The first, is that it’s not how many followers or fans you have, it’s how much those people are engaged with you.
The second is that you actually have to do some work in order to increase those numbers naturally (more about that shortly).
The third, is that it will not help your business at all if you buy fans and followers from companies who sell them. Do not be tempted by this and just completely forget about it. I’ll put it this way, if you’re a local coffee shop and you buy followers that are either fake accounts/bots or real accounts but offshore/foreign, how much is that really helping you? And if your account has 10,000 followers or fans but those users never interact with you, that number is pretty meaningless when it comes right down to it.
An example of what a little extra work can do to engagement can do can be seen in the screenshot below of a Facebook page JVM took from maintenance level (minimal posting) to a more interactive level. In the span of a month, there was an increase of almost 500 new “likes” on the page. Prior to that, the average number of likes per month was around 25. That means the likes went up 1900%. I wouldn’t say this is unusual, but a good indicator of how posting things that connect with your audience can increase the engagement of that audience. By spending the time and posting more likable/shareable content, the number of fans or followers should continue to steadily increase.
Services like Twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest have statistics you can check out that show not just the number of followers, “likes”, etc. but also show things such as how many people clicked on a link you posted, how many people commented on something you posted, and how many people shared something you posted, plus percentages.
Sharing apps and software, like Hootsuite® and, Buffer, also do stats and a whole lot more including advanced scheduling. If you find it hard to keep up with all your various accounts, a solution like Hootsuite® can really help you organize and stay on top of responses.
You don’t need a social media “guru” …
You just need time or to simply hire someone who knows how to gain engagement on social media on behalf of your business. I find that a lot of small businesses still want to do it all themselves when it comes to marketing and at the end of the day, social media really is a form of marketing on the web, with a twist. It’s an access point for customers and potential customers to get an impression about your business, find out about promotions/sales, and interact directly with you. It’s not just push marketing (if you’re using it in that way, you’re doing it wrong). In order for them to become a follower or “like” your page, you have to spend the time to get to know them and offer them something in return. I will typically tell people they’ll need to set aside 3 or more hours a week for social media. The number can vary a lot depending on your business, your audience, and time spent experimenting with what increases engagement. If you can’t dedicate the time on your own, that’s when it’s a good idea to start looking for a professional to assist.
When you realize you need some help with your social media:
(1) hire someone with a track record for obtaining the desired results you want (and make them show you examples of actual work they’ve done), and (2) ask for referrals of past clients and follow up with them. Be aware that since social media is a “young” form of marketing and because it’s a type of service that doesn’t require a degree or specific skill set, that there really do seem to be a high number of “gurus” in this field who can’t produce examples and referrals.
Engagement is just a term for the activity on your social media (shares, likes, retweets, etc. etc.) and your interactions with your followers and fans. According to some social media marketers, an engagement rate of 1% is considered good and anything below 0.5% is lackluster. How you get people to engage with you is the tricky part and like most marketing, can be trial and error. Don’t be discouraged if things you post don’t “go viral”. You need to think about who your audience is and what content you could post that would spur them to action (action meaning, liking, commenting, sharing, retweeting …). There’s a good article here by the Buffer folks about various ratios for sharing content I would recommend reading. And don’t be afraid to have a little fun. Humor (clean!) and wit can go a long way on social media.
Remember that it’s not all about you on social media. That would be like monopolizing a conversation!. Read the ratios article for some various methods to try when you start posting.
Keep a sort of regularity with how much you post. Don’t post like mad for a few days and then nothing for weeks. Only by posting and watching the engagement of your followers and fans do you get a feel for how much they want to hear from you (and what type of content the like). There really is such a thing as posting too much. Anything more than a few times a day and you risk being an annoyance.
Be present …
[Tweet “With social media marketing, remember that it’s important to not be asleep at the wheel.”] By that, I mean, once you start regularly posting, be on the lookout for direct contact (people messaging you, posting on your page, tweeting at you, etc.). When you don’t respond in a timely fashion, it’s like having someone standing right next to you saying, “hello” and you just continue to stand there not saying anything back. The best interactions are ones that happen in real-time or close to it but regardless, you should try to respond as quickly as you can.
Remember that a single “bad” post or tweet can be your undoing! There are stories all the time of companies who posted something inappropriate, made an off-color comment, or got into an argument on social media and paid for it in reputation, fans lost, and even business lost. Think before you post and never post something offensive or inappropriate.
If you’ve cultivated your audience and have some good engagement going, try doing something fun like having a sale or holding a contest. Things like this can really improve your reach. The screenshot below shows the reach before and after a contest on a Facebook business page I manage. With this type of interaction, your reach can also exceed your actual followers and fans simply due to sharing.
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