Putting the ‘Social’ into Social Media
Today’s guest post is from Natasha Haley from Social Elephant.
Most social media platforms are well known as places people want to go to get interactive. This is just as much true for businesses as it is for individuals. For businesses social media is no longer a one-way exchange, people are looking to have authentic and real conversations with their brands online.
Your audience is looking for genuine conversations with which they can build trust and get real, authentic, answers from your business. Negative feedback online can cost you up to 30 customers if it is not dealt with in the right way! This is one of the many reasons it’s becoming increasingly important to get more ‘social’ on social media.
Each social media platform is different, the language is different and the etiquette is different. It is important to try to understand who you are talking to, and where, to know how to socialize in the right format with them.
Getting social on Facebook
There are a few ways to get social on Facebook. Your audience comes to Facebook to talk, share pictures, and you should be doing the same. Do not make your time on social media all about posting adverts and making product offerings. This really puts people off and generally they only respond well to marketing materials 20% of the time. This means the other 80% of the time you should be posting valuable content to engage your audience and spark conversation.
Make it a priority to respond to comments left for you on your page, good or bad. Responding to the good makes people feel special, they begin to build a trust with your brand and more likely to consider a purchase exchange with you in the future. Responding to bad comments shows that you care about your customers. You are willing to take their feedback on board and want to help to resolve the problem. Make sure to do this publically at first, it shows the others that you are trying to help. If you are receiving comments which it is hard to find an answer to, ‘like’ the comment. It shows you are watching and are ready for a conversation if they so wish. The same goes for messages, respond to all of these to show you are real, you are listening to what they have to say.
Getting social on Instagram
Instagram is a whole different ball game. People show and say things they wouldn’t otherwise on Facebook. Embrace it. This means you can comment on a wider variety of posts. If you have found people you think are interested in your niche, pop by their profile and comment on some of their pictures that you like. They will see your name in the comments and most likely check you out!
If you get comments on your pictures it is good practice to reply to them all. This is the same as Facebook; it shows them that you are there, real, and ready to talk if they want. When it comes to spam messages, delete them. A pile of spam comments makes it look like you don’t moderate your page and have let spam overcome your comment section. It can also put people off reading genuine comments they might otherwise be interested in. Reply to direct messages too, people love to feel special enough to get a response!
Get ‘liking’ as your brand
This goes for both Facebook and Instagram. How you do it, physically, is different, but the game and the result are the same – to grow your following. On Facebook there is an option to ‘like as your page.’ Make sure and do this to pages relevant to your own, but not competitors! Start to like and comment as your page in different conversations and discussions and you will slowly see people start to notice you and click to your page.
The idea is the same for Instagram. You want to start liking photos and pages as your brand. You really want to target people in your niche as they are who are likely to return the like, and ultimately the most likely to follow through and buy from you. A good way to do this is to look on pages of your direct competitors. Their followers like the niche already so you are targeting the right people. You just need to click their followers and head off on a follow and like spree. A good rule of thumb is to follow them, and like three pictures. Why? It takes up the majority of their phone screen in notifications and they have no way of ignoring your brand name sitting right there in front of them.
Social media is increasing in importance, and by no means is it going away. Businesses need to see social media as the great opportunity it is and embrace it. To seem real and authentic you need to put time aside to engage with your audience. After all social media is guiding purchasing decisions for very large numbers of people, and it would be a shame to miss out on that.
To make the most of your social, you need to get social. You know how to do it face to face, so you just need to put time into learning how to stay truly social on the different social media platforms. If you can make time to be active each day your audience will thank you for it and will return to you page time and time again looking for advice, looking for value and ultimately to guide purchases in the future.