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Want to generate social media referrals or connections? Make them first.

If you want to generate referrals, likes and positive reviews on social media, one of the best things that you can do is model the behavior to your own fans, friends and followers.

Connect. Share. Like. Comment. Favorite. Retweet. Give +K. Be first to do it. People watch those that connect with them in a meaningful way. When you’re the first to reach out, comment or connect, it generates a favorable exchange and a positive first impression. Recipients and observers will remember your activity and find ways to respond the in kind.

So many brands fail to connect with individuals and other brands on social networks that it’s staggering. It’s too-often used as a one-way channel of communication where you’re sending out a stream of one-to-many messages.

According to a recent information from Online Marketing Trends social media referrals constitute 71 percent of purchases. Consumers discuss brands casually 90 times per week on the average and 90 percent of consumers believe brand recommendations from a friend. People also trust strangers over advertisements: 70 percent of consumers believe the opinions/reviews of other and 75 percent doubt the content of advertisements.

Ask for referrals. One of my former bosses used to tell me that ‘all feedback is a gift’ (negative or positive). As for feedback on all the content you share on social networks. Ask a lot of questions and be open to answers – even when they’re negative. If someone takes the time to provide it, it matters. Referrals look differently on social networks. ‘Liking’ or ‘Following’ something is an implied endorsement or referral. When I see that a friend of mine is ‘liking’ or ‘following’ a brand, I assume they do it for a reason.
“Millennial’s in particular are not only happy to, but almost feel obliged to pass comment on the services and products of brands,” said Terry Golesworthy of the Customer Respect Group. ” It is important to identify the brand advocates and reward them for participation while providing mechanisms to enable them to create referrals. This could be product reviews, the ability to comment or some promotion or campaign that encourages them to pass on their positive feelings. Generally all of the above is needed, make it easy to refer, enable all and every avenue.”

Reviews are a common element on social networks. If someone I know has had an experience with your company (good or bad) I want to know. That’s the reason I tend to use FourSquare and Yelp on my iPhone. Positive reviews on social networks (including shares and likes) can also boost your natural results on search engines. Google local search is the best example and its underutilized. (Show Google Local). Drive reviewers to your Google local search page. Add video testimonials. You’ll notice positive results in the quality of interactions you have — and, your Google local search results.

Recent columns by Troy Janisch
Troy Janisch, Publisher of Social Meteor,is a digital marketing professional and social media enthusiast. Troy is Marketing Director at Sentry Insurance. Like a good social media program, is all about content. It’s not a consulting company or marketing agency.

The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. WTN accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.

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