For larger brands like Apple, Pepsi, and Chipotle, it’s not too difficult to make a splash on social media. They simply show up to the digital party and collect their millions of fans fairly quickly thanks to their outstanding levels of brand awareness and popularity. However, if you run a small business, it’s significantly more difficult to build up a dedicated army of social followers that will interact with your posts consistently. Therefore, for smaller companies and less visible brands particularly, it’s important to give your current and future customers a reason to take the time to find you on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.
So what counts as a “good reason” to get someone to connect with you on your social networks? That’s the million dollar question, and it really depends on the nature of what your business does and what sorts of things customers in your target market will likely respond to. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Coupons- Giving away coupons and other special offers is a very common practice amongst smaller businesses. Make sure that the offer is noteworthy enough to really draw interest. However, you should note that you run the risk of someone liking your company to get the offer and then unliking you afterward, so try to combat this by posting interesting, helpful content on a regular basis.
- Prizes- Instead of instantly granting a coupon for any like or follow, some companies go for a sweepstakes-style approach, exchanging a like for a chance to be entered into a drawing (or multiple drawings that occur periodically). Because a sweepstakes is usually accompanied by long odds, you need to make the prize particularly enticing if you want to see significant action from customers.
- Helpful information- Again, this will vary depending on the industry your firm competes in. Restaurants should consider keeping customers up to date on things like specials and new menu items. Entertainment venues can announce upcoming events and update show information. A shoe store might announce sales on certain brands. You’re only limited by your offerings and your imagination.
- Donations to charity- If your business works with a non-profit, it can actually be fairly effective to offer to contribute a small donation in exchange for each unique like or follow. In this case, you give the non-profit an incentive to promote your social channels as well.
Like most social initiatives, strategizing to increase follower count should be a fun opportunity to let your creative marketing juices flow. Try to think outside the box to come up with radical incentives that really catch customers’ eyes.