“Evolve or die,” although it might sound harsh, it’s a mantra that all marketers need to live by when thinking about their brand, according to social media expert and CEO of Silverback Social, Chris Dessi.
Dessi told a small group of marketers at a recent Hudson Valley Direct Marketers luncheon in Greenwich, CT, that no matter what you think your marketing plan should be, and whether you like it or not, it has to include social media.
One of the reasons why brands choose not to engage on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, according Dessi, is the fear that it opens the door for customers to publicly say something negative about your brand in a public space. “If they say something negative, they might be saying something for a reason,” Dessi said.
“This is where we need to stop pushing and start listening. You might learn something,” he said. Now is the time to listen to the customer on all fronts.
There are two things marketers need to realize when thinking about social media: it’s free and it’s where your customers are. But Dessi also reminded attendees that “now more than ever you need to do more to stand out from the crowd.”
To help fight the marketing competition on two of the most popular social media networks, Facebook and Twitter, Dessi offered rapid fire tactics and simple tips that you can do, right now, to boost your game in the social media arena.
When thinking about how to market your Facebook page to the masses, the first thing you should look at is your cover image. This is what Dessi called “your digital posture.” Not only is it the first thing someone sees when they come to your page but it only takes five seconds to make an impression, so you need to make your cover count. If a client is not engaged, they will go somewhere else, he said.
Then second tip from Dessi is how to approach your timeline. This is not just a place where you can announce coupons or new product arrivals. This is where you truly want to engage with your customers, talk about your expertise in a specific area, legitimize what you are saying, what your company does and give your company texture.
If your company has been selling saw dust since the 1800’s, it might not be a glamorous product but the fact that you’ve been in business for over 200 years might make a major impact to your audience base. Add your history to your timeline to personalize your brand.
When it comes to the best time to grab your audience’s attention, don’t bombard them with status updates. Dessi said its best to approach your company’s Facebook the same way you approach your own personal profile. Start adding posts at the times when you and the rest of the world checks their accounts, which is generally first thing in the morning and late afternoon/early evening when signing off at the office. Also, don’t overlook the weekend when it comes to status or picture uploads, Dessi said. Just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean customers are not checking out your page.
The best advice, Dessi said, was to schedule posts and pictures to go out over the weekend by using posting hosts such as HootSuit. When it comes to the content of those posts, Dessi said, Facebook posts that end in a question have a 15% higher engagement rate. So think short and sweet.
Don’t be afraid to ask your audience to “Like” a post on your page, more times than not, Dessi said, they will because it takes the thinking out of the equation.
Photographs are also a sure fire way to grab your customers attention on Facebook. According to Dessi, “people want to peek behind the curtain” of your organization, so post pictures of a few boxes on a conveyor belt in the warehouse, post your inventory coming in or leaving your warehouse.
The bottom line, Dessi said, is that you need to connect with your audience and Facebook, if done properly, is a great way to do it for free.
According to Dessi, there are 1.6 billion search queries happening on Twitter a day. What does that mean for your brand? “People are looking for you,” Dessi said.
While he didn’t get into as much detail for Facebook as he did for Twitter, Dessi did offer these tips on how to best approach your audience on Twitter:
- Between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. is the best time to tweet in the morning
- If your just starting off, marketers should tweet one to five tweets a day
- Tweets that are less than 100 characters have a 17% higher engagement rate
When it comes to tweets, a few best practices, according to Dessi, are to ask your followers to retweet your posts, and include links or images with almost every tweet.
When it comes to social media, marketers can’t wait. You just have to make sure, according to Dessi, that the content is there, it means something, and it is compelling.