How to Build Your Social Media Fan Base

After the last blog I posted on social media marketing, has your company started on its social networking strategy yet? No? Perhaps you feel like you still don’t have enough information to launch a social media marketing policy at this time. Fortunately, SSI’s September issue offers best practice tips to help electronic security companies manage social networking sites.

Of course, with such an interesting topic, I wasn’t able to include all the great material I gathered in the print article. So, I’ve posted it in the Under Surveillance blog. In this second installment in a series of three blogs, let’s see what social media managers can do to build a fan base.

First, let’s get one thing straight. “There is no such thing as ‘If you build it, they will come’ with social media,” says Kristen Simmons, managing partner of the marketing firm Lightswitch, which consults businesses in various industries to improve customer experience.

Indeed, it takes effort to build your Facebook and/or Twitter following, according to Kelly Ahern, account executive for Caster Communications, a PR partner with Linear. During Linear’s Social Media Marketing Training Webinar on Aug. 22, Ahern stressed that your company’s Web site must be in tip-top shape before trying to acquire followers.

“Remember, you are driving people from your social media sites to your Web site, so you want to make sure that you’re giving your followers a really great impression,” she explains. “Make sure that your site has great images and its updated.”

If your company Web site is already at its best, one of the easiest ways to start building a fan base is to inform your entire organization that your company is now on social media.

“Make them aware of the social media channels that your company supports,” Vector Security Vice President of Marketing Art Miller says. “Have them follow, ‘like’ and contribute. If you provide clear guidelines for your teams to follow, social media can provide a great forum to get feedback from your customers.”

Brian Plant, founder and CEO of eFish Marketing, an Internet marketing agency for security alarm dealers and monitoring companies, agrees, and says that all companies should advertise that they’re on social media on all print materials.

“Put it on business cards, stationary, service orders or anything you can leave with customers,” he says.

Another way to add followers is to search for buzzwords that apply to your business in the Twitter search bar, such as “alarm system,” “home security system” or “personal emergency response,” Ahern explains. This allows companies to reach out to prospects who are seeking these particular services in their areas.

“You can directly respond to that prospective client and provide him/her with industry knowledge, which can hopefully build a business relationship with that person.”

Remember that the Facebook news feed also plays a big role in bringing fans to your page, so make sure that you post exciting, relevant content to engage followers.

“Nine out of 10 fans will probably never revisit your fan page unless you give them a reason to come back,” Ahern says. “The news feed features posts that people share often or a post that has 10 ‘likes’ and maybe 15 comments. That’s what you want to strive for — creating content that is so interesting that people are commenting, ‘liking’ and sharing it with others.”

If you’re thinking of starting a contest to get more “likes” on your Facebook page or more followers on Twitter, Plant warns that this strategy could be dangerous.

“It’s not a very good long-term solution,” he says. “As soon as that contest is over, all the ‘likes’ sort of disappear. A better strategy is to identify people or an organization in your local market that has influence. Perhaps like the local chamber of commerce or congressman — somebody that has influence in the community who will follow you back.”

Do you have any tips on how to build a social networking fan base? Leave them in the comments section below. Also, be sure to check back next week for the last installment of SSI’s social media blog series. The topic? Responding to negative customer feedback.

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