Recently, we’ve been talking about the social networks, and how they affect business, or they’re just a new phase. You’ll notice that every business you see on television or hear on the radio are constantly forcing “Follow us on” or “Like us on“.
Now it should either take some brand loyalty to get you to do as they say, or some really good reason [Maybe you’re interesting in the topic, or you’re actually a fan].
Now, There’s always a double edged sword when it comes to being Social. Not having many fans or follows may give the impression that you’re not a popular business [even if you are], so when you first start out, you’re going to have to have an active part in it, and it takes some doing, [unless you’re @stephenfry in which everyone want to follow just to see a glimpse into his fantastic mind], Just having a Facebook or a Twitter account is not enough, you have to seek out others who may like you, be friendly, post things that will in someway benefit someone or some thing, you have to provide a place where discussion and talk wants to be.
A common mistake is thinking that these networks are simply free advertising platforms: They open an account and start injecting promotions onto the timeline and expect new customers to start flooding in, when really, it becomes nothing more than the equivalent of ‘spamming‘ [Like cold calling for PPI claims]. It gets annoying when your timeline looks like the yellow pages, it’s also something that will push your customers away.
We recently helped local company Lick That Bowl with their social marketing, giving them the idea that they could offer something for free at a certain time. Every Friday, they would bake a fresh batch of cupcakes and leave them in a random location around their local area. Once they’d planted the goods, they’d post a hint to its location on their social networks:
Normally they would make a few visual clues such as posting a video or posting images of recognisable landmarks.
This tactic wasn’t something that was intrusive, it didn’t force you into clicking on the link, it just stated that free cupcakes were available, go get them if you want. This creates momentum and suddenly I want some free cupcakes… and so do 100’s of other people. In turn, they follow Lick that Bowl’s twitter so they know when the next batch may be available.
Now I’m not saying that you should start giving things away for free to get new follows/fans, but by thinking outside of the box, you can offer something that will make you want to be followed. I’d suggest looking at what the large brands are doing, but if you’re a small local business based in a sleepy town somewhere, I doubt you’ll be able to give away that Brand New BMW just yet…