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3 Tips on How to Monetize Your Social Media Following

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Over the last decade, and particularly in the last 5 years, the social media world and its influence has grown exponentially. From recruitment agencies using Twitter as a tool to find the best global talent, through to lifestyle brands such as Martha Stewart developing new relationships with fans via Pinterest, the influence of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the other major players in the social media space is only on the rise.

 
What is the reason behind social media becoming such an influencer in 2014? Because people love to be part of a conversation. Instead of being passive consumers, social media gives everybody the chance to be an active participant. We no longer passively watch television commercials, we create dialogues with our most loved brands.
 
For most businesses, this shift should be viewed as something entirely positive. Developing social media followers gives businesses the chance to provide new levels of engagement through a series of different content platforms. But beyond engagement, these platforms can also be lucrative revenue streams themselves. Here are a few tips that can help you to monetize your social media presence in 2014:
 
  1. Create a content-led sales strategy
    If you own or manage a business, you will need to appreciate that the way you push a sale via social media has to be different to your methodology on other platforms. People don’t follow businesses and brands on Facebook and Twitter because they want to buy things. They follow social media accounts because they are engaged by content. A “buy it now!” hard sell simply will not resonate with your social media audience. Instead, you need to think of ways that you can include a sales message within a piece of engaging content so that your followers do not feel as though they are being explicitly sold to. Think about how you can use images and videos to create deep engagement while softly leading into a sales message rather than explicitly asking for the hard earned dollars of your followers.
  2. Offer special promotions
    One of the great benefits of using social media for engagement is the potential virality of content that is embedded on these platforms. This means that you not only have the opportunity to engage with your immediate followers but also their followers and the followers of their followers, ad inifinitum. If you promote an unbeatable deal into the social media world using a promotional code, it is likely that your post will have viral appeal. You might even want to consider promoting a deal that is a loss leader for your business, sparking the interest of social media users by offering an attractive price while also making them interested in your wider catalog of products or services.
  3. Reporting and analytics
    Every business person knows that comprehensive reporting against every facet of the business is essential for success, and yet too many organizations think of social media as a nice “extra” rather than an essential marketing tool and do not report on social media activity and influence. Just as you would analyze any traditional part of your marketing mix, you must also have comprehensive reporting for social media activity. Platforms such as Hootsuite Pro offer robust social analytics so that you can understand exactly which content engages your audience and how an audience engages with the content. This will enable you to create social media sales content that converts.
 
By following these tips, you should have the ability to both engage your followers and convert that engagement into a new revenue stream.
 
Published: February 4, 2014
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Spencer Frandsen

Spencer Frandsen is an expert in marketing, with years of experience in more than 500 digital marketing campaigns—and the ingenuity to teach himself HTML, CSS, and, currently, PHP. He is also pursuing his economics degree at the University of Utah.

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