Sprout Social published their Q3 (third quarter) social media research on Thursday and it revealed some interesting stats about how social media fans are turned off by a brand’s actions. Note: if you are an author, you are a brand. Read on.
What stood out to me right away were the stats on annoying actions brands take on social media. Just how annoying can you be? (all graphics from The Q3 2016 Sprout Social Index)
The most annoying action taken by brands? Posting too many promotions. I wish I was surprised, but just one look at my Twitter list of “authors on social” would prove that in a heartbeat. This one made me laugh: trying to be funny when they’re not.
Social Media Sells
Despite what some authors would try to tell us, social media can sell. However, your ability to sell will be tempered by a lack of engagement. Take note of another annoying feature from the above graph: not having any personality in their accounts. Be a human, talk like a human and connect. I was glad to see the Sprout Social data concurred with other data I see on a regular basis: the overwhelming majority of people on social are influenced to buy by social—75%.
The problem with that stat is that “people who purchase because of social media” is tough to measure except by this kind of research. Most of the time you can’t connect a particular purchase to social media. But we know it happens because reputable marketing companies are measuring the behavior of the buying population.
Your Social Media Followers Are More Likely to Buy
Another bright spot in the data: the majority of your social media followers are more likely to buy from you. It only makes sense. Your fans are already qualified, as we say in marketing. They’ve opted in to follow you. If you don’t annoy them but work on engaging them, you will increase the likelihood that they will buy.
Post, Engage, Repeat
If you use the 80-20 rule for selling on social media, make sure you repeat that offer more than once (see graphic below). But beware: promotion without establishing connection first will fail.
People need to see an offer 2-4 times before they get motivated to buy. When you build a base of connection with 80% of your content, people see what you have to say as valuable. But due to the fact that most people are not on social media 24/7, there is a need to post, engage, and repeat more than once. When I post a new blog piece or podcast, I post it four times in a 24-hour period. I spread the posts out to hit all the “drive times” – something I learned from my radio days – about every four hours. This process of repeating an offer is about doing two things:
- Establishing value with the 80-20 rule.
- Finding the sweet spot where engagement continues to grow. Too many posts send engagement on a downward spiral. It’s a good idea to do some research and figure out just how many posts work for your fans. For instance, I have found that four Twitter posts in one 24-hour period is the sweet spot for a blog post.
Influencing fans to buy your book or read your blog post from a social media post takes smart work. It starts with engagement. You earn the right to sell by pulling people in, not by pushing your messages at them. Thanks to Sprout Social for the great data. What do you think? How easily are you annoyed by brands you follow?