Social media is a revolutionary method of communicating with fans, followers, prospective customers, and Strangers (those who you, likely, would not otherwise reach).
Even more compelling is the ability to use social media to reach your competitor’s circle of influence and — quite frankly — steal them away.
Here are 7 simple social media tips that will start you on your way to building a brand of awesomeness (more on that coming soon!)
1. Listen, Then Talk
Just like a cocktail party, social media is an on-going conversation discussing every known subject. Rather than taking a traditional “sales” approach and blasting your message into the discussion, listen. What is the tone of the group? By exercising self-restraint, you’ll gain insightful information about the group, their thoughts, feelings, and alignment. When you provide thoughtful, genuine help, you position yourself as an expert contributor to the conversation, not a sleezy-sales person looking to make a quick sale with little regard for the conversation participants.
There is a reason this is not a popular approach; it takes time. Listening and waiting, by nature, is a slow process. There is no shot-gun method, no quick and dirty. It is, however, an investment that will pay dividends for years to come.
SIMPLE TIP: Listen to what users are saying about your brand, your product, and your competitors. Look for gaps in their communication to jump in and assert yourself as an expert within the industry.
2. Respond (To Everyone)
Upwards of 60% of online brands — mostly the larger ones — currently do not answer customers or prospects on social media. That leaves huge windows of opportunity on the table. In the era of social media, everyone has a voice and a platform to share their thoughts (right, wrong, or otherwise). Embrace this reality and capitalize on the lack of attention shown by your competition.
Customer complaints are prime examples of opportunities overlooked by most brands. When a customer complains on social media, take the time to respond and solve the problem. Consumers understand companies make mistakes, the lesson is to not delete mistakes or avoid confrontation; acknowledge that a mistake was made and address how you are going to fix it. Sometimes, this takes a private message or an email conversation to resolve the issue appropriately. The general rule is to respond to the customer on the same social media platform they used to contact you. For example, if a customer uses Twitter to express their dissatisfaction, answer them on Twitter. This shows that your brand is attentive to the needs of users and is interested in making their experience better.
SIMPLE TIP: Don’t delete negative or complains made on social media (unless they are obscene or bigoted); use the opportunity to address the problem publicly and move on.
3. Tell, Don’t Sell
Social media’s foundation is relationships. It was never intended to be a platform for business marketing. Successful brands know that they need to emulate the personal connection between people and humanize their brand to “fit in”; companies who use older, one-way communication tactics on social media will quickly realize they are alienating a wide group of their customer base.
Social is about experiences. The use of stories is a powerful way to spread your message and brand across social media. Consider your personal experiences, humble beginnings, community or charity partnerships, employee stories, or customer successes. Show that your brand is made up of real people who live real lives.
“The only thing better than telling your story on social media is to inspire your customers to tell your story,” says Dave Kerpen of Likeable Media.
4. Just Be Yourself
An authentic — even flawed — personality on social media will go far further than a polished, perfect, and artificial personality. Large brands are so accustomed to running a press releases through the Marketing Department, Legal Department, Sales, and — finally — upper management. Everyone has their say and, eventually, the message is unrecognizably diluted. The feeling is gone. It is now a face-less message from a face-less organization trying to connect to very real people.
Instead, use the tone of your brand and personality of your employees to create an online culture that mirrors your own.
Your existing fans and customers chose you for a reason, and it isn’t the quality of your corporateeez-legal-mumbo-jumbo.
5. Advertise (better)
Social media is far more than the emotional touchy-feely that I have eluded to thus far. It is big business with big sales dollars on the line. Social media represents the ability to reach customers far reaching around the globe and a very powerful word-of-mouth marketing machine. While your voice, tone, and personality should be light and reflective of your brand, your social media strategy is all business.
On Facebook, rather than advertising to the largest possible pool of viewers, you can target the right people. The folks who are most likely to buy your product. This is an advantage over traditional marketing (imagine a road-side billboard that changes messages based on the driver (and each passenger) of a passing car); this type of one-to-one targeting is available. Brands have the ability to target on every piece of information collected about a user: job title, likes, age, location, interests, etc.
Reaching 1,000,000,000 may sound cool, but even better is reaching the one customer who will double your bottom line; or reaching one key influencer of your industry to land an interview. Or the one CEO …
Use social media as a laser — finely tuned to your exacting goals.
6. Give Stuff Away
This point separates the Haves and the Have-Nots. Quite frankly, if you are an expert in your field, you may have decades of knowledge, tips, tricks, shortcuts, and experience that you could spout off at the drop of a hat. This experience represents an experience that others — the Have-Nots — hold under lock and key, demanding top dollar for every drop of advice offered.
Let’s be real, if you can “give away” all your knowledge in a blog post or two, or a couple of white papers, or in social media status updates, you are not an expert. You are simply masquerading as an expert by regurgitating the knowledge of others.
Today’s consumers are doing more research before investing their hard-earned dollars. Give them every reason to do business with you by offering free resources, How Tos, Best Practices, and your expertise before they sign on the dotted line. Truly, I cannot count the number of clients Never Mind Marketing has landed because we gave away the farm to prospective clients doing research. Answer your most common questions and package it as a downloadable resource on your website. Put your favorite quotes and pieces of advice into a fun graphic and post on Pinterest. Show that you an expert by the wealth of knowledge you are able to give away. This will separate you from the Have Nots.
7. Be Grateful
According to the non-profit organization DonorsChoose.org, of those people who received a thank you note, 38% were more likely to donate again.
A simple “Thank You” will go a long way to expanding your business. Gary Vaynerchuk wrote a fantastic book entitled “The Thank You Economy” where he documents how he grew on online wine store to a multi-million dollar empire.
Use social media to reach your customers and simply thank them.
If you would like help with your social media, I would love to talk to you. Click here to connect and discuss your next steps. Really, there is no hard-sale, we’ll just talk about where you are and where you want to go.