Social media isn’t merely about creating profiles on various platforms to broadcast your best content. It has become one of the cornerstones of marketing. It is your opportunity to build a trusted and loyal community. In this community exists partners, colleagues, collaborators, customers and friends. Treat them with the respect and courtesy they deserve and that which you expect in return.
Every day you read about etiquette, best practices and thousands of different tips to engage and build your following. What I find interesting is that much of this content is disseminated from alleged social media experts, marketing and PR firms or social media managers who don’t always follow their own suggestions. Their tweets and posts offer real life recommendations on engagement and proper “politeness” yet they do not care to practice what they preach. I am not sure why, but if they are writing and sharing the content, do they not believe they should follow their own advice?
Acknowledge the voice of your network.
If you want to build a credible authentic network, engage in conversations, thank people for sharing your content, ask questions, post rich and valuable information, don’t ignore anyone, unless of course they are bots, spam or porn.
Simple rule of thumb: treat others the same way you want to be treated. Sure, this is so cliché, but it is common courtesy. Would you just walk away from someone at a networking event or cocktail party after they asked you a question or tried to engage you in a dialog? I think not.
Since you have taken the time to be online, then make the time to learn about your audience. You have the potential to meet and greet some pretty incredible people but only if you choose to actively participate.
We are all a brand: whether it’s personal or business, we have an online reputation to develop and construct if we want a strong presence and ROI. Maintain your relationships. Be authentic. Be human. Be professional.
Sharing: refrain from overselling yourself and your products or services. Constant self-promo is a sure fire way to generate a mass exodus. Make your marketing mix diverse. Share relevant content that is of interest to your network. Solve problems. Be cognizant of trending topics. Repost and respond to the content of others. Share the love with a retweet. Always give back. Be a resource.
“In a recent article about brand identity, Digiday argues that brands need to loosen up and act more human instead of focusing on expertly tailored mass market messages.”
Provide the personal experience: interact with your fans and followers. If they ask a question or have a complaint, respond immediately. Find out what is wrong. Don’t ignore them. Troubleshoot, create trust and provide impeccable service. Social media is your conduit for making human connections. Acknowledge all contact.
“The absolute best way for companies to stay relevant in social media and to effectively engage their followers is to listen to what their fans are saying. Don’t try to steer the conversation; instead, listen to what customers are saying and respond. Reply to user’s feedback and jump into conversations that are already happening.” Lisa Parkin
“Stories that resonate on an emotional level, that put a human face on a global business, drive engagement and amplification.” Brian Pember.
Read: actually click on the links shared in your social media channels. Don’t just blindly repost them. You are probably missing out on some fabulous content. Be able to make a comment or engage more deeply regarding the article. Seriously, don’t just spew it because it is a “pay it forward” thing to do. If you are going to retweet or share, be real about it.
Invest: your digital footprint can be far reaching but it will only be what you make it. Consistency and frequency are two key points to remember. Don’t desert your followers. Be present and invest in the time to generate interest in your brand. You get back exactly what you put in.
Strategy: know your goals and reasons for creating your profiles. Who is your market and what do they need? Create your content and set a schedule for fresh ideas, retweets, quotes, contests and conversation. If you are all over the board, people won’t understand your brand or may question what you actually do.
These are some pretty staggering numbers from Jeff Bullas: 10 Social Media Facts, Figures and Statistics You Need to Know exemplifying exorbitant growth and opportunity to establish trusted relationships with your network.
- Facebook has over 1.15 billion active users.
- Google+ has 343 million active monthly users.
- Twitter has over 288 million monthly active users.
- LinkedIn has now reached 238 million users.
- YouTube has over 1 billion unique visitors every month.
- Instagram has now reached 130 million users.
- Pinterest has 70 Million users.
Don’t just create an account or promote yourself. Meet your community. Generate interest. Engage. Enjoy your network. Be personal – show your human side. Social media isn’t rocket science, although many would like you to think it is. A large portion of it is purely being social, not DOING social.
@AceConcierge Suzie, my love! You mean it’s not enough to love, respect, admire *and* RT you? Now I have to “engage” too?
— Jon Aston (@JonAston) September 2, 2013
It is common sense, active participation and thoughtful interactions. Just like you would do in the “real” world.
Don’t trade off personal communications or hide behind a digital persona. Get out there, listen, shake hands, measure, and extend a virtual hug to your network. If you want to see the payoff, just be a human brand.