Recently, Matthew Kennedy, President of Honing Steel Hospitality, appeared on the Abdul At Large program on WIBC 93.1FM radio, along Dave Meeker of Bringing Tech 2 You and Mike Murphy of Hirons Communications. On the program, we discussed the pitfalls businesses should avoid when it comes to social media with Abdul-Hakim Shabazz of Indy Politics.
As one of the longest-running forms of social networking, Twitter’s perfunctory style (only 140 characters per tweet) means it’s challenging to gain a following. Some restaurants avoid Twitter altogether because of the frustration of tweeting to an empty forest. That’s why those ads for fake followers can be so tempting.
But should you really do it?
The practice of paying for followers on Twitter isn’t new. In the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney attracted unwanted attention with a dramatic increase in followers in a single day. Fake followers are easy to get, inexpensive and can boost your confidence. Celebrities and brand names do it all the time. But, ethics aside, are fake fans a good idea? Here are both sides of the argument.
Sure, Buy Followers
With a few dollars, you can buy a few thousand followers and feel good about how your restaurant looks to others. If your competition has many followers, you can match that number or exceed it. There might be other reasons to buy followers; for example, you need to take a screenshot of your page for promotional reasons, or your restaurant will be in the limelight due to a news story. Having a stock of followers on Twitter lends legitimacy when others are looking. Also consider the law of attraction — if your account appears lively and interesting enough that many people follow it, others will want to participate. There’s nothing wrong with buying a few followers to get real ones.
Don’t Buy Followers
One good reason not to buy followers is that others probably don’t care that much about your follower count. Spend some time on Twitter, and you’ll soon realize what matters is the quality of your tweets and ability to capitalize on hashtags. Do those two things, and you’ll acquire followers naturally. Another reason to avoid fake fans is that the companies providing them control their accounts. You could wind up with throngs of followers whose profiles promote causes you don’t believe in or are antithetical to your business.
There are other quick ways to get followers besides buying them. Hold a contest on your Facebook page or Instagram account and make a requirement that entrants follow you on Twitter. An even more solid route: Host an Amazon giveaway. Choose a book or other product on Amazon that reflects your cultural ethos. When you designate it as a giveaway, Amazon will ask for your Twitter handle and let you require the participants to follow you. Since thousands of people enter Amazon giveaways, you’ll soon be hearing the pleasant ping that means a new follower has landed in your nest.
Follow us @HoningSteel
Once upon a time, building your business meant registering with the Yellow Pages and hoping people would find you. These days, the tidal wave of social media has left businesses awash with opportunities to connect with new and existing consumers around the clock. In fact, 95 percent of millennials expect brands to have a presence on Facebook and 80 percent expect them to be on Twitter. Simply put: If you want to grow your business, you need to get social.
Here are five ways to use your social media pages as a business tool to create new customers and ultimately drive real income.
1. Target Your Market
Facebook ads let you specifically target your ideal customers and encourage them to like your page. You can narrow the field by region, age, other pages they already like, and other relevant details. Combined with a social media icon on your website, soon you can start attracting qualified leads on social media.
2. Create Real Dialogue
Once you have people interested in your social media pages, you’ll need to stay engaged. Your social media management strategy should include more listening than talking. Take polls, respond to questions and comments, and get to know your base. As a small business, positive and personable engagement on social media can really set you apart from your competitors.
3. Become a Thought Leader
Start sharing valuable resources. Industry papers, new articles or your own thoughtful blog content all make meaningful posts. As you become known as a go-to source for interesting content and timely information, your business’ reputation will grow and improve.
4. Build Trust
Your social media pages can also be a venue for building trust with the public. Be routine and prompt with your responses to followers, and post content on a regular basis. Is there an industry crisis or problem you can help with? Offer advice and service right away. Your responsiveness on social media will send the message that you treat customers with quick and friendly service every time.
5. Direct People to Your Website
A robust “About” section that includes a link to your website helps convert people from online followers to real life customers. You never want to spam people with constant links back to your site, but a healthy dose of blog content leading there can drive traffic.
Your social media pages are not a “set and forget” operation. When it comes to social media management, you’ll need to monitor them as much as possible to cultivate meaningful relationships. Once you do, your social pages can be an excellent source for leads and real money!