How to reach your current customers on social media who don't know they need you
Growing your social media followers and getting them to engage with your brand when you’re starting out can be difficult. That’s why we’ve tasked our Plusnet Pioneers with helping you build a strong marketing plan for your social media activity.
Our social media gurus, Tom and James Exton of LDN Muscle, and Steven Bartlett, CEO of Social Chain, reveal their top tips.
Each social media channel offers a unique opportunity to communicate with existing and potential customers. Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat or any other social media channel, there will be different pros and cons for each, and all work in different ways. And the way you communicate can result in attracting different audiences. So how do you talk to lots of varied customers and get them to engage with your business? Especially if they don’t even know who you are?
As the number of social media channels on offer continues to grow and the volume of content posted increases each day, it can be confusing for businesses to know what to do when they are starting out. Knowing where you should focus your time and resources to generate the best results can be a daunting concept.
To help you address these challenges, our Plusnet Pioneers offer their top tips to kick start your marketing on social media.
Social Chain and LDN Muscle have successfully generated an amazing social media presence, with a combined following of way over 400,000 across Twitter and Instagram. Tom, James and Steven explain how, by using the right techniques on social media, you can engage with your audience and maintain a strong following.
1. Sales pitches can be off-putting. Raising brand awareness should always be the main aim on social media
As the struggle for customer attention becomes more and more competitive, Steven says “your efforts should be focused on raising brand awareness online where the struggle for customer attention is becoming more and more competitive.
“With social media, it’s important to produce content around interesting themes and topics and then, once in a while, talk about your brand within that content.”
When LDN Muscle started out, they noticed a lot of businesses prioritised making money via social media by selling products. As James explains: “If that’s clear to your audience when you first start your social media account, people will usually switch off.”
He adds: “Our key focus was adding value for our followers and fans on social media with free, quality content without them having to pay money to get that value in the first place – you need to establish that connection.”
When James and Tom started LDN Muscle, they just had a fitness blog and website with free articles, workouts and recipes.
Tom explains that: “For the first six to eight months we used this approach and engaged with people by offering advice and replying to every single social media post. We built the perception of a helpful brand.
“We attracted tens of thousands of followers this way, and when we released our first product, it started to sell to the very same people that we’d been helping out for the past few months.”
2. Use emotion in your social media
Tapping into emotions is one of the best ways to attract a potential customer. For Steven, “emotion is something that we (Social Chain) always try to work into our campaigns. Your content on social media needs to conjure laughter, sadness or something that makes your audience feel warm inside. The way that social media channels are built now demands emotion and real engagement that drives reach.
“If your social media content doesn’t create interest or make people feel anything then, in this day and age, people won’t share or engage with it.”
3. Embrace the power of video
Using video content can be really effective. As Steven explains: “The big opportunity now within social media is video and all channels now offer video content options. In terms of growing your brand, video and live video achieve much better interaction with customers than photos or text.”
“If I was a new business now, I would set myself up as a video publisher. I would be producing videos around topics that provide an opportunity to piggyback on a social moment that everybody is talking about on social channels or a viral trend (such as a meme or a popular short video) to increase audience engagement.”
4. Own your brand personality on social media – and be consistent
Establishing a consistent brand personality is also extremely important, a factor that LDN Muscle has worked very hard to maintain. As Tom explains: “We’ve gone from just being personalities in the early days and us guys chatting to people, to more of a brand. But what can sometimes happen with a brand is customers tend to switch off a lot more as content becomes more corporate. You risk losing that personal touch and direct connection with customers.”
So how do you establish your own brand personality?
“If you can keep your social media identity as personal to your company’s beliefs and ideas as possible, that’s the way to grow your business.”
James also adds: “The moment your social media activity looks too business focused, people switch off. This can happen even when you’re trying to directly sell something; you don’t want it to look like a promotional post.”
5. Competitions can be a big hit on social media (run them if you can afford to)
Competitions can be a fantastic way to engage audiences on social media. As Tom found: “We ran an organic competition on social media which reached four or five million people. We didn’t put any budget into the competition prizes as a company kindly gave us the promotional items for free. We told people to retweet it and this directly translated into direct sales.
“For the week following the competition, our sales really increased because there was so much more traffic coming to our website from the social media promotion. Giveaways and competitions work particularly well on social media accounts like Twitter because you’re starting a direct conversation with customers through the platform.”
6. Keep in mind that not all social media channels are created equally
It’s important to remember that all social channels are different, as Steven points out:
“Certain businesses and content types are better suited to certain channels. There are two things you’ve got to think about as a business: the story you’re telling and the stage you’re telling it on.
“So, if you imagine yourself as a story teller, certain stories are better suited to certain stages.
“My advice is to tell your story on YouTube and Facebook if you want to make video central to your marketing.
“Instagram is a great platform for image-led campaigns, whereas Twitter is great for click-throughs and getting customers to engage with your content.
“Every social media channel works differently so it’s worth experimenting to find the one that works for you and your business.”
As Tom suggests: “Instagram is one of our favourite social media channels to use. One of our top reasons is because when you post on Instagram you can easily share with audiences on other social media channels.
“Instagram is now a massive player in social media marketing, especially with the introduction of Instagram stories. Businesses have even got the option to live-stream content via Instagram stories and also include URL swipe-up links to encourage audiences to engage with content or products on their website.”
Interviews were conducted as part of our Plusnet Pioneers programme, an exciting content series to help small businesses grow and reach their potential. We’ll be sharing more useful tips so please visit our Plusnet Pioneers section.