So what part of free Social Marketing is really free?

What’s the value of a fan or follower?

As more and more businesses put more and more stock into social marketing on popular websites like Facebook, questions arise about what local stores, restaurants, brands, products and service companies owe the people that "like" them. There seems to be a movement to spend time and money on getting people to "become a fan", but what’s likely more important is placing real value on each and every like your page receives and to put forth real effort into getting those that "like" you to "love" you.


So how do you build a loyal fan base?

Engagement can be challenging, but an engaged fan is a loyal fan. In this "what’s in it for me, right now?" culture where TMI runs wild and where social media users expect social media to be just that… social, marketers have to walk a tightrope, at a quickened pace, while wearing many hats, and balancing several plates, in order to fuel engagement and build a loyal fan base. The solution is in the flexible planning of strategic yet creative social media content that is useful enough, clever enough, entertaining enough, unique enough, viral enough and/or enraging enough to get 1% or more of your fan base to either click ‘like’ or comment on each post.

Is that all?

Gone are the days of "if you build it, they will come" or "fix it and forget it". Social media demands ongoing, interesting content that people feel good enough about or angry enough about to take time out of their busy lives to share. It’s definitely an achievable goal, if you have a clear picture of your business and your brand.

For starters:
- KNOW who your customer is
- KNOW what your customer wants
- KNOW how your product or service fulfills your customer’s wants and needs
- KNOW how to consistently delivery your brand message to your customers
- KNOW how to use the tools – Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.
- MAKE a commitment to finish what you start with Social Marketing
- MAKE a plan, create a calendar
- MAKE someone on your team responsible for fulfillment
- MAKE sure you review the results, adjust as needed and keep moving forward

Sound tough?

It is. What, did you think that FREE advertising was going to be easy too?? Remember your fans are only as valuable as the effort you put into managing your Social Marketing. To move from awareness to action, you need to start with Knowledge (attend Facebook: Upgrade to Business Class), add Ideas (what content types fit your customer and your brand), and work out a Plan (create a calendar). These steps lead to the tasks that put your business on its way to getting all the free out of free Social Marketing, and the investment you make now, if nurtured, will reap rewards for your company.