Let me tell you a story…
These days it’s all about social media isn’t it? Or is it? The “problem” with social media is that, while it’s true that relationships have moved online, the downside is that there is an awful lot of “noise” out there! It’s easy to spend hours each day on Facebook, for example, liking, commenting, sharing and posting but is it actually doing you or your business any good?
What is undoubtedly true is that – as Seth Godin, Mr El Supremo visionary and blogger says – be authentic, build your personal “Brand” and build a “Tribe”. You see, we are all cavemen (or women) at heart: we all like to feel we belong, nothing’s changed, we still like to gather around the campfire and tell a story… do that online and you will find more and more people gradually being drawn closer and closer to you.
Before I delve deeper into how to attract people to sign up to your particular Tribe, let’s talk about big business. Big business, again, has its own categories. You won’t find Kawasaki or Rolls Royce doing much posting on their Facebook page, they see social media as something uncontrollable. Big corporates that are sensitive to social media tend to communicate within closed forums where they know they can discuss topics of interest with their colleagues in a secure environment. Other large corporates that are more outward-looking such as airlines, for example, who serve the general public, see social media as a customer service function and are used to viewing it as a place where an annoyed customer has a rant in order to get attention – late arrival, lost luggage, etc., anything that covers generally poor customer service issues.
Retailers, on the other hand, love social media, they will have an online e-commerce store, the ability to order online and pick-up in store or deliver to your own home, they’ll follow you, using Cookies and you’ll see sponsored ads pop up that reflect things you are interested in and have recently been looking at online, they’ll run promotions, gather likes on their Facebook page, and offer incentives to loyal bloggers to promote their products to their loyal fans (think Zoella with 3m followers on YouTube reviewing beauty products) it’s a new form of reality TV show that the kids love. ‘Rich Kids on Instagram’ has a massive following showing anything from lifestyle – champagne parties on super yachts – bikinis, watches and what perfumes they wear. And what they do, us mere mortals aspire to. That’s what sells.
So how can you stand out from the crowd? Here are my Top Five Tips
- Facebook is great, it has the biggest outreach but the trick is to create a fan page as here you have an unlimited opportunity to grow your followers. It’ll be slow at first, but do Facebook Lives, start off on your own timeline – give out a few tips on your chosen expert topic and then say, “For the rest of the tips, I’ll be going Live-in-5 over on my Facebook page, so hop over there and I’ll see you there in a few minutes!” Remember to put the link in the description!
- Instagram – I really think only video counts on Instagram. Go put in your topic of expertise into the search bar and then find videos on other people’s accounts who have a big following and use them on your account. This will help build followers quickly. Look for popular accounts with lots of views, of course!
- Quora – Quora has over 1 million views a month, it’s massively popular. Where else can you find some really big names answering questions, like Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, he has over 53 million answer views to his questions, 4.8m this month (at the time of writing) and is a top writer on Quora for several years running and is followed by 270.4K people. If you “upvote” his answers and also answer popular topics that he answers questions on, it is more likely that you will be seen by his followers and that means you can attract more people to you. On Quora, I’ve also set up my profile using hyperlinks to questions I’ve answered, it’s a “double bubble” result as it’s got the links and it also immediately shows people what I answer questions on. When I answer questions, I try to put in natural links to different pages on my blog, if people are interested in the answer, they are more likely to click through to your blog. Although I am fairly new to Quora – just in the last 18 months – I’ve already amassed over 47,000 views on my questions and some days I get over 1,000 views – I haven’t had that kind of result on anything else.
- Pinterest is great as it’s so visual but just a short tip here, remember to put a link in every description for every picture you pin. That helps build backlinks to your selected landing page/s. It builds over time, I am still getting repins from pins I put up years ago.
- Lastly, any blog on how to drive more traffic to your social media would not be complete without mentioning your own Blog. Your own blog should always remain the heart of your business or Brand. You should select one topic to become an expert on, in my case it’s always marketing and self-development e.g. careers advice for PR and Marketing graduates. Don’t try to cover more than one area because you will confuse people. As one of my mentors said to me: “The riches are in the niches”. Stick to your own chosen area of expertise. Don’t try and cover more than one topic because, as they say, “a confused mind never buys anything.” It’ll be slow at first and there’s no point in buying fake Likes and followers, a lot of these are dummy accounts and all that will happen is that you will be posting but getting very few likes because your followers aren’t real and that will make you look very lame. Offer to do guest blogging, create accounts on sites and forums that have clout e.g. create a Google alert and look at articles on your areas of expertise on journals like the “The Huffington Post” one of the most powerful media outlets in the USA and write a comment, you can then post it to your Facebook page giving you content and associating you with a powerful journal and by association as an expert in that field.
Think of innovative things to do where you can promote your own blog, like writing this! I get a lot of work from People Per Hour, it’s my main source of income, I thought the other day, how can I make more use of it to promote what I do? I saw their headline asking for people to submit ideas to feature on the PPH blog and the rest, as they say, is history. This blog, writing on the services that I offer while also providing value added benefit to other PPH’s, will be seen by approximately xxx people, now that’s got to be good for business in anyone’s book.
About the Author:
Sarah Olney Ross has worked in PR and Marketing all her life, starting off as a fully qualified book editor and then moving to hi-tech PR in the Nineties where she rose to fame working with big US Brands, promoting technology to the Boardroom, working with some of the world’s biggest brands and working on Election campaigns for the Government, ending up running her own hi-tech boutique PR agency, following a career as a Director at Ketchum plc in their London office, one of the world’s most respected global PR agencies.
Her passions are technology, history, gardening and animals; currently renovating a grand-style medieval house in France with letting apartments for tourists.