Dispatches’ recent documentary ‘Celebs, Brands and Fake Fans’ has got us all talking as it exposed the shocking scams behind many big brand’s social media success.
The documentary brings to light the tactics used to unnaturally increase online engagement figures and pay for celebrity endorsements; often leaving their clients in the dark about their methods.
However, are these agencies actually helping their clients using these dishonest approaches, or missing the purpose and benefits of social media entirely?
Paying agencies to manage social media accounts is common practise in today’s marketing world, but false likes and clicks only hurt the industry and brands connected to them in the end. Clients have to feel like they can rely on their agency, as they ultimately trust them with their brand’s credibility.
Manipulating the number of likes and followers quickly for short-term gains won’t work out for any company in the long run. The purpose of social media is to engage and interact with a brand’s fans and consumers; and simply getting a high number of fake profiles following you doesn’t achieve this.
A brand needs to encourage customers to engage with it and attract the interest of potential customers. Any meaningful relationship is built up over time with an honest approach. Buying likes and followers is fraud, and cheating the client as well as the fans.
Here at Superdream, all of our social media is carried out by our in-house specialists. These are our top tips for building relationships with customers and fans via social media the hard (but honest!) way:
Interact with your fans
Don’t ignore the people who interact with your company – this is a chance to build interest and loyalty from them. Sending a humorous reply to somebody’s tweet could make their day, potentially increasing their loyalty to your brand.
As well as compliments and questions, make sure you take the time to reply to complaints as quickly and efficiently as possible. It is best to avoid any lengthy confrontations via social media; but show a quick and polite response to any complaints, and refer the person to a phone number or private message to address the issue further.
Showing your eagerness to help your customers, whether they have a question, problem or criticism, will put your brand in a good light.
Share engaging content
Providing great content and discussion on your social network will encourage people to interact with you. Social media isn’t a brand space like a website is, but is owned by consumers. For this reason, brands need to approach how to get involved very carefully.
Creativity and personality are necessary to build valuable social media communities. You can add interest to your pages with infographics, interesting or funny information, videos and pictures.
You could use Vsnap to send personalised videos (max length 60 seconds) to thank somebody who shared your content or followed you for instance, or answer a question somebody might have about your company.
Instagram is a great tool for sharing visual content. It’s quicker to get your message across and create the feel of the brand with some carefully chosen photographs. These are easier to share and more appealing than a block of text.
Pay attention to fan’s reactions
When experimenting with different content or topics to cover via social media, notice what seems to work particularly well and encourages positive discussion and likes from followers. This is a good way to see what your fans find most interesting, and will help you provide them with what they want to see in future.
Take a look at the discussions your fans are having on your page and don’t ignore the advice or opinions you didn’t seek. For instance if you are a snacks brand and several people are agreeing that they wish you did a prawn cocktail flavour crisp, this is an insight that you otherwise wouldn’t have had, and it’s probably a good idea to trial that flavour!
Keep it personal
You can use Facebook to give a face to your employees, and make your company seem more human and relatable. Your fans might be excited to get an idea of the kind of people that represent you, and it will make them feel as though they’ve got a unique insight into your brand.
Take a look at Moz’s ‘then and now’ photo album for inspiration, or their ‘Mozzers adventures’ pictures - showing the personality behind their employees. It’s good to get a number of people from your company involved to keep it interesting, and for the boss to tweet or write a Facebook post on occasion, to show followers that all levels of the company are interacting with them.
As you can see, building your social interactions organically takes a lot of time and effort, but really can pay dividends to get your business seen and presented in a positive light to current and potential customers.