- How do you convert Facebook friends and Twitter followers to customers?
This is one of the biggest questions I hear when it comes to social media, so I was glad that Alaina asked it to our experts. After all, while we understand social media is about brand building, it also matters how we then get those people in the door.
Mark from Sullivan Tire said that using the cross promotion tools he previously mentioned helps drives people to the dealership's website, but there then there are some things you can do to keep people there. A good rule of thumb is that you want your website to be easy for consumers to use. For instance, a tire fitment guide is a great thing to have to keep people on your website, he said. Sullivan Tire also provides a Live Chat that has proven very popular. Although it is not available 24 hours a day, it is available for extended hours to help the consumer.
Alpio Barbara, president/owner, Redwood General Tire, said his company helps to engage with customers and stay current on what is going on in the community to assist with converting followers to customers.
Patrick Braswell, director of strategies initiatives, TCS Technologies, said that one of his personal favorite ways to see this conversion is not by looking at what the consumer sees, but more with what the company has on the backend. For instance, having its inventories listed online. If you choose to post prices on your website, he said to make sure they're accurate because this will ultimately make the experience better and help get that customer in the door.
- What kind of content do people need to be sharing?
Jessica said one of the rules Sullivan Tire stands by is the 70-20-10 rule. It is a breakdown on how to post content on your social media pages: 70 percent informative and fun; 20 percent re-sharing content from others and 10 percent promotion. People like to talk about the weather and sports, etc., she said, and that is why it is the largest portion of posting. It is really just about anything you would talk to someone face-to-face about. Sharing content is important because it helps engagement. The more you share from other people, the more likely they are to then share content from you as well.
One audience member said he has have seen the same advertisement over and over again. Jessica said this is part of why the 70-20-10 rule can be so important. If you are only doing 10 percent of your posts as promotional posts, then this will ensure you are not bombarding your audience with things just about you.
Mark added that you cannot be too sales-focused on social media because that will turn people off. One thing anyone can do is try to engage with social media influencers in your area and try to engage with them. If you create a relationship with them, they may even become brand ambassadors for you because people trust them.
Alpio said Redwood Tire likes to post a lot of trivia questions on Facebook and run contests on the site. Again, engaging with your community will make people see you are a part of it and can help get them in the door.
Ross said additionally, utilizing what is trending can be a great way to get in the conversation, such as the Ice Bucket Challenge or Coca-Cola having different names on their products. These were all over social media and it can help make you a part of something bigger.
If you are unsure on how to start a social media campaign, this can definitely help get you in the conversation. You do not have to overthink it—it can be simple.
- What are some missteps on social media?
Patrick said that as a business, you really want to be focusing on engagement rates. While it is a big deal if someone unfollows you on Facebook—because it means you have done something to upset them—he said it does not happen that often. However, if your engagement rate starts to die down that means people are not continuing to engage with your company. It is important to know the platform you are posting on because that can be key to keeping up your engagement. You should not just be posting things all across all social media platforms because conversations are different on different sites.
Ross said one big misstep a company can do is to alienate people. It is best to stay away from anything political or religious on your business social media sites.
Patrick agreed, explaining that when one particular dealership started working with TCS, he looked to see what the company's social media presence was. He saw that the company allowed various members of the staff, including someone who no longer worked there, to have manager access to the site. This could definitely lead to trouble because:
1.) There should be a social media strategy in place; and
2.) You open yourself up to a lot of trouble if anyone can post whatever they want — in the case of this dealership, most of the posts were jokes about women drivers.
Additionally, this same person who was posting was also in charge of the company's Pinterest page, which is a hugely women-dominated site. These types of posts can completely alienate a lot of your customers (and potential customers), and is the type of behavior a company should shy away from on social media.
Mark said one thing to look out for is remembering the difference between your personal social media presence and the company that you post for. He said while he does not post negative things on his personal sites, the tone and the content that is being shared is different.
Some companies have gotten into trouble because someone said something they thought was on a personal page, so it is definitely something to look out for.