Try searching the Internet and you’ll be inundated with articles upon articles written by so-called social media gurus, ninjas, or wizards who claim they’ve got the answer to making big bucks with social media. While some of these articles may be entertaining, most are redundant and don’t offer any true insight as to how to connect and engage with your customers online. I hope I can do a better job with these 5 different social media tips:
A recent study from Socialbakers showed that, on average, only 30% of companies respond to social media fans’ feedback. On top of that, more than 25% of companies have a closed Facebook Wall. This completely defeats the purpose of having a presence on Facebook in the first place. Companies need to care about their customers’ concerns and use social networking platforms as a two-way conversation medium. Respond to your customers in a timely manner and, if necessary, take the conversation offline, but don’t ignore it.
2. Don’t Push; Pull
Social networks are not advertising platforms in the sense that you can interrupt what consumers are doing online with flashy banner ads and pop-ups. Simply pushing marketing messages onto your followers is not an effective social media strategy. Companies need to understand that they are, in a way, intruding on what were once consumer-only platforms. Twitter and Facebook were built on the idea of connecting people and creating long-lasting meaningful relationships. Companies need to act the same way and take the time to engage and build relationships with the people who keep them in business.
This can easily be done by polling your community with meaningful questions and participating in conversations. Don’t just post something and watch the likes and comments; jump in! Let your fans tell your story and be the content creators, and always be creative.
3. Humanize Your Brand
We are all human, though I’m sure if you asked people 50 years ago if speaking in 140-character sentences is human, they would beg to differ. But it’s important that you keep the brand voice relevant to your product or service, and don’t be afraid to throw in a little humor or personality. Offer a behind-the-scenes look at your company, how your products are made, events you attend, charitable activities you’re involved in, or simply create interesting content your fans will relate to.
Take Coca-Cola, for example; sure, they make soda, and a majority of their Facebook fans probably like their page because they like soda too. But what Coke does even better, is relate to their customers on an emotional level. They’re producing content that really connects with their customers, and in return, those customers are sharing it with their friends and family.
This may be very hard to do for some, but you have to listen to what your customers are saying. If it’s bad, you need to do everything you can to change it. Domino’s is an excellent example of a company that listened to their customers’ concerns and addressed them head-on. When they launched the “Our Pizza Sucks” campaign, Domino’s scoured the web in search of negative buzz, took those concerns seriously, and addressed them on a public forum (TV spots, ad campaigns, YouTube videos, etc.). This can be done on a smaller scale, as well–simply acknowledge the feedback from your customers and make an honest effort to listen and improve your product or service based on that feedback.
5. Stay Flexible and Have Fun
A few weeks ago, comedian Ross Noble started a Twitter bombard aimed at the Doritos UK Twitter handle, asking his fans to bombard the Twitter account with ridiculous questions. Doritos, being a digital-savvy brand, decided to have a little fun with it and respond directly by sharing funny photos and commentary. The Doritos UK twitter handle gained more than 1,000 followers in just a few days. But beyond that, they were flexible, saw an opportunity to engage with fans of Doritos, and acted on it. Their fans will remember this, share that experience, and return for more. The more opportunities you have to engage, interact, and share with your community, the better your brand perception will be online and offline.