Nicola Moras (pictured below) is a social media and visibility expert, speaker and author of Visible, a guide for business owners on how to generate financial results from social media and digital marketing. In this guest post, Moras says social media “likes” are a pointless exercise in popularism…
Have you seen Instagram profiles or Facebook pages with hundreds of thousands of likes and followers and found your account wanting when you look at the size of your audience versus the size of theirs?
Social media can be a bit like the modern-day rent-a-crowd, where people buy likes, fans and followers in a vain attempt to appeal to a wider audience. Yet, like with a new restaurant opening up even with the rent-a-crowd people outside lining up to get in, it doesn’t guarantee that the food is any good or even that people will come back to dine again and pay for the honour.
When it comes to how brands use social media, it’s important to know that buying (or increasing) your likes, fans and followers does not mean that you will make money. For example, if you imagine that you’re a pop singer putting on a concert. The promoters give away a stadium of low cost tickets to the show to make it a ‘sell out show’, but don’t tell the audience what kind of music you sing. You have a mix of people in the audience: People who love metal, rock, 50’s music, pop and country.
You start singing and performing. But almost as soon as you start the show, you see that people are pouring out of the stadium in droves, because it’s not their style of music. Your music doesn’t appeal to everyone.
Apply this thinking to the way brands focus often on social media ‘likes’. There could be 10,000 likes but if only 100 people actually like what is being put up there, and of those 100 people, 20 are engaged and requesting more information or buying, there’s 9,980 people floating there, not doing anything. It’s staggering.
This isn’t a new concept. In fact, this has been talked about as far back as 2014 as shown in an article written by marketing expert Neal Patel in 2015 where he shares the evidence around increasing likes and spending money to raise them. It doesn’t equate to a return.
Measuring engagement in the form of ‘likes, comments and shares’ is also something brands can’t afford to focus all their attention on, as a ‘like’ doesn’t mean an individual even likes the content. They could be clicking that ‘thumb up’ button for any number of reasons.
Brands need to shift their thinking around how they use social media to grow and encourage engagement and a return.
Create content aimed at your ideal audience
You have to be able to articulate who you want in it. Who are the exact people that you love working with? What are their goals, dreams and desires? What challenges do they go through or face on a daily basis? What kinds of content do they like to consume online and what do they like to share?
When you know the goals and challenges your audience have, it makes your job easier to create content that will resonate. This makes it a lot easier to engage them with your content.
Understand how engagement actually works on social media
First, think about how you’re reading this article. Some of you will be nodding in agreeance and absorbing every word. This is you engaging with the content. You don’t need to click ‘like, comment or share’ anything in order for you to engage.
People don’t always engage visibly on social media (by clicking like, commenting or sharing your content) because they don’t always want their friends or colleagues knowing who and what they’re following. It does not mean that they’re not engaged with your content. Some like to keep you all to themselves. Let’s get them to do something that will actually create a result for you and for them.
Activate this audience
This is the step that many business owners neglect to make once they’ve built an audience of people who are actually interested in the content that they’re sharing, and that’s asking them to do something.
In order for you to leverage social media and use it to create a connection with your audience, you need to get them doing something.
Ask your audience to give you their name and email address so they can download a free guide from you or post about something that they can buy from you. A book, a program, your product or service.
This is the only real measurement that matters to any business: The conversion of the social media follower to a lead and then to a sale