Inspiring quotes and cute puppy shenanigans aren’t enough to keep consumers engaged. Ignoring the real social media musts you may cost your business big.
It’s nice to catch up with childhood friends on Facebook and view their family pictures. It’s also satisfying to tweet a snarky note of dissatisfaction toward a business when service has been deplorable. But when it comes to mingling social media and business, social media isn’t just a clever trolling tool or an optional backup strategy. It’s an essential platform for etching your brand into the minds of your followers and solidly boosting brand recognition.
With worldwide active social network users soaring to 2.206 billion in 2015, up by 176 million from the previous year, businesses can’t afford to blow off the importance of social media as a key marketing strategy.
At a recent GrowCo conference in New Orleans, Likeable Media Chairman Dave Kerpen spoke about the importance of diving head first into to social media for businesses and offered a few tips that he learned, from experience, will make your social media work.
If you don’t want to constantly second guess your social media practices, here are some suggestions to live by.
Listen, Then Talk
It might seem reasonable to believe that you should only flood your social media channels with content that makes you look smart and promotes your brand on a daily basis. After all, if you hope to be an industry expert, you need to do a lot of talking.
But Kerpen disagrees. He says the key to winning customers is to simply listen to what customers are posting. Keep checking and listening, and when there is a need you can meet, respond. If a follower posts a disappointment in the way your business treated them, respond with confidence. Offer to help. Keep it low key and targeted to people you can help. You will get noticed because you listen, not because you do all of the talking.
Respond (to Everyone!)
Kerpen says 60% of brands currently do not respond to customers or prospects on their social media accounts. Simply following up with a response to customer inquiries or complaints can gain you a huge competitive advantage, especially if you can respond to competitors’ requests diplomatically.
Never delete customer complaints, but openly respond and work to solve the problem openly. The only comments that should be deleted from your social media business account are those that are obscene or bigoted.
Tell, Don’t Sell
If you think the sole purpose of social media is to sell your product and services, think again. “Social media is most powerful when you use it to tell personal stories, not sell your products,” Kerpen said.
Identify a story people will want to talk about and publish it across all social channels. Focus on customers or employees who have overcome challenges or been involved with charity. Stories inspire and spark conversation. You want to be the brand people are talking about. Do it with a story.
Just Be You
Oprah once said, “I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.”
Kerpen agrees. “When I am authentic, when I am vulnerable, when I am me, customers want to do business with me.” Trying to live up to an image doesn’t impress. Transparency and approachability for the win.
Don’t stop at touchy-feely posts. Social media used properly can drive sales and leads. Use Facebook-driven data to target the right audience of the message you wish to promote. You have a huge audience right at your disposal.
Give Stuff Away
Here’s where solid content comes into play. Give away good, informative content sporadically. Offer webinars, articles and white papers as incentives to grab their contact information. Keep giving away relevant content. People will notice and they will keep coming back because they trust you, and they learned something valuable.
When posting, make a habit of thanking your customers for their support. Don’t forget to mention the partners who made your business possible. Write thank you notes daily and never pass up an opportunity to express gratitude.
A lot of time and effort goes into keeping your store’s social media account professional, likeable and relevant. Follow Kerpen’s advice and you’ll see the how positively implementing the right social media practices can impact your business.