As a public relations professional how do you know where to draw the line between being overly promotional via social media and sending out enough information to influence your target audiences?
Using social media successfully involves having a sound understanding of your audience and also being able to recognise that social media shouldn’t primarily be used as a sales tool.
Platforms such as Facebook are generally used by people looking for entertainment and dialogue, not promotions and advertisements. Most people on a company’s Facebook page are existing customers, and the way you communicate with them should focus on relationship building rather than informing them of promotions.
For example, one way to build your brand’s relationship with customers without self-promoting is to link your company website to useful content. You can also create content on your website that can be shared, such as interesting research you have discovered about your industry. Social media marketing is about creating and sharing content that’s valuable to the user. Remember: the best content is something that your potential customers can’t get anywhere else.
Always think about the interests of your followers. For each self-promotional post, put up two or three non-promotional posts, which are relevant to your audience. Try not to create obvious posts that ask the viewer to like and share – this is a sure fire way of turning people off.
Although, don’t forget to post information regarding your success stories of how you helped your clients or how they have benefited from your services. Success stories make an interesting read and at the same time demonstrate your company’s value. This is where you can be proactive by seeking out your customers and asking them for feedback and testimonials.
Celebrating your clients is another good way of building engagement and promoting relationship building. However, this can be hard to do with taste. ‘Fan of the Month’ type pages for example, can seem contrived and awkward so be careful when creating such pages.
Finally, generating new fans can be done through Facebook in the form of paid or sponsored posts which help spread a post’s reach. Another popular method involves advertising on signage in public places; including shopping centres and malls; as well as on the street.
With the increasing uptake of Facebook on mobile devices, consumers can sign up instantaneously after seeing banner signage promoting a page in public. It is recommended that the advertising signs give the consumer a reason to sign up to the page. These incentives could be around competitions, give-aways or in store discounts. Similar signage techniques could also be used to increase the number of email subscribers.
Remember a consistent approach both online and offline is the key to a successful campaign; as a marketer strives to reach a consumer at every touch point.