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Getting Connected with Social Media
By Bruce Johnston
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The Reason You Don’t Have More Followers on Social Media
"Bruce, how come more people don't follow us on Social Media?"
I get this all the time. The conversation continues something like this: "We have Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn; it seems like we post everywhere and a lot too, but we don’t have many followers."
These people are figuring there's some magical answer, some secret key that will unlock the gates and have eager followers flood their social network feeds.
The answer is actually quite simple (and not that magical at all): You are not posting anything worth following.
Imagine two cable TV executives talking.
First executive: "That new cable network we started isn't doing very well. Hardly anyone is watching."
Second executive: "Which network is that?"
First executive: "The one that is completely one hundred percent advertisements for the entire hour."
Everybody reading this: "That's because no one wants to dial in and watch just advertising!"
And this is what these companies are invariably doing. Their social media "content" is just advertising. A story about new equipment, a new employee, a limited time offer, this week's special: it's all advertising.
Let's look at it from a prospective customer's (the person a company would like to have following them on social media) perspective. Why does this person go online in the first place? To find answers. Maybe his current vendor has a quality issue. Maybe she wonders if her design can be built at all. He or she is looking for experts with knowledge that will help answer their question. They are looking for blog posts, case studies, webinars, and how-to's on the problem area that he or she is concerned with.
Knowledge and know-how like this is what companies need to offer to build followers. The content offered over social networks must be interesting, engaging and informative. That's the first part.
The second part is that this content must be offered continually. That's critical too. Otherwise, someone can have a look through once and when they that see you have nothing further to add to their knowledge, off they go and never to return (this is why many companies' websites have such dismal visitor numbers. If there is never anything new, why would someone ever come back?).
Does this take a lot of work? Yep. Is it worth it? Well, let me lay out a scenario: what if our company having problems decided to get serious and published something new, interesting and informative every week. They fleshed out their offering by linking to articles and posts of interest from industry sources like iConnect007.com, for example. Between their various social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, plus their blog, they attract two thousand followers.
What would that be worth? Two thousand people that have already expressed an interest in the company and are actively following what the company has to say every week. These are followers that can then be identified by asking them to sign up for the company newsletter, or offered more in-depth content to and move them up the chain from follower to prospect to customer.
How many of those two thousand would a company have to turn into customers to make this idea worthwhile? Two? Three?
Prospective customers don't know why a manufacturer is worth trying. They don't know what special knowledge and ideas the people at that manufacturer have. Social media offers an opportunity to display that knowledge and build a following.
Bruce Johnston is a sales consultant specializing in Social Media and especially LinkedIn. He has 30 years experience in high tech sales and management. He can be reached at email@example.com or through his profile on LinkedIn.
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