These days, consumers rely more and more on the social aspects of research when they're considering where to spend their money. In other words, recommendations from real people can mean as much or more to them than advertisements or other marketing campaigns. Testimonials are a great way to show that people find your product or service valuable, but how do you get strong, believable testimonials to use on your site?
As recently as a couple of years ago, businesses left and right were panicking about the number of Twitter followers they had, and some were even going so far as to buy thousands of follows in order to get their numbers higher. The idea was that higher numbers would give the impression that the brand was incredibly popular, and that would in turn encourage real followers to come along and actually validate that appearance.
It soon became clear, though, that artificially pumping up follower numbers did not really achieve the desired results. As it turns out, people on Twitter want to be social over all else, and they're more likely to follow an account where they can have meaningful interactions regardless of follower numbers, versus an account with a high follower count and no real way to connect with the people who run the business.
So then things swung back in the other direction for a while, with marketing experts chanting the "quality over quantity" mantra and warning that suddenly having a huge number of artificial followers could actually backfire, causing the "real" followers to get frustrated and unfollow. Now, however, there's more a balance between the two extremes, with marketers still pushing the idea that quality is important, but also acknowledging that a quality account will and should be attracting increasing numbers of organic followers.
In other words, you can use the growth (or lack of) of your follower list as a sort of metric to measure whether your Twitter strategy is working. If you're interacting with your audience and tweeting regularly and your numbers are increasing at a regular pace, be patient and keep going. Building up an account can be slow and steady work, especially at first.
If, on the other hand, you're giving your Twitter account all the necessary attention and nothing's really happening with your follower numbers, it may be time to look at the type of interaction you're doing, and make some adjustments. Are you tweeting too frequently, or not frequently enough? Is there a good mix of interaction in your tweets, or are you doing too much straight-up blatant promotion? Implement small changes, stick with them for a while, and then note whether or not what you're doing is helping to bump your numbers in a positive direction.
What lengths will you go to in order to keep the numbers heading in the right direction?
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In this age of Internet transparency, consumers have more options than ever before. Today's consumer does more research and, as such, is more well-informed than ever before making a buying decision. What this means is that it's increasingly difficult for your business to make an impression. In a sea of choices, what is it that makes your company stand out? Sure, you may have a good product or service, but how is a passing consumer to distinguish what you offer from the hundreds of other products and services that may appear to be just as good?
It may only be November, but with the holiday rush getting ready to overwhelm us all, 2013 will be here before we know it. That means that now is the time to start looking at the marketing strategies that did and didn’t work for your business in 2012, and plan for the changes you’ll need to make in the new year to continue moving forward.