This article was originally published on The Huffington Post Blog.
Since the advent of social media, brands have been scrambling for ways to engage fans and monetize from their expressed fandom. More than one billion people are on Facebook, the world’s most popular social media platform, while billions of others are on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, and so on.
With social media as popular as ever, you would think marketing on social media would be a walk in the park. And while some brands are masterful at playing to their audience and broadening their fan base, others struggle to gain traction. What are the reasons for this? And what steps can be taken to add followers and convert them into loyal customers?
Social media marketing is still relevant, but navigating the terrain can be difficult, and in some cases, even violate your instincts as a business owner. If you need a boost, here are six ways to improve your social media performance.
Chill out: People don’t come to social media to get hounded about special offers and brand messages. They come to be entertained, educated and informed. If you’re only using social media to shamelessly promote your brand, nobody is going to listen. Focus on lifestyle messages that tout your brand while still adding value to your customers’ lives, such as recipes and instructional videos.
Picture this: While copy is a critical part of conveying messages and adding context, it can’t do all the heavy lifting. Visuals help you tell stories simply and effectively, while piquing the attention of consumers more effectively than text-only posts. Why do you think Instagram has over 100 million users?
An offer they can’t refuse: FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a very powerful weapon when it comes to social media. Posting exclusive coupons on your social media will inspire fans to follow your page for fear of missing out on the next offer. Coupons and sweepstakes are motivators that will trigger more frequent visits to your page, and serve as a catalyst for growing your fan base.
Talk back: Social media is the customer service hotline of the modern era. Many fans use it as a forum to ask questions, voice concerns and even offer praise. While it’s best to monitor the type of content that appears publicly on your social media pages, being responsive and conversational with customers when the opportunity calls for it shows that you care.
Pimp your page: It’s 2016 and most people expect your business to be on social media. But sending them a friendly reminder about which platforms you’re on never hurts. Emails, receipts, store signage, and yes, even word-of-mouth are all cost-effective ways to tell customers about your presence on social media.
Explore other channels: Are you on Vine? Snapchat? What about Periscope? These could all be untapped marketing resources. While not every social media platform will align with your marketing strategy, every one is worth exploring, as it could be fertile territory for growing relationships with new customers and cross-promoting other channels.