Monday, June 16, 2014

Playing Hard to Get? How to Encourage Customers to Find You on Social Media

Image courtesy of pakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Many companies and individuals have social media accounts like Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter as well as listings on review websites like Urbanspoon or Yelp! These accounts may be visually appealing and regularly posted to with engaging content but for some reason many will fail to gain or take a long time to gain notice. This leads to a frequently asked question we get all the time from existing users: 

Why do some social media accounts fail to gain a following?

There are a number reasons why social media accounts fail to gain a following but mainly it boils down to these social media accounts are hard to find.  Let's investigate a few examples of where social media profiles can be promoted.

Websites: Usually businesses have attractive websites with all the relevant information of their company and added value industry information like blogs. These same businesses also have more social media profiles than you can count and update them on a frequent basis. But their loyal customers, who visit the company's website on a regular basis, do not become followers on company social media platforms. The company fails to properly advertise their social media presence on the company website.  There are a couple of suggestions to ensure website visitors are made aware of a company's presence on social media but the basic way is through icons.  Social media icons on websites provide awareness to website visitors that a company has social media profiles.   These icons can take a variety of looks but look something similar to the below:

 

But these icons lead to another issue with customers on your website from finding you, linking correctly.  On many websites where these icons are present the gifted webmaster has failed to either properly link the accounts at all or merely linked them to the homepage of the respective social media platform (e.g. www.twitter.com, www.facebook.com. etc. ).  Thus, it is important to both ensure the social media icons are present but also pointed at the correct web addresses (URLs) to be able to find the company's social media profile (e.g. www.twitter.com/suddcorp, www.facebook.com/suddcorpsolutions).  It also does not hurt after creating these links to take the extra couple of minutes to test them to make sure they work! 

Another method to market a company's social media presence is to integrate feeds into the website itself if space permits.   Some social media platforms like Twitter allow feeds to be created and integrated into websites.  The CBC Ottawa's is a great example with their live newsfeed integrated into the site which allows visitors to follow reporter's or CBC's corporate feeds.

Offline: In the real world, your social media existence may also be hard to find. Make sure customers can easily find you by promoting your social media channels whenever possible. You can advertise visually in your storefront window, on your receipts or in newspaper advertisements your existence on social media by using social media icons or mentioning your social media internet addresses (URLs). Customers will only follow you if they know you exist!

Search: In online search your company is hard to find because the social media profiles are not optimized from even the set up stage.  A great example on Twitter, which does extend to other social media platforms, is choosing a profile name and address that does not match your company profile. Aardvark Property Insurance might have a Twitter name or Internet address reflecting "Aardvark123756".  No wonder possible followers can't find the company while searching.  A better Twitter name might be "AardvarkPropIns" with an name that reads "Aardvark Property Insurance".  This allows followers to enter the company name into the search function and find the company quickly and easily. So when setting up the profiles, make sure to choose an account name and address that fits your business.

Customers who learn about your social media existence are more likely to follow, join the conversation and even endorse your services or products which helps to make your social media channels more worthwhile.  These customers are also more likely to be your unpaid sales team by engaging their friends and family with recommendations of your products or services either in person or online using word of mouth recommendations. So it is of the utmost importance to make it easy for your customer's to find you on social media!