How to Gain Fans and Followers When You’re Starting at Square One

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

You have an established brand. You’ve got some customers, even a few devoted fans. But you are just about to dip your toe into the murky waters of social media. So in many ways, you are starting from scratch. What do you do? How do you gain Facebook fans and Twitter followers? You’re ready to join these social communities but you don’t want to look like the new kid on the block.

This is the biggest issue for many brands starting out in social media. They may know which social media sites are the right fit for their audience, and they may even have an existing fanbase there. But since these fans have not had an official page to join yet, those first few months can feel very lonely. Who’s reading those updates? Why don’t we have 100,000 followers when our email list is 5 times that?

These fears can be enough for some brands to throw in the towel. It takes time to build a loyal, consistent fan base. And what brands need to understand is that 1,000 engaged fans, who comment on your updates and buy your product, are better than 10,000 fans who all ignore you and serve no purpose but to inflate your fan count.

As for the disparity between total customers/website visitors/email subscribers and social media fans, Facebook advises brands to shoot for 10% of their total actual customers as fans. Not everyone is on Facebook, and even fewer people are on Twitter. Many people use these sites differently, and may not want to connect with a brand. And still more may simply not know you are there, despite your best marketing efforts.

To that end, here are a few tips to help you gain more fans and followers:

Communicate Off-Site

Use the tools you have, such as website placement, in-store signage, email marketing, etc. Provide a good reason for current customers to like or follow your brand on a new channel. Try something unique and exclusive to your social media channels, whether it’s a discount, eBook or sneak preview of information. Communicate this exclusive in the places where current customers interact with your brand and give them a good reason to add another communication channel with you.

Earn, Don’t Buy

Don’t get suckered into buying fans. While buying fans will give the outward appearance of success by boosting your numbers, hardly any will be actual customers with a real connection to your brand. Cheap fan buying services will provide numbers only, with no interaction; better ones may provide interaction to raise those metrics as well, but this still isn’t a real indicator of your brand’s social media performance or ROI. Real fans provide meaningful engagement and actual sales.

Engage With Everyone

As your fanbase grows, reply to everyone so that you can turn these early adopters into brand ambassadors. Look at some of the most successful brands on Facebook; they reply to nearly every comment, good and bad. On Twitter, look at sites like We Follow for ideas for accounts to follow, and engage with people as much as you can. Tweet at them and let them know you’re there, or reply to the Tweet that made you want to follow them and tell them why. Set up searches for terms related to your brand or product and reply to people asking questions about what you do or sell.

Build a Promotion

Create campaigns, content or contests that encourage sharing to spread your message and get more eyeballs organically. It’s a tried and true method; sales gimmicks work, and social media is no exception. Make sure you have your pages set up the way you want them and have contacted as many current customers as possible as outlined above, then make a big splash with a promotional campaign. Think of it like a widespread advertising campaign, even if it’s just Facebook.

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Facebook’s “Other” Messages, And Why They Think They Know Better Than Email

Thursday, 14 June 2012

I was poking around on Facebook yesterday (and every other day) when I noticed my “other” inbox. I had received a private message from a friend, both on Facebook and in real life, which had gone to my normal Facebook inbox, as well as my email alert. But as I read I noticed this strange inbox labeled “other” right below the “normal” inbox where my friend’s message was. Curious, I clicked.

Months of old, unread messages from acquaintances, event organizers, group leaders and contest administrators lay neglected in that inbox. After a quick scan to determine nothing was too pressing, I stopped to wonder what “other” really meant. They’re not messages from pages, which requires me, the fan, to take action first. And yet, they seem to include brand messaging. On closer inspection it seemed that messages from events I had been invited to, contests I had entered and a few from people I had never met, all ended up here. But why?other messages inbox facebook

Awhile back, Facebook revamped private messages as part of their “social inbox.” Facebook’s idea is that your friends’ messages shouldn’t be left sitting next to spam. Unfortunately, their definition of spam is a lot looser than most email providers, catching many potentially interesting, if not important, messages in its net. And while my overlooked “other” inbox didn’t include messages from friends, it did have messages from events my friends had set up and groups I had opted into. Yet somehow, Facebook decided they weren’t important.

As a Facebook user, I’d advise you to login and take a peek at your “other” inbox. And it wouldn’t hurt to read up on Facebook’s messaging basics, too. As a brand? Be wary of sending Facebook messages through the event platform, and always ask for email addresses when a user enters a contest.

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4 Graduation Tips (And A Giveaway!)

Sunday, 03 June 2012

It’s that time of year, when stores advertise “Dads and Grads” sales and universities across the country send new graduates out into the world. And while most have probably heard their fill of graduation and job search tips, I wanted to add my own 2 cents. (With an online/social media focus, of course.) Plus? You can win an awesome set of your very own Moo cards!

So, recent (or not so recent) graduates, here is my unsolicited advice for you:

Join LinkedIn

Yes, job sites and networking events are great. But LinkedIn is still my preferred method of online stalking…at least professionally. And since that’s what the site’s designed for, employers don’t have to worry about seeing awkward photos of college parties or a long list of your favorite TV shows. Recruiters like to lurk on LinkedIn; give them something good to look at. Include a photo and as much relevant info as possible. Even better? Participate in groups, ask questions and stay active on the site. It’s a great way to attract an HR rep’s eye.

Clean Out Your Closet

Business casual, yada yada yada, modern day workplace blah blah blah. There are many ways to dress inappropriately for work, no matter how dressed down the staff is. And the old adage is true: it’s better to be overdressed than under-dressed. And not to get all quip-y on you, but did you hear the one about dressing for the job you want, not the job you have? Dress up for your interview, and pay attention to what people are wearing when you go. File it away, then dress for your first day like it’s still the interview. Then take yourself shopping with your first real paycheck. ‘Cuz trust me, you may think you have the right wardrobe, but a cardigan over a cocktail dress is not workplace attire.

Adjust Your Privacy Settings

Employers are going to Google you; it’s a fact of life these days. That’s why you need to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date. A blog, online portfolio or other professional website isn’t a bad idea either. But perhaps the most important thing you can do online to improve your chances of landing that dream job? Take stock of your Facebook profile and adjust your privacy settings. Allow only friends to see photo albums; keep past posts private and watch what you post about your job search. Don’t whitewash your entire profile however; with over 850 million people using Facebook, a no-show for your profile is a dead giveaway that you’ve got something to hide.

Be Your Own Business

Gone are the days where you graduated college with a job ready and waiting as soon as commencement concluded. You have to work at it, start small. If you can, create the job you want. Ask for more responsibilities at your job, and find ways to bring in your passion. It won’t happen overnight, but it can work. (It’s how I went from a print advertising copywriter to social media manager.) No options at your current job? Go freelance or start a project on your own time. Create a simple website to market your skills; revamp your résumé with real-world experience; give yourself a leg up on the competition with custom business cards.

To get you started, Moo is offering a free set of business cards to a lucky winner! Just leave a comment before 5pm PST on Friday, 6/8 with your top tip for grads for a chance to win.

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