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Social media can be the making or the breaking of a business. Statistics show that the average American spends 37 minutes on social media every day. With 67% of twitter users buying from brands they follow online, 90% of specialty retailers using Pinterest and 46% of the population looking to the web before they make a purchase, social media marketing is not something that you can ignore. An online presence is crucial to your success as a business. It allows consumers to follow your business, see promotions, keep up to date with sales and new products and interact with the business without leaving their home or even making a phone call. It gives you an online voice in a (very) big virtual world!

However, 20% of social media uses view brand interaction on Facebook and Twitter negatively, with 18% of users holding the same view about Pinterest. How do you ensure that your social media marketing is gaining followers and keeping customers happy, rather than annoying your customers and losing fans?

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Don’t Sell To Them

There is a time and place for selling, and social media isn’t it. Save the selling for your website, and use your social media presence for other things.
People use social media to unwind. They want to see what their friends are up to, what is happening in the world and maybe have a laugh at some humorous posts. They do not want to be bombarded with ad after ad begging them to buy their latest product. You can take any angle you like- write a post about how your latest product or service is excellent value, try adding humor with sayings such as ‘its Friday, treat yourself!’- no matter what you do, it still sounds like a sales pitch, and so will still leave your followers with a bitter taste.

Your fans did not follow you because they want to be sold to. They followed you because they want to be engaged and entertained- they like your brand and they want to see what your online presence is like. Give your followers what they want. Make them feel happy and amused when they see your posts, not pressured and irritated. As much as you want to push your sales, know that by using social media to do this you will not be pushing your sales but instead pushing your followers away.

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Understand Your Medium

Firstly, you need to know who you are engaging with. You may be a company that specializes in products that are aimed at a male audience, but if you are trying to target customers by using Instagram then you need to change the way you market as 80% of the Instagram population is female. Knowing this information allows you to tailor your posts to a female audience who could purchase your products for a male friend. Do the research and create social media content that fits the outlet. Do not write one post that you use across all mediums- whereas 80% of Instagram is female, only 52% of Facebook users are female. Similarly, whereas Instagram and Facebook are more informal and relaxed sites, LinkedIn is primarily a networking and business site which requires more professionalism. Take the time to research your audiences before you begin your campaigns.

In addition to understanding who you need to be posting to you also need to know when you should be posting. Find the perfect time to engage with your followers and tap into this time zone as often as possible in order to get as many views, likes and shares as possible. Statistics shows that Facebook users are more likely to engage with posts on Thursdays and Fridays, Twitter users Mondays through to Thursdays and LinkedIn posts Tuesdays to Thursdays. Once you have all of the information you need about the optimum days and times to reach your audience make yourself a timetable of social media windows and set reminders to post automatically during these hours.

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Create Engaging Content That Adds Value

Engaging content is key to gaining and keeping followers. You need to create something that your followers will not only enjoy, but will like so much that they want to interact with your brand on social media. You need to be one of them- one of the users that you are trying to engage with viagra la pilule. If they are posting selfies, then you need to post selfies. If they are taking a challenge such as the recent ice-bucket challenge, then you need to take part in the same challenge. Instead of trying to create your own online conversation join in on the conversation that is already happening- search for trending hashtags and get involved in the big picture.

To really make your brand approachable and friendly then you can use your employees to engage online as part of your brand. Your employees can set up semi-professional accounts where they use their own photos and show their own interests but are there to help and assist with the brand in any way possible. You will be giving your brand a voice, a face and making a connection with others online. As well as creating a sense of fellowship you must also create a sense of familiarity. Be consistent in your posts- the more you post, the more your followers will see and the more comfortable they will feel with interacting with you. Do not spam social media with constant pointless posts, but do create great posts regularly. Use social media marketing tools such as DrumUp and HootSuite to monitor, create and line up great posts for your brand. If you leave three weeks between posts then your brand will seem unavailable and uninteresting online.

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When you are posting to these sites you are aiming for engagement- so engage with your followers. Welcome and encourage feedback. Do this by posing questions to your followers and respond as quickly as possible. You will find that many customers will turn to social media when they want to give you feedback or address any issues they have with your business so you need to be readily available. When you do receive negative feedback act effectively and efficiently. You may want to take your time with a reply, but this will only be giving the customer more time for their anger and upset to brew. Respond swiftly and offer your apologies and try to rectify the situation. Do not delete negative feedback. By responding to negative feedback you are showing each one of your followers that you want to uphold the highest standards that you can and do anything and everything in your power to turn negative situations into positive ones.

Finally, give your followers what they want. Ultimately by following your brand they want to get something out of it- they want special offers, they want sneak previews, freebies and discounts. You want coverage and more followers. Get what you want, by giving them what they want. Ask your followers to tweet about their favorite visit to your business, to send in a photo of their best purchase from you or to share a photo of your latest product for the chance to win this product. Be creative- there are many ways that you can get your photos and posts shared thousands of times when you offer up a little something in return.

Lay Off The EDMs

This has already been touched upon in this article, but just in case you missed it- lay off the ads. EDM, or Event-driven marketing is a a technique used to target buyers based on changes in their needs- for example if it’s coming up to the weekend and they may need liquor for a party you may want to post an advert showing the prices of the liquor at your store.

While this seems like a good idea, 33% of consumers find ads like these more annoying than an average ad. They know it’s the weekend. They know what’s coming up. They don’t need to be told about it when they are trying to browse through their social media to relax at the end of a long day. Do not bombard them with ads, instead, as we have mentioned previously, be familiar. Instead of advertising your alcohol by showing prices and trying to encourage people to come on down and spend their money with you why not post a picture of a bottle of wine from your store with the caption ‘I know what I’m doing this weekend, do you?’. A post like this is humorous and will encourages engagement, keeping your customers happy and entertained.

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Don’t Annoy Them

The underlying rule of all rules and the most important one of them all- do not annoy your followers. Having already covered how to avoid annoying followers by not selling to them, advertising to them and responding in a timely manner, there are still more things to consider before you post.

You need to be personal, but not too personal. Whilst you want your customers to feel comfortable with your online presence, able to engage and relate with your business, you are still a business and so still need to act like one. So do not have personal conversations on your business account. Do not bring politics, religion or any other delicate matters into conversation on your business account as this will only lose your followers. Furthermore, be professional at all times and do not lose your cool. In the heat of the moment you may want to respond with a scathing comment to another company who is trying to drag you down, or a customer who is extremely out of order, but hold your head up high and be diplomatic and witty.

Finally- be humble. You may think your business social media account is all about you, but it isn’t. Of course you want to share the good news about your business, but you can’t be all business all of the time. Engage with others by providing interesting reading for them. Share interesting articles and videos that are relevant to what you do but not necessarily a product of your business, start discussions and give advice about working in your field.

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