Who Needs 1 Million Followers? We Don't!
We all know that it's all about the "Likes" when it comes to social media marketing, at least that's what we're led to believe. Today we're going to talk about what those hearts and thumbs up really mean.
#L4L or #F4F
Have you ever received a message from someone that "liked" your social media posts then messaged you asking to "like" their posts in return? This is called Like-for-Like (L4L), and usually corresponds with Instagram. If it's Facebook, someone may want you to follow them because they "liked" or "followed" your page aka Follow-for- Follow (F4F). This isn't necessarily the best way to get your company's name out to the world.
Let's back up slightly to define what your business does in order to decide if L4L or F4F campaigns are right for you. If you're a fashionista, stylist, sell products online, or want to be instafamous and reach the world, then yes, they will work. Basically, if your main purpose is to have as many followers and likes as possible, then yes you can instigate a #L4L or #F4F campaign.
What if I don't want to be Instafamous?
If you're a company that has a very specific target audience like us here at Chatterbox, then these Like 4 Like campaigns do not work. Why? Because your target audience isn't being reached, and you're not being found by the people you really care about. The entire reason to use social media as a part of your overall marketing strategy is to convert followers into consumers and loyal fans. What good are "likes" or "follows" that fall outside the range of your target audience? For example, at Chatterbox Promotions, our target audience is B2B within Whatcom and Skagit County in Washington. We want to reach the small business owner that can't afford a large marketing firm. Therefore, we stay away from Like-for-Like campaigns. We believe in establishing relationships within our community organically.
Growing on social media in an organic way means using the free tools offered by each social media network to build a following, along with slowly growing your network. There are benefits from growing organically verses other ways, one being it's very inexpensive. There is little to no cost to create posts and sprinkle them on social media.
Another pro to building your social network organically is building honest relationships between you and your followers and potential customers. With social media, you can listen to your target market, learn what they're saying, and correspond with them in real-time.
Growing organically takes time, patience, and commitment, but the reward is a community that's truly interested in your products or services. These are people who will come to your store and will tell their friends and family about you. If you do an L4L campaign then how does that impact your sales? For example, if you were a dog grooming business in Idaho who wants the local community to bring in their furry friends to your store, how is having 100 followers or Likes from anyone besides people in your town in Idaho?
How to grow an organic social media presence
- Cross promote with other businesses in your niche market. Don't be afraid to ask other businesses if you help promote their services would they help promote yours. For example, if you're a pub or brewery owner, you could partner with a local pizza restaurant to cross promote. Have a beer and a slice with two awesome local places in ... you get the point. Try to partner with others if you can, think of other businesses that might mesh well with what you have to offer, and post your collaboration on social media.
- Use photos to increase visibility. Photos can give a behind-the-scenes perspective or show your branded message. Did you know a post with a picture does 75% better than a post without a one?
- Use emojis and hashtags. Both are searchable in Instagram, hashtags are searchable pretty much anywhere. Make sure you use relevant hashtags for your content and ALWAYS use your company hashtag. If you don't have a hashtag for your company, then create one. Not sure how? Check out this cool article 16 Rules of Hashtag Marketing Mastery to get you started.
- Run a contest or giveaway asking your target market to follow you. Ask people to tag someone they know. Record a video of you picking the name then post on your social media networks.
- Post an image and specifically tag one of your followers asking them a question. This will get a conversation started. If we revisit the dog grooming business, then it could be a picture of a shaggy dog and ask one of your followers what cut they would like to see on this dog. Get creative.
- Make sure you spend time on social media engaging with followers. If you want to know more about this area check out our latest blog: Set Aside 20 min Each Day To Do This. If someone likes your post, then send a little thank you back at them, but do it publicaly. This, in turn, makes them feel special that your company took the time to say something.
- Use the 80/20 rule. "80% of the content you post, should be informative and should engage your audience, while only 20% of your content should talk about your brand or your company."
- List your social media on your website. Let people know where they can follow you for more details about your company, promotions, specials, or deals that can only be found on your social media pages.
- Add your social media to email newsletters. Smallbiztrends.com gives great advice for including social media content in newsletters. "Give email subscribers an idea of what they’re missing if they’re not following you on social media."
- Ask customers to share their thoughts. Do they have a favorite product of yours, do they have any questions or concerns that prevent them from buying? By asking these questions, you open a discussion, while giving you the opportunity to demonstrate excellent customer service.
Organic Growth - what to expect
Again, don't expect to have 1 million Followers or Likes overnight or even in six months. The saying, slow and steady wins the race applies to organic marketing. That being said, it's truly rewarding when someone in your niche market "likes" your post. The great thing about slow growing your network is you have the time to engage with your followers.
Don't get discouraged. If you gain one follower per day then you may have just gained one potential customer per day. Press on and continue posting regularly. If you post it, they will come!
Things to think about when creating posts for social media
Think before you post! First, reflect on the content you will put out into the world. Part of social media promotions is being mindful of the content being used and ensuring it is strengthening your company's brand. If you or someone in your company can’t keep up with social media promotions, then you need to hire us, wink wink. All kidding aside, you shouldn't start promoting on social media unless you can dedicate the time. Wanna dive in deeper to creating more stunning content? Check out our post on Visual Marketing Power and Visual Editing Power.
Keep your posts focused and consistent with your brand. It might be helpful to create a Social Media Style Guide. Ben Sailer from CoSchedule.com suggests including the following:
Mission Statement: Why does your business exist, and why are you on social media? Ask yourself why people would care?
Audience/Persona Summary: Briefly describe your core audience. Who are you writing for?
Social Media Brand Voice: What is your brand's voice going to sound like? (casual, serious, professional, silly).
Tone: Describe your social tone (helpful, funny, authoritative, etc.)
Branding: List requirements for brand spellings (and other copy-related branding elements). What is not allowed on social media in regards to your brand?
Message Types (By Network): Not all content needs to go on every network. Create some guidelines on which types of messages are appropriate for each social network.
Warnings: We wanted to add to this list. Be careful what images your company uses, and ensure whoever is posting pictures they find online that the picture isn't copyrighted. Just because you can Google it, doesn't mean you have any right to use it. Use this section to inform yourself or staff of what is not allowed and what is. We have compiled a list of free-use picture websites to help you create visually stunning content. Check it out.
Grow, Nurture & Reap the Benefits
We hope by now you have figured out if growing online organically is right for your company. If that's the direction you want to go, then hopefully we gave you some information to get a good head start. There's so much to know when it comes to digital marketing. It's easy to get sucked in or feel overwhelmed. Take a breath and focus on the task you're trying to accomplish. If your purpose for using social media is to gain exposure for your company, then use social media to appeal to your target audience, and remember to nurture online relationships. This will help convert Followers into customers.
Did you find this post informative, or interesting? Let us know what you think, we'd love to know your thoughts.