Social media marketing should come with an asterisk and a subtext because some people get the wrong idea of what it means. You can’t really look at social media with an advertiser’s mentality and say, “How can I promote my products on my channel?”
Here’s a common refrain that many small businesses come out with. “We have tried to use Twitter and Facebook to promote our business but we only have fifteen followers, and half of those are staff. It just isn’t working.”
The obvious response to that is, of course, get more followers. But, they say, how can they get more followers?
This is where we get to the point of this article. You want to market your business, find more customers and all that, so you decide to use these social channels that everyone is raving about. Everyone is talking about social media being great for SEO, social media marketing being a great way to reach millions of new people. Why, then, does it not appear to be true when you try it? (See also Ben Hanvey’s article, Twitter marketing not generating leads? Then change your content.)
That’s because you are believing that the phrase social media marketing means you have to market yourself on your social channel. That is completely the wrong approach. Let me explain what I mean.
How does Chanel No 5 promote its perfumes? The iconic brand pays a shedload of money to magazines for advertising space and shedloads more to TV channels for airtime. In other words, they go to existing channels that have an audience and they pay to get some visibility in those channels. What they don’t do is try to launch their own TV channel (Channel No 5 – geddit?) or their own magazine and only promote themselves there, hoping that people will come to them to hear what they have to say.
Social media marketing is about finding the in crowd, getting in with that in crowd and getting noticed by them and hopefully talked to and then talked about. If you are paying someone (internally or an agency) to manage social channels for you and if you are spending marketing money on building apps and interactive content you hope will be shared, you would be wrong to treat that as a direct sell. You should be thinking about building relationships.
Think about when you are at work. How many conversations do you have through the day with colleagues and clients? How many times does someone say something funny or rude, share a joke, tell you a funny anecdote, ask if you fancy a cup of tea or coffee, make a wisecrack about something on the news, chat about the latest football results, thank someone for doing something nice? You will probably find that 50% or less of the conversations you have at work are actually directly about work. Of those conversations about work, most of them will be related to other companies rather than your own product or service.
Now, getting back to how you can get more followers, the answer is just interact. Be a giver not a taker, praise people, thank them, share their wisdom with others, find great things your followers will enjoy sharing with their followers. The more you interact, the more visible you are. At a real life social gathering, the person who works the room the hardest and the loudest is likely to be the one that most of the people are interested in – as long as that person is someone they respect.
Use your channels to meet and greet, use other people’s channels to promote your brand. Obviously don’t hide who you are and what you do, but don’t keep shoving it in people’s faces either. At a party, no one will want to talk to the guy trying to sell insurance and handing out business cards.