There was a brief period of time, somewhere between 2008 and 2010, when retweets were a plenty, and the signal to noise ratio was very high for social media as a medium. As a lot of other marketers will agree, those times have passed, and social media marketing is becoming more like banner ads each day. The root cause of this, in my opinion, is because of two reasons:
1. Treating social media like night club promoters treat email blasts. By merely participating with one to three shitty posts per day, the masses would arrive, ready to purchase whatever it was that you’re selling. More noise, more posts, and lower quality each and every time.
2. Business started to see social media as another form of traditional advertising. The more eyeballs (readers) then the more likely your photo with a logo slapped on it will reach more potential customers. Focus on increasing numbers of eyeballs, rather than focusing on true fans.
They’ve got 10,000+ likes already on Facebook. We need more likes. What can we do to get more?
Likes mean nothing. If you can’t motivate sharing and actions based on WHAT you’re pushing out to your audience, then your 10,000 likes are worth exactly $0.
We’re not getting anything from Twitter–should we start following more people?
It’s likely that you’ll never be able to measure any sort of return from Twitter, or any social network unless your calls to action can be tracked. What you should be asking yourself is…
Why would anyone want to follow you?
Is anyone really following you to see you retweet of a tiny press mention from a tiny no-name blog? (like this one!) Are all those silly hashtags really getting you any additional eyeballs? If you want followers so that you can simply appear to be doing better than your competitors, change your Twitter avatar to that of a hot chick, and start flirting with lonely nerds. Grab yourself a few thousand lonely nerd followers, then change it back! BLAMMO!
Figure out what it is you have to offer that would make a stranger want to follow you, and only publish whatever THAT is. It’s probably not re-posted articles from Buzzfeed.
You may need to ask yourself if social media is even a place where potential users are looking for your product or service? Just because I’m an active social media user, doesn’t mean I’m going to be looking for a place to host a wedding reception, or a place to make me a custom tailored suit on social media. Chances are, I’ve already found you before I even get to looking at your social media.
Email marketing doesn’t work for us. We’re just going to stop doing it.
If your product isn’t something that can be bought online, then there’s really only one thing you can do to get people out of their chair to try your product. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to that. Stopping whatever ti is that you are doing because you don’t THINK you’re seeing a return isn’t really the answer either.
It may take good old fashioned bribery. “Here’s a $5 gift card. First coffee is on us. Subscribe.”
It may even mean polishing that turd of a subject line to trick people into opening your email and clicking on your link. (I’m looking at you, Upworthy.) If that’s the case, you better have one hell of a piece of content behind it. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Click here. Hit refresh. I have a feeling the shelf-life of this snake-oil style subject line writing will have to be rethought in the next year or two.
The best way to increase your social media following
The answer is simple. The execution and time investment is what’s difficult. The best thing you can do to (honestly, organically, ethically) boost your social media following is to refocus your efforts on producing great content. Google wants it. Potential clients are searching for it before they even know who you are. You just need to do some research, and figure out what great content is for your brand.
Maybe it’s written content. Maybe it’s short video content. Maybe it’s something that no one else in your industry has tried to do yet. Be the first one there and you may be able to reap the benefits like many early adopters did to social media. If you’re unsure of the new channels of digital marketing, then I urge you to stick with the one marketing channel that has been consistent since I started 10 years ago–content marketing.