A recent American Express Open Forum with author Julie Bawden (Garden Guides Press) interviewing Colorado SEO Pros Founder, Chris Rodgers.
Garden Guides Press: Please comment on the preponderance of BOTS/fake followers on social media sites, such as Instagram, and how this is causing a public loss of trust in the numbers, and how that affects businesses striving to build a social media following.
Chris Rodgers: Bots and fake accounts hurt businesses, individual user experience, and ultimately creates an atmosphere where people distrust information they are consuming online even more than they already do today. If this trend continues it may invalidate social media metrics and can ultimately lead to consumers completely ignoring much of the information being generated from social-media accounts. For businesses this means you better be creating real value and attracting real followers, otherwise you are wasting time on vanity metrics that won’t affect the bottom line.
GG Press: Share best social media practices for business owners/businesses. Tips for inspiring faith, trust and confidence in followers. Also for engaging audiences and building a following.
Chris Rodgers: “Focus on creating original content that has real value to your customers, limit the self promotion to a reasonable degree, and try to help solve problems that your customers have without strings attached. There are still some strategic ways to quickly grow your following, but the focus needs to be on real people. We provide a Rapid Twitter Growth program that helps our customers attract real followers by engaging with them through a strategic system, but it still takes time. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can just instantly buy real followers in bulk that are going to have legitimate value.”
GG Press: Comment on the importance of social media for businesses, as well as how they should view social media—not as the only outreach, but just one piece of their marketing pie.
Chris Rodgers: “Social-media is pretty much a requirement for every business to some degree or another. For some it may simply be a reputation management device to show potential customers you are a legitimate business with at a least a few social-media accounts that are kept current, for other businesses it may make more sense to create aggressive campaigns to drive big time brand awareness and ultimately real customer acquisition. At the end of the day social has a lower and less direct ROI than SEO, PPC, or even email marketing; so you need to consider where your dollars should go and to what degree it makes sense to invest.”
GG Press: Anything else you can think of that’s important to mention?
Chris Rodgers: The most critical factor with any digital marketing channel is tracking. You have to be tracking KPI’s (key performance indicators) very carefully to understand where you are getting value and what is working most effectively for your business. Having specific goals that you want to accomplish online and then measuring them month over month will help you determine what is generating an ROI versus what is not. Social-Media is tough, because a lot of the value can be with building your brand versus driving direct traffic and conversions to your website. Outside of tracking direct traffic and conversions from social-media channels you can also track the search demand on Google and other search-engine for your brand, this is a roundabout way you may see some of the impact you are having through social-media and other brand awareness channels.