May 5, 2015

How to Win Fans & Influence People Through Selfless Social Media

by Digital Marketing Institute

The beauty of social media is that it provides an ideal opportunity to conduct a two way dialogue between you and your target audience, making it the perfect platform for a more personalized inbound marketing experience.

It’s a great place to give back to your customers through sensational content, to answer pressing queries, connect with your brand advocates and create a community of loyal and engaged followers.

Below we’ll reveal 5 ways you can build a lasting relationship with your customers, fans and prospects. Read on to discover how to draw customers toward your brand through the power of selfless social media.

Yep, it’s all about giving back, stepping back and letting your customers move forward…

1. Ask Your Customers: They Know Best

Ask your customers: they know best | How to Win Fans & Influence People Through Selfless Social Media

Who do you think knows best about your brand? No, it’s not, your marketing department (although, I really do hope you know a lot) or your CEO. It’s your customers. Simply because they are the people consuming your products, using your services and experiencing your customer service. Social media is the perfect place to focus on your customers – to provide a platform to ask them relevant and insightful questions and gain feedback in real-time. You can do this through the creation of short surveys and polls. Or you could even post a simple question and get people to respond.

But here’s the catch: whether you choose to provide an inventive or not for filling out a survey or poll, the survey should offer value to your customers and pique their interest. What do I mean by this? You need to ask questions that will genuinely benefit your customers and not just your brand. For example, you could ask them what kind of content they would like to see in their feeds or what new flavour of ice-cream they’d like you to create. Listen to what they say and deliver on what they ask for – that way you they have a reason to care, respond and get involved.

Handy Survey Creation Tools: Survey Monkey, Survey Gizmo, Kwik Surveys

2. Answer Your Customers: You Know Best

2. Answer Your Customers: You Know Best | How to Win Fans & Influence People Through Selfless Social Media

Want to feel like a hero and save the day? You can always come to your customer’s rescue by solving their problems – and there’s no better way to achieve this than through the real-time art of social media. Use a monitoring tool like Hootsuite to keep track of all of your social media comments and mentions – that way you can easily watch out for any questions or complaints that need to be dealt with immediately.

When dealing with complaints or unhappy customers it’s best to face the issue head on and deal with it in the most honest and transparent manner possible. First apologize, then address the issue and then clearly convey the next step/steps to solving their problem. Some (more serious or sensitive) issues are best taken out of the public eye – so in instances like this you might want to ask for your customer’s email address or phone number to resolve the matter in a more private space.

Little things go a long way like signing off with your own name to add that human and personal touch. After all, your customers would rather interact with a person than a machine. Keep your responses friendly and non-robotic. Where appropriate you can even feel free to add a little humor and personality to your posts (although it’s best to steer clear of this when dealing with complaints or angry customers).

Handy Template: Hi (name), address the question/query complaint, apologize where necessary, outline the next steps if any, sign off with your name.

3. Share Quality, Helpful & Inspiring Content

With each changing social media algorithm, it’s becoming increasingly apparent how important the creation and sharing of quality content is. That means to shake people up from their mundane existence and stand out amongst the flood of content pouring into their feeds, you’re going to have to work mighty hard to prove your content’s value. My advice?

Get to the heart of social media psychology to investigate what gets people inspired, what makes them motivated and – ultimately what makes them care and share. Do your customers want to learn, do they want to look smart or do they want to be entertained? Find out and deliver. Don’t forget that content includes engaging videos (best to keep your videos short to hold fleeting attentions spans), eye-catching images, information-packed infographics, compelling competitions and fun quizzes.

New Motto (yes, even if you’re B2B): Have fun, give fun, be fun (because nobody needs more boring in their lives.

4. Consider User Generated Content

Your customers are itching to get involved – to get their name announced, their picture posted, their story told and heard and shared. You, as a brand, can give them a chance to get their name out there. User generated content (or content created by your customers and social media fans) can give your customers their much-craved 15 minutes of fame, appeal to their egos and help them feel more engaged with your community. It’s all about making them feel that they belong and that they matter – because they really do.

You could create a competition that asks users to upload a vine video using your product in a funny way. Or you could ask them to post a selfie at your restaurant or create a blog post about their experience at your resort. The options are limitless so feel free to let your imagination run wild when coming up with your next UGC (user generated content) campaign.
Check out These Campaigns for Inspiration: Belkin and Lego customizable cases, Starbucks’ White Cup Contest, Coca Cola’s Share a Coke Campaign

5. Get the Frequency & Timing Right

Getting the frequency and timing of your social media posts right is a fine balancing act. Why? Well, you need to master the art of giving your customers the messages they want at the right time, in the right place in the right way. You equally need to ensure that you don’t post too often and risk annoying your community and losing fans. But it’s worth the effort to keep your fans happy, engaged and loving your brand.

So what’s an inbound marketer to do? Guess, Trial and Analyse!

1. Guess – You need to form insightful and calculated decisions based on what kind of messages your customers want at the right time. For example, say you sell holidays and you have just published an inspiring post about a retreat. But now you want to find the perfect time to publish it. Ask yourself when people would like to read it – is it during the work hours when they need a pick-me-up or is it when they’re sitting down to dinner and fantasising about their next escape? Consult your personas to help you guide your insights.

2. Trial – Select 3 or 4 prime times to trial for each channel. Test each time in isolation from each other over a given time period like a month or quarter. For example, on Facebook you might first want to test how people respond to your posts when they’re published at 8pm – you can measure this in terms of reach and engagement. Then you can test if your reach and engagement metrics improve when posted at 6pm, when posted at 5pm and so on.

3. Analyse – Next it’s important to analyse what’s working for you. There are a variety of tools you can use to analyse the best times to publish your social media posts. For example, Tweriod allows you to run analysis on your Tweets along with the Tweets of your followers. This allows your brand to determine when you should post and when your audience are the most active and engaged.

Followerwonk allows you to run a report that shows you when your followers are most active. If you have a Buffer account set up, you can actually select how many times you want to post each day and click the ‘Schedule at Buffer” button. Buffer will then schedule your tweets to automatically post at your chosen times.

Our online Professional Diploma in Social Media Marketing teaches you the best practices for marketing through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube. It includes 30 hours of in-depth lectures taught by industry experts and will equip you with all the skills and knowledge you need to plan, build and measure effective social media strategies. Find out more here.

Develop a detailed understanding of key social media specialisms including content marketing, and platforms on which you can promote your content.

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