Social Media IconsWhen it comes to Internet marketing, having an audience offers your business an immediate competitive advantage.  With social media and content marketing, an important goal is to grow your audience by acquiring more Fans and Followers on the top three social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

The following 4 tips should get you started:

Don’t alienate the audience you already have!

Quite simply, treat your Fans and Followers with respect. They chose to like or follow your social media account because they have an interest in the product or service you offer. However, if you’re not careful, you could easily lose their fandom. The most common ways to alienate potential clients on social media include:

  • Spamming them with a constant sales pitch: Of course your goal is to sell your products and services, but if the only content you provide is a barrage of advertising and you never post anything useful, interesting, or otherwise engaging, you’ll find your audience starting to dwindle.
  • Posting personal opinions on controversial topics like politics and religion: This is obviously a huge no-no! As your parents told you, “Never discuss money, politics, and religion with company”. The same especially holds true on the Internet, unless it’s your personal page and you’re posting among friends. Not everyone holds your beliefs, values, and opinions. That’s the great thing about life and the Internet. But if you’re trying to do business on the Internet, you don’t want to alienate potential clients by posting something they may disagree with, vehemently.
  • Disagreeing with a customer by posting a personal attack: Without a doubt, controversies will arise. You may end up with an angry customer posting to your page or tweeting their discontent with your products and services to all who will listen, and, they may get nasty about it. However, refrain from responding in kind. Always respond calmly, with respect, and with your best customer service voice. A nasty disagreement with one customer online will be seen by many and can exponentially turn into the loss of thousands of potential customers, or more.

Create an editorial calendar and stick with it.

If you do not already have an editorial calendar, seriously consider creating one. Having a schedule for topics you plan to post or tweet about will allow you to maximize the amount of time you spend creating content. It will also allow you to schedule regular posts throughout the day. Most importantly, having an editorial calendar will allow you to create timely content. If your business offers specials or offers during certain times of the week or seasonally, you want to be sure your audience knows about them.

KISS: Keep It Significant and Sharable.

Don’t post “junk”. Posting memes that might be related to your business is one way to put shareable content out there, but original, useful content will be more significant and meaningful to your followers. You can certainly share funny posts or memes, just don’t overdo it. Remind customers why they’re following you. You have a product or service they may be interested in and can offer expertise and value by creating significant content, not by randomly reposting the same funny things everyone else is posting.

Another way to capture your followers’ attention and grow your audience is by creating content that includes images or video. Images and video are infinitely more interesting to users of social media and are far more likely to be shared, thereby extending your reach to other potential customers and continuing to build your audience of Followers.

Manage, Monitor, and Engage or Respond

There are quite a few tools available for monitoring not only direct posts or tweets to your Facebook page or Twitter account, but also mentions of your account across social media platforms and the Internet. The most popular tool is probably HootSuite, which is free, but there are other free tools out there, like Backtweets which allows you to track how many people are tweeting about you, who they are, and what they’re saying. Also, don’t forget the free tools that come with social media platforms like Facebook Insights or Twitter’s advanced search.

Once you’re set up to monitor your social accounts, plan to proactively manage your accounts. Social media happens 24/7, so you need to plan and be ready to respond around the clock. If a customer is complaining about your product or service on a Saturday afternoon, you want someone to respond before 9am on Monday morning.

By using tools to monitor your social accounts and forging a plan to proactively manage them, you will be able to handle compliments and complaints in a timely manner by responding to customers and engaging them to resolve issues or thank them for their business.