It’s Called Social Media for a Reason

Kathy-Vass-croppedBy Kathy Vass, PR Director

We’re in the information age where many companies are finding that being socially savvy can lead to sales success. Having a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram presence not only is an indication that your company is up on the latest technology, it also allows you to engage with a wider audience at a low cost.

With around 74% of adults regularly engaging on social networking sites, social media has become an important tool for obtaining and maintaining brand loyalty. A study by Convince and Convert found that 53% of Americans who follow brands on social media are more loyal to those brands. By following and engaging with your company on social media, consumers are showing your brand a level of trust. But if your daily posts are a steady stream of sales pitches, you may quickly lose the following you worked hard to build.

Search the term “using social media to sell” and you’ll get about 56.5 million results. It’s true, you can sell on social but educating and trust building should come first. The biggest social media misstep we caution clients against is being too sales-oriented on their social platforms. It’s called social media for a reason; and quite frankly, a daily dose of sales pitches on your Facebook or Instagram page is a big turnoff—especially for Millennials, studies show.

Think about it this way: social media is a conversation, an informal exchange of information and ideas. You wouldn’t want to dominate your coffee shop discussion with a friend by talking only about yourself. Likewise, you don’t want to use your social channels for an ongoing advertisement about yourself. There are countless other mediums for that.

MTT_TwitterAt Jackson, our social media services are part of our public relations department because we believe the same principles apply. Like PR, social media serves as a medium for sharing content that educates, informs or entertains, with opportunities to build brand awareness, credibility, trust, thought leadership and subject matter expertise. We encourage our clients to use social media to be an industry expert by offering tips or sharing third-party articles from industry sources on the latest technology or product innovations.

Also like PR, social media efforts should be integrated into your overall brand strategy and marketing mix. Social media can be a great lead generator, and it’s fine to link followers to your website or to a landing page for more information—but ideally at the end of an educational post rather than an infographic announcing $20 off your next purchase. You don’t have to hard-sell on social media to convert your followers into buyers and brand loyalists.

The bottom line is to use social media in a smart way. Here are a few suggestions:

Doughnut-challenge• Let followers come to you organically. Buying a list or a Follow4Follow app may increase followers in the short term, but are they a targeted group that will stick with you, engage with you and be loyal to your brand?

• Entertain your followers. Share a video about your company and content that shows the culture of your company as a getting-to-know-you experience. At Jackson, posts on our Facebook and Instagram platforms are designed for that purpose. We use Twitter and LinkedIn as platforms to share our thought leadership and marketing expertise.

• Build relationships by creating posts that inspire an emotional connection or response. Again, social media is more about engaging with your target audience than gaining 10,000 followers that may never like, comment or share your posts.

• Maintain a regular posting schedule to grow your following and engagement. But be aware that posting too frequently can drive down your posts in Instagram and Facebook algorithms, annoy your following and lead to unfollows. We recommend to our clients that they post a minimum of 4–5 times per week on Instagram and Facebook with no more than two posts per day. Twitter is a more active, real-time platform where multiple posts in a single day are accepted.

• Know your target audience and their online habits. If your target audience is more active on social media, then you can be more active. If you’re unsure, test out posting frequency for best results.