You spend so much time working on increasing your followers. Tracking for keywords, following relevant people hoping they will follow back.
Your followers grow but it still all feels a bit empty? Don’t worry, it’s quite natural.
We all have a tendency to focus on the numbers.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or even our Email List, we are always working on acquiring more subscribers. Is this really what we should be doing?
Existing Customers Spend More
There are many studies that show existing customers spend more. The cost of getting further sales from an existing customer is much lower than that required to aquire a new one. The same goes for subscribers and followers. It’s much easier to get existing followers to convert into customers and advocates than it is to convert new ones. Yet we tend to put little emphasis on this.
Banks as an example; you’ll see an offer like:
“Sign Up Today and Get 5% Interest”
Note: Offer Applies to New customers Only!
What happened to the existing loyal customer that has been with the bank for 25 years? Where is their reward?
It’s this drive for larger numbers that has us missing the point.
Engagement is the Key Metric
The hub to your success in Social Media is all based around engagement. The interaction between you and existing followers or subscribers. As your engagement grows all other metrics will increase. You’ll gain authenticity, grow trust, build advocates, leading to sales (or whatever end result is your ultimate aim).
Scott Stratten, known as @unmarketing on Twitter, is a fantastic example. He has over 100k followers and has sent over 80k Tweets. The thing is that 75% of those Tweets are @ replies; that is, they are Scott engaging with someone else in a conversation. Taking an interest in others leads people to taking an interest in you.
Now I have talked a lot on this blog about building a following by posting regularly and sharing information. You should still do this, especially so if you are starting out; you do need a certain amount of followers to gain traction in the first place. What you mustn’t do is forget the conversation. It’s here you will build strong relationships from which you can grow your business.
Have a Conversation
So try it. Next time you fire up Twitter, go on Facebook or read someones blog, pass comment. Make sure you’re sincere, and no, saying “Nice blog post here’s a link to my site” does not count. Get in a real conversation about a real issue, suggest a solution or another perspective. Remember to come back. A conversation isn’t a one time deal, to really engage you need to keep coming back for as long as necessary.
This is where scale is an issue. And why large numbers of followers mean nothing. It’s those you engage with regularly that will become your advocates, customers or fans. You can only do this effectively with so many people. Therefore when you do engage you need to put the whole of yourself behind it. You can even test this. Find a person like Scott with a large following, wait for him to be online and try to say “Hi”. Chances are you won’t get a reply; if you prove me wrong let me know in the comments below.
But if you monitor his conversation and comment on a topical point, you’ll probably get a reply. Once you have the reply, where you take the conversation is up to you, but we now have an “Existing Customer”.
Now what are you going to do next, look for a new one or work with what you’ve got?