Quality Connections are the Goal

A lot of social media woes can be traced back to the wrong choice of platform to engage customers through. [tweet this]

This goes back to your market research. At the very beginning, find out where your target audience is most likely to hang out (pun unintended). Not every social media platform will work for your business, and you shouldn’t establish a presence in all of them, especially if doing so will spread you thin. As a small business owner, focus your efforts with platforms that are compatible with your company’s marketing approach and offerings.

Quality content

Social media is meant to be a way to engage and interact with clients and consumers, not an avenue for the company’s sales pitch. Aim to post information that contributes meaningful and insightful knowledge. If you use social media for advertising purposes, you are more likely to reach a wider audience who will boost your follower numbers, but won’t be true brand advocates.

Numbers don’t equate to success

If you are seeking an audience that will be happy to engage you in meaningful conversations and dialogue meant to grow business, numbers will not be your focus. A lot of marketers make the mistake of focusing on the numbers.  Most likely, the thousands of followers will be people who don’t care about your business, and are only there to boost their numbers as well.

Rather than focus on numbers, try and grow your community through offering targeted information and incentives. Doing this means performing the necessary market research to determine who your target audience will be. Provide them with useful content, and integrate word of mouth marketing tactics with them. Over time, you’ll be able to build a loyal fan-base and witness far less follower’ attrition when a promotion or competition you broadcasted over social media ends.

Let the conversation flow

All this time, listen to what your followers say about the business, and encourage them to interact with you. Fans that interact genuinely with you are those that already like your product/service, so avoid pushing your marketing message on them. Social media engagement should reflect a casual flow of conversation, one that is rich with advice and valuable content. Always listen and take the opportunities to address any complaints and concerns; it shows that you value what the fans say.

Aim to make fan interactions two-way. Besides offering regular posts, tweets, and updates, acknowledge fans that want to actively and genuinely engage with the brand. The more interaction you have, the better an impression you are leaving on the fans, who will spread the good word about your business to others.

Slow and steady

Building quality connections is all about taking it slow, like a long-term relationship, so to speak. If you are in it for instant gratification of large followings that mean nothing to the business, then you’ll resort to the sales pitch and advertising/self-promotion strategies. When you want your connections to mean something to your business, who engage and help you grow the brand as a whole, then you’ll cultivate them from potential customers to eventual brand loyalists.

Though using social media is easy, it takes time and thought to grow a quality social media following. Daily monitoring, providing valuable and informative content, giving fans a chance to engage with the brand, and generally taking it slow are the ways to build quality connections. Social media shouldn’t be viewed as a one-off investment, but rather as a long term avenue to engage and interact with loyal fans.

Choose the right platforms

For many social media marketers, there is always a tendency to do too much. Most of the time, this has to do with the fact that social media platforms are easy to use. Updating your status updates on multiple platforms will only take a matter of minutes, and monitoring retweets, mentions, likes, and shares is as easy as using a single app. This all makes life easier, but the key to establishing a quality following on social media is through care and consideration.

This aspect is more so important when it comes to building a community of loyal fans. The more the better, right? This may not always be the best strategy, especially where you are looking to build a quality following. Your key consideration should not be how many people follow your business on social media, but how many really appreciate the brand and can advocate for it in their private personal networks.

About the Author:

Maria Elena Duron is a Marketing Coach and Strategist with Know, Like, + Ignite and @mariaduron on Twitter. Would you like practical tips to create and curate content and experiences worthy of being passed person-to-person? –Get exclusive access.