If you’re going to socialize, do it right.
Having a social media presence requires time and energy, and by the very definition of it, it requires you to be social. Posting company updates a few times a month won’t cut it these days. People expect you to engage often and authentically.
So how do you be a social company on social media? Here are five ways to help:
What authenticity boils down to is personal connection, which means breaking through the clutter of all the fake and boring.
Inauthenticity is rampant on social media. People put their best foot forward, and as a result, you never truly know who you’re interacting with.
Companies are no different. There’s a whole lot of fluff with no real substance. Humans work for you and you sell products to other humans. Therefore, humanize your products and services. Showcase your employees, take customers behind the scenes, and pose questions to your audience.
And if a customer posts that they’re unsatisfied with your product or service, don’t ignore them (or worse, delete their post). An apology is a good start, but follow up with concrete next steps. Remember, nothing is ever truly deleted from the internet. So don’t gloss over your mistakes. Own them. Make things right.
Your social media presence should also reflect your company’s personality. Start with your cover photos and about section. Then, weave personality into your posts. Remember, this should be an extension of your brand voice, not a dilution of it.
Ever commented on a brand’s social media profile only to hear crickets? You’re not alone. Turns out, 89 percent of social media messages to brands go ignored. That doesn’t bode well for your company’s reputation. Ignoring people is not how you gain trust, nor is it how you make money.
If you want your customers to feel important and feel heard, treat them with respect and respond as soon as you can. Keep in mind that this isn’t just about responding; it’s about responding in a timely manner. Many consumers expect a response time within an hour and definitely within the same day.
If you have the budget, get a social media monitoring system that can send alerts when your company is mentioned. That way you can stay on top of feedback and interactions. Otherwise, set reminders to check throughout the day.
When companies do take the time to respond, and the consumer has a good experience, 71 percent are likely to recommend the company to others. And what those positive interactions equate to are stronger relationships with your brand (a.k.a. brand loyalty).
When you do get feedback from a customer or client on your profile, do you know what you’re going to say? That’s where developing some quick responses to frequently asked questions or common complaints will help your social media team respond quickly.
The last thing you want to think through when your website crashes on Black Friday is how to respond to hundreds of frustrated consumers on social media.
Customers want to know they’ve been heard. Acknowledge them and direct them to more information if possible.
Don’t take preparedness for granted. It will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run and your customers will appreciate you for quick and thoughtful responses.
Here comes the fun part: actually engaging with your audience. You can’t employ the set-it-and-forget-it method with your social media presence, nor can you get away with posting generic content about your company.
People expect you to be human on social media. Ask yourself, what do our customers care about? Why did they follow us on social media to begin with?
Most social media users follow companies for incentives, entertainment, and customer service. They don’t particularly like being sold to. So strike a good balance between the two: more engaging content and less self-promotion.
Thinking through how your company will engage in social media requires a social media strategy, which brings us to our next point.
Updating a profile, responding quickly, building out a strategy, these all take time and manpower. You need people who know your company, its brand, goals, and personality. In most cases, this isn’t going to be a summer intern. If you have the budget for a dedicated social media team, it’s certainly worth it. And if you don’t have the budget for it, divvy up the tasks between a few individuals who understand the business and ideally, who have some knowledge of social media.
Don’t expect results overnight. Relationships take time, as does developing your presence on social and building trust with your customers. The more consistent and engaging you are on social media, the more rewarding it will be.
Social media may not be right for all companies. If your customers aren’t on a particular platform, there’s no reason for you to be on it either. The point is that if you’re going to “do social” then make the effort—be social.