What is a Twitter follower worth? How about a Facebook fan? Or a LinkedIn connection?
In a lawsuit against a former employee, a company called Phonedog has valued each Twitter follower at $2.50.
For Toronto-based retailer Timothy’s Coffee the impact of disgruntled Facebook fans has been measured by the sleepless nights of its executive team. The company experienced a hailstorm of social wrath as the result of an ill-fated promotion.
I am often asked by clients and prospects about how they can effectively grow their online followings. While Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) measures the success of its campaigns based on the achievement of sales outcomes (i.e. lead generation, prospect cultivation and deal capture), I do recognize the importance of a healthy and thriving community of followers.
Community confers credibility onto an organization, turns social media into an efficient and targeted channel to connect with those likely to buy and, equally important, is a clear benchmark that management can use to evaluate progress.
So…here are three sure-fire ways a business-to-business or government-focused company can juice up its quantity and quality of followers:
1. View yourself as a publisher of content that engages, educates and, when appropriate, entertains. Use your social media platforms as vehicles to share non-promotional thought leadership and best practices insight.
2. Offer high value premiums such as white papers, case studies, Webinars, etc. to your existing network, rather than as a gimmick to lure in new followers. You want to reward those who have and continue to engage with you online. They’ll be more likely to spread the word to their social connections.
3. Promote your content through a mix of different channels, including social networks, Email marketing, trade show participation, traditional advertising and public relations. As long as the content contributes to the professional growth of your audience, it is absolutely appropriate to be proactive in your promotion.
Always keep in mind that a growing, thriving and engaged network of social connections is merely the outcome of an exceptional social media marketing program. Don’t try to game or gimmick your way to numbers.
Give your audiences a reason to follow by providing access to content they won’t find anywhere else.