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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Organic Followers vs Purchased Follower Databases in Social Media

You have taken the plunge in social media, hired a fantastic graphic designer to make beautiful custom images for your social media profile pictures and cover images.  Your bio is well written, your custom URLs have been captured, now it is time to announce to the world your online presence.

Drum Roll  ... ROAD BLOCK!

How in the world do I build followers and get the right people attracted to your social pages?  There are a few theories of the best methods to build a solid follower base.

Here are two options you could select:

Theory 1 - Purchase a follower database - which means exactly what it is.  You purchase a set of followers from a company who will get you hundreds to tens of thousands of followers instantly.

While this method will give you large numbers, you are vulnerable to many things:

1) Are the followers real users?
2) Are you purchasing a set of "robot" accounts?
3) How will these purchased followers effect your engagement statistics?

I will share with you a real story of a client who had purchased 10K in followers. She was so excited to see that her numbers continued to build after the initial purchase because she believed, "Because I have all of these followers, more people are going to find me credible and my reach will be so much larger instantly"  What she actually found was her engagement numbers never passed 1% and within 6 months, she lost thousands of followers instantly because the purchasing company was shut down due to all of their accounts provided were fake. She then had to decide; "do I start over and take the chance of losing real followers for the sake of weeding out bad numbers or work with the ratios to try to improve her engagement more organically?"

Theory 2 - Invest in the time and resources to accumulate organic followers - Organic followers are those that you know are real people who may comment, like, share and uniquely engage with your social profile.  These followers are in most cases genuine users who are interested in your brand, the topics you share and could potentially be customers. 

This method takes time, attention to detail in your content, strategic use of information, proper wording or pictures to draw attention to a topic and in some cases, could require a marketing budget for suggested posts/pages or topic boosting within the platform.  You can set and establish realistic goals, contests and activity to gain traction in a slightly slower way, but a more productive engaging way nonetheless.

Time management for your content and followers may take an investment in resources, consistent activity and creative marketing, but your engagement ratios will be higher, your extended reach will be genuine and your potential for business will be greater.

Which is more valuable to you?  The need for massive numbers quickly or building an organic reach?  Each of us is different and our needs are different. Both theories have challenges and struggles.  When developing your marketing program, you will need to consider the hurdles you will overcome in which ever direction you choose.

~ Social Media is changing the way people do business.  Don't get left behind ~ 

Hollie Clere, of The Social Media Advisor is a social media manager, trainer and author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+ , Pinterest and the tools to manage them. Click here for her Social Media Links

Sign up for your Free Social Media Analysis 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What does "Like, Know and Trust" look like in Social Media Marketing?

I was sitting at Starbucks with my Iced Venti Caramel Macchiato discussing with a friend the "Like, Know, Trust" discussion and how it works in the realm of social media.  He is a visual person and asked me to describe the life cycle of "Like, Know, Trust" in social media engagement.  Here was the picture I painted for him ...

A brand builds a social profile with the intent of opening up a social conversation with someone outside of a static website.  Generally, a website doesn't have much engagement.  You've invested in your website, spent time telling your story and sharing information about your company, services and how best to contact you. In ecommerce spaces, you have the purchase opportunity, but in most cases, the only pages to start engagement are centered around a Blog (if it is open for comments), a Help Section (with real time support) or Contact Us. Realistically, the real back and forth conversation isn't happening on your website and engagement is mostly limited.

So you decide that launching a social media campaign will provide your viewers with more opportunities to engage in platforms where they are present; sometimes daily.  Surely this would benefit because you know they aren't choosing to visit your website daily.  You build your profiles, add the links to your newsletters, add links to your email signatures, create prime real estate on your website for your social links and now you are open for business socially.  Well, not completely.

Now you need to build your relationship.

The first step in any relationship is the introduction - "Like", "Follow", "Circle" ,"Subscribe" in social media terms.  In the "Like" phase of your relationship, they are open to learn more about you, your updates start to feed into their notifications or wall much like sending a text or sending a letter to someone you have met.  You are open to see what their interests are, how you might be compatible and although they aren't open to "live life" hanging out with you yet, you are open to learn more.

You are in the "Getting To Know You" stage of your relationship.  When your viewer starts to keep up with the things you are sharing in social media, they are becoming more familiar with you, starting to expect certain things you might be sharing, finding value in your mutual interests and they are finding there are things you both have in common during this "Know" phase.  Similar to feeling out what might be a potential for opening up that phone call to schedule a visit to talk over coffee to get to "Know" them better in a private message; but aren't comfortable yet with opening up to you.  This stage of your relationship takes time, consistency and you need to show value in what you have to offer your new "follower" for the relationship to build further.

Once you get to the place of "Trust" you will know your relationship has transformed to a new level as your viewer will begin to "Like", "+", "Favorite", "Pin","Comment", "Retweet" or "Share" your post.  Your viewer feels comfortable enough to engage either because they have watched others engage in your activity or they are now at a place where the consistency has encouraged them to take the step to share their feelings, perspectives or opinions with something you have posted.  In a face to face relationship, this may look like attending an event together, sharing in a recommendation, testimonial, purchase of product, or just simply valuing your information enough to open it up for their network to see and also share as well.

The life cycle of an online relationship is very similar to building trust in real life.  If you maintain visibility and connection, you have optimal chances to engage in the relationship further.

How are you building "Like, Know and Trust" for your brand?

~ Social Media is changing the way people do business.  Don't get left behind ~ 

Hollie Clere, of The Social Media Advisor is a social media manager, trainer and author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+ , Pinterest and the tools to manage them. Click here for her Social Media Links

Sign up for your Free Social Media Analysis