Before jumping into a Social Media Marketing gig, I always ask the client about their target audience. The answer I get varies from detailed consumer profiles to broad descriptions, but one thing remains consistent: businesses want more customers, so they try to describe buyers or prospective clients to target in social media. They expect that if they engage prospective buyers on social channels, it will boost sales.
It’s not always engaging the prospective client that translates to sales. Moreover, it’s not a waste of time to engage people who you don’t expect to buy your product or service. To be successful in social media, businesses have to be open to the audience that engages back.
More often than not, people engage with me in social media and it doesn’t give me a sale in the short run. That’s okay though, because I’m not using social media to close the deal — I’m using it to build a network. Businesses must use it the very same way.
By building a network for the business, I can count on people listening to me. This is worth more than a short-run sale, because for all of the advertising dollars in the world, I can’t reach nearly as many people as everyone in my network can for me, if they care to try.
“I can’t reach nearly as many people as everyone in my network can for me.”
The trick is getting people to actually care and that requires behaving like a human, even though the business is obviously not. I can’t let the sales goals of the business infiltrate my voice and personality in social media, or I won’t be listening to *my* followers; I’ll be pitching them. Building community requires a bit of abandon for sales pressures and such, but trust me when I say, it will return manifold what the “straight to the point” marketing approach could.
I encourage everyone to look at their Twitter followers, Facebook likes and most importantly, their engagement and start appreciating. Say hello, discuss things, build relationships and act like a person. Do these things and people will follow, truly, and not just by clicking the follow button. Why? Engaging accounts are a joy to interact with.
I still track leads and yes, I pay special attention to opportune interactions, but I take care not to ignore anyone, even if I think it won’t benefit me to spend time engaging with them. A stranger’s care to listen and comment is the equivalent of a digital handshake, which could be a new relationship. Collecting enough of those builds a network and that’s great social media.
If I don’t tend to my audience, I can’t expect them to care what I have to say. That’s not good for business, so I engage with everyone, within reason, on behalf of my clients.
I would love to get YOUR input on social media targeting and community management. Have you ever been surprised by the audience that engaged with you in social media? Was that a pleasant surprise? How do you communicate to business leaders that it’s beneficial to be engage with everyone? On a personal level, have you ever been ignored by a brand and did that change your opinion of them?