Have you invested time and resources into social media only to find out that your sales have not shown any improvement? Perhaps you’re looking at your social tracking data and are unable to correlate your Facebook likes to money through the door? Whatever the case, here’s why it’s time to focus less on social media data and more on how to get social media growing your business in the long term.
Growth of Social Networks
With new social networks popping up each season, it can be tempting to jump into the next flavour of brand-audience connectivity. While it is important to have a presence in the networks where your audience is talking about you, sometimes this presence just doesn’t meet the bottom line marketers all face: ROI.
Let’s look at this season’s hottest new flavour, Pinterest.
Image source: http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/10896.aspx
Pinterest has grown significantly in the past few months, with Shareholic revealing that Pinterest has even surpassed Twitter as a referral source. Many marketers are taking advantage of this growth with quick hit campaigns to encourage their audience to share content on Pinterest. However, it’s doubtful whether these short term campaigns will prove to be sustainable brand-growing strategies.
To look at a recent example, the U.S. department store Barneys New York ran a Pinterest quick hit campaign in February to promote its mens and womens apparel for Valentines Day. To enter its “Valentine’s Day Wish List” contest, Barneys’ Pinterest followers had to create a board “pinned” with at least 5 Barneys fashion items; the winners received the clothes on their wish lists.
While this campaign would have undoubtedly generated a significant spike of online interest around Barneys, the “Valentine’s Day Wish List” contest would have stopped attracting Pinterest buzz as soon as it ended. Leaving Barneys’ marketing team back in front of the drawing board, brainstorming ideas for a whole new campaign.
Adapt Your Strategy
The reverse-chronological and fast-moving nature of information being processed on social networks is a major factor in why social campaigns are short lived. Unless creating a short term buzz is your goal, there are more effective strategies that work toward growing your business over the long term. Let’s go over a few of these more sustainable options.
Share Valuable Content
You don’t need to rack your brain for the next viral campaign to generate likes, pins, plusses, retweets, etc. Simply give your followers great content that reflects the services, products and values of your company. Without promoting yourself – social media is for having conversations, not advertising. You wouldn’t want to have a conversation with someone who was always self-promoting, and neither do your followers.
Instead, become what your followers can turn to for what your brand represents – be it luxury, a certain demographic or interest group, or even an attitude. Add value and inspiration on TOP of your product and service to build up a natural following who engage with your social media pages because they want to, not because you promise them something in return (like the chance to win a new wardrobe for Valentine’s Day).
Who does this? Think of when top fashion brands share the latest tips and fashion news created not only by themselves, but other prominent industry players and relevant personalities.
Build a Community
No matter what social network is created in the future, interacting with your followers will always be the way to go. Quick hit campaigns may bring on a surge of referral traffic, but when the promise of a prize or competition has faded, so will your brand engagement.
Interaction with followers is as easy as adding comments, showing appreciation and addressing any concerns. Taking the time to listen and understand adds value to the relationship you have with your following and they will appreciate the gestures.
Who does this? Canon Australia have built up a strong camera community for both professionals and enthusiasts by hosting live webinars with Q&A sessions and real-time social interaction.
Create Raving Fans
Sharing good content within your community not only provides value to your following, it naturally gets them to become loyal brand advocates who work to sell your product for you … and in turn bring in more loyal followers in an unending virtuous cycle.
So by thinking more about what your followers want rather than what you want, you will be on your way to creating raving fans who work to grow your business for you in the long term. Anthony Robbins summed this up best when he said, “Fall in love with your clients, not your business!”
If you’ve adopted social media strategies with a long term growth focus, we’d love to hear about it! Drop us a comment and share …
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