Nick Westergaard

By Nick Westergaard on February 25, 2013

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Why Should We Follow You?

why should we follow you

With a nod to Jim Collins, I often talk about what takes a social media program from “good to great.” One such area that differentiates a base hit and a home run is how you integrate and promote social media efforts across your other marketing channels. Nowhere is this more apparent than in brick-and-mortar businesses, where brands often think they can quickly cross that ‘social media integration’ thing off of their list by simply slapping the Facebook and Twitter icons up on a sign in their store.

Anymore, social media icons are ubiquitous as we traverse the online and offline marketplace. Whenever, I see them standing alone on a sign or a banner accompanied by the request to “Follow Us,” I silently ask the brand, “Why should I follow you?”

Because these icons have become such an easy way to define integration, many think nothing more of it. Sometimes this is simply a missed opportunity, as there really are compelling reasons why a customer should follow you (special savings? exclusive offers? inside tips?). However, sometimes this is a symptom of an even bigger disease — a lack of a clear social media strategy.

One example presented itself recently as I visited my local grocery store, Hy-Vee. Last year they were kind enough to take us inside their social media command center for a tour of how they address customer care via social media at their 235 stories throughout the Midwest. With such a solid social presence I was surprised to see a simple hand-drawn sign with a Facebook icon and “Like Us” on it.

why should we follow you ex.021

As a disciple of Jerry Orbach’s “When I’m Wrong, I Say I’m Wrong” law, I was pleased to see recently that this sign had been replaced with an even better banner in their entry vestibule, noting that we should connect with them on Facebook for special offers and news on events. The banner also paints a clear picture of what they want the user to do — put ‘Coralville Hy-Vee’ in the Facebook search box.

As marketers we need to remember not to get lost in “the sizzle” of social media and instead focus our attention on “the steak” — the basic tenants of strong direct marketing. When inviting people to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ — an action you want them to take — you need to sweeten the deal for them as well. You know why you want them to follow you but they don’t yet know what’s in it for them. You need to create a strong call to action that leads with a benefit to the consumer.

  • Get the latest news by connecting with us on Twitter
  • Like us on Facebook for special offers and exclusive savings
  • Help us shape new product development on our LinkedIn group

If this sounds trivial, it’s not. These front-line social brand touch points are what converts your casual foot traffic to the next level, closer to your inner circle where you can communicate with them more consistently and personally. And with each step closer to that inner circle, they’re also closer to being customers and, if you can keep them engaged, brand advocates for life.

But they have to get there first. What do your social brand touch points look like? Is your call to action clear?



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Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is Chief Brand Strategist and founder of Brand Driven Digital, where he helps build better brands online. In addition to his agency work, he teaches social media marketing at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business and is the co-host of The Work Talk Show podcast. More about Nick.